When a recession is looming, it’s always wise to monitor your spending habits. Furthermore, many areas of the economy remain under inflation pressure. Increasing demand for housing and spending on travel, dining out, and entertainment events have led to increases in rent, grocery prices, and hotel, restaurant, and airline flight prices.
As inflation takes a toll on your wallet, we’ve put together some ways to ease the burden. You’ll find 26 quick and easy ways to cut home costs, from lifestyle adjustments to energy-efficient gadgets.
1. Make sure your lightbulbs are clean.
What? Who does that? Well, smart people — or at least those who know shrewd, easy ways to save money.
Dust will gradually dim the light of LED lightbulbs if you don’t dust them regularly. Despite drawing the same amount of power, dirty lightbulbs can be half as bright as clean ones, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The best way to remove dust and dirt is to wipe thoroughly with a dry cloth. You can damage electronic components in the lamp by wiping it with a damp cloth.
2. Laundry with cold water.
When it comes to cleaning dirty clothes, hot water may be the best method. However, it could be costly for the planet, as well as your budget.
A load of laundry (especially in hot water) sheds microfibers from synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. Every year, the average American and Canadian household releases 533 million microfibers (equal to about 135 grams) into our water systems.
These particles can’t be filtered out by wastewater treatment systems. Ocean Clean Wash, a campaign initiated by the Plastic Soup Foundation, reports that microfibers contribute 35 percent of plastic pollution in the ocean. Marine organisms can mistake these small plastic pollutants for food, resulting in the disruption of the natural environment.
Additionally, cold water uses less energy. The energy used to heat the water is much higher per load, about 75-90 percent. As such, you can save quite a bit of energy by switching to cold water. It is estimated that washing your clothes with cold water every time could save you up to $66 per year in heating costs.
You can also extend the life of your clothes by washing them in cold water. It is possible to slow down the fading of colors and shrinkage of fabrics by washing them in cold water.
3. Install a clothesline.
To operate a dryer, you’ll need electricity and possibly gas to dry clothes, towels, and sheets rapidly. You can dry your clothes naturally by hanging a clothesline outside and using the sun and wind to extract energy from the sun. In fact, according to Project Laundry List, hanging the laundry could save households up to 20 percent on utility bills.
You can use a small clothesline to dry your laundry even if you live in an apartment or condominium. Or, Amazon offers a Honey Can Do Oversize Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack that fits nicely in any utility room.
If you do have to do laundry, or even the dishes, do so during off-hours. Many new clothes washers and dishwashers offer the option to schedule a wash cycle. Washing your clothes and dishes during off-peak hours will reduce your utility bills. If you do not have a clothes washer or dishwasher with a built-in timer, put a timer on your phone to remind you to start it when it is off-peak.
4. Put a timer on your water heater.
Most households spend 12-18% of their utility budgets on water heating. On standby mode, water heaters can waste a considerable amount of energy. Water heating costs can be reduced by 30% by using a timer to reduce standby energy losses.
This smart water heater timer can be controlled remotely from a smartphone for under $200.
5. Freeze almost-spoiled fruits and vegetables.
As bananas and spinach spoiled, you may want to opt for tastier freezer meals instead. It is even possible to freeze them for use in smoothies. In the U.S. alone, the average grocery store trashes between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of food per week.
Another tip? Make sure your freezer is always full. The freezer works more efficiently when it is full, using less energy to maintain its temperature.
6. Turn down the thermostat.
If you turn your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling. By doing this, the home’s heating and cooling costs can be reduced without any significant changes to the home. Or, you can purchase a smart thermostat that keeps you comfortable and saves you money.
Also, when you are not using closets or pantries, make sure the doors remain closed to reduce heating and cooling costs. The more doors that are closed, the less space there is for the furnace or air conditioner to heat or cool.
7. Use fans year-round.
Did you know you can cool or heat your home with ceiling fans? However, it must be used correctly.
In the winter, flip the switch on the base to help distribute heat by rotating the blades clockwise. When it’s hot outside, a whole-house fan or an attic fan can disperse cooler air so you don’t have to run the AC constantly.
8. Switch to smart lights.
You can spend less on electricity by simply switching light bulbs. Since smart lights use LEDs instead of expensive incandescents and halogens, they are much more cost-effective.
Setting timers and schedules for each room will ensure that no light is left on unnecessarily. The best part is that you can sync them with your other smart home devices as well. In addition to saving money and energy, this will also be convenient.
9. Make use of power strips.
Even when they’re turned off, appliances like coffeemakers, lights TVs, and computers drain electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 75% of appliance energy consumption occurs during a turn-off. Your energy bill can increase by $250 or more a year if you have energy vampires.
