With inflation in the U.S. rising to 9.1% as of the end of June 2022 (the highest it has been in decades), the purchasing power of money is decreasing. While it would be lovely if everyone always had enough money for the things they want and need, this is unfortunately not the case for many people.
Prices are rising everywhere, from the grocery store to the gas pump, and some people are struggling to stay afloat. One of the best ways to help yourself out financially during these difficult times is finding ways to save money and spend less.
This guide is going to go over five easy ways to save money at home, which might lessen the burden of inflation and help stretch your wallet.
1. Saving on Your Utilities
Outside of mortgages and rent, your utilities are likely one of your biggest costs every month. For example, the average American pays over $114 every single month for electricity. While these are costs you need to pay, there are ways to lower the amount. When it comes to electricity, simply reducing your usage can go a long way in terms of savings.
Turn off lights when you don’t need them on, and always do a check before bed to ensure all lights are off. Do your best to use natural light when possible, too. Making the switch to more efficient light bulbs (such as LEDs) can lead to plenty of electricity savings, as well.
In addition to your electricity, utilities like water and energy can also be made more affordable by simply reducing how much you use and even installing more efficient appliances. When it comes to your utilities like internet and phone, your best course of action is to simply review your plan and see if there is a more affordable option out there that still suits your needs. It’s always worth a phone call to your provider to inquire about any special discounts or a different, cheaper plan you might switch to.
2. Saving on Water Usage
Using water throughout our homes is incredibly important as we wash dishes, cook, clean our clothes, and take showers. However, many people end up using much more water than they actually need to. Many of us do this without even thinking or knowing that we are being wasteful. Wasting water can be incredibly costly, and we don’t want to overuse the supply as it is a finite commodity.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do at home that can help you reduce your water usage. You can check for leaks and address them, take shorter showers, run your dishwasher and washing machine less—all easy ways to cut some dollars off your water bill.
Saving water becomes especially relevant for people with lawns or gardens. Many people over-water, not knowing that many plants and flowers need to be watered less than you might think—and keeping a lawn green throughout the summer can be incredibly costly and wasteful. Always research how much water something needs before assuming it needs a ton, and consider letting your lawn go yellow in the summer.
3. Saving on Renovations and Maintenance
No matter where you live or how new your home is, there will come a time when you need to make some renovations. The cost of renovations can vary depending on their size, the materials used, and things like that, but the average American can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars if they are renovating their entire home.
As you can see, affordably renovating your home can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. First of all, if you can handle things like demolition and cleanup yourself, that has the potential to drastically lower the overall cost of the project.
Other ways to save during a home renovation include having a budget (and sticking to it), reusing materials and fixtures, having a detailed plan, and making sure to buy used when it is possible to do so. You can also work on simple tasks yourself, such as painting the walls and changing the outlets.
There are even ways to save on things like regular home maintenance. In many cases, preventative maintenance is key. This can include things like changing the filter on your HVAC system, cleaning your gutters, keeping your home clean, sealing cracks, dealing with small leaks, etc.
These might cost a bit of time or effort in the short term but will hold off larger and more expensive repairs and maintenance in the long term. Best of all, many of these can be handled without the need of a professional.
4. Saving on Groceries
The grocery store has seen some major price increases recently, and many families have had to make adjustments to afford their food.
One of the best ways to save at the grocery store is to look for discounts and coupons. Be sure to check the weekly ad for your grocery store of choice, but also head online to see if there are any deals to be found.
Also, comparison shopping between different stores can help you find out where your favorite products are the cheapest. Always have a list when you go shopping. If you shop without a list, your temptations will often take over, and you will end up buying things you don’t really need and may not be able to afford.
Another trick to consider using is finding cost-effective substitutes. Most items we buy have other alternatives that we can use in place of what we normally get and are often much less expensive. For example, instead of buying the brand name item, consider the store brand’s version, which is usually much cheaper.
> Learn more: 50 30 20 Budget: A Guide With Examples
5. Saving on Transportation Costs
Just like groceries, the price of gas has spiked throughout the country. With many people simply not having the option to stop driving (due to work, school, or other responsibilities), this price increase has been felt hard.
One way to save on your transportation costs like gas is to carpool. If you don’t work remotely, recruiting some coworkers to carpool together is economical—not to mention, it’s better for the environment and could save you some time if your city has an HOV lane. If your area is walkable and the weather is decent, riding a bike or simply walking everywhere are good options and can help you stay healthier, too.
Getting a different vehicle is also something that some people are considering. Many people are making the switch to the electric to avoid the pumps or purchasing more eco-friendly and efficient vehicles to get farther on a tank of gas.
Another choice is to simply make the switch to public transportation if the system in your city is good. It’s typically much cheaper than owning and driving a car.
As you can see, there are several different ways that you and your family can save money at home. It can certainly take some hard work and sacrifice but is well worth it to ensure you are financially stable and able to build up your savings.