Jff: Money Saving Tricks in Your Home

Updated on June 11, 2011
K.P. asks from Tacoma, WA
18 answers

So I had a few minutes and was thinking about Money saving things we do around the house.

Me, for instance always put my kitchen sponge through the dishwasher, every time it gets run, to keep it clean, so I dont have to keep buying more when they get gross.

So give it to me ladies, What are your tricks?

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answers from Yakima on

This may seem obvious or simple, but I plan my dinners out before I go grocery shopping...cuts my bill almost in half

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

#1 Cloth diaper. If you weren't obssesed like me and love to try new brands, you can save up to $2000 in two years and and extra $500 with using cloth wipes.
#2 reduce and reuse! (If you can't tell, I'm going green) suprisingly it has saved me a fair amount. Instead of going to the Target to get more containers I just got to a local thrift store. Tons of money saved there.
#3. carpool :D pain in the butt, but it's saved me and my family money.
#4. Still living with parents :( loath it, but with the economy and me suddenly deciding to keep my son when he was born, I kind of had no choice. Love them to death and appreciate it, but I know they love it when we are all not being grumpy.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Antonio on

Oh gosh, I have a bunch.
I use wash clothes instead of sponges. I don't have a dishwasher, so I use one for dishes and one for counters/stove all day and then toss it in laundry.
I don't buy paper towels. I use wash clothes instead (a different color than ones for kitchen) and use those for cleaning.
I don't buy laundry detergent, but make my own. It is a whole lot cheaper than store bought and works great.
I make my own cleaning agents too. Vinegar, soap, and baking soda will clean just about any thing. Essential oils can add fragrance if you want the smell.
The water from the shower and washing machine drains into the yard, so I don't have to water the grass.
The rinse water from dishes is used to water potted plants and the garden, and the wash water is dumped in the yard.
I have thermal curtains in the bedrooms to keep them cool. We cannot stand to sleep in a hot room.
Everything (except the A/C) in the living room is plugged into a power strip. We turn it off every night when we go to bed and when we're going to be gone during the day. I bump the temp up on the A/C by 3 degrees at night and when we leave.
We use fans to cool us off, but turn them off when the room is empty. Fans cool people, not rooms so they are a big waste of electricity in an empty room.
I hang laundry to dry and only use the dryer when I must.
My husband bought me a counter-top convection oven in April and I use it nearly every day. It doesn't heat up the kitchen like the big oven, uses a lot less electricity, and cooks faster.

Edit to add: We have a vegetable garden, so we save by having fresh veggies when in season, and I freeze everything we don't eat right away.

I think it is really easy to save money once you get in the right state of mind and really look around to see where changes can be made.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I dry my clothes on a drying rack, then after they are dry throw them into the dryer for 5 mins with a dryer sheet to soften them up, and reuse the same dryer sheet 2 or 3 times... cuts down on electricity with the dryer...
also during seasonal months we go to farmers markets for all our produce, $10 for a bag of produce that would have cost $30 in the grocery store and healthier!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Well just yesterday I bought "thermal" curtains for my daughter's bedroom. All our windows have blinds of some sort. But her bedroom is on the front (West) side of our house, and she has big windows (a double window--77 inches across if you include the trim). The honeycomb shade/blinds just didn't keep the light OR the heat out. They are nice professionally installed ones, but they just don't do it heat-wise. So I bought a curtain rod and some thermal backed curtains (supposed to help keep out light, heat and Sound, too)... basically "blackout" curtains. Hung them myself yesterday... her room feels just like the rest of the house now. :)
We also use ceiling fans in all the occupied rooms to keep the air circulating even with the a/c is not actively cooling. That allows us to set the thermostat a few degrees higher than I would otherwise.
I also close the door to my laundry room when I am doing laundry--especially when I am drying. Keeps all the heat in the laundry room rather than dispersed throughout other areas and so it also doesn't affect the thermostat sensor/readings. I run the dryer in the early morning or late evening/night if I can. Instead of the heat of the day.

I bought a small freezer to keep in the garage so I can take advantage of sales on frozen items or meat that I can then freeze.
Oh.. and I do this already, but I read recently that if you run the hot water at the faucet nearest the dishwasher just before you turn it on, that it cuts down on how long the dishwasher runs b/c the water doesn't take as long to get to the proper temp.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You've received a lot of great tips so without repeating them all ... I have been trying to clip coupons for shopping. Wal-Mart accepts all competitor coupons and you can use one manufacturer and one competitor together. Went shopping the other day and what should have cost me $102, cost me $52.00 - half! I'm not an "extreme couponer" just a mom who is trying to save money. $52 is a big savings to me. :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is more a savings tip.. but it works for us.

We use cash. So at the end of the week all $20 bills or larger go into an envelope in our cupboard. Anything less then a $20 (all $10's, $5's, $1's and coins) go into a coffee pot. Once the envelope gets to $100 we use that for the week instead of pulling from the checking acct. The coffee pot sits there for vacation or a rainy day. You would be suprised how quickly the coffee pot fills up. The extra money in the checking acct usually goes towards a splurge for our house... like we just got a storm door.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I use a splash of vinegar in the washer instead of fabric softener. Just pour it in when after you throw in the clothes . don't put it in the slot for the liquid fabric softener.I use only vinegar and baking soda to clean almost everything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have no money...and I am saying this with a smile on my face...So, any money we have is money worth saving.

