Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities - things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? your job? to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a "wish list." Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a "wish list" covers things that you'd like to have but aren't essential.
When purchasing new appliances, consider the purchase price, the cost to run, and the life expectancy of the appliance. The operating cost can be found on the appliance’s black and yellow EnergyGuide label. This label shows the average annual cost to run the appliance, and how it compares to other models in kWh used per year. A retailer can tell you the appliance’s life expectancy. Then do the math: Consider a refrigerator for $549 that costs an estimated $70 per year to run. Over 15 years the homeowner will spend $1050 in energy costs. A more efficient refrigerator selling for $749 might cost $50 per year to run. The homeowner will pay just $750 in energy costs over 15 years, a $300 savings and an energy-conscious purchase to boot. With energy costs on the rise, those savings could be even greater in the long run.