By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®
In the midst of decorating, entertaining, and holiday parties, December is also a month to save. Yes, really. As the close of another year approaches, tackle these suggested four tasks from the National Association of REALTORS® for a bright (and money-saving) new year.
1. Clean Light Bulbs and Fixtures. There are two great reasons to clean your light bulbs – you want as much light in your house as you can get as the days grow shorter, and, you’ll save money. Dirty bulbs apparently shed 30% less light than clean ones, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Wipe bulbs with a cloth dampened by a mix of 1 oz. dish soap, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 3 cups of water. Get to it December 1 so you’re ready for the curtain fall on the shortest day of this year – Thursday, December 21.
2. Evaluate Homeowner's Insurance. The holidays. You love them, but they do seem to eat up more cash than other times of year. Sure, you can scrounge around for change under your couch cushions, but that’s not going to offset much.
Why not get a home insurance checkup? Call your agent to go over the type of coverage you have, how much you really need, and how you can lower your premiums before your next monthly installment.
3. Pack a Home Emergency Kit. The last thing you want during the holidays is for an emergency to chill your family’s cheer. Prepare for power outages and weather-related emergencies with an easy-to-find emergency kit.
Some items to include are bottled water, a hand-crank radio, a flashlight, batteries, a portable charger for your phone, warm blankets, and of course, a first-aid kit to patch up any boo-boos. Singing carols ‘round the flashlight may not be ideal, but it’ll beat trying to celebrate in the dark.
4. Buy Holiday Lights (After December 25). It’s tough to think about next Christmas when you’re still stuffed from a holiday dinner with all the trimmings. But think you must if you want to save on next year’s holiday. From December 26 through year’s end, big-box stores try to clear the shelves of all that glitters.
See, that wasn’t so overwhelming, was it? Taking time for a few small tasks now will be worth in the long-run to save money and provide some peace of mind.