If you’re wondering what to do with your tax refund this year, we have 5 home investment ideas for you that cost less than $500 but will give you a very good return on your money either in increased value to your home or decrease utility costs. If you have enough, you might consider using more than one. Enjoy.
1- A Low-flow Showerhead.
An older showerhead made before 1992 actually uses about over 5 gallons of water every minute and, with the cost of water in most states rising, it’s simply too much to waste. A newer, more efficient showerhead will use nearly half of that amount but still make it seem as if you’re showering in the same amount of water. Some of the best will only run about $250. but can save you up to $150. a year on your water bills. You can also throw in a low-flow toilet and save another $100. every year.
2- Umbrella Homeowners and Flood Insurance.
Most people have homeowners insurance but it’s not as comprehensive as they think and, if someone is hurt while on their property, might not protect them as well as they think. On the other hand, Umbrella insurance will protect you beyond the limits of your homeowners policy and, for coverage that protects your home and your car for an extra $1 million, you’ll only pay about $300 a year.
If that’s already covered, and you live in a state where flooding is a problem, adding flood insurance is typically about $450. When you consider that the average flood claim is over $33,000, it’s well worth it.
3 – Get a Professional Energy Audit.
Did you know that the typical home wastes over $350 a year on heating and cooling leaks? It’s true and, while you might be able to seal up some of them yourself, your best bet if you have between $400 and $500 to spare is to hire a professional energy auditor to figure out where exactly the leaks are in your home and give you the best advice on how to fix them. This will pay itself off in two years and is an excellent investment in the long run.
4- A Whole House Search Protector.
They say that lightning never strikes the same spot twice but, if it strikes your home and destroys thousands of dollars’ worth of appliances, computers and electronic equipment, one time will certainly be more than enough to put a huge dent in your finances. While some of those items might be plugged into a surge protector, most probably aren’t and will get fried instantly if your house gets a lightning strike. On the other hand, a certified electrician can install a whole house surge protector into your breaker box for about $300 and protect everything in your entire home from Zeus’s wrath. (Zeus is that lightning bolt guy. Just fyI.)
5 – Get a Rain Barrel System.
A typical home uses about $150 every year on water for outdoor use. Every time it rains an inch however the average 2000 ft.² house will have about 500 gallons of water runoff and, if you have a rain barrel system in place to catch it, you can use that water for a wide variety of outdoor uses. If you want to get just a simple rain barrel you can spend as little as 50 bucks, but for a more sophisticated system with pumps, spigots and multiple barrels you’re talking about $400-$600. A setup like this can actually save 1300 gallons of water every summer, something that could well save you a few hundred in water bills every year.