Until my ''Pot of gold'' is filled...I have stopped buying too much fresh produce. I would buy it all on Sundays and by Friday nothing was ''FRESH'' any more. I will go the day of...to get stuff. Sometimes the day before. I have stopped doing the day before as much though..because I have found I will change my mind and then it will be put off until it is wasted.

I also hit up the Farmers Market, now that it is almost ''Summer'' the one in Federal Way is running one Saturdays...Stuff lasts a good bit longer when it comes from the market.

I really wanted to get a vegetable garden in the ground this year..but two things stopped this from coming true..The cold Spring we have had this year...and the fact I still need fencing.

When we are really broke, I start cooking from scratch. It takes SO much more time but..the end result is yummy food that cost less then the prepackaged stuff.

I have also stopped driving as much. I went from filling up twice a week ...to filing up on paydays...Twice a month.

I am sure there is more stuff..but as I am typing they are not popping at me...

I am Thankful in a way for the ''Recession''...We were leaving way outside of our means for many many years. I had never been taught about money...and my mom LOVED to shop. Which I sadly was a student to her shopping major..and I just didnt know when to stop. Being flat broke has made me very humble to what I have been given. I am taking nothing for granted... especially the roof over my head the bed I get to sleep in every night...And the fact my kids have a place to call home...

I have not read responses yet but I am interested to see if there is anything you ladies are doing that I could look into trying:) Good question to cap the night off with:) I am very thankful for my bed:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I bought a Honda Civic Hybrid, which has saved me a great deal of money on gas.
Super market: I make it a point to shop once a week with 70 euros or less.
Shop at the farmers market for less with 10 euros a week.
Make my own pizza.
Don't eat out.
Crazy, but it works.

I like my American magazines, so I won't stop buying those once a month. I tried going for British, but there is a difference in the wording and how they frase things, believe it or not.

Take care

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

We have FANS going everywhere...to keep that air moving so we don't have to set the AC so low...but can still be comfortable...and we bought room darkening shades that effectively keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We put water saving innards in our 3 toilets. Just this past month, I started 'saving' the water that runs before it heats up (and now I'll do that before I run the dishwasher too to 'preheat' the water! Good idea!). I run it into a pitcher to water the plants or put in a big pot to boil for noodles or rice or to throw into my homeade diaper wipes warmer. I made my husband quit running the water as he wipes the counters off or brushes his teeth. My water bill went down 25 dollars!!!

We also use rags for everything! No paper towels here.

Our dryer went out, so we bought new HE washer and dryer, so hopefully the power and water bill will go down even more! We'll see (and I must admit, I'm a little skeptical as to how well this less water/energy thing is going to clean my clothes and diapers).

I don't reuse dryer sheets, but I do cut them into halfs or thirds and haven't noticed a signifacant difference in how it makes the clothes feel (so either the dryer sheets are really good or they never made a difference in the first place!).

Vinegar is my friend.

Cold meals for dinner-salads, sandwiches with chips (oh, the horror!) and veggie or fruit trays keep the oven off and the heat out of my kitchen. If I HAVE to cook something, I try to adapt it to the crock pot (not for the energy so much as the heat saved so the AC doesn't work so hard, it might be a draw there, though, AC versus crock pot all day).

My next purchase is going to be thermal curtains for the kitchen bay window and the bedrooms!

We never use change to pay for anything, even if we have correct change. We take all the change leftover from the day and stick it in a jar. We average about 50 dollars a month in change just by paying for everything with bills.

Oh, and this is really sad, I add water to my shampoo and conditioner (and sometimes even to dishsoap) to make it last longer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I don't use dryer sheets, or any type of fabric softener (the feel of it is icky anyway).

Open windows in the evening when things cool off and again in the morning before it gets hot, so I don't have to run A/C at night (used to leave them open all night till hubby started working nights). And in winter, keep furnace to 68 and have blankets all around to throw over us for warmth.

Re-use and recycle. We use cottage cheese/sour cream containers for fridge (but put food in safe bowl to microwave). Any time we print something we end up not needing, we save the paper to reuse the back. And aluminum cans still get a fair price for recycling.

I also don't buy paper napkins and only rarely paper towels. We can use dishrags or towels to wipe up spills, clean counters, etc (and wash them well in between), and only use paper towels for really gross stuff, and for the times when we do need napkins (and when we go to Wendy's or whatever, we bring home the extra napkins we didn't use, lol)

If you pack a lunch (for your work/hubbys work/kids' school) invest in a reusable lunch bag. You can get them for just a couple of dollars at Wal-Mart or Target and it's way better than buying paper sacks all the time. Some even have insulators so you can pack cold food.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I do the sponge thing too.
I love ALDI for produce.
Thermostat that can be set for days of week/times of day for best efficiency.
I don't use fabric softener at all.
Extra fridge/freezer so I can stock up on good buys on meat, drinks, etc.
Preheat the water for the dishwasher
Run only full loads of clothes and dishes
Wash most stuff in cold or warm water

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I try to pay close attention to the groceries. For instance, I buy the milk with the label in Spanish - for whatever reason, it's consistently about 20 cents cheaper/gallon than the our store brand's English label - if not more; we go through 3 gallons every two weeks, so that's about $15/year just on that one product. Plus, they only buy the store's label's milk from hormone-free cows, so in this case, the store brand is the healthier choice, anyway.

