Ten Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

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If you own a home - or plan on purchasing one  - make sure you know about these TEN hidden costs of owning a home!!

When you sign for your home, you know right at that moment what your payment will be.  You can see it clearly outlined in your amortization schedule so you  know your principal and interest.  However, there is MORE to owning a home than just your mortgage payment.  You need to plan on these additional expenses and make sure that you fit them into your budget.

1. Insurance.

If you rent, you may have been paying a very small amount annually for renter’s insurance.  However, when you own a home, you will pay a lot more for home owner’s insurance.  In fact, it is much more!

You may not have to pay only homeowner’s insurance, but also private mortgage insurance (called PMI).  If you do not put at least 20% of the purchase price of your home down in cash, then you will have to pay for this additional line item.  This typically costs around .05 – 1% of the total loan amount.  If you purchase a $150,000 home, you could pay $1,500 per year or $125 per month. Once the amount you owe on your home drops below 20% of the value, you can request that this be dropped.  However, until that time, make sure you keep this in mind.

The average homeowner will pay more than $70 a month towards homeowner’s insurance.  You need to make sure that your policy covers not only the cost to rebuild your home, but also all of the contents inside.

Most of the time, both of these amounts will be rolled into the cost of your mortgage, but make sure you keep that in mind when looking at loan calculators, so that you do not forget that you will pay for these on top of your monthly payment.

2. Taxes

When you rent, you do not have to pay any additional taxes to live in your apartment or home.  However, when you own your home, you must pay personal property taxes (depending upon your state, of course).   These amounts can be thousands of dollars annually.

This is one thing to consider when looking at a home.  If you choose to live in a more affluent area, your taxes may be higher. This information is typically available on the MLS listing when you look at any properties.

This amount is also usually included in the monthly mortgage payment, so it can be held in an Escrow account and then paid annually, on your behalf.  This is often required when there is a lien on the property.

3.  Furnishings and window treatments.

When you move into a new home, some of the appliances are not included.  Make sure you know up front what you need to purchase.  This can include a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.  If your home has more space than where you currently reside, you may have additional furniture costs as well.

You may also need to purchase blinds or shades (especially in the case of a brand new home).  These costs can quickly add up, so include these in your budget.

In addition, if you did not have a lawn previously, you will need to purchase a lawn mower to keep up with the growing grass – or hire a service to cover those lawn care costs.

4.  Utilites.

Some renters do have to cover utilities.  However, when you own a home, these costs can increase as they are typically larger than apartments.  That means more cooling and heating costs.    You can request this information when looking at the property, so you can have an idea of these costs before you put in an offer.

5.  Maintenance and repairs.

When you rent and the sink backs up, you just have to place a call to your landlord and he or she takes care of it for you.  When you own your home, you have to cover this yourself.  On average homeowners spend anywhere from $1500 – $5000 annually on home repairs.

This cost can be lower if your home is newer, but if you opt for an older home, it can often mean that there will be more repairs to be made.  You will want to keep this in mind when planning your budget.

6.  Pest control.
Most of the time, when you see a bug, you just kill it and go on with your day. But, what happens if you notice an infestation of ants or worse yet – catch a rodent eating dinner in your pantry! You have to get rid of them.

When you rent, you just call the landlord and they take care of this for you. When you own your home, you have to take the steps to get rid of these pests on your own. While many times you may be able to purchase products yourself, there are times when you have no choice but to call an expert (think termites).

What might work best is to pay for routine maintenance from a pest company to avoid the additional costs with losing furniture, food or worse, like replacing trim, your floor, or more!

7. Kids and Pets.

This may seem like a given, but it something you don’t plan for. You know you have to feed and cloth your kids, but you also need to plan on home repairs because of them.

When our youngest was 3, she stuffed a bunch of toilet paper into our upstairs toilet and I did not know it. That is, until I was standing in my kitchen and noticed water dripping from the ceiling. It was not that much damage, but still cost just about the same amount as our home owner’s insurance deductible, so we just paid it all ourselves to avoid filing a claim (I think we paid only $150 more than our deductible).

Thankfully, we had money set aside for this repair. We don’t want our kids to damage anything and even the best kids in the world can do something, without even meaning to.

8. Time.

When you rent, the landlord takes care of your maintenance. You don’t spend time mowing, or fixing that door that doesn’t close properly or even the leaky sink. That falls onto your shoulders. You have to make the time to fix those small repairs, before they turn into larger ones which take more of your time!

