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Losing weight. Finding a new job. Spending more time with the family. A new year means setting new goals. Why not make saving money one of them?

If you're a homeowner, there are many ways you can cut costs and still live comfortably. The following tips will help lead you to financial success.

* First, set a budget. Figure out exactly how much you spend on the upkeep of your home. Compare each month's expenses with the previous month's to get a better idea of how much to budget for each necessity. Then, see what costs you can cut. Once you set a budget, stick to it.

* Save energy. You might be losing a substantial amount of energy dollars during the winter and summer because of air leaks. By caulking, sealing and weather-stripping all cracks and openings, you can save 10 percent or more on your energy bill.

Also, look into replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient alternatives. Your light bulbs can make a difference, too. Fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.

* Refinance. Shop around to see if you can replace your existing home loan with one that has a lower interest rate. You can easily save hundreds of dollars each month by refinancing your home.

* Purchase a home warranty. Most homeowners don't account for possible repairs in their annual budget. There is a 68 percent likelihood of a home system or appliance failure in a given year. The average replacement cost of one of these systems or appliances is $1,085. A home warranty is your best defense against unexpected and costly repairs to your home's appliances and mechanical systems.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty, for example, ensures you get the best possible service through the company's network of pre-screened technicians. The minute something breaks down, you can contact American Home Shield and a local service technician will schedule an appointment that fits your schedule. The warranty covers a multitude of household systems and appliances, regardless of age.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty is a one-year contract that requires no home inspection to enroll. Several affordable plans are available to fit every budget.

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