A Dozen Ways to Save Money Around the House

by Broke Professional on February 3, 2011 · 21 comments

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Author Bio: Miss T blogs at Prairie Eco-Thrifter. She grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can live a green, debt free, and fun life.

*(The Following is part of a Blog Swap through the Yakezie Network where we were paired up to switch blogs and discuss the topic of how to save money on everyday activities/purchases)*

Since our houses are where we spend most of our time, it would make sense that our houses would account for our largest expenses. Whether it is the day to day upkeep, the repairs and renovations, or the mortgage, we allocate a big portion of our income to our homes. Since the bills for our home are large enough, why not find ways where you can trim your budget and save a few pennies. Here are some things we have tried that could work for you too.

1. Use energy efficient appliances

Having energy efficient appliances can save hundreds of dollars a year. Last year we bought a new energy star freezer that costs us less than $40 a year to run.

2. Get a home audit

Phone your local gas and/or electric company and see if they can come and do a home audit. They will be able to identify ways you can save hundreds on heating and cooling costs. The best part is, many companies now have cost saving programs where you can get a tax return on your investment.

3. Check your phone bill

Go through your phone bill and see if there are any charges on it for items that you don’t use, like three way calling. Eliminating these charges could save you $50-100 a year.

4. Insulate your water heater and your pipes

This minimizes your heat loss. We just finished insulating all of our pipes and we have already noticed the difference on our monthly bill.
5. Use LEDs

Using high efficiency lighting requires less energy and can last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. As bulbs burn out, replace them with LEDs. This saves you money as well as minimizes your carbon footprint, which is also important.

6. Wash in cold water

When doing laundry, use cold water. Things come out just as clean and fresh and you don’t waste energy on heating the water. Using cold water can literally cut the required electricity per load in half.

7. Hang your clothes to dry

I hang all of our clothes to dry. Not only does this limit my use of our dryer but the clothes also dry crease free. This is especially nice when it comes to our dress pants and dress shirts.

8. Make your own cleaning products

You don’t need expensive products that are bad for the environment to clean your home. You can make what you need out of simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree oil. Just Google “homemade cleaners” and you will find a ton of recipes to try. We have been making our own stuff for a while now and are quite happy with the results.

9. Make your own beauty products. Just like the cleaning products, you can make your own facial cleansers, shampoos, and soaps. Not only are they 100% natural products that are better for your skin, but they are also cheaper. Once again, Google is your friend here for recipes.

10. Meal plan

My husband and I meal plan every two weeks what we are going to eat for dinner. We pick the recipes we want and write out the ingredients we need to get. We also make sure to pick quick recipes during the week when we are working. This system stops us from ever feeling the need to get take out as well as ensures we are eating a healthy diet. It also helps us save money, since restaurant food is expensive. We also keep the leftovers from each night and freeze them which results in a freezer full of lunches for work. Beats buying lunch every day.

11. Workout at home

For the last 6 months or so, my husband and I have been working out at home. It works really well because we don’t waste any time driving in rush hour to get to the gym. We also save money on membership fees. There are a ton of workouts you can do that require no equipment, so don’t think working out at home requires a home gym.

12. Walk instead of drive. For the last year, since we moved, I have walked to and from work. This has saved us a ton of money on gas and parking as well as wear and tear on the car. It has also been free stress relief for me. If you can’t walk to work because of where you live, make an effort to walk to the places that you can, like the grocery stores or the market. We are fortunate to live in an area where we can pretty much walk anywhere we need to go.

Conclusion

With a little thought and minimal effort you can save hundreds of dollars a year around the house. Start making these changes today, and imagine how much more money you will have in your bank account in the future.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Philly area February 4, 2011 at 4:04 am

You have to be careful with Energy Star appliances, sometimes they don’t work as well and you end up spending more on utilities. We moved into our house about 15 years ago. We repair our own appliances, which is a huge money saver, but even so, many of our appliances are getting long in the tooth, and need to go.

