There are people that will always say “there’s just no money to save!” (I know because I used to be one of those people!). Luckily, there are actually A TON of ways to get some cash back into your pockets by doing a few simple things around the house. We all know there is no better time than right now to start saving more money!
I’ve compiled a massive list for you, and I’d love to hear what you do to save money around the house. Let me know in the comments, and tell me if I missed anything! I always love hearing what you all do to save because y’all are always coming up with clever ways to save money that just blow my mind.
64 Ways to Save Money Around the House…
In the Kitchen:
1. Keep an Active Shopping List
One of the biggest money wasters is at the grocery store. How often do you buy things you think you may need, and not things you actually do need? Keep a magnetic shopping list on the refrigerator and when you run out of something, write it down. Aaron and I started using a free app called Wunderlist and we just recently made a shared grocery list that we can each update and it syncs the lists together so if either of us is out we can stop by the grocery store, and not worry that we’re missing something that we need. Also, rather than shopping for a little bit each day, make the most efficient use of your time (and gas!) by going to the grocery store once a week.
2. Make Pantry-Compatible Recipes
When learning about the latest recipes featured on Pinterest, actively search for the ones that have all the ingredients already in your pantry. There are even websites that allow you to input what you have and offer recipes for what you can make, like Recipe Puppy. Fetch Boo Boo, Fetch. Good dog.
3. Eat Fresh
People complain about the cost of eating organic. The truth is if you buy weekly lots of fresh veggies and fruit and skip all of the processed, expensive stuff, you’ll end up with serious savings at the grocery store and you’ll learn to eat healthier overall. (Be sure to check out: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Organic on a Budget for tips on this subject.)
4. Hydrate with H2O
Break the addiction to sodas, teas, and other beverages by sticking to water. Get yourself a BPA free plastic water from Craigslist so you can eliminate the on-going cost of purchasing bottled water. (Ack. That’s SUCH a waste of money!)
5. Have Potluck Gatherings
Don’t miss out on qualify time with friends. Invite them over but request a potluck-style gathering where everyone brings something to share to cut down on your costs hosting the gathering. (Be sure to take a look at: 56 Things to do Instead of Spending Money for a lot more ideas about how to save money with friends.)
6. Cook in Bulk, Skip the Drive-Thru
Meal plan then designate a day of the week, like a Sunday afternoon (or even better, a weekday night to skip the grocery store crowds), to do a bunch of bulk cooking. Put a few dishes in the refrigerator to easily reheat for dinner and freeze a few other dishes for later in the week. Casseroles and other simple recipes freeze well and reheat in no time so you can skip the expense of fast-food. (A post on meal planning that you might like: Let’s Plan Some Meals!)
7. Subscribe to Sunday’s Paper
If you subscribe to the daily paper, consider cancelling and read the local news online instead. However, keep or sign up for a subscription to the Sunday edition of the paper so you’ll get the coupons, and sales fliers. Or, even better? Ask a friend who subscribes to the paper if you can just have the coupons, if they’re not going to use them.
8. Make Snacks, Don’t Buy Them
The cost of a pre-packaged snack or desert is can way more expensive than if you make it at home. You can make a whole pan of brownies for less than $3 but may pay $2.50 or more for one pre-packaged brownie at a coffee shop.
9. Drop Your Bad Habits
If you keep cigarettes in the house, beer in the fridge, and liquor in the cabinet, you may want to consider making some changes in your lifestyle. These bad habits are not only costing you cash now, they could eventually hit you in the wallet when it comes to your health. (Related relevant post: Your Habits are Making You Broke.)
10. Borrow What You Rarely Need
Forget buying the newfangled appliances to make smoothies or a rotisserie chicken. If you have a special recipe that calls for such a device, find a neighbor or friend that has one you can borrow. (This is also true of lawn equipment, tools, and other very expensive things you may only use once in a blue moon).
11. Try Generic
Admittedly, not all things generic taste the same when it comes to prepared foods. But there is so much money to be saved buying the store brand in pantry staples, medications, breakfast cereals, and more. My rule: always go for generic unless you have a super good reason not to.
