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Friday, February 14, 2020

7 Ways to Save Money in Your New Home


Moving to a new house, whether it’s into a rented or bought property, is not cheap. Not only do you have horrific agency/solicitor fees, deposits and the actual cost of moving all your belongings set you back quite a bit, but the subsequent monthly costs of bills and kitting out your new place will see you crying into your empty wallet pretty quickly. Since I turned 18, when I pretty much moved out of my family home and off to uni, moving in with my then-boyfriend straight after, I’ve now moved home 7 times. I, therefore, feel like I have some authority on the matter when it comes to watching the pennies when moving into your new home.

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Other than haggling with the agent over the deposit and monthly rent amount or selecting an affordable monthly payment on your mortgage and haggling on the house price, there’s not too much movement on the core costs of your new property, but there are a fair few things you can do to save money once you’ve moved in including shopping around for household utility prices, trying your hand at some furniture building and finding some smart solutions while you save up. Here are 7 ways you can save money when moving into your new home:

Move Yourself

When it comes to moving home, the biggest job, of course, is the actual moving of all your worldly possessions from one residence to another. Having moved 7 times now, I can tell you, it’s not easy or stress-free. I have only ever hired people twice; moving into my last property – where these people actually scratched up several pieces of furniture worth over £500 that we had to replace and the move into our new house out of storage while our newbuild home finished construction. As mentioned, the first occasion we hired a company to move us, items got damaged and they refused to pay for replacements. Not only was their hire expensive but ended up costing us a lot more. The second experience was a lot better, but still an unnecessary cost. We found some reputable ‘man and van’ sole traders online and had two hardworking young lads help us move everything out of a storage container into all levels of my new home. Only one item got damaged, but it wasn’t properly protected – my bad – and I was going to bin it anyway, so no harm no foul… This was a slightly cheaper option and managed to fit everything in a large Luton van plus 4-5 trips in my SUV. Previous moves were all done by ourselves, hiring a van from a local company and roping in the help of family and friends, we saved a fortune and could do as many trips as needed and go at our own pace as we had already booked the van for a full 24/48 hours.  If you’ve not got too much furniture or have a lot of people you can bribe with pizza, hiring a van and moving yourself is a great option to save on one of the most expensive costs of moving.

Switch Utilities


There’s nothing that will rob you of money more than staying with the provider the previous tenants/homeowners had. I speak from experience here, having been with the likes of British Gas, Eon, EDF, Scottish Power and Npower, when I say, ‘shop around!’. I have had so many issues in the past with the ‘Big 6’ and their constant price hikes, poor service and horrific prices, that I make sure, every new property and every annual renewal, I’m shopping around for the best deal. You can look at comparison sites such as Compare the Market, Go Compare and my favourite (and probably most reliable) Money Saving Expert to find the cheapest deals around. You can even use Quidco to then find the same cheapest supplier to get cashback on your new cheap contract. Changing providers will honestly save you so much! If you have a smart meter, even better, but the best provider I’ve found so far, who’s ONLY rate (rather than all these bogus rates that catch you out and make you spend more than you need to), is still miles cheaper than the majority of its competitors. Energy provider Bulb is 100% renewable energy and in the 3 years I’ve now been with them, they’ve only ever decreased their prices, compared to the Big 6’s 10-something price increases in the same time period – how do they get away with it? how are people falling for it!? By signing up, they will not only pay any exit fees from your current provider but will do the switch for you and give you £50FREE energy, which lasted two whole months for my 3-bedroom 3-storey duel fuel house – see, it’s SO cheap! You can get your Free £50 credit here or here. Make sure to switch asap as any energy you use before the switch will be charged at a higher rate from the existing supplier.

Find The Best Broadband Deals

Unfortunately, you can’t actually change water providers or contest your council tax (it’s a waste of time), the only other bill you can save a fortune on is your tv, phone and broadband providers, which is typically the biggest household bill. Annoyingly, as my house was a newbuild and Openreach had invested in Fibre to Property (they’re the only providers that offer this), we are actually tied to BT until they release the line or we pay to have another provider wire up another line into the junction box – quite expensive. In previous properties, finding the best deal when it comes to TV and broadband was one of my top priorities. Cheap broadband deals aren’t hard to come by, all the various providers have frequent deals and around Black Friday, you can save an absolute fortune. One of the best deals we came across was £55 for 300mg speed broadband, evening and weekend calls, plus TV with all the add-ons – HD channels, Movies, Sports, Kids and on-Demand services with Sky. Unfortunately, due to BT’s monopoly on my road, we had to do the same deal, but without broadband and without Sports, but with a free 48” 4K TV for the same amount on a Black Friday deal. You will often find package deals are much cheaper than buying broadband or tv contracts on their own, so make sure you shop around and make use of comparison sites. The sooner you do this, the sooner your internet will be up and running! If you fancy going with BT, here’s a free £50 Amazon Gift card when you sign up.