9. Closing Costs.

When you purchase a home, there are closing costs associate with the purchase. These average between 2 – 4% of the mortgage balance. You can often negotiate to have the seller cover all or a part of these costs. If you do not have the cash, they can be rolled into your mortgage, which can in turn increase your monthly payment.

10. Home Owner’s Association or Condo Fees.

Many areas have Home Owners Associations or Condo Fees, which you have to pay.  These are either due monthly, quarterly or annually.  

These usually cover the general maintenance of signage, flowers and sometimes even a swimming pool.  They can also be used for paving and other maintenance in your community.  You will need to ask up front if this is included, so you aren’t surprised when you get to closing and learn that you have more expenses. 

Saving Money Filing Your Taxes (Some Options May Be FREE For You)!

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Everyone has to file taxes each year.  However, you don't have to spend your entire refund just to pay for them to be prepared for you!  Here are some great options you can try to save money (or even get them prepared for FREE)!

We’ve all heard that saying — “There are only two guarantees in life — Death and Taxes.”  Every January, we all start to collect our paperwork to get ready for this annual ritual of preparing the taxes.  For many, this means a nice refund, but for others, it means handing over more money to Uncle Same.  Either way, it is NOT a fun process.  So, why pay more than you need to in order to prepare  your forms!

We’ve rounded up some of the best deals for you to save money by preparing your own taxes.  Now, keep in mind that if you have any unusual circumstances, own a business or your taxes are over your head, it is truly worth every single penny  to pay an expert to properly prepare your return for you.  An audit can result in additional money spent and possibly fines or penalties.  My husband and I fall into this category, so we never prepare them ourselves.  It is just too important to ensure that we fill out our return properly.

Of course, if your return is a bit simpler to prepare, there are services out there where you can get them prepared at at a discount or even prepare them yourself for free!

Just click the underlined name for each company listed below to be taken there for free!


H&R Block

You can file your basic federal return for free. If you have any state returns to file, they are just $9.99 each.  They also offer a bonus when you e-file.  If you select increments of $100 from any of the e-gift cards they list, you will get an additional 5% to your return if you use the free or basic version — or get 10% back if you use any other version!

You can even purchase the software instead, if you prefer to do that rather than to file online.


Turbo Tax

For the first time EVER Turbo Tax is offering a completely FREE return!!  They will even include the STATE for free!!  This is applicable for basic filers.  So, if your return is a bit more complex, you will pay more — starting at $34.99 for Federal and state will be an additional $36.99.

If you would rather, you can purchase the software instead for as low as $49.97.


eSmart Tax

This site also offers free simple returns as well.  If you need basic, the price is just $14.95 — with no products costing more than $34.95.  You will pay more for your state return. Your return will be efiled with the IRS.



You can also file your basic return for FREE through this site as well.  If you need the deluxe version, that will cost only $5.95.  No matter which version you need, state returns are $12.95 each — unless you are under 22 and then they allow you FREE state filing!!



This service may be better for you if your taxes are a bit more complex.  The most you will pay is $34.95 for your returns.  The basic is $19.95, so it would be better to use another service mentioned above, where the prices are much lower.



This site offers everyone a free basic Federal tax return. If your return is basic, then you will pay $14.99 to file a state return and if more complex your total will be $19.99 ($12.99 Federal and $7 state).



You can also get a free basic Federal return prepared for free here as well.  If you need to purchase more complex versions, the prices start at $12.95.

$1.99 Personalized Valentine Day Cards (Includes Free Stamp)

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The Cardstore is offering a card discount once again!  You can order your Valentine’s Day Cards for just $1.99 each — and get a free stamp!!

Create your own personalized card with your own photos and phrases.  Then, you can schedule for it to be mailed directly to your recipient (saving you time)!  Use the coupon code CAA5187 at checkout in order to score the discount.

This offer is good through February 6, 2015.

Plum Organics Coupons + Walmart and Target Deals!

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There are TWO great coupons you can print right now to save on Plum Organics!

Here are some store deal ideas for you at both Target and Walmart!


Axe Deodorant, As Low As $1.88!

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axe deo

It’s always great when you can find a coupon that will help you not only save on something you already need to buy, but help you save more than 50% ! DO just that with a new coupon for Axe Deodorant!


