Being a homeowner brings with it a great deal of freedom. Instead of having to ask your landlord every time you want to paint a wall or hang a shelf, you’re now the one calling the shots—it’s bliss! That being said, a homeowner also has plenty of responsibilities on their plate. In fact, the costs alone that come with homeownership are hefty enough to overwhelm the savviest of budgeters. From monthly payments to your mortgage lender to utilities and general upkeep, it’s a mess.

That being said, it doesn’t have to be a mess. Not at all. With a few tips and tricks, you can be sailing the smooth waters of homeownership with nary a care in the world. How, you ask? Read on to learn all about it.

Spread out your payments and set reminders.

There are a few payments that you can’t avoid. You can’t dodge making a mortgage payment or blow off your car loan because you’re not in the mood this month. If you throw that electric or water bill in the trash, well, you won’t have electricity or water. So, what’s a homeowner to do?

First, spread out your payments. No one ever said that your monthly payments all have to be during the first week of the month. In fact, if you contact the lenders you owe money to, they’ll probably be fine moving around the dates. That way, you don’t have to empty your bank account all at once.

The next step is to set reminders in your calendar or on your phone. When you know the exact dates that these amounts are coming out of your bank account, you’ll find it easier to take out a calculator and figure out how the other expenses fit in between.

Speaking of calculators, did you know that you can use an online mortgage calculator to figure out your projected mortgage repayments for the foreseeable future, even if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage? You need to know how much this monthly payment is so that you can plan for any interest payments or fluctuations (if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage). Also, using a mortgage calculator will help you make plans to refinance your mortgage repayment or even consolidate some of that debt. Both refinancing and consolidation are tools that can end up saving you money in the long run and can save you from foreclosure.

Schedule seasonal maintenance ahead of time.

You know that when winter is done you have to clean the gutters and power-wash your home’s siding, and you know that you should check your air conditioner before summer. These and other maintenance tasks are a hassle unless you schedule them ahead of time and have a contractor or technician ready to go. You can even schedule things a year in advance when the technician is done with this year’s service appointment. Put it in your calendar and forget about it until next spring. By working with the same maintenance person, you’ll be streamlining and probably get a better rate for being a return customer.

Save on other costs and reinvest in your home.

Your home is a major source of costs, but so is your car. Whether you have a new car or a used car, there are plenty of costs that come with car ownership as well—monthly payments on a car loan, gas, and periodic oil change maintenance, to name a few. If you’re looking for a new car, make sure to add all of these costs into your calculations before heading to a local dealership. Also, shopping at a local dealership will likely save you money, since for example, a car dealership in Enfield, CT or Springfield, CT will be interested in offering the best deals to locals from Enfield or Springfield.

A really great car dealer will help you find the best car loan for your budget, as well as advise you about the versatility of a Honda SUV as opposed to minivans or SUVs made by Toyota or Dodge. Once you’ve bought a car, make sure to equip it with a cargo management system to remove any chance of anything you’re carrying around getting destroyed in transit. A cargo management system will save you money on ruined groceries and other materials that you may be transferred in your car. When you save on your car, you can reinvest the saved funds into your home equity, which is a win-win situation for you.

Take care of insulation to save on utilities.

Another monthly payment you can’t avoid is utilities. What you can do is to get your home as prepared as possible so that you’re not leaking electricity in the form of warm or cool air. Insulate your doors and windows, and make sure to winterize your home before winter. By the same token, fill in any little cracks near windows or doors to keep that cool air conditioning in your own home. After all, you’re not paying to cool all of Enfield or Vernon CT are you? No, you’re paying to cool your own home. You’ll be surprised how much you can save just by removing cracks from around your windows.