The average tax refund recently has been about $2,500. Even if yours wasn’t quite that large, the extra money can give you the opportunity to make improvements in your home. Many projects can be completed for under $500.
Investing in a low-flow showerhead can result in a savings of $150 in the first year. That’s a nice return on an investment that costs just $50 – $200. The latest showerheads use up to 50% less water, but they seem like you are bathing under the same amount of water.
Typically, a homeowner spends an extra $350 a year on heating and cooling because of air leaks. Trying to track down the tiny air leaks that suck money out of your pockets can be difficult, so it might be a good idea to invest in a professional energy audit. A full diagnostic inspection will cost between $400 and $600, and will involve sophisticated equipment like infrared scanners and smoke puffers.
You could protect your valuable electronics for about $300 by having an electrician install a whole-house surge protector. It only takes a couple of hours, and the next time there is a lightning storm, you will rest easier. For more ideas about projects costing $500 or less, click here.