Running a household can be expensive. Big savings on things like mortgage rates and large purchases are worth more dollar wise, but you can also save by cutting back on smaller stuff.
A lot of what we do are just habits. With just a little thought you can easily minimize costs. Here are some real life money saving tips
25 Money Saving Tips
Get energy smart
I was talking to a sales rep in a show home and he told me he has to frequently make the rounds of the model houses to turn the lights back on. So, it seems we have the “turn the lights off when you leave a room” habit down pat.
Here are some other things you can do to reduce your utility bills:
1. Install a programmable thermostat. I used to be the first one up and turned up the thermostat on those chilly winter mornings, but I often forgot to turn it back down again when I left for work. With a programmable thermostat, you can set it to a lower temperature when you’re at work and when you go to bed. They are easy to override if you happen to be home that day.
2. Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to save money, energy and for safety. BC Hydro recommends a temperature of 55-60 degrees Celsius (130-140 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. If your large appliances are older that 10 years, consider replacing them with higher efficiency Energy Star products.
4. Do an energy audit to clue you into areas with high energy use. Many utility companies offer them for free. In Calgary, the library lets you check out an energy meter that you plug in to see how much energy your appliances use.
5. Turn off the “heat dry” on your dishwasher. Open the door when the cycle is done and let the dishes air dry.
6. Fridges and freezers are two of the most expensive appliances to run. Keep your freezer full and the fridge partially full. Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time needed to run to stay cool. Also, don’t store uncovered food in the fridge. Condensation makes it work harder.
7. A lot of heat is sucked out of your home through all the cracks and openings. You can pick up a couple of inexpensive packages of outlet sealers from the hardware store and place them behind all outlets and light switches on exterior walls.
8. Check around your windows and doors for drafts. Install weather stripping to fill them in. Then look at your window coverings. Heavy drapes will block the sun in summer and insulate against the cold in winter. Would an awning on the outside help?
Learn how to do more yourself
Develop your DIY skills so you can keep your home well maintained, without all those pricy service calls. You can also use your new knowledge to ask good questions if you do need to hire a professional.
9. Use a list like this “Home Maintenance Checklist” for your monthly and seasonal maintenance tasks.
10. Make your own eco-friendly cleaners.
Get cheap thrills
Examine your entertainment spending. Saving money doesn’t mean you have to give up fun.
11. The library is not only a great place to borrow books, movies and CD’s, many also offer passes for local attractions.
12. Look online for free events: summer concerts in the park, plays and lectures at the university, high school football or other sports events, and more.
13. Your local community centre may offer free or low-cost outings, exercise classes, children’s activities, and pub nights with card and crib matches.
14. Revive your childhood experiences and break out your board games. This is a great activity for groups of friends and families with children.
15. Go for a scenic walk or bike ride and finish off with a picnic.
Save money on clothes
16. Learn some sewing basics so you can make minor repairs and alterations to your clothing – hem your pants and skirts, sew on a button, sew up a torn seam, put in a new zipper.
17. Launder items promptly to avoid stains setting in. Washing with cold water makes fabrics last longer.
18. Buy good quality basics, then learn to accessorize and co-ordinate your wardrobe for more mix and match options with fewer pieces.
19. Check the back of your closet or drawers. There may be something there you forgot you had.
20. Don’t pay full price for a new outfit. Pay attention to sales cycles. Check the end-of-season clearance racks and buy for next year (although this can be tricky with kids – a growth spurt can skip a size or two).
21. Scour second hand stores. Thrift stores, “vintage” stores, and consignment shops are often treasure troves for the savvy shopper. You will have to do some digging but you can often find designer clothes and accessories at deeply discounted prices. Younger children grow out of their clothing so fast you can easily find clothes at these stores in excellent condition.
22. Check for discounted display items or demo models for sale. This works for cars, appliances, mattresses, and almost any big-ticket item.
23. Shop right after major holidays. Buy candy the day after Halloween or Easter and it’s typically half price or less. If you have the storage space you can save a lot by buying a Halloween costumes or holiday-related decorations right after the holiday, then setting them aside until next year.
24. Before you buy something, type the brand and style into your search engine to compare different retailers’ prices for the same item.
25. Buy some time. Set aside the purchase you are considering for a few hours (or a day or two) before you decide whether to buy it. Often you may decide you can easily live without it.
Your turn: Do you have any good money saving tips?