The solution? Connecting them to a power strip you can easily turn off will stop this slow money drain.
10. Earn cash by recycling.
Recycling rewards programs like Recyclebank work with waste haulers to reward regular recycling. You can earn coupons for restaurants you love, supermarket gift certificates, and free magazines.
11. Replace the furnace filter.
In addition to your health, a well-tuned furnace (gas or electric) is both efficient and long-lasting. Your annual furnace tune-up can be done in about three hours by yourself.
During the colder months or anytime your system is heavily used, it’s a good idea to check your filter every month. The new one must face the right way when inserted. After all, a clogged filter increases the motor’s workload and makes it use more power. The filter protects the blower and its motor, which will make it more efficient and extend its life.
You can reduce your system’s energy consumption by up to 15% by replacing a dirty air filter with a clean one, according to the Department of Energy. By replacing your filter every three months, you can save $150 a year — or more. These savings, however, will vary greatly based on your climate, your energy consumption habits, and the cost of air filters.
12. Borrow or rent what you rarely need.
Do not spend your money on trendy appliances to make smoothies or rotisserie chickens. You might be able to borrow one from a neighbor, family member, or friend if your recipe calls for such a device.
The same is true of lawn equipment, steam cleaners, specialty tools, and other very expensive items you may only use occasionally.
If you do not have a neighbor, family member, or friend who is willing to lend you money, what can you do? You can always rent these items from a home improvement store or tool rental company.
13. Repurpose old furniture.
Don’t buy new furniture if your furniture is outdated. Instead, consider giving it a makeover.
Old furniture can be given new life by restoring or repainting it. It is possible, for example, to paint kitchen cabinets to transform them, or to paint a room like a pro, saving money on a decorator.
14. Keep your water heater insulated.
You should be able to reduce standby heat losses by 25% to 45% by installing water heater insulation, and you will be able to save around 7%-16% on your water heating bills.
To avoid creating a fire hazard, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
15. Make your own household cleaners.
Making your own household cleaners can help the environment and save you money. If you want to make your own glass cleaner, mix two cups of water with half a cup of vinegar instead of using store-bought. For an easy all-purpose cleaning solution, mix one quart of warm water with four tablespoons of baking soda.
16. Buy rechargeable batteries.
You can easily go through tons of batteries regularly with electronic gadgets or toys for children. Rather than constantly buying new batteries, switch to rechargeables. A quality battery charger is available for almost any battery type, like this Energizer Rechargeable AA and AAA Battery Charger for about $18.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry about disposing of them in the long run.
17. Seal doors and windows with caulk or weatherstripping.
It may not be as glamorous as solar panels, but caulk will save you money immediately rather than take 14 years to pay off. It will cost you $3 to $30 and save you between 10% and 20% on your utility bills.
You can add weatherstripping between moving parts if caulking isn’t an option.
18. Repurpose old clothing.
The cost of cotton rags for painting, cleaning, and dusting projects can add up quickly. With old T-shirts and other unused garments, you can make rags for free.
Using scissors or a utility knife, you can convert unwanted clothing into useful rags in a few minutes.
19. Use a toaster oven.
Every meal does not require a full oven to cook or bake. Toaster ovens are more cost-effective and time-saving than full-size ovens when preparing a small meal for one or two people. The power used by a toaster oven to cook the same meal is approximately 12% to 13% of that used by a full-size oven. To save energy, use the toaster oven when you can unless you are cooking for the whole family.
At Amazon, you can find the Oster Toaster Oven with convection cooking and it can fit a 12-inch pizza for around $120.
20. Insulate your home with curtains.
Are there other ways to reduce energy consumption through passive heating and cooling? Absolutely. In the winter, open curtains on sunny windows, and in the summer, close them.
However, the cost of curtains these days is outrageous. As such, this is why making your own is a huge money-saver. You can make drapes without sewing if you follow some easy no-sew tutorials.
21. Set up a compost bin.
It is common for people to buy fresh vegetables and store them in the refrigerator for days until the food no longer tastes good, then throw away the old food. As such, think about planting some of your favorite vegetables in the garden or in indoor planters to cut down on your grocery bills.
You can harvest the vegetables as they grow instead of keeping them in the fridge to slowly decay. Adding a touch of flavor to your favorite meals can also be accomplished by growing your own herbs and spices.
Although this is a longer-term investment, building your own garden can be challenging and expensive. However, composting now will save you tons of fertilizer and expensive soil for next year’s garden if you start tossing your food waste now. As an added benefit, composting is also environmentally friendly.
