When getting out of debt, you really have three options: reduce your debt amount, increase your income, or reduce your expenses. Usually, you’ll want to do a combo of all three, but by far the easiest is to reduce your expense. And one of the easiest ways to reduce your expenses is on common, recurring household expenses.
Here are a few simple ways anyone can save even more around the house.
Sell Items You Aren’t Using
If your garage is packed with old bicycles or sports gear that your family has outgrown or abandoned, resell it. Use the money you earn to cover the costs of some of these ways that will help you save over the longer term.
Around the Home
Lower (or Raise) the Thermostat
Oil and gas prices are extremely high right now. It can be a significant savings if you lower the temperature inside your home just a couple of degrees. Using the fireplace or a small space heater can be lower-cost ways to keep warm. The same holds true in summer in hot-weather climates. Plus you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling by lowering your thermostat by 7-10 degrees from the normal setting at night.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Washing in warm instead of hot will cut each load’s energy use in half, and you’ll get even more savings by opting for cold instead. Today’s detergents are optimized for cold water, so your clothes will be just as clean. The only exception is if someone in your household is sick: you’ll want to wash those loads in hot with bleach or laundry sanitizer.
Cut Back on Laundry Detergent
No matter what the box or measuring line on the cap says, you don’t need more than a tablespoon of detergent. You may find that your clothes are actually cleaner with less detergent, because there’s less soap residue for your machine to remove.
Lower the Temperature on the Water Heater
Most water heaters are set to a default temperature that’s higher than what you need. You can cut water-heating costs by 3% to 5% by lowering the temperature setting by 10 degrees.
Insulate the Water Heater
For about $40, an insulating jacket or blanket will knock anywhere from 7% to 15% off of annual water heating costs. Be sure to carefully follow the installation directions so you don’t create a fire risk.
Ditch Dryer Sheets
Wool dryer balls are inexpensive, and do the job just as well. You don’t even need any sort of dryer product at all. But be sure to check the lint trap to keep your dryer working effectively.
Change Your Dryer Cycle
Don’t use the highest heat setting. It uses less energy and will extend the life of your clothing. Save the high-heat for sheets and towels only.
Caulk or Weatherstrip Around Doors and Windows
Spending $5 to $30 can end up saving up to 10% to 20% on energy bills, just by sealing small leaks. For gaps that can’t be caulked, add some weatherstripping. Some utility companies even offer programs that will help cover these expenses.
Good insulation in attics and basements can help you save about 15% on heating and cooling. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this can mean a savings of about $200 per year.
Use Fans All Year
If used correctly, ceiling fans can cut your energy costs in both summer and winter. Plus an attic or whole-house fan will help in summer by sucking hot air out of your house and distributing cooler air. This can extend the life of your air conditioner.
Repurpose and Reuse Household Items
Many household items are to repurpose. Using items already in the home is an excellent way to save money that would otherwise be necessary to buy new things. Most containers from the store are suitable for storing other items.
Some great examples are:
- Baby wipe containers
- Shoe boxes
- Plastic food containers
- Baby diaper boxes
- Glass jars
- Plastic and paper bags
Old shirts and clothing items make great rags for cleaning up messes. Plus, numerous other items are reusable.
In the Kitchen
Plan Meals Carefully
Planning meals is a wonderful way to save money on food waste. The average family wastes between 50 and 20 percent of the food they buy. Preparing meals ahead of time, and storing them in individual containers for reheating is one of the best ways to reduce waste and save money.
When preparing food, it is also helpful to use containers that are freezer and microwave safe. Using one box for food storage, heating, and serving meals reduces the number of dishes used and the frequency of dishwasher use.
Check the Weekly Grocery Store Ads
Plan meals based on what’s on sale that week. And stock up (if space allows) when prices are low. But avoid shopping at warehouse clubs unless you know you can use the entire amount of what you buy before it spoils. It can be cheaper to shop at a traditional store while taking advantage of weekly specials and manufacturer coupons.
Use a Toaster Oven or Air Fryer as Much as Possible
These can use 50%-75% less energy than using the oven.
