- I use soap and water to clean almost everything. My house, my body, my hair – you name it. I have cheap bulk dish soap in the kitchen and bar soap in the bathroom. For extra house cleaning and laundry cleaning power, I mix vinegar and cheap bottled lemon juice (and I save the bottle – you’re getting the idea now) into the soap and water.
- Health is wealth. I wash my hands (with soap and water) multiple times a day, keep a clean house (with soap and water), go to bed early and wake up early, walk to and from work, and I rarely eat out (once in a while I get a slice of pizza with my husband, but 99.9 percent of the time we eat at home). I carry around bottles of filtered tap water, rice cakes, and fruit so that I don’t have the inclination to buy snacks if I am hungry and on the go. Instead of going out for sugary caffeinated drinks, I make my own coffee. By doing these things I maintain a nice robust immune system, a healthy body weight, and avoid things like food poisoning and e-coli bacteria that the restaurant industry offers consumers.
- My appliances multitask. If I don’t own it, I borrow it. Why buy a crock pot when you have a burner and a flame tamer? If I need a small appliance that I don’t have (an iron, for example), I borrow from a neighbor. Look, I know that you might not know or like your neighbors, but borrowing things like a vacuum cleaner or clothes iron from them is a good way to both get to know them and like them. Borrowing and lending household gadgets is a really good way to build community.
- I only buy what I need. If there is a chance I can repurpose or reuse something, I find a way to. I recently hung a planter for one of my two houseplants (even my decorations multitask – my plants improve my indoor air quality). I used clothespins, a silverware holder, and a wire twist tie to mount the planter on the wall. I was determined not to spend and I didn’t. I also buy as little food as possible. Although buying in bulk can save money for very large families, I find that we waste food when we buy too much. I buy exactly what we need and use up all of it before buying more. This is also true for hygiene products, like toothpaste. I will use every last drop of the product before buying more in order not to waste any.
- I refuse to pay extra for electricity. We have a small, energy-efficient refrigerator. It uses less electricity than a large fridge. If you have a huge family, you probably need more refrigerator space. If your family is small, do like me: I store my fruits and vegetables outside of the fridge and refrigerate only foods that are perishable or might attract bugs (dry foods that could attract pantry moths). I turn off my electric hot water heater – I heat the tank when I need to shower and it is well insulated enough that it stays pretty warm for a day or two. I save hot water by rinsing off, turning the water off and soaping up, and then rinsing off again. I do this in the winter, too. Being a bit Spartan is good for your health. At times of being really, really broke, I actually took bucket baths to save money on water and electricity.
Do you have strategies you use to save money at home? Leave a comment.