May: Saving Money at Home

happy man relaxing in kitchen looking at his laptop
In a world where expenses seem to multiply overnight, mastering the art of frugality becomes essential. Luckily, numerous ways exist to cut costs without sacrificing comfort or quality of life. Let’s embark on a four-week journey, exploring practical tips to save money around the house.

Week 1: Cut Back In The Kitchen

The kitchen is often the heart of the home and a hotspot for unnecessary spending. However, with creativity and planning, you can significantly reduce your grocery bills and avoid unnecessary expenses. This week, try to reduce your grocery expenses by using one or more of the tips below:

• Pantry Creativity: Challenge yourself to get creative with pantry staples and use what you have before purchasing new items this week. Take inventory of what you have on hand and plan your meals around those ingredients this week.

• Meal Prep Mastery: Spend some time each week prepping meals. Not only does this save money, but it also ensures healthier eating habits and eliminates the temptation to dine out. For example, brown ground beef and use it in pasta, soups, tacos, or wraps. You’ll be more likely to feel motivated to throw a meal together at home, knowing the clean-up will be minimal.

• Bulk Buying: Purchase frequently used items in bulk and portion them out for future use. This saves money, reduces packaging waste, and lets you get the best deal.

• Ditch Bottled Water: Invest in reusable water bottles and say goodbye to pricey bottled water. Not only is this eco-friendly, but it also saves considerable money over time. Pro-tip: Pre-fill bottles in your fridge for a more convenient experience.

• Treat Yourself Wisely: Instead of indulging in frequent impulse purchases like expensive coffee runs, allocate funds for pricier items you really love, like all the supplies to make that double-shot, almond milk, two pumps vanilla, two pumps brown sugar latte you love. Even with all those bells and whistles, it will be cheaper to make at home.

Takeaway: Small changes add up, and you can’t cut your subscription to food and water like Netflix, but you can build fragile habits to keep costs down.

For next week: Just like food, utilities are necessary. We will look at practices to help reduce utility bills, such as water and electricity.

Week 2: Reduce A Utility Expense

Most utilities are like food – you’ve just got to have them, and they are in the category of expenses that can often sneak up on us. With prices rising, it’s more important than ever to establish and practice good habits to ensure your bills don’t become a burden. It takes practice, but you can significantly reduce these expenses with a few adjustments. This week, review your utility bills and consider ways you can reduce your usage or identify any unnecessary expenses. Here are a few tips and examples to get you started:

• Electricity Efficiency: Unplug appliances when not in use, set timers for electronics, and consider installing a clothesline for air-drying laundry.

• Water Wisdom: Install a water heater timer, opt for cold water when washing clothes, and be mindful of water usage to reduce your water bill. Try washing your clothes in cold water to cut your energy bill even further!

• Rechargeable Revolution: Invest in rechargeable batteries to reduce the cost of single-use batteries. They are a bit more expensive upfront but will save you money in the long run, especially for devices you use regularly, like your television remote.

• Entertainment Evaluation: Review your entertainment subscriptions, compare prices, and consider consolidating or canceling services to save money. You may be shocked to find you’re paying for a subscription you don’t use monthly.

Takeaway: While you may not notice a life-changing amount of savings in one week, this is a cumulative effort that will be well worth the effort in the future and add up to a valuable daily practice.

For next week: You’ve taken the initiative to find ways to reduce expenses on necessities during the past two weeks. Next week, we will take it further and examine expenses around the house that you may be paying someone else to do.

Week 3: Learn A Simple DIY Skill To Save Over Time

Taking a do-it-yourself approach can lead to significant savings in various areas of your household expenses. We get it—not everyone is Mr. Fix It or ready to star in an HGTV show, but starting small and ending in significant savings will empower you to try new things. This week, identify an ongoing expense that you could do yourself to reduce consistently. The internet has a wealth of knowledge, and you can easily find blogs, articles, and video tutorials.

Homemade Cleaners: Make your own cleaning solutions using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Pull up your old pal, Google, and you’ll find an array of surprisingly easy-to-make laundry detergents that work with HE washers. Besides saving money, these cleaners often offer less exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Take Time to Learn: YouTube is full of easy-to-follow tutorials for DIY projects, so you can start small and build your skills and confidence around the house. Maybe you have a running toilet—taking the time to learn about maintaining and understanding your home is a wise investment in your time. Taking care of minor fixes can help you avoid the cost of hiring a professional down the road.

Tool Time Tactics: Instead of purchasing expensive tools for occasional use, consider renting them. Many local libraries allow you to check out more than just books – they also have tools. Can’t find somewhere to rent a tool? Consider polling social media to see if anyone has what you need and would like to lend it to you in exchange for a few bucks.

Takeaway: You don’t have to lay down new flooring to cut costs around your home. Understanding how to fix or remedy issues is an investment worth making.

For next week: Life happens, and unexpected expenses pop up regularly around any house, but by being proactive, we can ensure they are few and far between and we are not caught off guard by a new emergency every month.

Week 4: Future-Focused Financial Planning

Being proactive about future expenses can help you avoid costly surprises and spare yourself ongoing stress. As we build on all the practices we’ve put into place over the past few weeks, it’s essential to look ahead and make a plan, so all your efforts aren’t diminished by a series of unfortunate, unplanned events.

• Insurance Assurance: Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage, including renters’ insurance, and regularly review your policy terms. Know what’s covered, your deductible, and how to file a claim. It’s also essential to have a good record of what would need to be replaced should something happen, like a fire. One easy way to do this is to video your home monthly, giving you a visual reminder should you need it.

• Maintenance Mindset: Set annual reminders for home maintenance tasks such as changing filters, cleaning gutters, and inspecting smoke detectors to prevent costly repairs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine.

• Seasonal Preparations: Take proactive measures to prepare for seasonal challenges, such as trimming trees before storms or insulating pipes before freezes. Something as simple as forgetting to cover an outdoor faucet before a freeze could become a significant (and expensive) issue.

Takeaway: With a bit of creativity, planning, and discipline, owning a home and the unexpected issues and expenses that come with it can be kept manageable and allow you to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with financial stability.

For next week: Speaking of emergencies, having an emergency fund is another way to prepare for the unexpected. Next week, we will look at how much you should save based on your personal situation.