22. You should only DIY within your means.
You can save money by doing home repairs and construction yourself. However, you should only DIY things you are comfortable with. You may end up paying more than you can afford if you make major construction or repair mistakes
Performing electrical work improperly, for example, could result in death. It is not only the person doing the work who may suffer severe injuries (or even death) if electrical work is done incorrectly, but everyone living in the house and even neighbors can suffer as well. It’s best to leave electrical work to the professionals if you aren’t familiar with it.
Plumbing should be left to the professionals, just like electricity. Your home is at risk of water damage and flooding if plumbing work is not done properly by an experienced plumber.
23. Cancel unused subscriptions.
Getting rid of household expenses subscriptions you don’t use frequently is one of the best ways to save money. You should unsubscribe from streaming platforms you don’t use very much, such as Netflix, f you subscribe to a variety of them. In other words, don’t pay for services you don’t use.
The information you need can be found online, or through apps designed to assist you in identifying and canceling unused subscriptions.
To get rid of hidden/unused subscriptions, you can review your bank and credit card statements. Or, you can use apps designed to assist you in identifying and canceling unused subscriptions. Examples include:
- Trim. If you have any recurring subscription charges on your bank or credit card records, Trim can find them for you and cancel them. Additionally, it can be used to negotiate lower utility bills and get better insurance rates. In exchange for successful bill negotiation, Trim charges a lump sum of 15 percent of the amount it saves you annually.
- Rocket Money. Besides helping you track all your subscriptions in one place, Rocket Money can also help you budget by keeping track of how much money you make, how much you spend, and how much you save. You can choose from $3-$12/month on a sliding scale. Annual billing is available for the $3 and $4 options.
- TrackMySubs. As well as being marketed to small businesses, Track My Subs is also available to consumers. Instead of a mobile app, users enter their subscriptions, payment information, and due dates on a browser-based platform. The free plan allows tracking of ten subscriptions, while the $10 paid plan allows tracking of unlimited subscriptions and multiple users for $30 per month.
24. Bundle your communications.
Get the best deal on home internet, phone, and cable services when you take advantage of the many triple-play deals. Bundling such items can often save you money, and many providers reward customer loyalty by offering further discounts.
25. Reduce the cost of your homeowner’s insurance.
There are several ways you can reduce your monthly homeowner’s insurance bill if you own your home.
To reduce your homeowner’s insurance costs, you can:
- Increase your deductible.
- Install home security devices, such as fire and burglar alarms.
- Make your home weatherproof by adding storm shutters and laminated glass windows.
26. Make sure your mortgage PMI is up to date.
According to Freddie Mac, you’ll generally pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed. If you have a low credit score and a high loan-to-value ratio, this amount may vary.
As soon as your loan-to-value ratio falls below 80% of the home’s original appraised value, you can request the cancellation of PMI. Your home might be able to be canceled sooner if its value rises before then.
Is there a certain amount I should save every month?
A good rule of thumb is to save between 10% and 20% of your paycheck each month.
Following the 50/30/20 rule, 50% of your income should be spent on necessities, 30% on disposable income, and 20% on savings.
Based on your income and living costs, this budgeting method might not work for you. If you prefer, you can use the 80/20 method, which still dictates that you save 20% of your income, but divide the remaining 80% as you see fit between expenses.
Unless you can dedicate that much to savings, make your own budgeting rules. Even if it’s a small amount, you should consistently save money.
What is the fastest way to save money?
The best way to save money more quickly is to put it into a high-yield savings account that works for you. Other suggestions would be to Sell items online on sites like eBay and Poshmark and cook at home.
Furthermore, check to see if your home has any insulation leaks, use smart power strips, and switch to more energy-efficient appliances. You could also bundle services and cancel subscriptions.
Is it better to save or pay off my debts?
The best thing to do is to do both simultaneously. But if you have to choose, it is best to pay off debts first.
The interest you pay on your debt exceeds any savings you could make. To help with money management, begin by paying off one debt, then move on to the next. While paying down debts, save your emergency fund if at all possible.
Do I really need an emergency fund?
Unless you have savings, even a minor financial shock could set you back, and if it turns into debt, it could have a lasting effect.
Research suggests that people who suffer a financial shock are less likely to have savings for future emergencies. As a result, they may use credit cards or loans, which can lead to hard-to-pay debt. To cover these costs, they may also draw on other savings, like retirement funds.
In case of unemployment or emergency costs, experts recommend keeping between three and six months’ worth of living expenses on hand. You should, however, save more if you can.