How to Make Your Home Cheaper to Run
If you feel as though you are spending way too much on bills or even general expenses, then there are a few things that you can do to help yourself.
Refinance your Mortgage
If you are really struggling for money, it may be worth trying to lower your mortgage repayments. At the end of the day, your mortgage provider wants to make sure that they are going to get their money, so it is in their best interest to try and give you favourable terms. I also found squeezing in extra payments made for a smaller balance and less interest which was a definite win when owning homes.
If You are Renting
If you are renting consider sharing a house for candidates that are aligned with your own likes and interests and way of living. Come to agreements and meet up regularly to see that everything is going well and where changes can be made. See if you are both in agreement with saving money – ie on utility and/or water bills for example. You may even go so far as having one of you be the grocery purchaser and another the “chef”. Or you could do shared duty and each of you could work to cook economically but healthily. The main thing I found when sharing rental accommodation is to try and get together and discuss any changes to be made in the situation plus also having time to have “your own space”.
Using Coupons and Offers with wisdom
In different parts of the world you will have cut prices offered. Keep yourself organised to make use of any cut-rate items or bulk buys. Don’t overspend or be caught out buying much more than you would need Unless of course you want to give food items as Christmas presents! Remember also if you always shop for branded items, then it may be worth trying to focus on unbranded items for a little while. When you do, you can significantly cut down on the amount of money that you spend on shopping and this can go a long way for your budget.I have tried it both ways – but though I might call myself a brand snob – rather I want to be educated on what products I buy. Buying a superior product on clearances is something I look out for and do a “clean sweep” over the supermarket with eagle eyes. Hence I only have a rough guide of what I’m cooking for the week. You see a clearance special with some good quality items will make up part of what I am cooking that week!
Make Your Meals from Scratch but…..
You have all heard it is so much better for your health, your environment and your budget to make your meals from scratch. But remember sometimes to factor in some quick and easy meals (that are got from good offers at the supermarket of course) for those times when you need time out to “play”. We all have burdens of life to bear and sometimes having time out from doing too much of a good thing and it can become false economy if you do too much. But yes – do make use of second serves to freeze. Remember to use them up reasonably quickly as they do taste better than hidden at the back of the freezer for months.
Collect your Loose Change and surprise, surprise!
Do you have a change jar? If not, now is most certainly the best time for you to start one. Check your couch, your car, your bedroom drawers or even your junk drawer to see how much you have lying around. You can then get this cashed in and if you save up for long enough, you may even be able to pay for your whole shopping with it. Some change machines give you the chance to buy a gift card too, and this can come in very useful around Christmas. Or you may even do differently as I have some family do. They have a great big jar where they throw any small and loose change. They get a “big” surprise at the end of the year with heaps of “ready cash” of quite a large amount.
Relaxing or Pampering Yourself Doesn’t Need to Cost Money or very little.
You don’t always need to pay to relax. There are plenty of ways for you to unwind without having to go to the spa or even the movies. If you want to relax at home, then it may be worth meditating, or even trying to read a book. Have you thought of having friends over for a shared meal? Someone brings the main savouries and someone the sides. Make things easy and simple when it comes to a big relax or pampering time. Consider my 50 ways to Pamper Yourself that aren’t expensive.
Watch your Water
Believe it or not, your water bill could be having a huge impact on your finances. Every time you have a shower, do the washing up or even water the garden, you’ll be throwing money down the drain. One way for you to get around this would be for you to try and invest in water tanks. There are plenty available for you to choose from and they are suitable for residential use too. If however you are renting and can’t be in the market for a rainwater tank – consider a rain barrel to collect just a little bit to give your vegetables a bit of “natural” water. It may be a little (and I’ve done it when renting) but all the little things add up in the end.
Grow your own Herbs
It’s very easy for you to spend a lot of money on shopping. If you want to lower the cost of your shopping overall then one way for you to get around this would be for you to grow your own herbs. That way you can cook from fresh more often, and this is way cheaper than paying for microwave meals all the time. If you are concerned about your herbs not lasting all-year-round, you can freeze them if you vacuum pack them properly. Another way I find also – is if you are successfully growing a garden anyway – you are bound to get to know others who “grow” as well. Each grow something different and “swap”. Builds relationships and builds your “fresh” store. Win/Win!
