Get some home sense - MoneySense

Get some home sense

Curb the urge to run up the costs on your new place and find ways to save

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The national average price for a detached bungalow in Canada in the third quarter of 2011 was almost $350,000. That’s alotta money.

But that’s not where our rabid spending ends. We also do a whole bunch of dumb things that eat up our savings like not coming up with a big enough downpayment or taking the longest amortization we can get our hands on. We’re determined to make that house as expensive as we can.

And then there’s all the stuff we do once we move in that nibbles away at our savings. We’ve made appliances the stars of our kitchens, instead of our cooking. If you’re going to finance a fancy fridge, at the very least you should eat at home until it is paid off!

No one seems happy with “a little home of their own” anymore. The trend for monster houses means that the only way we can afford to furnish is with a buy-now-pay-later mentality. And people hardly ever get the couches, bedroom sets and dining room tables paid off before their due dates. Ouch! That’s huge interest – up to 35% – calculated back to the day the stuff came home from the store.

Bigger homes often mean higher utilities. Having good windows and great insulation can help. Put an older home through an energy audit, implement the recommendations and you can save thousands over your life in the home. Switch to a high-efficiency furnace and watch your heating bills drop. Get a programmable thermostat – and use it properly – and it’ll pay for itself in just a few months.

It’s easy to want the very best of everything when we go home-hunting. What’s harder is being sensible about what we can afford. The trick is in how we manage our priorities so we’re able to pay off our homes, have a great life and save some money too.

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