5 Money-Saving Household Tips
Saving money doesn’t have to be painful, making a few simple changes can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Here are 5 ways to start making changes today!
1. Make a meal plan
I resisted this for a long time. I can barely decided what to eat from one meal to the next (and this might be because of my struggle with food) but I imagine many of you feel the same way. The reality is whether you are trying to feed just yourself or a large family as I am, it really pays to plan ahead. Right now I just plan a week at a time because that works for us, but I know many people who plan a month in advance. There are a ton of resources out there to help you build your meal plan and it has actually been kind of fun to do each week. Planning your meals gives you an opportunity to use seasonal produce and to take inventory of your fridge, freezer and pantry in order to really utilize what you already have instead of constantly making last minute trips to the grocery store (which I refuse to do with the kids in tow) or making another pass through the drive through. Check out $5 Dollar Dinners and Good Cheap Eats for more pointers.
2. Use a budget
This is just as personal as a meal plan, so you need to decided what works best for you, but this is crucial to saving money. Pretty hard to slash a budget if you don’t have one to begin with; if you don’t know how much is coming in and going out each month. There are many methods for organizing financial files, keeping a budget and tracking expenses but these are my favorites.
- Pear Budget - Create a budget and track your expenses without having to give out your banking info
- I Heart Organizing - Jen has great tips for your entire house, but I love her filing method
- Smead 2-Way Mini Organizer – This is how I store my receipts – at the end of each week I double check them against my log in Pear Budget to make sure my spending goals are on target and then I file the receipts accordingly in my main file box if I need to keep the receipts for tax purposes.
3. Use coupons
I know some people are still turned off by the idea of using coupons, but you don’t have to go to extremes like a certain reality show – just paying attention to sales and using coupons when you can will make a difference. Pay attention to store sales, make a detailed list before you go based on your meal plan and avoid impulse purchases! Oh and if you can avoid it – SHOP ALONE (no kids, friends, spouses to distract you). Coupons can save you money on so much more than groceries – dining out, retail shopping and entertainment – give them a chance and I bet you will be pleased with the results.
4. Drop the paper towels
A while back, in an effort to save money of course, I decided to stop using paper towels for EVERYTHING. I now keep a basket under the kitchen sink filled with dish towels, white hotel napkins (cheap at most big box stores), and old bathroom wash cloths. I use those for drying my hands, wiping up spills etc. I have to do laundry once a day anyways with 4 young (and messy) kids in the house so each morning I have a clean stack of towels to use. I still keep paper towels on hand in the garage for certain cleaning tasks that I don’t want to ruin a towel for but it has been nice not to have to shell out so much each week for a new 12 pack of paper towels.
5. Cut the cable cord
Nothing gave me more pleasure than to tell my cable service provider that I would only be needing internet from this day forward. And you know what? We haven’t missed it at all. I was able to get a great deal on Apple TV and I also use an HDMI and a Mini dvi to HDMI cable to connect my laptop to the TV. The Apple TV has already paid for itself in one month and I automatically deposit what I am saving on the cable bill into my emergency savings fund. Read this for more detail on alternatives to cable.