Nila Sweeney

 

There are savings to be made in every room of your home. Some tips are obvious, some are a little more inventive; YMM explains them all.
 
Curtailing your energy consumption
 
For lovers of energy conservation, here are some well-known and not so well-known ways of reducing your energy use all over the house and trimming down your power bills.
 
In the kitchen
 
When cooking on your stove, make sure the stove ring is the same size as the pan or pot you’re cooking on. Turning off your stove or oven a few minutes before you’ve finished and leaving the food there is not a bad idea either, as the food will still be receiving heat while you’ll be containing energy as well as your gas bills.
 
When it comes to replacing your fridge, look for one that has an energy rating of 3.5 stars or more. These energy-friendly whitegoods might be pricier than other products, but the savings you’ll make in electricity bills over time will it make it a worthwhile buy.
 
You can compare the energy ratings of various appliances at the government's Equipment Energy Efficiency website.
 
Living and bedrooms
 
As the cooler months come upon us (in some parts of Australia, the cooler months never left!), stock up on blankets and roll out the carpet rugs. Rugging yourself up will reduce your need to constantly have the heater on.
 
Remember seeing those draught snakes your Nanna has at her home? It sits at the bottom of the door to stop the cold from coming in. Don’t under-estimate the power of a draught snake – they’re making a comeback. You can make them yourself for next-to-nothing: it’s simply a matter of sewing some fabric together in the shape of a snake (or giant sausage, if you like) and stuffing it with sand.
 
On those few days where the sun does make an appearance, use dark curtains to keep the room cool rather than switching on the air-con. If your life without an air-con is unimaginable, make sure you have an air-conditioner with at least an energy rating of 4.5 stars. Fans are even better because they use about one-tenth of the power consumed by an air-conditioner.
 
Possibly one of the best investments for your home is to install a solar panel system. Apart from reducing your need for electricity, the government rebate from the government to cover part of the installation costs. The best part? You can earn money if the panel generates more electricity than your family uses, through the feed-in tariff determined by your state or territory government. 
 
Find out why it’s better to install solar sooner rather than later.
 
Wiser water use
 
Turning on an average tap uses 15-18 litres of water per minute. Unless you’re running an elaborate water fountain, it’s likely you won’t need that much water. Installing a flow restrictor in your taps cuts your water use dramatically. 
 
A leaking tap can lose 24,000 litres of water each year; not to mention it sounds annoying, if you’re a light sleeper. Solution: get it fixed! You can pull your toolbox or bring in an expert.
 
If you’re looking for a new washing machine, go for one that has at least a 4-star water rating. It’s no secret that using a cold-water cycle cuts your running costs significantly whilst still giving your clothes a thorough clean. 
 
Rent it out
 
If your kids have flown the coop and you currently have a bedroom that’s generating dust, why not allow it to generate you a rental income? The demand to rent continues to be high, so you’ll 
Thorough cleaned of your garage recently? Have you discovered a sizeable amount of free space in there? Consider renting out the space in your garage for another car. If you live just outside the city, you’re sure to receive plenty of eager customers who would rather pay for your space at a decent price than furiously compete for ridiculously-priced city parking.
 
Bring it inside
 
Regardless of what you like to keep in your garage, your foremost item must be your car. On average, keeping your vehicle inside a garage rather than on the street will cut cost of your car insurance premium by 15% (or $216), as insurance providers will perceive you less of a risky customer.
 
-- By Stephanie Hanna

It can be confusing to know whether to get a variable rate or fixed rate mortgage, and what features are important. That's why it's important to not only check the right rates, but make sure that you're getting the right features in your home loan. Get help choosing the right home loan