As the New Year approaches, we generally take time for self-reflection and making resolutions to change our lives for the better. For homeowners, organizing and improving your home can lead to enjoying life more fully and spending more time with family and friends. Whether you plan to reduce clutter, use less energy or intend to be more organized, we offer you practical suggestions that can help you make resolutions that will improve your home in the coming year.
Home budgets and schedules can help you manage time and expenses, save for future projects, and reduce financial stress. Avoid unexpected problems in your home by following these planning tips in the coming year (and beyond).
Organize your finances by creating and sticking to a home budget. Using an effective budget is an important step in managing financial stress and establishing a sustained peace of mind in your home.
General aspects of creating a home budget include:
- Identify your short-term and long-term financial goals. In addition to establishing peace of mind in your home, these goals could include paying off debt, saving for a vacation, or building an emergency fund.
- Collect information on your income, expenses, and debts. This includes your monthly income, bills, loan payments, and any other financial obligations.
- Categorize your expenses into fixed and variable categories. Fixed expenses are those that stay relatively constant each month (e.g., mortgage, insurance, car loan payments), while variable expenses can fluctuate (e.g., groceries, entertainment, dining out). For your home, budget for home maintenance and repair expense.
- Based on your income and spending habits, create a budget that allocates specific amounts to each expense category. Make sure your total expenses are less than your total income.
Tip: To flatten out home maintenance and repair expense, buy a Sears Protect Plan to cover maintenance of your HVAC system and help pay for unexpected repair expenses throughout the year.
Improve Time Management
Buying a Sears Protect Plan can also help you manage your time wisely when dealing with unexpected home repairs. You can conveniently and quickly manage any home repair through the Sears Protect Home Hub when anything goes wrong.
Set reminders on your phone or smart device to schedule HVAC and appliance maintenance during the year so you don’t have to waste valuable time handling unexpected appliance and system repairs. Read our Make Your Home Maintenance Plan for 2024 article for more tips on planning all your home maintenance tasks. Start the New Year right by planning essential maintenance tasks now to keep your home operating smoothly and efficiently.
If you don’t already have smart home appliances and devices installed, consider upgrading your home to take advantage of virtual connectivity. By integrating connected devices into your home, you can streamline tasks, increase security, and create a more enjoyable and stress-free living experience.
Upgrading to new smart appliances is easy. Visit our Sear.com Upgrade site to find easy access to smart appliance bundles. Sears has the latest appliance models from top manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Electrolux, Maytag, KitchenAid, GE, Kenmore and Frigidaire.
Our Upgrade site offers special discounts on smart appliance bundles. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on appliance packages.
We’ve consolidated all help, financing offers and savings into one location on our Sears Upgrade page to make it easy for you to replace your appliances now. No hassles and no waiting. Check out Quick Delivery options from top brands and get upgraded smart appliances installed in a matter of days.
Efficient and durable smart home appliances will help make your home more enjoyable. You’ll have the peace of mind that your entire home will run smoothly all year long.
Prepare for Emergencies
Emergency preparedness is easy to ignore. This year could be a year that you need a home emergency kit and an emergency action plan. New Years is a great time to get everything in place to handle emergencies.
Review and update your home emergency kit or prepare one if you don’t already have it. Ensure you have essential supplies needed to handle severe weather events and power outages.
If your budget allows, plan to install a whole house generator to deal with potential power outages throughout the year.
Make your home more energy-efficient by investing in energy-saving appliances, sealing drafts, and upgrading insulation. This not only helps the environment but can also save you money on utility bills – making your budgeting task easier.
Conduct a Professional Home Energy Audit
Scheduling a professional home energy audit is a great way to obtain an accurate reading on what energy your home is using. The information it provides can help you develop an action plan for solving issues around your home to use less energy. This audit is also eligible for a tax credit under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act when completed by a professional.
Follow the advice of the professional to save significant energy throughout your home. Some improvements may be eligible for additional tax credits in 2024. For example, you can earn a tax credit up to $2,000 for installing an energy-efficient the heat pump. If you need to upgrade your heating system this year, schedule a free in-home consultation with a Sears HVAC expert to begin the energy-saving project now.
Note: Always check with your tax professional on what tax credits you may or may not be eligible for.
Check Your Attic and Home Insulation
A well-sealed and insulated attic can make a real difference in your energy bills and how comfortable your home is during the year. Now is a great time to improve your home with a cost-effective project like sealing and insulating your attic and additional areas of your home. The EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and basements.
Hire an insulation contractor today to improve your home’s insulation if you live in a drafty house with high energy bills.
Save Energy Every Day
You can save energy daily by taking some simple steps such as lowering the set temperature on your water heater. Although you need to set the temperature on your water heater to 120° F so that your dishwasher cleans properly, you don’t need to have it any higher. Check the water heater thermostat setting and lower it to 120° if it’s set higher.
Here are additional ways to save energy every day in your home.
Smartly Control Your Heating System Thermostat
Turn down your furnace or heat pump thermostat to save energy during the winter. While you’re at home, you can put on an extra layer of warm clothes during the day. Use fleece-lined sheets or down comforters so you can turn temperatures down a little more at night and still be comfortable. Find that delicate balance in saving energy and staying relatively comfortable in your home by tweaking the thermostat to the perfect setting that fits your needs.
Do the same to smartly control your thermostat during summer. Tweak the thermostat higher to find that balance of staying relatively comfortable during hot months while saving energy.
Don’t forget to adjust the thermostat to save energy while you’re away from home. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling with this tip. Simply turn your thermostat back 7° to 10°F when nobody is in the house. Many smart thermostats can recognize when you’ve left and change this for you automatically.
The energy grid will thank you for lowering your heating system thermostat in these ways and you’ll have an easier time balancing your home budget.
Turn Off Lights
Regularly turn off all lights in the home when you are not using them, inside and out. For nighttime, you can find solar powered indoor and outdoor lights. These help you reduce your energy usage without compromising on safety.
Use Smart Plugs to Save Energy
Many appliances and electronics such as televisions continue to draw standby power even when off, wasting energy in the process. Use smart outlet plugs to completely shut off power to appliances and electronics when not in use. Using smart outlet plugs, you can easily control power to devices remotely using your smart phone or with voice commands through your smart home hub.
Dry Clothes Back to Back
When your dryer is still warm from a previous load, it will use less energy for this load. What an easy way to save money and get your laundry done more quickly.
No matter your energy source, using less of it is always good for you and the environment. It can lower your energy costs at home. And it will reduce the impact to the environment from greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy production. Every small step you make to reduce energy usage during the year can result in big changes overall. Make the changes that you can manage in your home to join with other American households to collectively make a huge impact on the environment throughout the country in 2024.
Make the New Year’s Resolutions that are Right for You
Remember, these resolutions are meant to enhance the overall well-being of your home and the people in it. Saving energy can also give you and your family the satisfaction that you’re doing your part to help the environment.
Add your personal New Year’s resolutions and tailor these home management tips to fit your specific goals and lifestyle in 2024.