Life can be expensive and sometimes it can feel like there is just an endless number of things that need to be replaced or bought for the home. Food, grooming products, cleaning products, items for pets—the list goes on and on. But there is hope for your bank account! Taking a few simple steps can help to drastically reduce the amount of money you spend on things around the house.
One of the easiest and most money-saving habits that someone can get into is meal planning. Spend as little as 30 minutes once a week sitting down to schedule out the meals for the entire week. Whether it’s reviewing recipes online or picking household favorites, the important things are to write down all of the ingredients for each meal and checking to ensure that none of those ingredients are already in the fridge or pantry to avoid overbuying. Mealtime will be so much easier with a little pre-planning.
Meal planning allows for looking at the week’s schedule too. Planning something quick for nights when there’s practice or meetings to go to helps to keep stress levels down. It’s also healthier. When we have nothing to eat at home, we tend to grab fast food. This is not only unhealthy, but it can get expensive. Pick a special meal for nights when the family is all together and can enjoy it.
Update doors and fixtures
One tip that might not occur to everyone is that updating interior and exterior doors can help to cut down on energy costs. Consider looking into custom interior doors to help seal off parts of the house that don’t get as much use. There is no need to run fans or spend money trying to heat or cool guest bedrooms, storage, or unused office space. Doors that lead into any unfinished attics or basements are especially important as these are major points where air can escape, making HVAC units work overtime.
Switch to energy-saving light bulbs
Energy-saving light bulbs are an inexpensive way to lower electricity costs while also making a positive impact on the environment. Although the initial cost of the bulbs is usually a little higher than normal bulbs, they last much longer and are a better investment overall. Energy-saving bulbs can be found in the same place traditional bulbs are sold and should be marked with an energy-saving rating on the box.
Turn off electronics that are not in use
Experts estimate that as much as two-thirds of a household’s electricity costs are wasted on inefficient light fixtures, traditional light bulbs, and electronic devices that are not in use. Simple things like making sure to turn off the lights when leaving the room, turning off the TV when no one’s watching it, and putting laptops into power-saving mode when no longer in use can make a noticeable difference on the electricity bill.
If a major electronic device is going to be unused for more than a day or two, it’s a good idea to unplug it entirely. Televisions, game systems, space heaters, desktop computers, etc, can all be unplugged from the wall to avoid passive energy usage. This has the bonus of also protecting these devices against power surges better than even a surge protector can.
Keep a list
Maybe the most simple thing that will make the biggest difference is to keep a list of what needs to be picked up at the store. Make only one trip to the store a week unless it cannot be avoided, and take the list with you. Any time anyone notices something around the house that needs to be replaced or is running out it should be added to the list. That avoids the issue of overbuying things like milk that might go bad before it can be used or standing in the baking aisle trying to remember if you need sugar or not.
Shopping trips become faster and less stressful when there is a list in hand. This can also help avoid impulse purchases that sneak into the cart when you have to spend too long browsing the shelves.