We’ve all been there. We can’t get ahead or save money back from our paychecks for hard times or large purchases. Life just seems to get in the way every time we try-the kids need braces, the house needs repairs, etc. It can feel like a hopeless situation at times.
One day things will get better, but in the meantime why not try to lower expenses, even in small ways. It can add up over time to make a difference. There are lots of ways to save money at stores, in the kitchen, and other areas. I’ve compiled a list of measures that can be taken around your house to help save money/lower expenses.
- Don’t automatically throw away plastic bottles. Think of ways they can be used around the house. YouTube has some videos on how to make a mouse trap and also a mosquito trap with empty bottles. There are also countless craft projects in which glass or plastic bottles would be useful.
- Use every last drop of soap. I can’t stand it when people in my household throw away soap, shampoo, or dishwashing liquid bottles when there’s still some in it. I know, it seems petty, but it’s one of my pet peeves. All you have to do is add a little bit of water to the bottle, swish it lightly, and there you go. Enough to use at least one more time.
- Save aluminum cans. If your family goes through a lot of drinks in aluminum cans, save them. If you’re worried about bugs, rinse them out first. I have an extra garbage can in my kitchen for this purpose. When it gets full we throw the bag in the shed until there’s enough to take off to the recycling center. Most places will give you more money per pound if you have over a certain weight.
- Don’t take out the trash when the bag is not full. There’s no sense in using more garbage bags than necessary. It’s better for the environment as well as your pocketbook. This is going to sound petty too, but it’s another pet peeve of mine. If you have an empty box to throw away, don’t just throw it in the can. Rip it up or at least crush it so it doesn’t take up so much room. Same with milk jugs. If you don’t recycle, crush it before throwing it away. This also applies to your aluminum cans. Crush them before pitching them in and the bag will hold more and they will settle together better to make more room.
- Don’t buy expensive household cleaners. You can squirt some antibacterial hand soap on your toilet brush and it will clean just as well, usually, as a cleaner. Ann of Keeper of the Home has more all-natural cleaning tips on her site.
- Cover drafty windows with plastic in winter. I hate the way it looks, but we did this at our house this past winter and it really did help. I wasn’t able to track exactly how much we saved, but we were much more comfortable this year in our little old house.
- Don’t waste water. Sorry, another pet peeve! When you’re brushing your teeth you don’t need to run the water the whole time. Wet your brush, turn it off, and when you’re finished brushing turn it back on for rinsing. Same thing when you wash dishes. Also, cut your showers down by a couple of minutes.
- Do your yard work yourself if you’re able. Hiring someone else to do it can be quite costly. You can also cut back on the weedeating to save gas. Maybe only trim the weeds every other week instead of every week.
- Grocery shop at discount stores. You can find good quality groceries at stores such as Save-a-Lot and Aldi’s. There are also salvage grocery stores that have scratch n dent or discontinued items very cheap. If these types of stores are not available to you, buy generic at your normal grocery store. Generic products are usually just as good as name brand.
- Grow a garden. What a satisfying project. Growing your own veggies is hard work, but it’s so worth it. It’s inexpensive to plant a garden and the taste is unbeatable. This is a great job for the whole family, and it can be a great learning experience for the little ones as they watch things grow. This will definitely help you save money in the summer months and beyond if you freeze or can the extras.
- Buy some of your clothes at thrift shops and yard sales. Goodwill, The Salvation Army and other thrift shops have lower prices than the chain stores and most of the time the clothing is in fine shape. This is especially helpful while your kids are young, as they outgrow things so quickly. Plus, it’s fun to find great deals.
- Cut your family’s hair yourself. Now I’m not very good at this, but I can trim ends. When my son was small he and his father both kept their hair cut close so we bought clippers to do their hair. After a few haircuts it paid for itself.
- Don’t throw out those leftovers. Be creative with them and try to use them up. Here’s a link to one of my previous posts with a few uses for leftovers.
- Hang your laundry outside. It will help you save money on your utility bill. Be sure and use liquid softener in the wash if you do. I love to hang my clothes outside. It brings back memories of when I was little and my mom hung ours out. Sometimes she would lower one line so I could wash and hang my doll clothes too. 🙂
- Leave your thermostat alone. Changing the temperature frequently will raise your bill.
