Keeping expenses down is a battle that never ends. Whenever you let your guard down, your expenses will invariably start expanding. That’s why it’s essential to look around the house on occasion and find ways to reduce your costs. Here are some fresh ideas that might help.
Use Real Linens
Instead of buying paper towels, tissues, and napkins that will be used once and tossed in the trash, consider reusable cloth versions. Pick up a stack of restaurant-style dish towels — a dollar each or less at discount outlets — and put them next to your paper towels to remind you to reach for them. Dish towels also make great dinner napkins. Put one with your makeup to use instead of tissue for blotting and cleaning your brushes. Train yourself to reach for cloth and you’ll be buying far less paper in the future.
Fill Your Fridge
If you don’t have things in the kitchen that are appealing and easy to prepare, you will probably eat out or order food instead. Make a list of healthy foods you’re most likely to reach for when you’re hungry and stock up on them.
Visit your local discount or dollar store and stock up on laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, gift wrap, and personal care items. You won’t be tempted to pick up more expensive brands at the grocery store if you know you have plenty of supplies at home.
Organize Your Bill Payments
Late charges and credit card interest are a complete waste of money. The easiest solution is to automate your bill paying by having your paycheck direct deposited and setting up auto-payments for all your bills. If that solution doesn’t suit you, then set up a bill payment center in your home, with a calendar to track due dates and everything you need to pay the bills at your fingertips so you can get them in on time.
Watch Your Utility Bills
Keep energy expenses down by turning off lights when you’re not using them, installing a programmable thermostat, and turning down the temperature on your water heater. Also make sure you’re taking good care of your expensive HVAC equipment by changing the filter often, keeping your outdoor compressor clean, and having the system serviced by a pro every year.
Change Your Laundry Habits
The most expensive part of doing laundry is heating the water. Most clothes will get clean in cold water, so it isn’t necessary to use warm every time. Wait until you have a full load to run the washer, and experiment with hanging things to dry instead of firing up your dryer for every load; it’s really not as big a hassle as it seems.
Saving money around the house is mostly a matter of developing new habits. Adopt one new habit at a time and keep looking for ways to do things more efficiently. Soon you’ll be discovering your own ways to save around the house.