5 New Homeowner Tips for Keeping a Budget

September 29, 2015 : Michelle Schroeder-Gardner – Guest Contributor

Editor’s Note: Buying a home is a big investment the biggest one that many of us may make. So it seems terrifying that the financial costs don’t stop once your mortgage contract is signed. Not to worry — here are some new homeowner tips to keep your money management on track.

Buying a home is an exciting time. Once you receive the keys, you are probably ready to turn the place into something you can call “home.”

Before you get too ahead of yourself though, there are many things to think about. Yes, you were approved for a home loan, but there are still other factors to consider.

Owning a home can be expensive. So, you have to think long and hard about  It is wise to implement a budget and savings strategy after buying a home so you can continue improving your financial situation and not fall into debt.

Below are various budgeting tips for new homeowners.

1 – Get creative with furniture and home decor.

One of the largest expenses a new homeowner incurs is decorating a new home. Furniture and home decor can be quite expensive, and it can add up quickly once you start filling up room after room. You may want to buy some items used, shop sales or seek out free items from friends and family to save money.

2 – Monitor your utility bills and usage.

You may not be used to the utility bills you will be responsible for as a homeowner instead of a renter. You will have to pay for the utilities that your landlord may have been paying for. Plus, your home may be larger than where you used to live and that usually leads to higher utility bills. Budgeting for this cost ahead of time will prevent any surprising utility bills later on.

3 – Have an emergency fund.

Now that you own a home, you will want to establish an emergency fund. Emergency funds are wise to have. Having reserve savings means you can address a problem without taking on debt or stealing the funds from another priority – like retirement. An emergency fund can help ease you through tough times such as a leak in your basement, a broken appliance or a hole in your roof.

4 – Stay up-to-date on home maintenance and repairs.

Whether your home is hundreds of years old or newly built, there will be home maintenance and repairs that need to be made. Now that you are a homeowner, it is up to you to complete these tasks. While it may be tempting to put off a small home repair in order to save money, ignoring the problem can often lead to more damage – and a bigger bill. Utilize your emergency savings, or set aside a separate savings bucket, so you can fix problems as they arise. It will actually save money in the long run.

5 – Always pay your mortgage on time.

Paying your mortgage on time is extremely important when owning a home. In some states, a home lender can foreclose on your home even if you are just two months late on your mortgage payment. You may also damage your credit score by being late with your monthly mortgage payment as well.

By keeping these new homeowner tips in mind, you will be able to begin your new life on the right financial path.

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner – Guest Contributor

Michelle is a finance writer and online business owner. She is the founder of Making Sense of Cents, a blog about paying off debt, earning more money, and living the life you want to live.