I like to consider myself a financially savvy lady. I save 10% of every paycheck, I invest in a 401K, both of my kids have college funds, and I bought my house as a fixer upper to maximize the equity in it. Since purchasing our home, my husband and I have been slowly upgrading many areas of the home. When we are planning an upgrade, we look at both resale potential and how the upgrade will function for us as far as living in our home. Some things we have found are simply not worth the money, like fancy tile for the backsplash (cheap has the same return), or a backyard oasis (a simple makeover with grass does the trick). However, there are some upgrades that basically pay for themselves both now and in the future. Here are a few upgrades that are very, very good decisions:
Geothermal heating: Geothermal energy uses the temperature of the Earth to heat or cool your home. It is significantly more efficient and less expensive than traditional heating and cooling. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save almost 60% on your heating bill and 50% on your cooling bill. Basically, it will pay for itself within 5 to 10 years. Since we live in Illinois, which means both cold winters and brutal summers, my husband and I decided to install both heating and cooling. A quick search of geothermal furnace Red Bud led us to Home Comfort Geo, who helped us figure out what would work best for us.
Energy Star appliances: New appliances aren’t just for looks, they save you a ton of money in the long run. Each appliances saves your anywhere from $30 to $100 a year. Once again, this means that they basically pay for themselves in as little as ten years.
Ceiling fans: They aren’t that expensive and they can really help cut down on your cooling costs. They are especially effective during the spring and fall. You can even reverse the rotation to have them help circulate hot air during the winter.
Those are the three upgrades that I have found actually save enough money to justify their cost and pay for themselves. There are of course other improvements we have made based on looks and personal style, but none have been as financially and environmentally responsible as these.
What upgrades do you think are worth it? Are there any that you don’t think are?