NEW HOME OWNERS: SIMPLE WAYS TO SAVEBy Angelica Malin
Buying your first home is a major event. Unless you are a trust fund child or mum and dad have oodles of cash to spare, it is likely to be the culmination of years of scrimping and saving for a deposit. Then come those add-ons, surveys, solicitors and that hard-earned money is soon stretched to the limit. Somehow, despite survey problems, gazumping and moments of doubt, you’re in, keys in your hand, a home-owner, surrounded by boxes, physically and emotionally exhausted, but absolutely over the moon. Look around, you’re going to need some curtains, that carpet has had it, cooker, fridge, washing machine, table, chairs, sofa; suddenly the list seems endless and there’s no way that you’re going to be able to afford it on what’s left of your money. Don’t panic. You’ve done the hardest part. Make the next part an enjoyable experience as you start to create the home that you want, within a budget that you can afford. Don’t put yourself in debt by panic buying everything you need on an instalment plan, be creative, take your time and enjoy seeing it all come together.
Furniture doesn’t have to be expensive
Check out second hand furniture on gumtree. You may find some high-quality pieces for a fraction of their original price. Look beyond the surface and try your hand at a bit of upcycling by sanding and repainting to suit your taste. If you’ve a good eye you might even acquire the next retro must-have. Don’t assume that if someone is giving something away for free that it is necessarily a piece of rubbish. Freecycle is a great site for finding great stuff. It’s a lot more fun finding something you really like for next to nothing than settling for something you’re not really keen on because it was the best you could afford.
White goods are expensive
Maybe if you are lucky you can pick up something good second-hand, but you may feel that you don’t want to take a chance on something that might prove unreliable and may end up costing you far more in repairs than buying the appliance new and having the security of a guarantee. Don’t rush. Do your research. There’s often a huge range of prices for the same product. Be prepared to wait for sales and pick up a last year’s model for a fraction of its original price. Make the most of your money by using a cash-back site like Quidco.
Never say never. You don’t know until you try. It’s all there on a YouTube instructional video, so have a go and save yourself some money. A word of warning though, some jobs really do need a professional, so you’d best leave those plumbing and wiring jobs to someone who really knows what they are doing.
Don’t waste money on energy bills
Use a comparison website, like compare the market to ensure that you are getting the best deal and make sure that your appliances are as low energy as possible. Did you know that an LED bulb will last between eight and twenty-five times longer than a low energy halogen bulb?