Investing a little extra money now on your home and health care spending can save you significant money later if you make the right purchases. Energy and water-saving products will save you money each month during the many years you live in your home and will increase its resale value. Participating in company-sponsored benefits programs also helps you reduce your spending later.
Green toilets use less water, cutting your bill each month. A family of four will pay for the installation of a new toilet with utility bill savings in less than three years, according to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. A low-flow toilet saves you approximately $80 per year on your water bill.
Lowering or raising your thermostat eight hours each day by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cuts your annual electric bill by 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. You might be inclined to lower the heat in your home if it’s warm when you wake up each morning and get home from work each day. If you have to manually raise and lower the heat, you’ll spend 30 minutes or more in a chilly house, possibly discouraging you from daily setting changes. A programmable thermostat can lower the heat after you leave the house or get into bed and then automatically raise it again 30 minutes before you wake up or get home. You can also cool your house more efficiently this way, as well.
Appliances and Light Bulbs
Many utility companies will sell you a reduced-price water heater if you swap out your old one for a newer, energy-efficient model. This not only saves you money on your monthly utility bills, but also helps the utility company reduce its need to generate power. Contact your energy provider and ask if they have a trade-in or rebate program. A new dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer are two more appliances you can purchase now that cut your energy bills in the long run. Add longer-lasting, energy-efficient CFL light bulbs to decrease your bulb purchasing costs and reduce your power bill each month.
Windows and Doors
Energy efficient windows not only cut your heating and cooling bills, they might come with state or local tax credits, and they increase the value of your home. While the federal tax credits for windows and doors expired in 2011, your state or local municipality might have active programs. Contact your utility provider to see if any programs are available in your area. Even if there are no rebates or tax credits available, you’ll still reduce your heating and cooling costs each month.
If you spend money on health care each year, participate in your company’s flexible spending account program, if it has one. An FSA lets you put part of your paycheck into your account before you pay taxes on it. You can then spend the money when you need it for health care costs. If your company offers voluntary benefits that you buy, such as dental, vision or pet health care insurance, take advantage of these programs to reduce your spending later.
Auto Check Ups
Changing your oil and air filter regularly improves your car’s performance, improves your gas mileage and reduce potential engine problems. When you buy tires, you often get free tire rotation, based on mileage, which can increase the life of your tires. Have the front-end alignment checked each year to see if you need a realignment. This extends the life of your tires and prevents other costly repairs later.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.