Owning a home can be a great investment, as it’s likely to increase in value over time. But too many new homeowners end up in debt simply by making expensive mistakes that are easily avoidable. Here are five things that cost way more than they need to and a few tips for how you can get the items you want or need without having to overspend.

1. Mortgage interest

Homeowners can save money on their mortgage payments by shopping around for the best interest rates and terms. However, you need to have decent credit to get more competitive offers, so work on getting your score as high as possible before reaching out to lenders. If you have any outstanding debt, you should consider using a debt consolidation calculator to see how much you will be able to save using various consolidation options so that you can establish a timeline for when you’ll be debt-free and can expect to have a score that gets you the lowest mortgage interest rates on the market. 

2. Power tools

Some power tools such as drills or battery chargers are essential for any homeowner, even if they’re not inclined to DIY. However, most power tools are incredibly expensive and rarely used. Instead of buying that power washer that will only be used once, check out tool renting programs from home improvement stores. Some local libraries will also have tool-sharing programs available for their members that are for very little money or completely free. 

3. Streaming services

How many streaming services are you currently paying for that you rarely use? Subscription fees might not seem like a big deal, but those $15 monthly bills can add up, especially when every penny counts. Savvy homeowners will typically cycle through streaming services, resubscribing for a month or so and canceling while they check another service out, saving them one more bill on a service that wasn’t being used at all.

4. Home decor

All those knick-knacks and decor items can go a long way toward making your house feel more like a home, but the costs can ruin a monthly budget quickly. Instead of heading to a department or big box store, consider using thrift stores to find unique or vintage pieces, candles, wall hangings, and other items that can add a certain charm to your home while only spending pennies on the dollar for what you would’ve paid for a similar new item. 

5. Energy and water

Being mindful of how much electricity, water, and gas is being used can save you money on your monthly utility bills. Consider investing in Energy Star-rated appliances that use electricity more efficiently and cut down on those long, hot showers that are making your water bill higher than it needs to be. 

The bottom line

Being a homeowner is a fulfilling but expensive pursuit, so try to save money wherever you can. Keep your costs low by spending smartly on these five categories, and you’ll be able to have the things you want without throwing your hard-earned money away.