Pay your Bills Online
The more you pay your bills online, the easier it will be for you to save money. When you pay online, it’s much easier for you to keep track of what you’ve paid and what you haven’t. On top of this, you’ll never have to worry about paying late charges either because you’ll be way more organised with your payments overall.
If you love having people over then this is great, but cooking a large meal can be expensive. One way for you to get around this would be for you to have people over for brunch instead of dinner. You’ll save on alcohol and you may even find that simple sandwiches suffice. You’ll still have a great time and you would be surprised at how easy it is for you to save here. I have even had people over for a luxury breakfast. You can afford not to go overboard – but still have something special. I know my guests loved what I prepared – which wasn’t overly expensive.
Make a Household Budget
It’s time for you to sit down and budget with the whole family. You need to trim the fat as much as possible so you can find out where your hidden expenses are. Building a budget is very easy to do and this is especially the case if you use the online tools that are available. If you want to take things to that next level, then consider using an app. I use an Excel Spreadsheet – True Budget by Neil Rothman with great success. It’s free and I’ve used it for many years. Helps me easily see what I’ve spent and how to tweak my budget per month. Having a household budget will make it easier to save and it will also help you to lower the cost of your expenses overall. You will find there are many apps out there for you to have some great choices to help you tweak things with how you like the finances set out.
Organise your Pantry
Keeping a well-organised pantry will ultimately mean that you’re less likely to buy things that you don’t actually need. You need to be aware of what you have every single week, so you don’t end up buying the same items again needlessly. If you want to really help yourself here then consider making a list of most of the items you have, (particularly ones which are “fresh” sensitive) and when you use it, write it down so you know that you need to buy more. This is an organised system and can save you a lot of money. However – be warned – you may have issues with being – “over-organised” and want a little looseness within a system. Consider having a no-buy week. This means using what you have in your pantry. I tell you that it makes me inventive and resourceful. Plus I get to make sure I do use up things that might go “missing in action” – a-lah – hidden in the back of the fridge!
Replace your Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are slowly being phased out. More and more people are opting for energy-efficient alternatives and this can be a fantastic way for you to save money. If you’re not quite sure how to get started, then go around your home and take note of how many lightbulbs you have. The answer will probably surprise you, and if you were to swap every one for an energy-efficient alternative then you may even find that you end up saving over 30% on your electricity bill. You might also incorporate a 2 or 3 hour time period where you don’t use electric light and do things by candle-light for something quirky and saving “bulb-power” and electricity. Just don’t leave candles unattended.
Be a Barista or Conveyor of Herbal Tea offerings
Going to the local coffee shop can be expensive. If you want to get around this then you need to brew your own. Hand-frothers, flavourings and even syrup can be cheap to buy if you know where to look, not to mention that they can make your coffee at home taste that little bit better. Experiment though with Herbal teas in your home environment also. Remember if you are successfully starting to grow herbs you can come up with a great mix of concoctions to tempt and refresh the taste buds. A fave of mine is peppermint and fennel together. What’s yours?
Join a Loyalty Programme
Supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers often offer loyalty cards. The more you shop with that provider, the more you’ll save. all-year-round can really add up over time and you would be surprised at how much it can make a difference to your budget every week. But a caution here – do check how much you are gaining cent for cent or rather point per cent. If you are merely buying to get points rather than strategically and with the budget in mind – you could be wasting money. I worked this through with some Supermarkets and sometimes found it could be cheaper in the long run by-passing some Loyalty programmes.
These are just a handful of ways to make running your home just that bit cheaper. You can then find extra dollars to save for other needed items in your household budget or to help out family, friends and charities..
Deborah Hunter Kells
I have a wide range of interests and the top of my list is people and relationships. I appreciate our big wide world and nature which tries so hard to deal with what we do to it. As noted you will find a variety of topics covered (see Home page) My appreciation goes to my team and others whom I collaborate with to make this blog successful and resourceful. Thanks especially to my team: Sarah, Tina, and Billah (See footer for more of their details)