15 Cities With the Most Digitally-Connected Seniors

by Barbara Hadden

Homeownership is often referred to as “the American Dream.” Pretty easy to understand why: Your home is your place and no one else’s.

But homeownership can really mess with your cash flow. In addition to the mortgage payment, you’re looking at the costs of repairs and maintenance (including yard work), higher utilities than you may be used to paying and likely the need to furnish additional rooms. All that can leave a person fairly cash-poor — especially if you’re wasting money without even knowing it.

Fortunately, a few savvy (and simple!) tactics could save you thousands of dollars.

Here are some of the big ways you could be wasting money on your piece of the American Dream.

1. Flushing $8,256 down the drain every year

Mortgage rates are low right now. But here’s the thing: They won’t stay low. In fact, the Federal Reserve has hinted strongly at as many as four interest rate hikes in 2022.

Before that happens, ask yourself this: What could I do with an extra $8,256 a year, every year, until my mortgage is paid off?

That’s the sort of money you could save when you refinance with a mortgage lender called Better. On average, borrowers save $8,256 every year when they refinance, according to the site. That’s more money for family vacations, college tuition and retirement savings.

With rates this low, you’d be crazy not to at least check to see how much you can save by refinancing.

Better can get your quote in five seconds. Getting pre-approved takes just a few minutes more. But the “easy” part doesn’t end there.

The application is 100% online. Better is a direct lender that’s committed to a transparent mortgage process. The company charges no lending fees and doesn’t pay commissions to its loan officers. As a result, loan officers focus on the loan amount that’s right for you, rather than the loan that would bring big bucks for them and big fees for the company.

A few minutes could save you $8,256 every year. If you’re ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

2. Letting home repairs suck your savings dry

Getting a place of their own is a dream held by millions. But getting that home isn’t the end of the story. Now you have to take care of this essential asset. When the fridge dies or the heating/cooling system starts acting up, it’s up to you — not a landlord — to fix things.

The cost of those fixes can be scary-high. According to Realtor.com, homeowners should budget up to 4% of the purchase price every year for home repair and maintenance. The average sale price for a U.S. home was $453,300 in the third quarter of 2021. On average, then, that means spending as much as $18,000 a year to keep their investment in good shape.

Or they could budget as little as $390 a year for a home warranty through America's 1st Choice Home Club. You’d still be on the hook for stuff like painting the trim and mowing the lawn, mind you. But a home warranty will cover big-ticket items like plumbing, appliances, heating/cooling and your home’s electrical system.

If something goes wrong, you file a claim (by phone or online) and AFC sends out a service tech; you could also decide to choose your own. Once the claim is approved, the technician will repair or replace the item. No waiting until the next business day, either: AFC provides 24/7 service.

A home warranty could save you thousands of dollars. Get a free quote in 30 seconds.

3. Losing $1,400 a year on auto insurance

Next to your home, your car is likely the most expensive item you’ll buy. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average cost of a new car in 2021 was just over $46,000 — and it’s likely you’ll need to buy five or six cars during your lifetime, if not more.

Auto insurance is mandated in most states; even in the two that don’t require it, you’d be foolish not to protect such an expensive possession. Good coverage is essential — but you don’t need to overpay for it. Switching your auto insurance to Progressive could save you up to $700 a year; since most households have two cars, this can mean saving an extra $1,400 every year.

Less money doesn’t mean less value. Progressive is known for great protection that’s tailored to your needs, and for its superior customer service. The company is also known for its hilarious TV commercials, but it’s the excellent coverage that keeps 18 million people coming back year after year.

Speaking of year after year: That $700 or $1,400 isn’t just a one-time thing. You’ll be saving that much every year. As a homeowner, you definitely have other places where that money can be used. Or put it toward long-term goals such as retirement or your kid’s education fund.

Protect your second-biggest investment and save big bucks — get your free quote today.

4. Submitting to credit card ripoffs

Contrary to popular belief, a high credit card balance isn’t always due to careless spending. Plenty of people find themselves up to their hairlines in debt due to illness/injury, unemployment or divorce.

Your credit card company probably doesn’t care that the pandemic destroyed your small business, that you were hit by a car or that your spouse blindsided you with divorce papers (and emptied the bank account on the way out the door). The credit card issuer will keep charging the same high interest rates whether your debt resulted from riotous living or seriously bad luck.

Fact is, you do owe the money — but why pay a bruisingly high interest rate until it’s paid off? Instead, apply for a personal loan through AmOne and retire the obligation once and for all. For more than 20 years, AmOne has been matching consumers to major online lenders for personal loans of $1,000 or more.

It takes less than two minutes to fill out the form and receive offers from the company’s lending partners. Once completed, a loan can be in your account in three days (or even sooner). After that, all those dollars in extra interest you’d been paying can go toward the loan’s principal.

And if your consumer debt did come from bad (or merely uninformed) choices? Get a personal loan to pay it off.

Don’t let a credit card company’s ruinous rates rip you off. Take two minutes out of your day — today — and check your rate online.

Bonus: Get a free $991.20 every year

You get it. This is the time to sock away money, to save more, to get your finances in order.

But you also get that it’s not always easy. If there were just one easy thing you could do, every day, to move the needle, to get ahead of the game, you’d do it, right?

Well, here it is: Take five minutes every day and check out the totally free Money Talks Newsletter. More than a million Americans have, and they’ve reported saving an average of $991.20 each by checking our news and advice.

If you want the best tips and strategies to help you make more and spend less, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter today.

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