- Learn to coupon. I’m not saying you have to be an extreme couponer, although they get unbelievable deals, but try to remember to use your coupons. They’re basically money. I talk a little about this subject here.
- Drop cable or satellite television. We did and picked up Hulu and Netflix. Yes, I sometimes miss regular TV, but it’s worth it. We save about $50 per month by doing this. And if you’re a news junkie, Hulu has national news programs the day after they’re aired. GMA is available the same evening.
- Plant perennials. This will help you save money since perennials come back up every year. If you want to plant annuals and you have some empty pots, then you can plant your own hanging baskets. It’s cheaper to buy flats of flowers and plant them yourself than to buy already planted pots.
- Use homemade pesticides. It’s cheaper and more environment-friendly. Here’s a link for you and there are many more websites that will help you with recipes.
- Make your own holiday and birthday cards. You can use old cards to cut pictures out of to use for name tags or you can use the cover of an old card or however you want to do it. Use pinking shears to cut pretty edges around your creation.
- Reuse sandwich bags and plastic store bags. Sometimes we just use a sandwich bag for crackers or hard candy and non-food things. In that case they can be used over and over. And use your store bags for carrying things and for garbage bags in your small cans.
- Don’t buy bottled water. You can get a water purifier for your faucet at fairly reasonable prices. Just fill up a bottle or travel cup and you’ve got clean water and you’ve saved quite a bit of money.
- Pack your lunch. If you’re a big coffee drinker, pack a thermos as well. It’s so much cheaper than eating out every day.
- Shop around. Before you make a large purchase, shop around for the best deal. You may be able to find online coupon codes as well.
- Find free activities for the family. There are a lot of things to do as a family that are free or very cheap. Check around on the internet in your area to find some of these activities, or just go to the park and throw a frisbie and have a picnic. It’s much cheaper than the movies!
- Save your change. I have a small can I keep my change in, including what I find laying
around and in the laundry. Depending on the variety of change I have, when I cash it in I’ve gotten anywhere from $19 to $40. It’s nice to have when you’re running low on funds.
- Organize your kitchen cupboards. Organizing your food helps you to see just exactly what you have and what should be used before it expires. In the long run this will help you save money. You won’t have to throw anything out or buy doubles and triples at the grocery.
- Make your own throw pillows and curtains. It’s really not that hard to do. There are websites and videos out there if you don’t know how to sew.
- Carpool or take the bus. Your fuel bill will go down drastically.
- Change or clean your filters regularly. Your home will run much more efficiently.
- Make gifts. Instead of spending a ton on birthdays and holidays, make your own presents. Most people love the idea of receiving something homemade; it means more to them when it’s done by your own hand.
- Do your own nails. Salons are so expensive.
- Run full loads of laundry and dishes. If you’re going to run the washer or dishwasher it’s best to have a full load in order to save water and electric as well as being more efficient.
- Learn to mend your clothing. Sewing on a button or repairing a tear in a seam is quite easy to do and you will save money by making the article of clothing last longer.
- Home repairs. Whenever possible, do your own household repairs.
- Stock up. When you find a deep discount, if you can afford it, stock up and save. Just be sure the item won’t expire before you’ll be able to use it.
- Wash and detail your own car. Doing this yourself, or having the kids do it, is much cheaper.
- DIY decorations. Check out Pinterest for great ideas for DIY wall art and other household decorations. Not only will it save money, you’ll have a sense of pride and accomplishment from the finished product. You can also upcycle old lamps and other items.
- Plan your errands. Do as many as your errands as you can in one outing. Route it out in such a way as to be more efficient with your time and fuel.
- Do Swagbucks or other reward sites. You can treat your balance as a savings account and wait to cash it in until the holidays roll around. And Swagbucks has rebates as well if you shop through them.
- Bargain and barter. If you go to a yard sale and an item is priced higher than you want to pay, ask the seller what the least is they’ll take. Many times they want rid of their stuff and they’ll be glad to lower the price. We have an old riding mower that doesn’t run anymore. We’re having our newer one serviced and we’re going to see if we can strike up some kind of trade to lower our bill. BTW, we’re using a guy that works out of his home, which is cheaper than a company, and it makes it easier to do a trade.
A great way to come up with ways to save money is to write down all of your bills and think about how you can lower each one.
I realize that you can’t do all of these things, but I hope you’ll find at least a few that you’ll be able to implement and save money for your household.