About 3 years ago, our old 200 dollar Kenmore had rusted out shelves and since the replacement parts were going to cost more than we’d paid for the dishwasher, we decided to buy a new dishwasher. We researched, got a Consumer Reports online subscription, and ended up with a very highly rated Whirlpool Gold for 800 plus dollars. It was an Energy Star but it was also a piece of crap. The instruction book actually said if your dishes aren’t getting clean, run your faucet until the water runs hot and then do the dishes. Also, I found that just scraping the dishes wasn’t enough anymore, now I needed to rinse them too. Our water bill jumped about 10 bucks a month after we got that bleepity bleeping thing.

Now we’ve replaced it with a 2000 dollar Miele, which works great, and uses less water, but it’s going to take a long time to recover our cost for that one.

Also, my new front load washing machine does use less water than our old one but the cycles take at least an hour, so my guess is that it uses more electricity than our old machine. In fairness, the clothes aren’t as wet once the cycle is done, so I’m certain we’re using less gas and electric on drying. But the washing machine itself was 3 times as much money as our old one so if there’s any money saving to be had, it’ll be a while before we see it.

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2 Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter February 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

@ Philly Area Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with energy star appliances. I must say I haven’t had any issues with mine. One of the negative things with the recent push to go green is that companies are capitalizing on it and charging bucket loads for appliances that are more efficient because they know people will buy them. It’s the old supply and demand marketing strategy. Kind of pisses me off because I think anyone should have the opportunity to go green regardless of their income level.
Best of luck in your future appliance purchases and I hope your experiences start becoming more positive.
Thanks for reading my post.

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3 MoneyCone February 5, 2011 at 8:59 am

Excellent tips T! I love the tip on using cold water for washing – never thought of that! On phones, switch to Ooma, it is free and with the newer versions I think it is like 9 bucks a year or something like that! I have one and I love it!

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4 Miss T February 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

@ MoneyCone Thanks for the phone tip. I am not sure if we have that in Canada. I will have to check it out.

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5 retirebyforty February 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

Great tips on how to save on the utility bills. It’s great for the environment as well. We all need to reduce energy usage to help the planet. I need to check out the new LED lighting options. I haven’t purchased any lighting for a while now.

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6 Miss T February 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

@Retire by 40 What we do is as lights burn out we replace them with LED’s. It makes more sense than spending money on replacing bulbs that are still working. I know the LED’s are more efficient but being wasteful isn’t good either.

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7 Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey February 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

One thing I try to do is to turn my heat down to 55 deg F during the day while I am gone. This seems to do a pretty good job keeping my heating costs down during these winter months.

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8 The Prudent Planner February 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was 19. My mom used to cut my brothers hair in the basement when we were growing up. I’m guessing over the years she saved a ton of money (3 boys total for 16+ years). The best thing is I get compliments all the time when I do cut my hair…and they have no idea. A haircut from the snip n clip down the street is about $15 (cut and tip). It’s amazing how much I’ve saved already. Every now and then I’ll get a coupon out from the paper and treat myself to a professional haircut.

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9 Mr. Broke Professional February 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I think I should let Mrs. BP reply to this one, since she is quite the opposite in this regard.

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10 Buck Inspire February 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Awesome tips! :) You are going through all your expense in great detail. We can all learn from your diligence. A friend of mine has a combo DSL and phone line. He doesn’t even use it because he’s constantly using his cell. If he cut off the phone line and switch to just DSL, he could save some on the bill. Sadly, I think the hassle of changing the plan prevents a lot of people from reaping some savings. People just don’t like change once a routine is set. Time to make that change. :)

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11 http://smartmarkets.org January 12, 2014 at 4:30 am

Serve the chicken soup up with some home made bread and it will be a hearty
and delicious meal that you will not soon forget. Dice the
fries and scatter them around the chicken on the baking sheet.
Add the shredded mixed salad greens into a serving platter and then top with grilled chicken strips.

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