With the economy the way it is and job security so low, most people are looking for ways to save a little extra cash each month. Even if your job’s not going anywhere and you’re not feeling the pressures of difficult situations, it’s still nice to have extra money in your pocket. The quickest way to reclaim some of your hard-earned money is by finding ways around the house to cut your expenses without hurting your way of life.
Get a big freezer
One quick expense that will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run is a deep stand-alone freezer. You can get one at most big box stores, and Craigslist is always a smart place to look for items like this. A big freezer allows you to take advantage of sales, meaning you’ll never have to buy pricey chicken because you’ll have plenty of it stored up from the time it was on sale. If a friend or neighbor offers you a big chunk of fish from their latest trip out to sea, you never have to turn it down.
A big freezer also lets you make big batches of food at once. If you make six lasagnas instead of just one, it cuts down prep-time overall, gives you lots of future meals that are ready to pop in the oven, and allows you to purchase the ingredients in bulk. Just make sure that you label everything in the freezer with the date it was purchased or prepared and you don’t allow food to spoil, and it can be a real money-saver.
Turn off anything you’re not using
This sounds like such an automatic tip, but most people don’t actually practice this. If you’re not home, lights should be off and the thermostat should be set so the heater or air conditioner doesn’t kick in. Why spend money to heat or cool an empty home? When you’re home, don’t leave additional lights on, keep the thermostat at a comfortable but weather-appropriate temperature (a little lower in the winter and higher in the summer), and turn off the TV if it’s not being watched. These simple practices will save you a surprising amount over the long run.
If you’re looking to cut big electricity drainers, just stop using your dryer. Dryers use a ridiculous amount of energy, so air-drying what you can and drying only big loads at a time can drop your electricity bill and save you some cash. It’s also better for your clothes and makes them last longer.
Buy better stuff
This may sound counter-intuitive, but “better” doesn’t necessarily mean “more expensive.” If you buy something cheaply-made, you will probably have to purchase another rather quickly, or be unhappy with your choice. Before making most purchases, look up the item and find out which brand makes the best quality for your cash. The better item isn’t always the most expensive, but even if it is, you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy that thing brand new. Often, buying a good-quality item used will outlast buying a bad one fresh from the store.
If you’re purchasing something small or unimportant, by all means get the cheapest one there is, but if it’s something you want to have last a while or you need quality, check before buying. Better products last longer, work better, and will keep their value for longer.
If you make a few simple adjustments around the house, saving money becomes extremely simple. Take that extra money, even if it’s just a few dollars, and put it towards your debt or do give your savings a boost. Over the long run, and as you practice your saving techniques and become more efficient at home, you can keep a pretty large chunk of cash in your pocket each month.