9 Ways to Pinch Pennies Around the House
I’m certainly not an extreme frugalist. I’ll never reuse plastic bags or ration toilet paper into a certain number of squares per use, but if I can save a few pennies here and there, we all know they add up to dollars. Every dollar counts, especially if you are trying to get out of debt, save for a goal, or plan for retirement. Here are nine simple ways to pinch pennies around the house.
1. Eliminate Food Waste
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy. While that’s wrong to think about on many levels, it also adds up to lots of wasted money. Some easy ways to prevent food waste are using leftovers for brown bag lunches, freezing fruit and veggies for later use in smoothies or stir fry, and taking a week each month to eat out of your pantry or fridge instead of grocery shopping.
2. Turn the Thermostat Up or Down
We used to keep our thermostat on 70 degrees pretty much year round but have realized that if we turn it down to 66-68 degrees in the winter and 72-74 degrees in the winter, it saves about $20 per month on utility bills.
3. Don’t Buy Expensive Cleaning Products
Fancy wipes or lemon-scented cleaners are certainly nice, but they are expensive. You can clean just about anything with soap, warm water, vinegar, and a little bleach for a fraction of the cost. Buy a lemon candle if you really miss the smell.
4. Hang Clothes to Dry
Hanging up some of your clothes to dry after washing does save a few dollars in utilities, but it also makes clothes last longer. We never dry any of our work clothes or most synthetic materials. My clothes never shrink and last longer without repeated tumble drying.
5. Drink Tap Water
If you think about the fact that bottled water is more expensive per gallon than gasoline, it makes tap water very appealing. If the water in your area tastes bad, filters are plentiful and affordable.
6. Reduce Home Entertainment Costs
My family used to be die-hard cable lovers. We rationalized it by saying that paid TV was our entertainment since we don’t go out much. After cutting the cord last summer, I can honestly say we don’t miss it at all. An antenna and Netflix is more than enough TV. You can also check your local library for DVDs before paying for rentals. Even if you do keep cable, it never hurts to call and ask for a better deal. If you threaten to cancel, companies start throwing discounts your way.
7. Clean Out Your Closet and Junk Drawer
I’m happy and a bit ashamed by how much stuff we found while cleaning the closets recently. I won’t need to buy shampoo for a while, and we may never need to buy paper clips again. Don’t let being messy cause you to buy something you don’t need because you can’t find it or forgot about buying it in the first place.
8. Sell Your Stuff
After spring cleaning, make a point to sell some of your old stuff. Used cell phones and electronics, name-brand clothes, and old cameras may have good resale value on eBay. Your gold chain from high school can fetch good money when sold as scrap. Having a yard sale, using consignment stores or Craigslist will make your home less cluttered and bring in extra money.
9. Put a Bucket in Your Shower or Sink to Save Gray Water
We live in a dry area that is often under water restrictions. Even if we didn’t, catching gray shower or sink water and reusing it to water plants and trees is a great way to recycle and save money on your water bill.
If you can adopt a few or all of these penny-pinching ideas, you’ll find they are pretty painless. Seeing your money go further toward things you really need or want without feeling like a miser is always worth the effort.