10 Frugal Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a new home is often a wonderful and exciting event on anyone’s list of accomplishments. It’s one of the reasons it’s considered part of the ‘American Dream.’

For many, it also comes fraught with questions about inspections, property taxes, previous owners, upgrades, etc. One outstanding question a recent homeowner asked concerned experienced owners best tips for remaining frugal during the home buying process. Here are some of the best responses.

1. Utilities

One respondent had a great suggestion about ensuring the utilities are on a freeze. As the homebuyer, you know what your water and electric meters are reading once you finalize the purchase. They suggested doing a walkthrough to ensure that appliances (heaters, water heaters, stoves, furnaces, etc.) are properly shut off.

By doing so, you’ll be able to control the use of electrical energy better while finalizing the purchase and moving process.

2. Appliances Run Better Full

Another great point an individual made was that if you own a freezer, it’s best to get it filled, as freezers run better when full. Also, leaving a freezer full and plugged in offers the electric company free money.

Putting gallons of water to freeze on the bottom makes the food more accessible and keeps it from spoiling in case you lose power.

3. Energy Efficiency at Its Best

If you plan on replacing lightbulbs or older appliances in the home you purchase, it’s best to do it from the start. Doing so will ensure you get the best output and help you understand your energy consumption.

By replacing older lightbulbs and appliances with more energy-efficient models, you can save a bundle on your energy bills and, over time, all but recoup what you spent on those energy-saving items.

4. Eats and Treats

One individual made an excellent point about keeping well-fed on a moving day. Make it a packed lunch! By preparing and packing sandwiches, snacks, and drinks, you’ll save time and money by not stopping for fast food. You’ll also likely eat healthier, which is always good when planning a big move.

Some great options are:

  • Salad Wraps – Pick your favorite salad and turn it into a wrap.
  • California Rolls – If you like sushi or anything close, these recreations can be anything you want them to be.
  • Subs – Subs go way back and never get old. Pick your favorite ingredients, slap on a condiment, and have a healthy, homemade option that won’t break the bank.
  • Pitas – these little pocket options are great for any sandwich, including a sweet treat like peanut butter, banana, and apple.

You can’t go wrong when you can get body fuel to keep moving on a hard, physically demanding day and give yourself a healthier, homemade version of a foodie favorite.

5. Take Some Time

More than one commenter shared a tip about taking some time to live in your home before purchasing new furniture or other ‘homey’ items.

Getting caught up in buying new dishes, paint options, window treatments, etc., is easy. But by living in your home for a while, you can get a better feel for what you want to use and what works best in the spaces you plan to fill.

For instance, you might like an island option for your kitchen, only to come across a better-suited one three months after you purchase the one. Taking time to adjust to a new place is always a good idea and can save you time and money.

6. Second-Hand Sales

Many suggest the best way to purchase furniture when you’re finally ready to start transforming your new home. One individual found a $3000 sofa for $295 on Craigslist, and another found a standing desk that would have cost $1500 brand new for huge savings on Facebook Marketplace.

Second-hand options can be a goldmine when you know what to look for. One piece of offered advice was to be careful about bedbugs. Purchasing a bed that’s been pre-used can be risky and is usually the one furniture purchase most people buy new for that reason alone.

7. Know Your Neighbors

More than one individual made a point to “get to know your neighbors.” While it might not sound like a frugal step, knowing who lives around you gives you people to ask when you need lawn maintenance, appliance repair, and anything else you’d need to hire out for.

One person made another excellent point that you and your neighbors may be able to offer each other help that saves you both time and money.

Perhaps your neighbor is handy at fixing things but doesn’t own a lot of tools that sit in your garage, unused. So you let them borrow them and get free labor from the deal. Looking out for each other is one of the best tips that one can get, frugality-oriented or not.

8. Save for a Rainy Day

When I was little, I had a piggy bank where I stored all my precious pennies like a squirrel hoarding nuts. My grandmother called it a “rainy day fund.”

Doing this as an adult looks more like stuffing money away for what one individual called “the gonna go wrong” fund. If you’ve never purchased a home before, it’s good to note that something that once worked well within the first year will likely need to be repaired or replaced.

A fridge, stove, bathroom fixture, or something pricey will need repair or replacement, and having that rainy day fund can go a long way in seeing those repairs through without the added headache of affording them.

9. Home Warranty

A home warranty isn’t the same thing as homeowner’s insurance. Insurance covers the price of the home should it burn down or get damaged in a hurricane, tornado, etc.

A home warranty covers existential items like your air conditioning unit, furnace, HVAC system, etc. One woman shared about covering repairs on her HVAC system over the holidays and how her warranty seems to pay for itself in needed repairs every year.

Shop around and get a warranty that’ll meet the needs of your home, especially if your new digs have some years on them.

10. Waste Not, Want Not

One person had a great yard option for anyone who plans to live long-term in their new home. Instead of paying for what the individual called “a grass farm,” a homeowner can plant fruit trees and perennial vegetables.

Not only will you create a beautiful garden for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beauties, but you’ll also save on groceries and get fresh food once your trees mature. However, the long-term option is necessary when dealing with trees that can take 6-10 years to mature to produce fruit.

Frugal Doesn’t Mean Cheap

It’s a common assumption that frugally-minded people are cheap, but that isn’t always the case. Having the desire to save money where and when you can is sound financial advice for anyone who wants to make their money stretch.

If you’re looking to make your money squeak when purchasing a home, these tips can get you started in the right direction.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.

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