Swap out these items to maximize savings in 2019.
With the new calendar year ushering in a clean slate, it’s an ideal time to review your
financial habits, take stock of savings and retirement accounts and set meaningful money resolutions. It’s also a smart time to be proactive and take an inventory of items to fix or replace in and around your household before you end up spending far more cash than you anticipated. With that in mind, consider these product and service replacement ideas in 2019.
If you’re constantly paying for auto repairs, keep this rule of thumb in mind: If the cost of repairs is more than the car is worth, or if it’s an exorbitant fix such as replacing the transmission, then it’s probably time to buy a new vehicle. That said, you should also take into account the age, model, condition and mileage of your car and a professional opinion from a mechanic. If your aging car is worth less than a $1,000, and it requires $1,500 in repairs, it may be a better value proposition to get a new car. Conversely, if it’s a minor repair, such as replacing brake pads, it can be more cost-effective to keep your set of wheels.
Even if your car is in good working order, consider the condition of your windshield. If there is a small chip or crack in the glass, call your insurance company or a car window repair shop. Generally, if the chip is smaller than the size of a $1 bill, the windshield can be repaired for a low cost. In fact, many insurance policies will pay for repairs, without requiring you to touch your deductible. Still, if you have a luxury car model or a blind spot sensor system that will need to be recalibrated after a windshield replacement, expect to pay around $1,000.
Here’s the good news: You probably will only need to replace your roof once or maybe, if you live in your home long enough, twice. Most roofs need to be replaced every 20 to 25 years. A roof can cost as much as $10,000, but not replacing it can translate to water leaks and lost energy due to drafts. Still, while installing a new roof may cost a pretty penny, if you invest in energy-efficient Energy Star-rated shingles, you may be able to benefit from a tax credit. Seek guidance from an insurance agent and tax preparer to take advantage of eligible tax breaks.
It might be time to replace your appliances, even if they’re still working. If you have an old washing machine or refrigerator, for example, it could be an energy hog. If you want to leave a lower impact and save more in 2019, check out EnergyStar.gov’s “flip your fridge” calculator on its website. After punching in your state’s electricity price per kilowatt (or you can use the website’s list of each state’s average), the year your refrigerator was replaced and its size, you can learn how to potentially boost savings by conserving more. And if your appliance isn’t working but it’s under warranty, check if it can be fixed at little or no cost before getting rid of it.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should invest in a new mattress approximately every eight years, possibly sooner if you’re older than 40 and you need a firmer mattress for physical support. The cost of a good mattress can range widely, from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on your tastes and budget and whether the mattress is made up of spring coils or memory foam, as well as if it’s a “smart mattress” that analyzes sleep patterns. While there are many variables that factor into the overall price, fortunately, most mattresses come with a return policy for a certain time period, so you can return your replacement mattress if you’re unsatisfied.
The next time a lightbulb goes out, consider replacing it with an LED bulb, preferably one marked with “Energy Star,” a certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to Energy.gov, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, if you replace 15 standard lightbulbs with “Energy Star” LEDs, you’ll save, on average, about $50 a year. But you can save even more — $75 a year — according to Energy.gov, if you replace your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures with “Energy Star” LEDs.
Your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
Your house is one of the largest purchases you can make, so it’s crucial to take a look at your smoke detectors each year for safety and cost. Even if you replace the batteries annually, many of them are defunct after about 10 years. And carbon monoxide detectors generally last about seven years. Also keep in mind fire extinguishers can go bad over time as well. Manufacturers generally report that they can last anywhere from three- to 20-plus years, so if you haven’t replaced one for a while, it’s a smart, simple and cost-effective way to enhance safety.
If you’re looking to trim expenses in 2019, consider eliminating cable. Cable subscribers pay, on average, more than $100 per month, according to a 2017 report from Leichtman Research Group. Prices differ by streaming service, but if you’re considering cutting the cord, you can take advantage of Netflix for $7.99 to $13.99 per month, Hulu starting at $7.99 per month, Amazon Prime Video for $12.99 per month and HBO Now for $14.99 per month. While you may be reluctant to make the switch if you’re loyal to local news or particular cable news channels, switching to streaming services can translate to significant savings.
Of course getting a new toothbrush often is a no-brainer to maintain good dental health and hygiene, but it’s also important to avoid pricey procedures down the road. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, and sooner than that if the bristles are frayed. The stronger the bristles, the more effective the toothbrush. Keep in mind, the average cost of a root canal, according to the educational dentistry website AuthorityDental.org, can cost anywhere from $400 to $5,000.