I started a new ritual this year. Every night I do a quick walk around and turn off all unused appliances and powerstrips. This quick and simple 5 minute ritual has actually resulted in noticeable savings on my power bill. It makes me think of all the different small ways that I’ve started practicing to save money around the house.
This may seem like a small thing, but every little bit helps. It’s always good to save money, but this is particularly true when you have a growing family with a couple of kids in day care. Those costs add up!
Here are a few quick and simple ways that I’ve been doing to save money around the house.
- Watch less TV. This has been a standing rule around the house ever since I had my first baby. As a practical matter, we didn’t have as much time to watch TV. But also we made an active effort to make sure our children aren’t spending all their time watching TV. At the most basic, this saves electricity, but for me it actually allowed me to cancel my satellite subscription since most of my TV consumption was through netflix anyways. Cancelling satellite altogether saved us over $100 a month. Even if you aren’t comfortable cutting the cord entirely, you could look into simply lowering your subscription. If you want to give it a shot, you can read more about my experience and my favorite devices to help cut the cord and save money on your TV Bill.
- Eat out Less. This is a healthy lifestyle practice as well as a good way to save money. Eating out often costs much more than eating the same meal at home. The biggest hindrance to eating at home is the time and effort it takes to cook all your meals. It’s often tempting to eat out after a long day at work or just pick up some fast food. Over time, eating out can get to be a convenient habit, but it’s costly and usually much less healthy. However, with a little planning ahead, you can prepare your meals in advance on the weekends and make your weekday cooking a much simpler process. I also try and make cooking fun for myself by trying new recipes and sometimes involving my kids by letting them help out. It can be a good way to relax and a fun activity for the family as well.
- Turn off unused power. It’s easy to follow the simple rules of turning off the lights when you leave a room, but do you also remember to completely shut down your computers? How about switching off powerstrips even when appliances are off? I didn’t think about taking those extra steps till earlier this year. But I realized that idling appliances were still draining electricity. So now I take just a few minutes each day to completely turn those things off. I’ve noticed savings of up to $50 a month on my power bill just by taking those extra couple of steps. It’s really simple and effective.
- Use electricity at off peak hours. Along the same lines as my earlier tip, this is another simple way to save on electricity. It’s fairly simple for me because we work during the peak hours, but every once in a while when I’m at home during those times (in our area peak times are 10-4 on weekdays) I make an effort to use battery power instead. So I may use my laptop on battery power instead of my desktop to work.
- Kids don’t need to spend a lot of money to be entertained. Over time I’ve realized that my kids have the most fun using their imagination and just playing with each other and us. They don’t need a lot of expensive knick knacks and toys. In fact, right now my son’s favorite toy is a cardboard box. I’ve taking big cardboard boxes and turned them into play houses and they play inside and color and draw all over them while their newfangled toys gather dust.
- Water your lawn at night. If you live in a hot climate, then this is a good tip for making the best use of your sprinklers and save on your water bill. I switched my sprinklers to water the lawn at night and the plants have much more time to absorb the water before it evaporates. This way I can use less water on my plants and they remain healthy and happy.
- Repurpose the old. Instead of throwing things away, you can often find a use for old things. Many old food containers I find can be used for different things such as simple pots for growing plants. Plastic fruit containers make great straining style containers. I wash them out and use them in my aquarium for quarantining plants and fish. Of course, kids clothing can be saved for hand me downs. But sometimes I will cut out warn out clothes and turn them into wash cloths instead of just throwing them out. My really old computer that can no longer keep up with windows, I installed linux to getting running and gave it to the kids. It’s a great educational tool and I didn’t need to go out to buy them a brand new computer. Before throwing something out, take a minute to think about whether you could find a use for the item. You may be surprised at how useful it may be.
These are just a few tips that I use around the house to save money. These may seem like small things, but they all add up and over time will turn into significant savings. For myself, I find that doing these things not only helps me save money, but often results in other side benefits such as eating healthier, spending more time with the kids instead of sitting them in front of the TV, encouraging imagination and creativity. Sometimes you may even discover some fun side projects for yourself and your family.