You did it!  You secured a great mortgage rate, signed the papers, and marked your closing date on your calendar with a big X. Congratulations.

Sometimes it takes a while for the reality to set in that buying your own place is quite different from renting.  You are no longer paying someone else’s mortgage, you are now making an investment in where you live, and with that wonderful benefit, also comes some responsibility.  This includes the upkeep and repair of your place, which means both planned and emergency maintenance.

I’m sure that by now you’re sick of hearing about budgets and funds, but a lot of people find themselves in more consumer debt than they ever imagined after the purchase of their first home because of the added expenses they didn’t think about while they were house hunting.

Below are six ways to increase your financial security, and peace of mind, after your first home purchase.

  1. Plan for routine and major home repairs
    Home inspectors can provide you with a prioritized report (with approximate costing) of maintenance and repairs you’ll need to complete on an annual basis as well as time estimates on bigger projects, like roof repairs, windows, etc.  Get these items and the costing into your long-term budget and saving plans to prevent routine and major repairs from breaking your budget.
  2. Pace your spending
    It can be tempting to want to show off your new home with top of the line furniture and appliances, but space it out.  This will give you the time, and the budget, you need to make smart choices that won’t end up accumulating unwanted interest on your credit card.
  3. Trim spending
    Consider shopping for some no name products at grocer, or checking out consignment shops for good deals on furniture, designer clothes and more. Unplug items that aren’t in use to save on hydro, turn off the lights when you aren’t in the room, or get a library card instead of buying all the best sellers from Amazon.  These little differences can make a big impact on your overall financial plan.
  4. Keep an emergency nest egg
    Whether you’re saving $20 or $200 a week, this money can be used to help you out if you lose your job, need a major car repair, or have any unexpected expenses.
  5. Save and spend incrementally
    Got a raise? Keep the percentage of earnings that goes into savings, or your mortgage the same and you won’t feel the pinch.  Use a portion of your bonus or tax refund to put a balloon payment on your mortgage or other loans to help you pay them off sooner.
  6. Get another job or earn more money
    Making more money is a great way to save money.  You can look for something online or part-time or ask your boss for a raise.  Hosting a garage sale, or selling items online can earn you some extra cash with limited effort.  Set up a babysitting service, investigate AirBnB or Uber.  There are so many options to explore.  Like pets?  Consider dog walking.