Sure, starting a budget and tracking your spending are great ways to start saving big money, but there are also all sorts of small savings to be found in your house or apartment if you know where to find them.
There are so many little things I do out of habit now to save money here and there, so here are a few easy tips to save money around the house.
In the Laundry Room
Clothes dryers are notoriously inefficient in their design, mainly because they suck up the “purchased” air inside your home (air that you pay to heat or cool), and shoot it back outside your home.
While I love the idea of hanging my clothes out to dry on a clothesline, I do realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Instead, try to wash and dry all of your laundry on the same day, while your dryer is continuously warm.
Close off the laundry room, especially in the summer when you want it cool inside, since dryers release so much heat. It’s also best to dry your clothes in the evening if you can, especially in the summer, so your A/C unit doesn’t have to overcompensate to cool your home.
If you’re ready to purchase a new dryer, opt for an energy efficient model with a sensor so you don’t feel the need to open your dryer constantly to see if your laundry is done.
Also, try not to over or under pack your dryer, both of which will result in less efficiency from your unit.
Or just suck it up and put up a clothesline! (Isn’t there something sweet and quaint about that, or is it just me?)
You can also forgo dryer sheets completely, especially if most of your laundry is made of natural fibers and not synthetic material.
This is something I recently changed in my own house, and I haven’t missed buying those laundry sheets one bit. I really have no idea why I was buying them in the first place! If you feel like you have to have them, you can actually use them at least twice before you throw them away.
In the Kitchen
Dishwashers are very efficient now, so often times it’s better to use it rather than running continuous hot water to hand wash a full load.
If you do use your dishwasher, air dry your dishes once the wash cycle is complete. If you run it after dinner, you can open it before you go to bed so the dishes can dry overnight and be ready to put away the next morning.
And just like your clothes dryer, be sure to not over pack your dishwasher. Loading your dishwasher too full prevents some dishes from being washed properly, which means you have to rewash many items. (Full disclosure: I am notorious for doing this in my own home!)
As for cooking, in the winter when you’re done baking with your oven and after you turn it off, leave it open so you can actually use that extra heat. (I’ve been known to warm my hands by
the fire an open oven door in the winter.) There’s no sense in wasting it!
In the summer, rather than using your oven and adding unneeded heat to the inside of your home, try to grill outside more often. (After all, we know how fun it is to do everything outside in the summer!)Want to save #money around the house? It's easier than you think! Click To Tweet
Go Paperless in the Kitchen
One of my favorite things we’ve done recently is to go completely paperless in our kitchen. At first, I had no idea how to even approach this, so I figured it was best to jump in head first and figure it out along the way.
Such as Napkins…
The first step was to completely stop purchasing paper napkins. We only have three people in our household, but I found that we were somehow flying through paper napkins.
They aren’t terribly expensive, but I was sick of thinking about how many trees we were killing along the way.
Instead, we use cloth napkins everyday. There’s not really any added energy costs, either. The napkins are so small, I simply throw a couple in with each load of laundry I’m already doing. This reusable option has been so much better in my house!
…And Paper Towels
The next thing on the list was paper towels. We certainly had an addiction to them and they are expensive, so I stopped buying them and hid the remainder of the roll we already had in a lower cabinet.
If I ever went to reach for a paper towel beside the sink, I realized they were gone, and it forced me to consider what else I could use for the task at hand.
I designated a drawer of clean rags to be used for cleaning up spills and mishaps. I also designated specific kitchen towels for covering dishes in the microwave (since I don’t want to cover them with plastic wrap), and to use under bacon when I microwave it. Doing that meant I didn’t have to worry about staining our nice towels.
Now it’s all just habit, and it was so easy! We haven’t even finished that last roll of paper towels, and I love it. I only wish I had done it sooner because it seems like such a no-brainer. (It’s also fun to see people’s reactions when they ask for a paper towel and you tell them you don’t have any.)
Reduce the Air Conditioning Energy Suck
We’re all so terribly spoiled with our air conditioning, and I’m no exception.
I live in Georgia where it gets hot and unbelievably humid, but I always try to remind myself that most people around the world don’t have the luxury of on-demand air conditioning. We’re all very spoiled!
Chances are your air conditioning unit uses the most energy in your home, resulting in it being the most expensive appliance on your energy bill. Here are some tricks to keep those costs down:
- Open the windows at night in the spring, summer, and fall (or as long as you comfortably can) to access cooler air, then close up your windows early in the morning to trap that cool air in your house.
- Wean yourself off of lower A/C temps by setting your thermostat up by a degree or two each week. It may not be pleasant at first, but your body will adapt, and you’ll definitely notice a difference in your electric bill.
- Spring for a programmable thermostat that knocks the temperature up several degrees when you’re not going to be home (or save the money and simply turn it up manually whenever you leave the house).
- And if nothing else works, you can always walk around naked. (Just please close those blinds.) 🙂
Lighting and Energy Vampires
Obviously you should have already installed CFL bulbs to replace your old ones (once they go out), but there are other things you can look for to find savings:
- Search out energy vampires in your home. At night, after your lights are out, anything that still glows is an energy vampire. This could be anything from your laptop and phone chargers to stereo equipment. These are frivolous charges that add to your electric bill every single month, so take care of them!
- Instead of simply closing your laptop every night, turn it completely off. Computers need to rest anyway, not to mention it’s easier on your battery, and it prolongs the life of your electronics. Turn them off!
- Add power strips to items like your entertainment system which can have your TV, stereo, DVD player, and other gadgets plugged into the same area. At night before you go to bed, turn off the power strip. This will also protect you from power surges during a storm.
In The Bathroom
Somehow, the biggest laundry loads we used to have were always towels, and I really don’t like doing extra laundry if I can help it. The larger your family, the more towels you’ll fly through if you don’t put a limit on it.
Instead of everyone grabbing a fresh towel for every bath or shower, try to reuse your towels so each person uses only 1 or 2 bath towels each week. It’s not gross — you are clean when you dry off with it!
The same goes for beach and pool towels. There’s no reason not to let them air dry outside for reuse the next day.
As for your bathroom cabinets, go through the massive product overload you have and start using up what you’ve already purchased.
If you have 6 bottles of half-used shampoo, use it up or throw it out (but preferably use it up, since you paid for it!). It’s silly to purchase so much product that we end up throwing it away, but we’ve all been there.
Use up what you already have, and in the future, try to avoid purchasing more before you use up your current products.
You don’t have to look too hard to come up with little ways to save money around the house. What ways have you come up with to save money in your own home? Which one of these tips is your favorite?