Around the House, in General:
12. Launder in Cold Temps
The costly part of washing your dirty laundry is heating up all that wash water. Most clothing will was just fine in cold water. You don’t even need to spend extra on the “special” detergent recommended for cold washes. I save money by always only washing in COLD, and since the colors don’t bleed with the cold water I don’t sort the clothes into different loads based on color so this method saves time too! (Try out this super easy DIY: How to Make Liquid Laundry Detergent for Under 5¢ Per Load)
13. Air Dry Clothes
If you have the space in your house or yard, devise a system for hanging up the majority of your clothing to dry. Not only will you save on the cost of electricity, your clothes will also last longer than if routinely dried with direct heat. We have a little bit of space where we’ve rigged up a small retractable clothesline and it’s so nice to have available. We got it for a few bucks, and it’s been surprisingly durable. I’ve noticed hotels will sometimes have retractable clothes lines above the shower rods so consider that placement if you’re low on space.
14. Eliminate Phantom Electricity
It’s a hassle, I know, but unplug unused electronics and appliances to avoid using excess electricity unnecessarily. Only plug in things when you need to use them.
15. Get Back to Cleaning Basics
While there are many products on the market supposedly made to clean anything, they can certainly cost you a bundle. In reality, basic cleaning supplies of the olden days work just as effectively now as they did when your great-grandmother used them. Vinegar and baking soda are just two cheap but very effective products to use throughout the whole house to clean and disinfect. Try these recipes: Cheap Green Cleaning.
16. Skip the Candles
Everyone likes their home to smell good. Candles and room sprays can get very costly especially if you have to buy them multiple times a month. Again, basic items like baking soda can reduce odors in carpets and fabrics. A small pot of cinnamon and vanilla extra simmering on the stove can make the house inviting to visitors.
17. Learn Basic House Maintenance
A home gets a lot of living done inside it throughout a year. It is important to know how to properly maintain it on your own such as cleaning filters, re-caulking bathtubs, and the other tasks around your home that need yearly care.
18. Rent a Steam Cleaner
Carpets can get dirty from foot traffic, kids, and pets. Rent a quality steam cleaner from the grocery or hardware store. Every few months, steam clean the rugs in the rooms most used to restore them and bring them back to life rather than replacing them.
19. Learn to Sew
Sewing is an age-old skill that everyone should learn on a basic level. Rather than throw away things that have torn including clothing, coats, curtains, and other household items, a few simple stitches can repair them for continued use.
20. Repair Small Things ASAP
When you notice something in your home is beginning to break or wear out, don’t delay repairs. A simple leak in the bathroom faucet can turn into a major repair project that drains your bank account. The same is true of your car.
21. Seek Out Thrifty Décor
Being thrifty and cash-conscious doesn’t mean you need to live in a boring, undecorated house. There are many opportunities for you to get quality, attractive items without spending a fortune. Hit up real estate auctions, yard sales, and consignment stores to find treasures other people have given up or left behind OR swap home decorating items with friends.
22. DIY Only Within Your Limits
Doing home repairs and construction on your own is a great way to save money on labor costs but you should only DIY the things you know how to do. If you make major construction or repair mistakes, it may end up costing you more than you can afford. 8 Home Projects You Should Just Pay Someone to Do.
23. Suggest a Barter
If you have handy friends and family members that can do the work you need done in and around the home, suggest a barter system. You can use your skills (cleaning, babysitting) to benefit them in some way while you rely on their handyman expertise, with no money changing hands.
24. Do a House Sweep to Organize Your Stuff
While time pressures usually prevent this from happening on a regular basis, make a point to schedule one weekend a year to do a clean sweep of the house. In Spring or Fall, a thorough cleaning will allow you to identify potential problem areas that need repair and it will likely produce a lot of stuff you’ve bought time and again because you couldn’t find it in the first place. Have a goal of making a place for everything so you can find it easily and spend less on repeat purchases. Do the ultimate de-clutter by trying out The Minimalist Challenge.
25. Repurpose What You’ve Got
Our homes can get boring over time so if you feel the need for change, try rearranging the furniture. Use items you already have in a new way. Dig things out of storage you haven’t seen in a while to bring subtle changes to your overall home’s interior.
26. Close the Gaps
Stop letting your money blow out of the window each day. You need to inspect windows and door ways for air leaks. Plugging up the drafts will help you save money on heating and air conditioning costs.
27. Invest in Warm Blankets
During the cold months heating costs can skyrocket just trying to keep the family warm. Invest in a few space heaters and warm blankets for the nights when everyone is hanging out together in one area and turn heat down in other parts of the house. (Note: don’t sleep with space heaters on or leave them unattended. They can cause fires!)