Upcycle Furniture


One of my favourite things to do is to find a new use for an unloved piece of furniture. If this isn’t your first home, or you’ve got a fair bit of donated furniture from friends and family when moving in, you can very easily make things fresh and new, or even change the use completely to fit the aesthetic you’re looking for in your new home. In my previous two flats, before buying my first house, I had a fairly cheap IKEA desk in my dressing room, but wanted something a bit nicer for the new home and didn’t want to just chuck away something I’d paid for, even if it was only for a fiver. Me being quite DIY savvy, I got out my circular saw and lopped off a corner of the desk, got some new hairpin legs from The Hairpin Leg Co (*gifted) and made a breakfast bar in the otherwise unused corner of my kitchen, giving me somewhere to sit and eat. Styling with a few picture shelves and some gorgeous bar stools from Cult Furniture (*PR discount), it’s now a well-loved corner of my home and costs me very little. Another upcycling project included using the glass top from a coffee table my husband’s aunt gave us to make a new desk, just by adding some £5 legs from IKEA. Other examples are to paint or spray furniture or decorative items to fit in with the new colour scheme or give it a new lease of life, give it a try, you’ll be amazed how different things can look with a lick of paint.


DIY


On the same theme as upcycling, building things or decorating for yourself rather than hiring in craftsmen can save you a heap. I’ve known people to spend thousands getting in decorators and tradesmen to paint walls, change light fittings, tile and lay flooring. I’m here to tell you, you CAN do it by yourself, as I have (as frequently demonstrated on my Instagram account). I’ve not only changed every light fitting in my house (including those that requiring rewiring), built storage units, installed under cabinet kitchen lights, painted, wallpapered, laid new flooring, built custom furniture, put up shelves and even, laid garden patio slabs and my greatest achievement, build a large 25sqm raised deck, single-handedly. Had I paid others to do this, the deck alone would have cost me an additional £3k, and around £6k for all the other work I’ve done around the house to get it ready to live in.

Source Cheaper Alternatives to High Priced Items

Buying curtains and blinds for your new home, whether the previous residents took theirs with them, or it just didn’t come with any, can be quite pricey, especially if they’re made to measure. You have a few options when it comes to maintaining your privacy – you could buy some cheap material and make some curtains yourself, reuse and dye your old curtains to fit your new décor, buy cheap roller blinds (that fray, break and go grubby) or shop in discount stores for either of the above until you can afford to add blinds to all windows. A better, more saving-savvy solution would be to put up temporary blinds from Blinds in a Box* until you can afford a more permanent solution. I did just this for my kitchen while we waited for our made-to-measure Venetian blinds to arrive – lead time was over 3 weeks. You can buy a single blind for £14.50 or a box of up to 12 for less than £90 (my kitchen blind cost £50 alone!) of either black instant blackout blinds or white blinds for added privacy for such a small price. What’s more, they’re reusable, simple to install (literally peel and stick) and can last for as long as you need. You can also get 10% off your order using code ‘blinds10’ at checkout.

Other cheap alternatives can be found so easily. I’ve followed several Facebook groups and Instagram accounts that regularly find high-end dupes – cheap products and furniture from high street/ discount stores that look near identical to more expensive boutique brands. A great store for this is B&M and Asda who frequently offer dupes of Next Home homeware.

Shop Smart

Since becoming a homeowner, I admit, I’ve probably actually spent more money on homeware than ever before. But to justify it, I’ve only really been shopping in bargain stores such as Home Bargains, B&M, IKEA, Savers and Poundland, as well as shopping sales in places like Matalan, Argos, Wilko and T K Maxx. By shopping in these places, using cashback sites to earn some cashback and waiting for the sales, I’ve been able to make my house a home and have décor I can be proud of. The initial purchases for the house included a new bed & mattress, which we got on finance – a great way to spread the cost without really noticing the money being spent – and some storage solutions from IKEA, so we had somewhere to store our crap! Scouring the internet for discount codes, cashback and downloading the browser plug-in Cently has allowed me to make great savings on things we needed… and the things I wanted.

Moving home doesn’t need to cost the earth if you play it smart, do things yourself where possible, shop around and look for cheap, ingenious alternatives to high priced items, you’ll be able to save up in no time to start enjoying life in your new home. Plus, decorating and making it your own is the true joy of moving into a new property.

Want to see more of my tips, cleaning hacks, DIY projects and bargain buys? Head over to my Instagram- @_OhAbode and give me a follow!
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