Being a new homeowner has its share of expenses. In addition to your mortgage, insurance and utility costs, there is a host of other weekly, monthly and annual expenditures that you will need to factor into your budget in order to stay on track during your first year in a new home. Take a look at these tips that will help make your experience as a homeowner a pleasant one!
1. Establish a budget and stick to it: There are many ways to do this; find the one that works for you. You can use an Excel document, a desktop calendar or an online expense tracker for tracking income and expenses. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers a simple one on their website. Find it here: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/hostst/wosh_012.cfm
2. Start a reserve fund: A household savings account should be a priority for new homeowners. Putting away a few dollars every month for unforeseen maintenance costs will not only give you peace of mind, but it can also prevent you from going into debt when it comes time to replace your furnace, install a new roof or replace your windows.
3. Be a savvy shopper: Before you move into your new home, you will need to set up your electricity, home insurance, home security, gas, phone, TV and Internet services. While there may not be more than one or two options in electric and gas companies, you can shop around for a better rate for insurance, TV, internet, home security and phone services. Call a few places and ask about special ‘bundling’ rates for both telecommunication services and insurance.
4. Connect with your inner-DIY’er: A fantastic gift for any new homeowner is a complete toolkit. Knowing how to repair and maintain simple aspects of your household systems will save you the cost of hiring a professional. You can find step-by-step instructional videos online for everything from installing a ceiling fan to repairing a hole in the drywall. Just be sure to turn to an expert for any major issues, like electrical and plumbing.