28. Buy Rechargeables
With so many electronics in our homes, you may be spending more than you realize on batteries. Invest in a quality set of rechargeable batteries rather than constantly buying new ones.
29. Downsize Collectibles
When cleaning out your home in the grand sweep, take note of the specific items you have been collecting over the years. Some may be personally valuable while others may be financially valuable. Perhaps it’s a good time to sell or auction a collection that is no longer active. If you spend a lot of cash in a year supplementing various collectibles, consider those priorities against your other financial goals. Related: How to Make Money Selling Your Crap.
30. Get Paid to Recycle
There are locations around the country that pay you cash for recycling different kinds of items. You can earn money back and get rid of the clutter at the same time without additional expense of haul-a-ways to the dump.
31. Landscape with Transplanted Plants
To freshen up the exterior of your home, don’t spend a fortune at the local nursery. Instead ask family and friends for trimmings of their plants. Many perennial plants and bulbs can easily be divided and shared. Transplant the ones you like best into your own yard.
32. Clean Out the Garage (and Get Rid of the Storage Unit!)
In addition to reducing the clutter in your home, your clean garage can also save you money by protecting one of your bigger investments – your vehicle. Garage-kept vehicles likely won’t be stolen and they will be protected from the elements of nature that can shorten their lifespan and cause damage to the exterior. (See: Cleaning Out the Storage Unit to Save Money)
33. Unload Your Car
While not technically a part of the house, a fully weighted down vehicle will cost more in gas money and take away cash from other household needs. Remove unnecessary things in your backseat and trunk while you are cleaning out your garage.
34. Keep a ‘Pass Along’ Closet
Designate a space in your home (basement, closet, cubbyhole) where you put items you can reuse. This includes items that you receive but can’t use which could be a nice re-gift down the line or clothing you plan to hand down to younger siblings. Whenever there is a need, you’ll have a go-to place without spending money or worrying about the item being misplaced.
35. Consider a Stay-Cation
A stay-cation is where you take time off of work like you would for a vacation but you don’t actually go anywhere far from home. Take a week’s stay-cation and spend the first few days reorganizing your entire house, using the ideas from this post. Then treat yourself and your family to the next few days of quality time having fun and relaxing. Once your physical and financial houses are in order, you’ll truly be able to enjoy the time spent together.
Around the House, Bills and Expenses:
36. Reduce Unused Expenses
If you are paying for things you don’t even use, take time to find out what those things are and cancel them. This includes gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and online automatic account renewals.
37. Use Online Bill Pay
Banks offer online bill pay where your creditors are paid on the date you designate each month without your having to do a thing after the initial set up. Avoid late fees and other penalties by automating your payments but PLEASE, you’ve still gotta monitor what they are charging you so you don’t get ripped off if they bill you incorrectly.
38. Go Through Mail Daily
People tend to set daily mail aside and go through a big pile all at once. This practice will make it easy to miss bills with no grace periods and incur extra charges. You may also miss out on correspondence that requires your timely reply to avoid additional charges.
39. Stay on Task with a To-Do Calendar
To avoid missing out on due dates and renewal notices, keep a regular calendar just for your financial life. One quick glance and you know what to expect and how to plan your budget for the whole month.
40. Collect Spare Change (and $5 Bills)
Set up spare change collection jars in different locations around the house where change is likely to land including the bathroom, laundry room, bedrooms, and kitchen. Keep saving up all the change you find with a goal in mind such as vacation, rainy day fund, or other savings plan. Even better? Try the $5 Dollar Savings Plan that I recently ran across on Pinterest. Here’s how it works: Simply set aside every single $5 bill that’s in your possession to quickly (and painlessly) watch your savings grow!
41. Lock On Heating Oil Prices When Low
If you rely on oil for heating your home in the winter, check with your oil company to find out the details about locking in low rates by pre-paying seasonally for oil. You won’t have to worry about rising prices when temperatures drop and you may get a discount if you pay in cash.
42. Pay a Double Mortgage in December
If you can swing it, may an extra mortgage payment in December to take advantage of the tax deduction on the interest for the year. You can save a couple hundred dollars by planning ahead for this double payment.
