You might not realize it, but your daily household habits and the way you manage your home could be costing you money.
Almost everything that you do in your house—including preparing your meals, doing the laundry, and even cleaning your counters—involves financial choices. To save some bucks, follow these tips for reducing your spending in the main money-draining areas of your home.
In the kitchen
- Skip the oven
Your oven is one of the biggest energy hogs in your kitchen, and using this appliance frequently can raise your energy bills quite a bit. Instead, try cooking in a toaster oven, air fryer, or pressure cooker to reduce amount of the energy you use. When do you need your oven, stick to ceramic or glass pans, which hold heat better, allowing you to cook at a lower temperature.
- Dish out fewer dollars
If you cook a completely different main meal every day of the week, requiring a large variety of ingredients, or frequently order takeout, you could be wasting dollars: the more food you buy, the greater likelihood it has of going bad. Instead, try cooking food you can stretch into several meals. For instance, you could roast a chicken and some veggies one day, then use the leftovers in subsequent meals—such as by preparing chicken fajitas or chicken salad. You could also reduce your grocery bill by using incorporating inexpensive staples like beans, grains and pastas in your diet more.
- Scrape, don’t rinse
Did you know that modern dishwashers and detergents can make dishes sparkle even when you don’t rinse them first? In fact, you could waste twenty gallons of water every time you prerinse your dishes. So rather than wash off your plates in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher, simply scrape the food off into your trash or compost bin. Another way to reduce your water bill is to make sure you fill up your dishwasher completely before running it—don’t start a cycle for just a few items.
In the laundry room
- Wash in cold water
If you set your washing machine to use cold instead of hot water, you can save a lot of cash—about 90 percent of the energy a washing machine uses is for heating the water. Also, cold water is less likely to fade or shrink your clothing, so you could even spend less on your wardrobe by dialing down the temperature. You should also avoid putting partial loads in your washing machine to skip running extra cycles at an additional cost.
- Use dryer balls—or go retro
Throw a few wool or silicone dryer balls into your dryer the next time you run a cycle. They can help reduce drying time by separating your clothing, which allows more hot air to get to them. (As a bonus, they might also prevent static electricity.) Make it a habit to empty out your lint filter regularly to ensure your machine can run more efficiently; doing so can also help prevent a fire. For maximum energy savings, skip the dryer entirely when the weather is nice and try line drying your clothing instead.
In the bathroom
- Save in the shower
You’ve likely heard you can save money in the bathroom by not running the tap while you brush your teeth, enjoying fewer baths (which require more water than showers), and taking colder and shorter showers. To save even more money, try putting a bucket in your shower to catch the water before it warms up to use for another purpose, like watering your plants. Another helpful hack is to put together a short playlist of songs for while you shower; you’ll know to shut off the water when the last song ends.
- Pay less for products
Most people use more product than necessary for personal hygiene. For example, you generally only need a pea-sized drop of toothpaste for brushing your teeth and two full teaspoons of shampoo for washing your hair. Similarly, you can save cash by buying bar soap instead of more expensive liquid soaps and scrubs. You could also cut some pennies by lathering up with hair conditioner or body lotion before you shave so you don’t have to purchase shaving creams or gels.
Around the house
- Use fewer paper products
You could easily reduce the money you spend on cleaning products by cutting back on paper towels. Instead, use reusable cleaning cloths for wiping counters, cleaning up spills in the microwave and on the stove, and washing windows. Keep a small laundry basket in a convenient location where you can toss your rags and simply launder them when its full. You could also put out cloth napkins at meals instead of paper ones and wash them with the rest of your laundry.
- Clean more frequently
It might seem counterintuitive, but by cleaning more often, you might save money.For example, if you wipe your kitchen counters immediately after cooking, you may be able to remove spills with just soap and a wet cloth. If you let things sit, however, you might need to use a stronger and more expensive cleaning product to get the job done. The same goes for just about any household cleaning task, such as removing fabric stains, sanitizing the tub or shower, and scrubbing the microwave.
- Get by with less
You don’t need a massive number of tools and products to make your home shine. Avoid buying cleaning products that only serve one purpose—a simple cloth and multipurpose cleaner are enough to tidy up multiple areas, such as flat surfaces and windows.
With just a few tweaks to your routines at home, you may find yourself saving more money than you thought possible.