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Cost saving tips for new homeowners

The Spectator, Hamilton, Ontario, January 21, 2006, p. NH 14

There are few things in life that compare to the sense of pride and accomplishment experienced from owning a new home. While being a great sense of comfort, new homes are among our biggest and most stressful financial investments.

Costs of new home ownership such as mortgage payments, taxes and insurance are unavoidable however, smart consumers know where to find the best cost-saving options to help lighten the financial load. The following are tips to help homeowners get the best for their new home - for less.

• Big isn't always best

Don't assume that large companies offer the best deals. When shopping for services like long distance and natural gas, small companies often provide lower prices with better service.

• Hunt for off-season promotions

Booking services or purchasing items during the off- season can net sizable discounts while keeping long waiting periods associated with peak times to a minimum. For example, purchase an air conditioner in February rather than waiting for the first hot spell in June.

• Bulk up

When shopping for household items, buy in bulk. Bulk prices are lower than individually packaged items. Also, buying bulk items usually means fewer trips to the store, saving time and gas.

• Look into energy-efficient options

For long-term savings, invest in energy-efficient appliances to help trim monthly utility bills. Saving a few extra dollars per month adds up over time. The average family household can save up to $400 per year on utility bills just by switching to energy- efficient appliances.

• Do your research

There are several useful websites that consumers can use to shop and compare routine expenses. offers independent information and comparisons of fixed natural gas and electricity rates. Other helpful websites are that evaluates costs for a variety of long distance plans.