Reduce Usage of Paper Products
Paper products are a significant expense, especially for larger families. If possible, it is best to use kitchen towels or reusable rags rather than paper towels. Using ceramic dishes that are dishwasher safe is also better than using paper products that are consumable and costly.
Keep a Bottle of Drinking Water in the Refrigerator
This will save you from having to run the tap while you wait for the water to cool.
Buy Cleaning Products at the Dollar Store, or Make Your Own
Even with Dollar Tree’s recent price hike to $1.25, it’s still considerably cheaper to buy cleaning products there over places like Walmart or grocery stores. The quality is the same. You can save even more by making your own cleaning products, which are usually blends of inexpensive products like vinegar, baking soda and citric acid.
Don’t Use Disposables
Swiffer pads and paper towels can be easily replaced by reusable microfiber cloths, and in addition to saving money over the long run you’ll also be reducing trash.
Switch to Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
Changing traditional lightbulbs out for energy-efficient LED, fluorescent, or CFL bulbs requires a more substantial initial investment. However, the newer energy-friendly bulbs use less power, and they last longer.
In the Bathroom
Install Low-Flow Fixtures
One low-flow shower head saves about 2,900 gallons of water per year and can reduce your water consumption by up to 40%
Update Your Toilet
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing old toilets with more efficient models can help families reduce water used for toilets by 20% to 60% and save more than $140 a year. Just be sure to choose a WaterSense-labeled model.
Don’t Overuse Products
The overuse of products is common. Many people think using more is better, but that is not always the case. Here are some of the most overused products:
- Body wash
- Cleaning products
To avoid overuse, it is essential to check product labels. Most items give consumers the correct amount to use, and reducing the amount consumed is a great way to save.
Stop Paying a Yard Service
Homeowners spend around $100 to $300 per month on yard work. The more of this work a homeowner can do, the more they save. Additionally, working in the yard offers other benefits like a sense of accomplishment, pride in the yard’s appearance, reduction of stress, and health benefits. Yard work is also great exercise.
Growing a garden is a perfect way to save money. It is incredibly easy to plant commonly used vegetables and herbs, even with limited space. Not to mention gardening is an excellent way to reduce stress and increase the appearance of an outdoor space.
Some items that are easy to grow and add up to significant savings are:
- Green onions
- Fruit trees
Composting vegetables saves money, and it is also a great way to reduce food waste. It is relatively easy to start composting. A compost bucket is good because it prevents animals from getting into the food items and spreading them throughout the yard. However, it is not necessary to spend money on a specific container.
An old trash can makes an excellent compost bucket. Drilling holes in the top allows air to get inside. It is also a good idea to turn the compost frequently, so it decomposes evenly.
For those who do not have animals to worry about, a simple compost pile works. A specific section of the yard can serve as a compost pile location, and not using a bucket allows worms that add in the process to make their way into the compost. After the compost forms, it makes an excellent fertilizer for a home garden.
Plant Shade Trees
If they’re strategically positioned, trees can reduce the amount of energy a typical house uses by up to 25%, according to Energy.gov. Plus they can add curb appeal and increase your home’s resale value.
Examine Other Expenses
Cut the Cord
If you’re paying for expensive cable or satellite TV, or still have a landline telephone, cancel them and only pay for the services you need.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscription Services
Subscription services can add up to hundreds of dollars each month. Many users sign up for services using a credit card and automatic payments. Because of this, they don’t realize how much money is coming out of their accounts as they keep adding subscriptions. Sit down every few months and review which services are worth the money and cancel any that are unnecessary.
Exercise at Home
Working out at home is a lot more affordable than paying for a monthly gym membership. Gym memberships cost between $40 and $50 a month on average. Working out at home instead is a perfect way to keep more money. There are plenty of ways to exercise at home for free, but if you feel like you need a piece of workout equipment, you can almost always find secondhand equipment, much of it barely used.
If you are planning to canceling a gym membership, it is essential to notify the gym as soon as possible. Many require cancelation at the beginning of the month. Otherwise, they charge for the next month.
The Bottom Line
Saving money around the home does not take a lot of effort. Many of the things people can do become second nature after some time. So, there is no reason not to implement these money-saving tips.