We could all use a little more money, but figuring where and how to find savings in your budget can be daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 10 easy ways to increase savings in the home.
With just a few simple tweaks in your day-to-day home routine, you can save hundreds of dollars every year. So, let’s get to it!
#1 – Lower Your Monthly Bills
Bills are one of the unfortunate realities of adult life, but they might not have to be as much of a hassle as you’re making them. A lot of people miss out on the easy steps to lower monthly costs and keep money going towards things they actually want to be spending it on.
First, set up autopay. Many electric, heating, phone and internet, and insurance companies offer significant discounts for customers who automate their monthly payments. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally missing a payment again.
Next, it’s time to shop around. While this hack can work for all your bills if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, focus on researching auto and home insurance rates. Insurers are not all the same, and chances are there’s a company out there with better rates for the same coverage.
Whichever type of insurance you need, whether that’s renters insurance, comprehensive car insurance, or home insurance like HO7 during renovations, significant savings are just a few hours of research away.
It doesn’t cost a thing to get quotes and see which discounts you qualify for with various providers, and the savings might shock you. In most states, annual rates for auto insurance differ by hundreds of dollars between companies.
2 – Change Your Light Bulbs
Lowering your electrical consumption is another of the simplest ways to save money every month. Turning off lights and electronics when you’re not using them really does add up over time. Making sure you’re using energy-efficient tech is also critical.
When it comes to lightbulbs, there’s no beating CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), which use around 70% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts.
While these bulbs tend to cost a bit more (generally no more than a dollar or two) than “normal” bulbs, that investment will pay off tenfold over the years. Yes, years. CFLs last much longer than traditional bulbs, with an average lifespan of eight to ten years, which is great for both your wallet and the planet.
3 – Start Buying Frozen
Every year Americans waste over $218 billion worth of food. While you can’t fix this deficit on your own, being thrifty about how and what you buy can help avoid food getting thrown out. Switching to frozen vegetables is one of the quickest ways to keep food for considerably longer.
Plus, because frozen vegetables are “flash frozen” immediately after picking, they are actually more nutritionally rich than most produce found in grocery stores. If you eat meat, freezing your proteins and dethawing them the night before you cook them is best practice.
Pro tip: buy meat to freeze in bulk when it’s on sale. This way you’ll get significant cost reductions without any loss in quality.
4 – Create a Monthly Budget
If you’re serious about saving money, a monthly budget is a must. Knowing how much money you have to spend and also save is the key to successful financial literacy and health.
Start by compiling all receipts and transactions for one month, and input these into a spreadsheet. As you do this, separate spending by categories, such as groceries, eating out, recreation, bills, etc. At the end of the month, add up your totals.
Once you have a clear idea of where your money is going, it’s time to decide where you’re overspending. If there are certain “non-essential” expenses that are important for you to keep, that’s okay (within reason).
The point of a budget is for you to be able to make intentional shopping and saving choices, and figure out a reasonable cap on what you’re willing and able to spend.
Sticking to your budget will empower you to use your money for what you actually want. Saving for larger purchases like a new TV, or home improvement projects is absolutely possible if you make it a priority and cut costs where you can.
If you’re looking for an even easier way to budget, look into software like Quicken. These budgeting software programs seamlessly track and separate out your spending and even compile handy graphs to better understand where your money’s going.
5 – Recycle and Reuse
Going green can save you a lot of money, plus it’s the right thing to do for our planet and future generations. To maximize your eco-friendly savings, cut out wasteful disposable products for reusable alternatives.
Switching to Pyrex or metal Tupperware containers will save you money on ziplock bags and plastic food storage. Cutting out saran wrap and tin foil is easily managed by investing in silicone stretch lids and nonstick baking sheets.
Finally, stop buying harmful chemical cleaners for your windows, floors, kitchens, and bathrooms and opt-in for an all-natural alternative. Essential oil-based cleaners have been proven to be just as hard on bacteria without any of the health concerns (or costs) of chemical cleaners.
6 – Weatherproof Your Windows
Another means of saving on monthly energy costs is to weatherproof your windows. By properly insulating your house, you’ll save money all year round while helping to keep your house as cool or warm as you like it.
If you’re from an area prone to weather extremes, this step is a must. There are a lot of affordable options available from your local hardware store to DIY window sealing and insulation. Savings can add up to as much as 10% of your heating and cooling bills.
All you need to do is replace worn-out weather stripping on your doors, recaulk your windows, and potentially invest in a plastic sealant. This will prevent air from going out or coming in when you don’t want it to.
7 – Clip Those Coupons
Coupons have come a long way in our digital era. While spending a few minutes looking through your local paper or subscribing to a coupon book is absolutely helpful, it’s time to take your coupon clipping into the 21st century.
To maximize savings and limit spam, try creating a designated promos email account. Sign up for all of your favorite retailers’ mailing lists, and every few weeks or before you make a purchase, search through your inbox for applicable savings. Coupon codes can also be found at the point of sale with a quick google, and downloading the incredibly handy Honey extension on your web browser can ensure you’re getting the best price at check-out.
8 – Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage can reduce interest rates, monthly payments, and open up the opportunity to utilize your home’s equity. These can all provide significant savings over time, and if you play your cards right, you can even reduce your overall pay off time and switch to a lower fixed-rate loan. When is the last time you mortgage refinance rates? Rates are always changing, this is one area that can literally save you 10’s of thousands of dollars if you’re able to lower your rate enough.
Similar to your initial home loan, you’ll need to requalify and meet your new lender’s requirements. After you file your application, you’ll go through the underwriting process and head to closing, just like when you bought your home.
9 – Start Up a Coin Collection
Though it might sound silly, starting a piggy bank really works. Set up a jar in your house, and every day when you come home, empty all your change into the collection. Over a few months, you’ll be shocked as the coins and small bills add up.
To make things a bit more fun, you can set up a specific “fund” for your change to go towards, whether that’s vacation, a fancy dinner, or some new clothes. Making a challenge for your housemates/family members is another great way to speed up the collection.
Start a mindfulness, fitness, or any other daily goal. If anyone in the house doesn’t complete it on a given day, they have to put a dollar into your coin collection. This is a super fun way to save and get the sweet satisfaction of victory.
10 – Upgrade Your Coffee Skills
On average, Americans spend over $20 on coffee, according to USA Today. If you’re a coffee drinker, you can save all that money by learning how to make the perfect espresso at home. Investing in proper french presses, good quality beans, etc. will save you thousands over the years, and it is a great skill to impress friends and family with when they come to visit.
That’s everything! With a bit of practice and some commitment, you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars every year in no time at all.
Sara Routhier is a finance expert with the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She is passionate about helping her readers learn new ways to save money.