We should mention right up front that this tip won't be the right choice for everyone. But if you're buying a home or you live in one that's older, a home warranty just might save you some money this year.
A home warranty is an insurance policy on specific household appliances, such as water heaters or garbage disposals, and systems, such as the plumbing and HVAC. Home warranties typically cost somewhere between $300 and $500 a year, plus a deductible of $50 to $100 per service call [sources: Braley; Stewart Home Warranty]. If you live in a brand new home or you've recently upgraded your major appliances, a home warranty probably doesn't make sense, since it's likely that you're still covered under builder or manufacturer warranties.
Admittedly, the purchase of a home warranty can be something of a gamble, since you can never know for sure when your water heater will spring a leak or your furnace will fail. But if your major "built-in" appliances are more than 10 years old and it's been a while since your last repair, a home warranty can be a good bet. If you're buying a resale home, ask the seller to include a one-year home warranty as a condition of the sale. It's a small price for the seller to pay, and it can help you avoid unexpected expenses when you're most strapped for cash.
Every home warranty is different, so shop around for the one that best fits your needs, and be sure you read the fine print to understand what's covered.
On the next page, find out how to save money by learning how to tackle those repairs that aren't covered by your home warranty.