Resolution #1: Use less energy.
One-step solution: Install a programmable thermostat.
The bulk of your energy costs in 2014 will be spent heating and cooling your home. Put a dent in that bill with a thermostat that’ll keep your house comfortable when you’re home to enjoy it, and saves energy when you’re not. You’ll spend less than $100 for a basic model, and can save as much as $180 per year.
Resolution #2: Save water.
One-step solution: Get a rain barrel.
Irrigate your lawn for free with a rain barrel, which can save 1,300 gallons of water and lower your water bill by about $35 per month in the summer. You’ll spend $35-$200 on a commercial barrel, or you can save more money by making one yourself from castoff food-grade containers. A 55-gallon syrup drum is about $10.
Resolution #3: Decrease your chances of a home fire.
One-step solution: Schedule a chimney inspection.
Creosote, birds’ nests, and other debris can clog your chimney, causing a home fire risk, but an inspection will sweep those problems away. A level-one inspection, in which the inspector will look for damage and remove obstructions, will cost anywhere from $79-$200.
Resolution #4: Beef up your home security.
One-step solution: Install outdoor motion sensor lights.
These lights, which plug into ordinary wall outlets, provide a security boost by illuminating your home’s exterior when anything moves outside. They take minutes to install and cost anywhere from $13-$105.
Resolution #5: Make the most of your storage space.
One-step solution: Pitch everything you haven’t used in a year.
The first step in gaining storage space is decluttering. We’ve got ideas for how to responsibly get rid of hazardous materials, old technology, kids’ stuff, books, and more. Bonus: It won’t cost you a penny.
Resolution #6: Save money on your insurance premiums.
One-step solution: Assess your home owners policy.
First determine what kind of coverage you have now, then assess how much you really need. If you’re able to raise your deductible, you’ll pay a lower premium per month.
Resolution #7: Prepare your family in case of a disaster.
One-step solution: Make an evacuation and communication plan.
If disaster strikes in 2014, you’ll be ready: Document your escape routes, designate a meeting place in case family members are scattered, and assign a “communication commander” who will relay messages between loved ones. Don’t forget to include your pets!