3 ‘luxury’ home items that could actually save you money

Owning your first home can be more expensive than you ever thought. Between mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and any renovations you have planned when you move in, what was a steal on the realty market may turn out to be a serious drain on your finances.

With so many bills to pay, many homeowners choose to skimp on certain appliances and amenities around their houses just to save a few bucks. When it comes to so-called "luxury" items, many people don't even consider them because of the occasionally high price tags. But what if spending a little more money on some of the most expensive areas of home maintenance could actually save you money in the long run? Check out these three luxury items that might be the most frugal decisions you make for your new home.

In business, you need to spend money to make money. The same goes for your home.In business, you need to spend money to make money. The same goes for your home.

1. Radiant floor heating
Everyone's experienced this unpleasant facet of tiled floors: You wake up one winter morning and need to go to the bathroom, but every step you take is colder than the snow on the ground outside. Sure, it's a minor inconvenience that most homeowners are able to overlook, but if you're paying out the nose in heating bills, shouldn't your floor be at least a little warmer?

That's where radiant floor heating can revolutionize your home heating experience. Instead of emanating heat from baseboards, stand-up radiators or air vents, radiant floor heating works through electric of hydrothermal panels installed under your floorboards. The cost to install these panels might be higher than you'd like, but did you know that if your house is built on a foundation of certain materials like concrete, you can use radiant floor heating to "pre-charge" your house before you even wake up? Your electric company might bill lower rates if you use radiant floor heating at off-peak hours at night, which saves you money from the towering fees they apply during normal hours when everybody else on your block is stressing the grid.

2. Floor-plan light switches
If you have a large family or just a spouse who can be a bit lazy at times, odds are you spend most of your days turning off lights in rooms that no one's using. While energy-efficient lightbulbs are pretty common now, they can chew up a lot of energy if left on all day while you're away at work.

Instead of giving your home a walkthrough every morning before work to make sure the lights are off, these customizable floor plan light switches from South Korean designer Taewon Hwang let you see which rooms are lit at a quick glance. Instead of guessing which switch controls which light, you can simply press the area on the pad that corresponds with the room you want to adjust. You can even turn an entire floor's lights off from a single switch. How's that for efficiency?

3. Tankless water heaters
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating accounts for 17.7 percent of all home energy use. Cutting into this number by even a few percentage points could mean hundreds in monthly savings on your utility bills, but it's not as if you're going to start taking Navy showers or limit your family to five minutes in the bathroom.

Instead, tankless water heaters eliminate one of the largest energy wasters in your home right now: storage-type heaters. These traditional models are always applying a flame or some other heating element to a tank of water, which means you're paying for it even when you're not using it. Tankless heaters treat the water only when you're at the sink, in the shower or doing a load of laundry, so you're making use of everything your money is actually going toward.

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