As a homeowner, you have many home related tasks and responsibilities, but reviewing your annual costs might be one of the most important ones. Not only will an assessment help determine where and how your consumption and/or costs could be reduced to save you money, it could identify surplus cash flow that can be redirected towards your mortgage or a home improvement. Start by collecting and categorizing last year’s bills, either by reviewing your statements or by taking advantage of company services that track your monthly consumption and payments (e.g. electricity usage by month).

Two good ways to analyze your consumption, are by comparing month-to-month and year-over-year usage trends in order to pinpoint consumption habits. When reviewing your overall spending, identify reasons for variations in typical usage, such as an extremely hot, dry summer that triggered an increase in air conditioning and water costs. A careful review might even help you identify excess waste from a leaky pipe or an appliance or fixture running unnecessarily.