Since being at home doesn’t seem like it could be a budget buster (after all, you’re not going out and purposely spending cash), people often don’t see the many ways we waste money at home. Of course, doing so will sort of defeat the purpose of trying to save money in the first place. 🙂
Different Ways to Save Money at Home
If you’re looking to trim your budget and wanting to save money at home, try some of these tips to keep more money in your pocket each month:
1. Make Your Own. Laundry detergent, window cleaner, dishwasher soap: many of the things we automatically buy at the store can be made at home for huge money savings. The homemade laundry detergent we use costs us about $5 for a 9 month supply, as opposed to the store bought price of roughly $7 a month that we used to spend. Search online for handmade recipes to replace your spendy store-bought stuff.
2. Cut Down on Food Waste. The average family wastes at least 25% of the food they bring into their home. If you’re an “average” grocery spender this means you are throwing between $1800 and $3600 of food (and money) in the garbage. Learn to minimize food waste and maximize savings by making only what you need, re-purposing leftovers and simply by buying less.
3. Learn to Do it Yourself. When our garage heater broke down last year, we were certain we’d be dealing with a repair bill to the tune of several hundred dollars. However, a quick Internet search by the hubby on the symptoms our heater was experiencing led to a diagnosis of the issue, and after another search for a company in the area that carried the repair parts, he had fixed the issue himself for about $50. Last year, I gave our son (with the help of a Youtube video) speech therapy lessons on my own, curing him of his incorrect way of saying his R’s. Everything that needs to be done in our house, with our cars, etc., we do a thorough search to see if we can make it a DIY project before calling out a professional. I have no doubt that, over the years, we’ve saved in the tens of thousands of dollars range by learning to simply do things ourselves.
4. Adopt a Minimalist View. Not only will this save you money by selling things you no longer need, it will also save money at home because you’ll be more choosy about what you replace. When something breaks, ask yourself: “Do I really need to replace this item?” For instance, if you have six serving spoons, and one breaks, do you really need to go out and replace it, or will five serving spoons suffice?
5. Look for Hidden Ways to Reduce Electricity Usage. Line dry your clothes. Unplug appliances that are not in use. Keep your computer in sleep mode if you’re not using it. Turn off the lights. Set your air conditioning a few degrees higher and your heat a few degrees lower. Choose to run the TV for an hour less each day, and go for a walk, play games or read. Cook your pizza in a toaster oven instead of a traditional oven.
6. Use Less. There are countless ways to save money at home by using less. Use less shampoo, a bit less toothpaste, and less soap for dishes and clothes washing. Eat a little bit less with each meal, and save the rest for lunch tomorrow at work. Wear your clothes twice so you won’t have to wash them as often. Use less milk, oil or butter in recipes, adding water to make up for any dryness. Learn to look at everything you do and use and think “Is there a way I can use less?”
7. Do Homemade. Make breads, biscuits, pancakes and baked goods from scratch. Instead of buying the box of cheddar garlic biscuit mix, make homemade biscuits and add fresh pressed garlic and shredded cheddar cheese to them. Avoid pre-made seasoning mixes such as taco seasoning and make your own. Make homemade soups instead of buying canned. Make homemade pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and mac ‘n cheese. The money savings are astronomical, not to mention likely going to be healthier to eat as they won’t be filled with preservatives.
8. Never Pay Full Price. Do your best to anticipate long-term needs for food and other household items and stock up when there’s a sale. Buy used, barter or look for freebies on Craigslist or at neighborhood businesses. When we wanted pallets to stack our wood on for our wood-burning stove, we simply made a visit to a local construction business, who often has wood pallets out in front of their office building with a big sign that says “free”. My brother, a garbage collector, often gets everything from electronics, to car parts, to household items on his route that people set aside next to their garbage cans, not knowing how or not wanting to fix them, or simply not wanting them anymore. Many, many personal finance bloggers brag of free or cheap vacations taken with the advantage of travel rewards. There’s no reason these days to pay full price for much of anything.
9. Buy in Bulk. We save a good 50% on our groceries by buying in bulk. My favorite buy? Beef straight from the farm. We pay roughly $3.50 a pound for grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free beef, because we buy a quarter to a half a cow at a time and store it in a deep freezer. That’s $3.50 a pound for steaks, burger, roasts and ribs, and high-quality beef at that! Spices are also a tremendous money savings when purchased in bulk.
10. Look for Cheap Substitutes. Try generic brands of your favorite foods. Buy knock off brands of clothes and accessories. Buy whole milk and mix it with water to produce a cheaper 1 or 2 percent milk. Use the little plastic bags from Target or Walmart as trash bags for your smaller trash cans. Buy pop in 2-liter bottles instead of cans. Look at everything you consume and ask yourself “Is there a cheaper option?”
With a little forethought and ingenuity, saving money at home by using the tips above can add up to big cash over the long term, so start today!
What are your hidden tips for saving money at home? What’s your biggest financial payoff in this area? Have you found that it’s difficult to save money at home, or do you easily get tempted to spend on things you may not need?
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