Many of us have spent more time at home over the past year than ever before. As our homes have become our offices, gyms, schools, entertainment centers, and more, it may be more apparent than ever how much money we spend to keep them running. While it is important to feel comfortable at home, prioritizing spending and finding sensible places to put budget-friendly ideas into action can help stretch your finances and save money for the future. Try some of these easy tips to save money at and around your home:
Switch to reusable items when possible. Paper goods, plastic bags, and individual servings of snacks can create excess garbage, in addition to cutting into your wallet. Try swapping one item each month to see a difference in your finances and the environment. Consider using cloth napkins, rags instead of paper towels, and silicone or waxed cloth storage bags for packing snacks or lunch items. It may cost more up front to purchase these items, but over time, making these changes will save you money and cut down on trash.
Make your own cleaning products. Specialized cleaning products have taken over multiple aisles at the grocery and big box stores. It can often feel like you need a different spray or cleanser for every surface in your home, but oftentimes, this is not the case. For example, you can find recipes to easily make cleaning solutions using vinegar, baking soda and other cheap household ingredients. You might also consider trading laundry sheets for reusable dryer balls. Going this route can save you both money and space in your cabinets.
Repair, don’t replace. When something breaks, rips or stops working, take a few minutes to assess the situation before rushing online to buy a new one. Is it possible to get it fixed, either on your own or by a professional? Compare costs beforehand to make sure the cost to repair the item is less expensive, but typically, having someone fix a pair of boots with worn soles or replacing a part in your broken vacuum is cheaper than buying new.
Sell unused items. Take stock of what is in your home, especially your basement and attic. Are there big items you’ve been hanging onto that you no longer need? Think about sporting goods, baby gear, kitchen gadgets, and more. With local online yard sales and marketplaces, as well as secondhand shops, it can be easy to clean out your storage spaces while pocketing extra cash. Don’t get rid of items you may need later for short-term gain, but if it is something you’ll likely never use again, consider this option and put the proceeds into a savings account for the future.
Review your services and subscriptions. If you added extra streaming services, delivery subscriptions and more this last year, you are not alone. But these costs can add up quickly! Sit down with your bank or credit card statement and highlight each of these monthly charges. Even if each one is only ten or fifteen dollars, that can compound into quite a bit of money. Select those that you truly use, and then cancel the rest.
Plan ahead for groceries and takeout. One of the worst things for a budget is to go to the grocery store without a plan (or while hungry!). Sit down each week with your favorite recipe websites or cookbooks and plan out the week ahead. This will help you create a menu that you can stick to, also helping to avoid last-minute takeout. While building takeout or dining-out nights into your rotation gives you something to look forward to, turning to them more often than planned can put a dent in your budget. By thinking ahead, you can save both at the store and when dining out.
Monitor utilities. Take a look at your utility bills to see where you may be able to reduce your spending. While switching providers or plans is one way to cut costs, there are even simpler ways to lessen your charges. Try switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, turn your thermostat up a few degrees in summer and down in winter, and make sure anything you’re not using is turned off or unplugged. Encouraging your family to participate in these practices can help the savings add up month over month.
Making these small but simple changes around your home can help you cut costs and save money for the future, not to mention keep your home less cluttered and hectic. Try one or more this month to see the difference!