Maintaining and managing a home requires time, effort and most of all, money. Besides paying rent, actually running the household is the second most expensive endeavor for most people. If you calculated the exact amount of money you spend at home, you would be shocked. The good news is that a lot of your household expenditure can be easily reduced by making smarter choices and implementing a few lifestyle changes. In fact, you can easily save a minimum of $100 a month by implementing some changes to your daily, monthly and yearly routines.
If we’ve piqued your interest and you’re wondering about how you can cut down costs in your home, here are 10 useful tips:
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is particularly beneficial if you have regular work hours. You can preset the heating and cooling temperatures of your home when you’re at home, when you’re asleep and when you’re out. You can even program your thermostat to cool the house during summer or make it warm and toasty in the winter before you arrive home from work. The U.S. Department of Energy claims using a programmable thermostat’s settings properly can save up to 10% per year on energy bills.
Swap your existing light bulbs for LED or CFL bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat. Basically, they only heat up your house. In contrast, CFLs and LEDs are four times more energy efficient. You will save money and help the environment by opting for energy efficient lights.
Reduce phantom loads by unplugging electronic devices
This one’s easy: switch off and unplug all electronics when they’re not in use. All appliances use some amount of electricity even when they are not in use. This electricity drainage is called vampire power or phantom load. When the cost of phantom loads of all electronics in the house are added up, you’re left with a significant sum of money and a hefty energy bill as a result. By unplugging appliances that are not in use, you stand to save significantly on your monthly expenses.
Drop the temperature of your water heater
Most people fail to realize that their water heater drains a lot of electricity. You don’t really need extremely hot water to have a warm bath. Instead, save electricity by lowering the temperature on your water heater. Even reducing it by a few degrees can save a great deal of money on your energy bill.
Install a new heating and cooling system
Do you have an outdated heating and cooling system at home? It might be time for an upgrade. It might sound like a large investment at first, but switching to more energy-efficient heating and cooling system will save you money in the long run. Consider installing hydronic panel heating, which is cost-effective, energy-efficient and stylish.
Air seal your home
Most people don’t realize loss of air can lead to significant heating and cooling costs long term. By air sealing your home, you prevent the loss of cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. The Department of Energy recommends reducing the number of air leaks in your home by caulking and weather-stripping areas like window seals and door frames.
Switch to basic cable
How much time do you and your family members spend watching TV every day? Do you watch all the channels available on your premium cable subscription or just stick to two or three? Consider switching to basic cable to cut back on your cable bill. Better yet, use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, which are a cheaper alternative to premium cable. This is certainly useful if you already have a Netflix account and pay for premium cable – a double expense you don’t need.
Cook your own meals and make your own coffee
Heaps of money goes into ordering take-out and dining out. Instead, cook large meals at home and pack the leftovers for lunch. Better yet, spend a few hours on Sunday making meals for the whole week and freeze them. This way you will be less tempted to order food or spend unnecessary money on lunch.
Moreover, buying coffee at a local Starbucks every morning before work contributes substantially to your monthly expense. The smarter decision would be to buy a large flask, make your own coffee at home before heading to work and storing your favorite brew in the flask. Plus, you have a large tub of coffee at hand to consume all day.
Grow your own garden
An even better way to reduce your monthly grocery bill is to start your own garden. You can start by growing vegetables that are easy like spring onions, tomatoes, and peas and then move on to more difficult ones. Gardening not only produces fresh, organic vegetables, but is a great stress reliever.
Use natural cleaning products
Did you know baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice can work wonders in removing stains, banishing bacteria and eliminating grease in your home? Natural cleaning products are not only good for the pocket but also reduce your exposure to chemicals and are less harmful to infants and pets.
These are just the first steps towards reducing costs at home. There are many other habits you can start and things you can do to save even more money, like scaling down your alcohol intake, using public transportation and mowing your own lawn rather than paying someone else to do it. Every dollar saved contributes to your savings and gives you greater control over your finances.
About Author: Cassie Smith is Marketing Manager for Optima Heating & Air Conditioning, a full-service HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and refrigeration company based in Melbourne. Since 1985, Optima has been supplying Victorian homes and businesses with quality systems that maximize comfort.