This Weekend’s Top Restaurant Coupons: 1/30/15

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Weekly Restaurant Coupon RoundUp - Printable coupons  | www.pennypinchinmom.com  #restaurants #coupons

Planning on letting someone else cook for you this weekend? Before you head out, make sure to check out this great list of printable restaurant coupons put together by Surviving the Stores! If you ever need a restaurant coupon, definitely check them out before you go.

Au Bon Pain – $1 Off $5 Purchase (exp: 2/2/2015)
Black Angus Steakhouse – $17.99 Top Sirloin Steak & Grilled Prawns Meal (exp: 2/12/2015)
Blimpie – Free Regular Sub When You Buy Regular Sub & Drink (exp: 12/31/2015)
Carrabbas – 15% Off Entire Meal Purchase (exp: 3/15/2015)
Carvel Ice Cream – $1 Off Any Cup or Cone (exp: 2/2/2015)
Corner Bakery – Free Latte or Small Espresso Beverage with Breakfast Purchase (exp: 3/11/2015)
Daphnes Greek Cafe – $5 Mediterranean Family Feast (exp: 2/2/2015)
Dickeys Barbecue Pit – $3 Off Family or $5 Off XL Family Pack (exp: 2/2/2015)
Maggianos – $5 Off Lighter Taker Menu (exp: 2/24/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 2/15/2015)
Old Country Buffet – $8.99 Dinner & Dessert When You Buy 1 Drink + More Coupons (exp: 2/22/2015)
Souper Salad – $6.49 Adult Buffet (exp: 2/1/2015)
Souplantation – $29.99 Family Combo Including Beverages (exp: 2/4/2015)

Universal Car Mount Holder Cradle for Windshield Just $9.99 (Reg $36.99)

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Amazon has a HOT deal on this mobile phone holder!  This Mpow Grip Pro Mobile Universal Car Mount Holder Cradle normally sells for $36.99, but is down to just $9.99 right now!!  This is one of Amazon’s best sellers — even at full price!

  • Easy one-press mounting system releases and locks the device with just a push.
  • Strong suction cup with sticky gel attaches to the dashboard & windshield or most smooth flat surface.
  • Optimal viewing is available with 360 degree rotation ball for portrait and landscape views, and adjustable arm to set the height.
  • Compatible with the latest smartphones, including: iPhone 4/5/5C/5S/6/6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 1/2/3, HTC One, HTC DNA, HTC EVO, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, Google Nexus 4/5, Nokia Lumia 920/1020, and more
  • 5 different test at design time to ensure high quality: Dropping Test, High Temperature Test, Loading Test, Low Temperature Test, Pulling Test, Vibration Test.

We all know how important it is that we do not use our phones when driving.  This allows you a place to put your phone so you can still hear your driving directions and (hopefully) keep you from driving distracted.

Click HEREto Shop

**Shipping is free if you are a member of Amazon Prime or if you spend $35 on qualifying Amazon purchases. Prices and availability subject to change. Make sure you confirm the price prior to purchase. If the price noted above differs from what you see on line, it simply means that this deal has expired since the time it was posted.

Upcoming Coupon — $5 off of $20 Meat Purchase at Target!

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Wow!  Check out this coupon that you will find your Target ad starting Sunday, February 1st!  You will be able to save $5 off of your $20 or more meat purchase!!  You will even be able to text MEAT to 827438 starting on Sunday and get it sent to you via mobile instead.

If you have any coupon to use towards your purchase, you should still be fine purchasing just $20.  Hand over the Target coupon first and then your manufacturer’s coupons and that should work.  It is however, ultimately up to each store as to how this will be handled.

Thanks for the photo and info Totally Target!

51% Off Peppa Pig Magazine – Only $13.99 A Year!

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Today you can subscribe to Peppa Pig Magazine for only $13.99 per year (51% off)! You can order up to 2 years at this price! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH at checkout to watch the price drop. This offer expires Saturday 1/31/15 at 11:59pm EST!

For children ages 2-7, Peppa Pig magazine is a bi-monthly publication featuring educational content which helps develop and encourage early learning skills. 


New My Little Pony Coupon Makes Them $3.47 at Walmart!

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my little pony

We’ve got a hot new coupon to save $1.50 off of one My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic toy!  Walmart sells these for $4.97 each, making them $3.47 after the coupon!

Print Coupon