When looking to save money on those necessities for the home and family, it’s always a good idea to do all of the usual things: price compare, use coupons, stock up on sales, and so forth. At our house, we’ve got an extreme amount of debt to pay off right now, so we’ve had to get extra creative in saving money.
What we’ve found in the last 8 months is that there are ways to save money at home that are often overlooked by the average budgeter. Here are some of our hidden tips for saving money on common household expenses:
With almost any household item, families can find a way to use less.
– Use less shampoo by washing your hair every other day instead of every day
– Cut your dryer sheets in half
– Use a bit less detergent/dishwasher soap/bleach than what the package calls for
– Use less electricity by hang drying your clothes and keeping the lights off unless necessary
– Wash clothes less by wearing items more than once
– Use less meat in your casseroles and soups than the recipe calls for
– Hang blankets and comforters out on the line to air out instead of washing them so much
– Use less water for your garden by utilizing a rain barrel
– Use less dog/cat food by feeding your pet some table scraps (we did this often when I was growing up and our pets were happy and healthy, but you should check with your vet first)
– Choose to eat a smaller portion of dinner and save the rest for tomorrow’s lunch
– Use less water/milk/juice by feeding the family water with some meals
– Use less power by hand-mixing baked good recipes instead of using an electric mixer
We also try to save money by substituting more expensive items for less expensive ones.
– In recipes, for instance, we’ll use one less tablespoon of butter and add an extra tablespoon of water for homemade biscuits or pie crusts. In pancakes we’ll add one cup of water and one cup of milk instead of two cups of milk. (With baked goods, this sometimes doesn’t work, so you’ll have to experiment.)
– In the dishwasher we’ll use vinegar instead of dishwasher soap. We sometimes do this in the washing machine too, with the whites by adding it to the bleach instead of traditional soap. (No, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar 🙂 )
– Buying generic food can save a ton of money, especially on things like pasta, and prepared foods. We’ve tried lots of different generic foods at our local Walmart and often find they taste as good, and sometimes better, than their name-brand counterparts, for a fraction of the cost. This helps us to feed our family of six for less than $450 a month.
– Substitute group sports for your kids with other less expensive activities. Exercise is important, and so is family togetherness. Cut down on the money you shell out for extracurricular activities, but stay active by doing other types of exercise-related sports that can be done for much less money. Have a weekly hiking, biking, walking or running day. One of our best family outings was when we spent the day trekking the woods for edible wild raspberries. Not only did we get lots of exercise, we also got about $20-$30 worth of fresh raspberries for free.
By utilizing these and other money-saving strategies in our home, we’ve been able to put twice as much money toward our debt as we did last year.
What are your hidden money-saving tips in the home?