Savings in the kitchen
One of the areas that you can gain the most savings is in the kitchen. Many family's food expenses make up large portion of their overall budget. The first thing to do to save money in the kitchen is to spend more time there, quit eating out and quit eating highly processed foods. Cooking from stratch is much healthier as well as much cheaper than lots of processed foods.
Wait to plan your menu until you receive the weekly circular (or check it online) and use primarily what is on sale. Having a menu planned helps create a shopping list as well as cuts down on the 'There's nothing here to eat, let's just go out' nights. Some grocery stores will even allow you to build your grocery list on their web site and print out a list broken down by aisle. This can be a great timesaver as your not wondering around in the grocery store putting things in the cart that you don't really need. Use frugal shopping techniques when you're grocery shopping.
When you bake something in the oven try to make more than one thing. When you take the casserole out of the oven for dinner, adjust the tempurature as necessary and bake some brownies. This saves on having to preheat the oven later just to bake the brownies. You may also want to consider baking two casseroles and putting one in the freezer. This can make for a quick meal when needed.
Save and eat your left overs. Instead of going out for lunch at work the next day, put some of the left overs in a lunch box and heat them up at work. This has a multitude of benefits, you wont be throwing away food you've already bought, you wont be spending money on lunch and it will most likely still be healthier than any lunch you would buy.
Saving on entertainment
The most drastic measure would be to turn of the TV. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV in the evening go for a walk or play a game with the kids. If you want to keep the TV consider 'cutting the cable', cancel the cable or satalite subscriptions and simply go with an antenna. This is a one time expense as opposed to a monthly expense. A great way to continue watching movies and older television shows is to get Netflix or Amazon Prime to stream movies and tv shows. There are several choices in low cost set top boxes for streaming.
Put the entertainment center on a power strip that can be turned off when not in use. You may think everything is off, but in reality it's just sitting there waiting for you to push the power button on the remote. Don't want the hassle of getting behind the cabinet to turn everything on, consider an entry level home automation system that will allow you to control the power strip with another remote.
Other cost savings ideas
- Combine trips to save on gas
- Cut back on minutes on the cell phone
- Shop around for a better rate on electricity
- Shop around for a better rate on insurance, both car and home
- Ride public transportation
- Adjust the thermostat, a couple degrees can really add up
- Quit buying that expensive cup of coffee, make it home
- Quit smoking
- Grow a garden
- Preserve the produce from the garden or other in season produce
- Keep track of what you spend your money on for at least week. Then review to see where it went. Can you cut back on the largest item(s)?
Some larger cost items that can save money in the long run
A good way to save on heating and air conditioning costs, without comprising comfort, is to improve the insulation in your house. This would apply even if you do live in a temperate climate and rarely if ever turn the heat one. In this case you'll be trying to keep the heat out and the air conditioning in the house.
If you already have a layer of blown in insulation in the attic you may want to consider going with something like a reflective insulation. Blowing in more insulation begins to become self defeating after a certain amount as the compaction of making it deeper greatly reduces the insulation value.
Investigate installing solar hot water. Like the switch from cable to antenna, this is a one time cost and you will continue to see the savings. You may not be able to fulfill on the homes hot water needs, but the energy input by the water heater could be greatly reduced. Also consider an on demand hot water heater, instead of the traditional large tank hot water heater.
If the windows in the home are older, consider replacing them with newer high R-value replacement windows. Depending on the air-tightness of the old, possibly single pane, windows this can lead to a huge savings of money.
Build an 'air-lock' around the main door that you use. This can help buffer the effects of opening the door to the conditioned area.
Looking for serious money savings ideas?
Doing these things may well get you called a 'tight-wad'
- Wash the styrofoam plates that meat comes on to use as paper plates
- Clean tin foil to reuse
- Was sealing bags to reuse
- Use envelopes from your junk mail for note cards
- Cut your own hair
- Save all your kitchen scraps and bones to cook down to make a soup stock for stone soup
- Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste instead of the entire length of the toothbrush
- Take shorter and/or cold showers
- Turn lights off when you leave a room
- Only use 2 or 3 swipes of deodorante
- Patch your clothes
I hope there were some cost saving ideas here that will benefit you. Try different ones of them out to see if they work for you in your situation. Or strive to implement all of the cost saving ideas to maximize your savings.