Keep the A/C on 78 or 79 degrees during the day in the summer (though we do turn it down to 75 at night - makes it easier to sleep)

I use the dirty water siphoned out of my fishtank during tank cleanings to water and fertilize my potted plants (fish poo is fantastic fertilizer, and I don't chemical treat my tank - we've got good tap water for fish here, and they are long-lived fish, so I have confirmed the tank has been disease-free upwards of 8 years - so the fertilizer is organic, too!)

I'm replacing my flowerbed plants with perennial edibles (there are several spices I haven't bought for years, and did you know that with some TLC, quite a few varieties of peppers are perennials, too?). Another bonus with that, is that there are quite a few useful/edible plants that are low-water-use AND attractive.

I'm weaning us off of dryer sheets, too.

We just had solar window film installed to block the heat (safety bonus: the film makes the glass shatterproof, too, so no one's breaking in that way).

I'm a little confused about the pre-heating the dishwasher thing. I wonder if it's the same thing I do, but in reverse: after I start the dishwasher, I wash the handwash pots and pans without having to wait for the tap water to warm up? The dishwasher cycle is the same length either way, at least for our model.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am so not frugal so I don't really have any rips to share.....sorry....but I am going to try all the ones I read below. This post was great. I try to clip coupons and
I try to be frugal.....I just stink at it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Turn off and unplug all appliance/lights, etc when we go to bed or leave the house

Hang things to dry instead of using the dryer

Make my own laundry soap

Reuse dryer sheets for 2 or 3 drying loads

Turn the AC up when we leave for the day/weekend - it can always be cooled down upon arriving home

Leave the blinds shut during the day when we are gone - keeps the house cool inside

Make sure all lights are turned off when not in the room

Paying bills online - no need to pay for stamps

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I don't buy paper towels. I have hand towels a wash clothes. Three rolls of paper towels is more than one hand towel and the hand towels can be washed over and over again. When we get ready to take t-shirts and get rid of them, we cut the collars out and cut them up for rags to clean up floors or dirty hands.

Groceries: I don't buy bottled water. Occasionally I buy juices in quart bottles and fill them up out of my faucett at home for "bottled" water. I buy another if I loose the one I was using. I buy the ones with wide mouths so I can put ice in it. When there is a really good sale on something I use, I buy several of them and put the others in my pantry or closet. That way, when I use the next two or three or four, I'm using it at the sale price, not the higher non-sale price. When I plan meals, I look to see what's on sale and then make my menu's off that. And if the store has a "manager's special", I change my menu. Example: I changed from pork chops to chicken breasts when our chain store ordered too many boxes of chicken breasts. They marked down the chicken breasts to $.69 lb. so I bought 35 pounds.
I learned that a package of chicken breasts has 6 breasts in it. The package of six breasts will weigh between 3.5 to 6.0+ lbs. I only buy the 5+ lb packages. The more weight the better. Why? Because the bones weigh the same whether the breast is an 8 ounce breast or a 16 ounce breast. And I hardly ever buy boneless skinless chicken breasts. A 6 lb package of chicken breasts selling at $.99 lb is the chicken equivelent of boneless skinless at $1.41 lb. How did I find this out? I went to the butcher and asked him to cut one of the breasts I was going to buy into boneless skinless chicken breast. I had him weigh them, before and after. Then I got my calculator out and did the math.

When I buy onions, I buy the size I use so I don't throw away any left overs or have to put them in a baggie and put it in the frig. The same goes for bananas, or apples or any other fruit I give to my grandkids or my kids when they were little.

We don't throw leftovers away. When there is a potato left, we put it in the frig. Once a week or so I make soup of the single left overs (like the potato).

I ignore the expiration dates on food. I know its a wasteful government program. Example: Scientists took the wheat found in King Tut's tomb and used it. They grew it to establish increaded resistance to disease and poor soil nto modern wheat. According to the UDSA, the wheat was CENTURIES out of date and should have been thrown away. Some of my kids' spouses are very expiration date sensitive. They claim they can tell when something is out of date because the food will taste bad. That night I had prepared taco salad. After all the arguements, I pulled the packaging out of the trash to check the expiration dates. The cheese and hamburger were in the freezer and were 6 and 4 years out of date. The spice packet was 6 years out of date and the salsa was 2 years out of date. They couldn't tell and no one got sick. I've seen gum on the shelves in grocery stores 10 years out of date. When I was in the Army, we ate C-Rations 20 years out of date.

Look up this question in mamapedia. Its been asked many times.

Good luck to you and yours.

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