Saving money isn’t always easy, but there are a few ways to save even when your budget is already cut to the bone.
- Pay attention to time-of-use pricing on your utilities. Our electricity is cheaper to use in the evenings and on weekends and holidays, and most expensive during the middle of the day, so I do laundry and run the dishwasher during the off-peak hours.
- Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs, like CFLs or LEDs, instead of incandescent bulbs.
- Menu plan your little heart out! Try using foods you already have in your house to create meals for a week, and go shopping for the rest. Having a menu plan in place will reduce the chance of impulse buying and overspending at the grocery store.
- Create a home maintenance schedule and stick to it to prevent costly repairs down the road. As an example, we neglected to clean out our rain gutters for a couple of years, and ended up having to replace them because they were damaged beyond repair. Lesson learned (the hard way).
- Before you buy something new, look around your house to see if you already have something that will work for what you need. Shop your home first!
- If you do have to buy something new to replace an item, ask yourself if you can recycle that used item instead of throwing it away. (Buying new facecloths? Use the old ones as cleaning rags!)
- Think about downgrading some of your services, like cable,satellite or phone. Do you need the most expensive package available, or can you get a less expensive package and be happy with fewer channels?
- Call your utility providers and ask for cheaper rates, or shop around for a new provider who will offer cheaper rates. Often the company you are already with will give you a cheaper rate if you ask for it or tell them you want to cancel to go with a different company.
- Make meals and snacks from scratch. It’s less expensive to buy ingredients for those cookies than to get a box of them. Plus, you’ll know exactly what’s in them – no mystery ingredients!
- You know that pair of socks you threw out because of that tiny hole in the toe? Next time sew the hole shut, and save the socks! If your clothes are too ripped up or stained to repair, and you’re a crafty person, repurpose them into something else! Pinterest has tons of ideas for repurposing clothes into other useful things.
- Leaflets and flyers in the mail that are only printed on one side can be useful, too – let your kids use the blank side for drawing, or use it yourself to make a grocery list or take notes. Put them in a folder to use later.
- Put the pictures from an old calendar into frames and display them around your home. I had an out-of-date Ansel Adams calendar that I couldn’t bear to throw away, so I chose my favorites and framed them with old frames I had on hand- instant, inexpensive art!
- Increase your savings at the grocery store by using coupons on sale items, and stock up! Build in a little extra to your monthly grocery budget for these sale items, because the savings really do add up! (Tip – only buy things your family really likes and will use. There is nothing worse than buying a two month’s supply of the really cheap toilet paper and then wiping with what feels like sandpaper until it finally runs out. Trust me, I’ve been there.)
- Grow your own food! Take advantage of any outdoor space you might have and reduce your grocery bill by planting a garden. If you don’t have a yard or balcony, try growing plants near a window that gets lots of sunlight.
Do you have any strategies you use to save money at home? Share them with us!