43. Pay Auto Insurance Annually in Full
Auto insurance companies often give discounts for paying for a full six months or a year for insurance coverage instead of paying month to month.
44. Coordinate Cash Back Rewards
If you have a credit card that offers cash back rewards, capitalize on this to get back as much cash as you can. For every purchase made on the card, set the same amount of cash aside in an envelope so you’ll be assured you can deposit the full amount of the credit card balance into the bank at the end of the billing cycle. (Note: PLEASE DO NOT GET – OR USE – A CREDIT CARD, ANY CREDIT CARD, IF YOU ARE IN DEBT.)
45. Automate Savings
Much like automated bill payments, you can automate your savings plan. Have your payroll department deposit the majority of your paycheck into one main bank account and allocate a percentage to go directly into a savings account you never touch. This makes it more likely that you’ll keep saving. You’ll never even miss the percentage diverted elsewhere.
46. Do Once-a-Year Comparison Shopping
If you get complacent about the services you pay for, you may find you are paying way more than you should. Once a year, take a good look at the accounts you have open and make sure they are still in line with your financial goals. Bank fees too high? Find a new one. Mortgage too high? Consider refinancing.
47. Complain About Costs
When you have a good grasp of what you are paying for in services, make a call into the customer service line to find out what can be done to lower costs. Many service providers will try to keep your business by reducing your bill without reducing services. The worst that can happen is they say no and you’ll take your business elsewhere.
48. Skip the Fads
Any time you see an “As Seen on TV” product, your instincts should tell you to look the other way. Don’t invest your money in fad products that make promises that sound too good to be true.
49. Avoid the Latest Technology – For Now
While the hype over the latest computer or phone can be intoxicating, keep more money in your wallet by practicing patience. Wait several months for the prices to drop to an affordable level before investing in the latest technology that is likely to be outdated in a few months’ time anyway.
50. Become a Consignor Aficionado
Consignment shops tend to offer higher-quality merchandise than a typical thrift store. You can get brand name gear with the tags still on for a fraction of the retail cost. Same goes for furniture, books, housewares, and the like. To save on shopping costs, take your own stuff in to consign once you’ve de-cluttered your own living space.
51. Buy Big for Quality, Not Cost
When it comes time to make a big ticket purchase, go for quality over price every time. It is important to read reviews and research the products you will have to spend money like refrigerators, stoves, lawn mowers, and furniture. You may pay a bit more upfront but you could save yourself a crapload by not having to do costly repairs or replace the appliance all together in a few years.
52. Read the Small Print – All of It
I know it’s painful but you must read the fine print before you sign a contract and agree to anything. By missing out on this hard-to-read information you may be agreeing to pay costs or commit yourself to something that will create a financial hardship.
Saving on Kids Things Around the House:
53. Mom Swap for Kid Stuff
If you are a parent of a young child, you know kids get bored of the same thing. Rather than give in to the demands of “buy me something!”, coordinate with other parents to trade off toys, games, books, and more through the years. This can drastically cut costs in just one year’s time.
54. Outfit Kids Frugally
Kids grow fast so include clothing in your mom-swap idea. You can also score great clothes, often ones with brand names at consignment stores or from hand-me-downs of older siblings and relatives.
55. Play Make-Believe with the Kids
Forget the gadgets and technology for the kids in your life, at least for the younger ones. There is no greater toy for a kid to play with than mom and dad. Plan time each day to get down on the floor and be present with your kids. Spend your hours playing in the land of make believe instead of spending money at the mall.
56. Be Selective about Fundraising for the Kids
Raising kids can get really expensive with school-aged offspring. Fundraisers through sports, clubs, and the school itself can cost a fortune especially if you feel guilty saying no. If there is a method for opting out of the fundraiser by paying an additional fee, consider this a good trade off.
57. Schedule Regular Doctor Visits
Health checkups can help prevent serious illnesses so get to the doctor at least once a year for a physical and necessary tests insurance covers.
58. Have Good Oral Hygiene
Even with dental insurance, the cost of pulling a tooth or having restorative dental work done can be very expensive. Prevent emergency root canals and other costly procedures by visiting the dentist every six months. Dentist schools need practice patients too (just like hair schools need people to work on) so while will likely time up more of your time to have work done by a dental student you’ll save a chunk of money.
