If you’re like most of us, you might be feeling the post-holiday spending pinch while having to worry about increased home heating costs in these cold winter months. Add to that the expense of food, transportation, and any outstanding debts you’re paying down, and you may find that your paycheck completely disappears at the end of the month. Implement these simple tips to cut down on your monthly expenses and relieve your financial burden at home:
Especially in the winter, utility bills can account for a huge portion of the monthly budget. You may get the urge to crank up the thermostat when you’re at home, but why not get cozy on the couch with a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea, or sleep with flannel sheets instead of cotton? If you can’t bear to sacrifice the heat, set your programmable thermostat to a lower temperature while you’re away during the day, then have it kick into full swing about a half hour before you get home.
As for the shower, switch to a low-flow shower head to make your showers use heat and water more efficiently. In the laundry room, wash cold whenever possible. To cut down on energy consumption, turn off the lights when you’re not in the room, and power down and unplug electronics when they’re not in use.
The most obvious way to save at the supermarket is to cut coupons and keep your eye out for specials when you’re at the store. But there are some less obvious ways to see long term savings, too. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season (they’re much cheaper!), and choose dried goods over canned goods (more yield for your money). Opt for generic over name brand whenever possible, and consider buying dried goods and toiletries in bulk—you’ll see bigger long-term savings on these non-perishable items.
If being handy doesn’t come second nature, you probably contract out your furniture assembly and staining projects to a professional, and call a repairman for every dishwasher malfunction and faucet leak you experience. While it’s true that major issues are best left to the professionals, you can self-teach your way through many home improvement projects and problems with an instructional article or YouTube video. If you’re looking to tackle a bigger project, consider taking a free workshop at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s Hardware to learn how to do it yourself.
Clearing out Clutter
So far we’ve discussed ways to save money at home; now it’s time to explore ways to profit from your home. If you’ve got old CDs, DVDs, or electronics lying around the house, sell them back to an online buyback program like musicMagpie.com. Unwanted books and textbooks may be listed on Amazon or Half.com, and old clothes, collectibles, furniture, and appliances may find a new home courtesy of Craigslist or eBay.