If saving money came naturally, we’d probably all be rich. Unfortunately, keeping the pennies in the bank is something most Mom’s and Dad’s struggle with. People often assume that saving money requires big changes and a lot of effort but in reality, that’s just not true! Making a few small changes around the home can have a noticeable impact on your bank account while doing great things for the environment at the same time. These five tips are quick and easy but make a big difference when it comes to cutting costs and living green.
Master the 30 Day Rule
The premise of the 30 day rule is simple – if you don’t absolutely need it, sleep on your decision to make the purchase for 30 days before taking the plunge. Abiding by this rule will keep you from purchasing products that you don’t need and make the things you do end up purchasing that much more significant. You’ll be amazed at how quickly something you absolutely need will become something you can definitely live without.
Avoid Brand-Name Household Cleaners
There is absolutely no need to spend money on expensive brand name cleaners, everything you need to get your house spick and span is already hiding around your home.
- Regular old white vinegar is the superhero of everyday cleaners – it keeps your drains clog free, your floors clean, clothes soft and coffee pot clear.
- Bathtub needing a good scrub? Grab some baking soda and get to work. It’s just as effective as any brand name abrasive cleaner and it’s completely environmentally friendly!
- Before tossing the newspaper in the bin, use it to clean your windows. Spray a bit of vinegar on a handful and start wiping for quick and easy streak-free clean.
- Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant – mix it with some vinegar, vanilla oil and water for a fresh smelling disinfectant spray.
Cathy from Organized by Cathy has even more great tips for green cleaning using household products!
Reuse And Recycle
One sure-fire way to save money is to try and reuse items you already have instead of purchasing something new. There are lots of really useful things you can make out of household items that might otherwise be garbage. As kids head back to school you might find that one of your biggest expenses is supplies. Before heading to the local office supplies store, take a look around the home first.
- Old pencil cases can be reused by covering with fabric scraps, which covers holes and gives them a whole new look.
- Create your own dry erase board using an old picture from or piece of mirrored glass.
- Cover empty coffee tins with construction paper or fabric and use them to organize pencils, pens, rulers, etc.
- Don’t waste money on expensive designed pencils; cover the ones you already have with scraps of cool paper or magazines using a little bit of clear glue or mod podge.
Instead of calling in the repairman or even worse, throwing something out, make a commitment to repair your household items on your own. You’d be surprised how easy it is to fix things on your own, especially with a little bit of help from the internet. Sites like PartSelect are geared towards DIY appliance repair and walk homeowners through the diagnoses, testing and actual repair of their fridges, stoves and dryers, to name only a few. On average, a repairman charges anywhere between $60 – $75 just to walk in your front door; purchasing the part on your own can cost less than $20 and require only a few minutes to fix.
The next time your washer breaks or your sink starts to leaking, do some research to find out whether you can solve the problem on your own.
Use Less Energy
Using less energy is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment too. Cutting back isn’t as tough as you might think either, a few small changes can have a big impact on your energy bills. Here are a few quick and easy ways to make a difference:
- Close the curtains, especially when it’s warm. The sun might be beautiful but it’s also hot; keep it out of the rooms you use the most so that your air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime.
- Unplug things that aren’t in use, like toasters, radios, extra tv’s, fridges and computers. As convenient as it may be to have your mini-oven at a ready state all the time, as long as it’s plugged in it’s using energy.
- Spend a few extra dollars and purchase energy efficient light bulbs – they’re brighter, last forever and use 75% less energy than generic incandescent bulbs.
- Drafty homes cost more money, it’s as simple as that. Seal all cracks and leaks to save money on your home heating bill.
- There’s no need to wash your clothes in hot water, cold will do just fine. Although you can purchase detergents specific to cold water washing, they’re really not necessary – regular Tide (or whatever your favored brand is) will do the trick.
This is a guest post by Jessi who writes about everything from living green to DIY home repair! She is from PartSelect.com, DIY repair resource and distributor of GE Appliance Parts.