When your payslip has grown wings and constantly try to take off as soon as it’s landed in your account, it’s time to pull up our sleeves. Debt and financial problems start when you don’t have enough income to cover your expenses - and the formula to solve this one seems to be easy enough.
That’s until you try to cut costs or increase those numbers on your payslip, though, and most people realize at this stage that saving money takes a bit more work than they thought. They say they don’t have any more to save, but it’s just because they haven’t looked closely enough on their expenses; your household, for example, is one of the biggest money eating beasts.
Here is a simple guide to how you can cut expenses around the house, making it a bit easier to stay warm and reasonably wealthy this winter.
In the kitchen: Cooking, planning, and preparation
Let’s start with the part of your house that’s most likely to drain your bank account. We tend to spend the most money on food and accommodation, which makes a lot of sense as it’s about basic survival.
That doesn’t mean we have to leave so much of our salary behind at the grocery shop, though, and a lot of damage can be avoided by writing and staying true to an active shopping list.
Keep it on your fridge, old-fashion style, or make room for one on your phone. It’s smart to hang it with a magnet on the fridge as you’ll be able to write it down quickly when you run out of something - and you avoid having to find your phone first.
Go to the grocery shop once every week to save money on shopping as well as gas. If you’re at a loss by Friday and have no idea what to cook, you can look up the ingredients you already have at hand to assemble a recipe. Plot in chicken, spinach, potatoes, and broccoli, for example and see what pops up on Pinterest or Recipe Puppy.
You can even type it into Google, by the way, and have a look at the top recipes on the first page if you can’t be bothered to open the app or website. Laziness can take many shapes.
It’s the kind of stuff that keeps you from ordering a pizza or making another trip to the grocery shop when you have no idea what to cook. Drink water instead of soda, eat food you cook at home and dedicate Sundays to cook up a bulk meal you can spread over the coming week.
In the laundry room: Cold temperatures and air dry
It doesn’t matter where you keep your laundry machine; it can save you a lot of money when you wash your clothes in cold water. Reserve the hot rounds for underwear and bed sheets, though, as you’d want these to be washed thoroughly - but basic garments such as tops, sweaters, and pants can easily go through colder temperatures.
The colors won’t bleed either, by the way, which is great news when you don’t have time to sort it as properly as you know you should.
Regular cleaning detergents are often seen as a necessity - how else are we supposed to get our homes clean? Laundry detergent is no different, but you can actually make your own and save a ton of money in the long run.
While baking soda and vinegar are great soldiers for most cleaning tasks, you need something different for washing your clothes; check out this incredible laundry recipe, and you won’t need another refill for quite some time.
It’s also a good idea to let your tumble dryer go if you have the space for air drying the laundry afterward. Not only will it save you a lot of expenses in terms of electricity, but it will also make your clothes last significantly longer when they’re not exposed to warm air so often.
In the living room: Heating costs and DIY repairs
Entering the living room, and we’re back to studying those utility bills again. When winter creeps up on us, we tend to crank the heat up - which we should also be able to do without having to worry about going bankrupt.
It’s a good idea to upgrade your heating system if it’s kind of dated as the newer ones are a lot more energy efficient, so start by having a look at Academy Air, and you’ll be able to stay comfortable without the added stress. Another point to this is that, as the winter rush sets in, everyone in your area will be looking for an expert to inspect their heating system.
Get in early, and you can take it easy the next couple of months.
When the system is up to date, you can take a look at your ceiling fans if you have them, and particularly if you also have a lot of space under your ceilings. Press the button that makes them spin clockwise and take advantage of the warm air that tends to gather up there; by changing the direction, your fans are able to push the air down again and you won’t be tempted to turn the heat up.
It’s sustainable heating, perhaps, and it can save your household a lot of money.
You should also take a moment to consider your appliances while we’re in the living room. Older and outdated appliances may cost you more than you think, just like an ancient heating system can, so consider replacing them with greener alternatives.
Update your electronics but try to repair rather than replace your furniture. The consumerists in us would probably love a new couch when the old one gets a tear, but it’s really not necessary - and by learning a few simple DIY’s, you’ll be able to keep your money where it should be.
In your bank account, that is, getting nice and thick from all the interest you’ve accumulated.