If your New Year’s resolutions include saving money, we’ve got four great ways for you to achieve your goals:
If you haven’t yet refinanced your mortgage or home equity loan to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, there’s still time to lock in a great deal. Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, expects mortgage rates to rise above 5 percent in 2014 and to 5.5 percent by the end of 2015.
If your current mortgages exceed your home’s value, you may still be able to refinance using one of the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (http://http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/fallen-value-help/Pages/default.aspx).
Change your Furnace Filters
New Year’s resolutions don’t get much easier than vowing to change your HVAC filter once a month in 2014 to increase your furnace’s life span.
To make this task easy, buy 12 filters and store them in the furnace room so they’re at hand when you need them. Put a reminder on your calendar or tie this chore to another monthly chore, like paying your household bills, so you remember to do it each month.
Seal Those Home Air Leaks
Sealing the air leaks in your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut your utility bills. Check to make sure your winders are caulked around the outside of the trim on the inside and outside of your home. Use foam to fill large gaps where the plumbing, electric or cable comes in the house.
Shop Your Insurance Policies
Yes, it’s a bother to shop for insurance, but if you haven’t checked what’s out there lately, you may be overpaying. The easiest way to get this chore done is to delegate. Copy the declarations pages from your current home, auto, life and umbrella policies and ask an independent insurance agent to look for a better overall deal for you. You can also visit your current agent or call your insurance company and ask for an annual review to make sure you’ve got the right coverage and are getting all the discounts for which you qualify.