May 13, 2013

Around-the-House Savings

Lavender Flower Girl Dress
You may think that you are saving as much as you possibly can right now, but I imagine there are at least one or two things that you are overlooking. I know that I’m always looking for additional ways that I can save money and I’m usually able to find them, when I look…even when I think I’m doing everything I can to save money. So, for the last few blog posts, I’ve shared tips for how you can save more on your food, laundry and travel expenses. Today, I’m going to help you save even more money around the house!

1.      Create a Budget – This may sound silly but creating a household budget really does save families a lot of money. Dave Ramsey and other financial experts all agree that if you don’t control your money, it will control you. This means that if you don’t decide where you want your money to go before you get it, it won’t get spent on the right things. Therefore, sit down and figure out how much money you have to have to cover all your expenses for the month (utilities, mortgage, vehicle payments, groceries, gas, credit card bills, etc.). Divide the total monthly costs up between the number of checks you receive each month and deposit appropriately into each “account” when the paychecks arrive. Make sure to put money in savings and allow some for entertainment. You will be surprised at the amount of money you can save when you create (and stick to) a budget.
 
2.      Do-It-Yourself – Another great and easy way to save money is to do things yourself. For example, do you really need to pay someone to come out and do your landscaping? Do you really need a housecleaner to come once a week? You can do things like this on your own and save a lot of money in the process. Additional do-it-yourself things include simple around the house projects (painting the eves of the house, cleaning the gutters, fixing the wood fence, etc.). You can also save money by making your own weed killer instead of buying the expensive stuff. Spraying for insects isn’t something only an exterminator can do either. If you buy the product yourself at the store and apply it yourself, you’ll save a lot of money too!

3.      Take Advantage of Reward-Offering Cards – There are a lot of people that disagree with using store cards because they affect your credit and increase the chances of incurring unpaid debt. However, if you are disciplined in regards to your finances and use store cards and credit cards like you do your checkbook (i.e., you subtract the money from your checking account when you charge it so you can pay the balance in full when the statement comes.) then don’t be afraid to take advantage of the cards that offer rewards. Regardless of whether it is a store card or a credit card. Sometimes the rewards offered are worth it. For example, my husband and I use a credit card for the gasoline we put in our vehicles. That adds up and the card we put it on pays us a portion of every dollar we spend, giving us a free tank of gas every so often. If we were to start using this card for our groceries and other regular expenses, we would earn even more quicker.
 
4.      Use Coupons – I am not saying to get into the extreme coupons like a lot of people do as that take a lot of time to master. However, I am telling you to take the time to use the coupons for items you buy on a regular basis. It may on be $.50 here and $.50 there, but that add up over time. 

5.      Consider Shopping Online – Finally, consider shopping online for some of the common household items. One of my favorite websites is soap.com. I’ve found a lot of things here for cheaper than I can get them for at the store. Things like paperclips, paper towels, deodorant and vitamins are all things I have saved on. The best part is that they are shipped right to my door, saving me time and gas!