59. Exercise Around the Block
Regular exercise is important to avoid healthcare costs but you don’t have to spend cash on a gym to stay active. Walk around the block, through the neighborhood, at the local high school track field. (Be sure to check out: “I Lost 84 Pounds Without a Gym Membership”)
60. Get Beautiful with Friends
Taking time for yourself is important but you can do it frugally among friends. Plan a fun day of pampering with your girlfriends giving each other pedicures, facials, and manicures rather than visiting a costly salon.
61. Seek Out the Services of Students
When you are in need of more professional assistance, seek out a trade school for a professional haircut, color, or a massage. While students may be performing the service, an instructor is close by to make sure the work is done right but at a fraction of the cost at a salon or spa.
62. Get Preventative Care for Pets
Like us, our pets need annual medical checkups to make sure things are all good. If a pet should develop a health problem, early detection and intervention can lessen the medical costs in the long run. (Got a pet? Read this one when you have a sec: 17 Ways to Save Money on Pet Expenses)
63. Unplug the Boob Tube
Not likely to be a popular tip but unplugging the television has many benefits, least of all eliminating an expensive cable bill each month Without a television distracting you, you may find your productivity and creativity levels rise significantly. When you need your lounging/zone-out fix there are, in our age of the internet, a bunch of ways to still enjoy screen time. Here are a few: 12 Ways to Watch Movies Without Breaking the Law.
64. Learn to Say No…and Mean It
People often spend money they don’t have because they feel uncomfortable telling people no. If you are not in a place where you can or want to spend money, learn to say so with confidence for the good of your family. It is not financially smart to chase other people’s financial goals and try to keep up with their spending habits. What do you do in this situation when everyone else had steaks and lobster and you had a dinner roll? Out to Eat and They Want to Split the Bill Equally.
What are your favorite ways to save money around the house?
Nice to know I’m not the only person to use Wunderlist for their grocery list ;)
Such great tips! Food was a key area for us to realize savings. We had always assumed that groceries were a sort of “fixed” expense, but they are absolutely not! We’ve been able to get our all-inclusive food spending down to $330/month for two adults. And, we still eat a ton of organic fruits and vegetables!
You are so right about avoiding packaged and processed foods–we rarely buy anything in a package. We cook from scratch, we don’t waste food, and we rarely eat meat. We’re healthier and saving more money than ever. It’s been a great change for us!
So agree about going big on quality. This is such a smart long-term financial strategy, and it’s so good for the planet as well.
Plus, well-made stuff is a joy to use.
Great tips! Thanks for acknowledging that cash back on credit cards (when paid in full every month and used responsibly) can be a money saver. It drives me nuts when money saving gurus write off credit cards a being 100% evil. I’ve got one card that give me back 5% back on gas and groceries. I’m going to spend the money anyway, so I might as well get the cash back.
Sounds like a great way to save for the Holidays this year!
Thanks for sharing these great tips! I’ve always enjoyed following your blog and find it so inspirational as I set out to tackle my own debt!
I just wanted to give you a little secret about #18: buy your own steam cleaner! They are not that expensive. I think we paid about $160 for ours and we’ve had it going on five years now and use it several times a year. The ones at the grocery store never seem to work. No one actually services those things and they always come with Resolve. My husband had a friend who used to work for a hasmat company and he said that while Resolve will clean your carpet, it never washes out of the carpet and the residue left behind will capture more dirt in the long that will not wash out. Seriously, buy your own!
As I skimmed through this list, I was happy to see that I do a lot of these already! One small thing that disappoints me is this: when I lived in Iowa, you could get five cents back on any pop cans and pop bottles and the like that you returned for recycling. Now that I live in Indiana, that is no longer available! I miss that small service. Anyway, things I do that I enjoy doing are: doing small things to my car (so I don’t have to go to a garage and pay for it), sewing/stitching, and letting my clothes air dry. The latter is especially good in the winter; all the damp clothes make the dry air a little more tolerable, haha.
#6 and 13 have been big for me. I like to make food in batches (like chili or burritos), so it’s easy to pull out a serving and heat it up…easier than fast food even. And I made my own indoor clothesline to hang in my bedroom so I can dry my clothes.
These are very promising advice’s, especially on the credit card deal. That jacks you up if your not paying attention.
This is a great post! I have been trying to figure out ways to save money and I think I have found a few things that I can do. Thanks for the tips!
So glad you found it helpful!