Image via Wikipedia6 Ways To Save Money On Housing And Utilities
1. Home Purchase
You can often negotiate a lower sale price by employing a buyer broker who works for you, not the seller. If the buyer broker or the broker's firm also lists properties, there may be a conflict of interest, so ask them to tell you if they are showing you a property that they have listed.
Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you selected.
2. Home Improvement
Do-it-yourself, you can save large labor costs by doing the improvements yourself and most home centers will give free advice, not mention classes on how to do it. They want your business and will provide these services to get it.
If you can’t do the work, remember that home repairs often cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints. Select from among several well established, licensed contractors who have submitted written, fixed-price bids for the work. Do not sign any contract that requires full payment before satisfactory completion of the work.
3. Major Appliances
Consult Consumer Reports for information about specific brands and how to evaluate them, including energy use. There are often great price and quality differences among brands.
Once you've selected a brand, check the phone book to learn what stores carry this brand, then call at least four of these stores for the prices of specific models. After each store has given you a quote, ask if that's the lowest price they can offer you. This comparison shopping can save you as much as $100 or more.
To save hundreds of dollars a year on electricity, make certain that any new appliances you purchase, especially air conditioners and furnaces, are energy-efficient. Information on the energy efficiency of major appliances is found on Energy Guide Labels required by federal law.
Check with your electric utility to learn if it has a program to help reduce the costs of any appliance purchases.
Enrolling in load management programs and off-hour rate programs offered by your electric utility may save you up to $100 a year in electricity costs. Call your electric utility for information about these cost-saving programs.
5. Home Heating
A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating (and air conditioning). Ask your electric or gas utility if they can do this audit for free or for a reasonable charge. If they cannot, ask them to refer you to a qualified professional.
Check with local utilities about programs that help with energy efficiency upgrades for homes, these programs can save you thousands of dollars in home improvements and increase the value of your home.
6. Telephone Service
Check with your phone company to see based on your usage, which service plan will save you the most money.
Check your phone bill to see if you have optional services that you don't really need, use only occasionally or could do without. Each option you drop will save you money each year.
If you make more than a few long distance calls each month, consider subscribing to a plan that has unlimited long distance.
A penny saved is a penny earned,
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