If you're looking for ways to end up with more money at the end of each month, you may want to start with examining what you're spending at home. Each time you leave one of your appliances plugged in, you're spending money.
Dryers, for example, can cost you a few hundred dollars per year in energy usage costs, according to OasisEnergy.com, and household cleaners can cost up to 30 cents per ounce, or almost $5 per bottle for a product you'll run through pretty quickly.
However, you can use simple, painless strategies to cut back on your household expenses — and end up ahead. Here are a few expert tips:
On average, families in the U.S. do about 8-10 loads of laundry per week. That translates to almost $200 per year in energy costs if you're drying at home, or more than $1,000 annually if you frequent the laundromat, according to the Spruce.
One way to cut out this cost all together is to invest in a drying rack, which costs as little as $10.
Lisa Sharp, a lifestyle blogger at Retrohousewifegoesgreen.com, has used clotheslines on and off her whole life. For the last three years, she's used one consistently, and the difference in her energy costs is noticeable, she says: "When it's been a rainy month, I noticed energy costs are a bit higher since I end up using the dryer a lot more."
While air drying does take a little longer, you can expect to save on more than just energy costs. Line drying eliminates any chances of shrinking or damaging your delicate clothing, so you'll make fewer trips to the mall to replace your favorite blouse or button-down.
Estimated monthly savings: $20-$80
One way you might literally be pouring money down the drain is using store-bought cleaning products. In 2018, the average U.S. household spent $184 on laundry and cleaning supplies annually, according to Statista. But you can easily make your own cleaners that are just as effective, for a fraction of the cost.
Start by checking your pantry for ingredients. You'll probably find that you already have everything you need for your own DIY cleaners. You can use products like basic white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, Castile soap, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils to make all purpose cleaners and air fresheners that are kid, pet, and budget friendly for less than a penny per ounce.
Estimated monthly savings: $15
You may not think twice about leaving your appliances plugged in after using them, but this could cost you an extra $25 to $30 per month on your electric bill just in energy costs, according to The Spruce.
Even if you remember to turn off your TV or curling iron, it still consumes energy when it's plugged in.
Consider purchasing a power strip, which can cost as little as $2. That way, you only have one switch you need to remember to turn off. You'll save yourself the hassle of crawling behind your TV to unplug it, and you'll save money on your monthly bill.
Estimated monthly savings: $25-30
Buying in bulk doesn't always make sense, especially if you're only shopping for yourself or you're purchasing items with a shorter shelf life. But for nonperishable foods or paper products, you could save yourself time and money.
Jessica Fisher of good cheap eats, who buys in bulk for her family of eight, suggests taking stock of what you already have at home before you head to the store. "Shop your pantry, or shop your house," she says. "When you think that you need to buy something, it can be really illuminating to clean out your closet or pantry and find all kinds of things that you didn't remember you had."
To start, think about what you run to the store for the most. Then calculate how much you're paying per unit for that bulk item versus the regular-size item to make sure you're actually saving money by buying in bulk.
The average American uses 141 rolls of toilet paper per year, according to a 2018 data from Statista. At $1.17 per roll, 141 rolls would set you back approximately $165, almost $25 more than if you were to only pay $1 per roll for the bulk item.
If your annual grocery budget is about $4,015, or around $335 per month (the national average), switching to bulk could score you at least a 40% savings on items like diapers, trash bags, toothpaste, and more.
"What I find is most important is that you're looking at the unit price and you know what you'll really be using up," says Fisher. "To know yourself is to save money, and that's really the key."
Estimated monthly savings: $10
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