A huge concern with lots of families is how to save more money. We recently upped our savings amount each month, and did so without making any extra money. We just found things in our life that we could cut out or alternate to save a little bit here and there. All in all we are saving around $300 more than we were with NO EXTRA INCOME!
Now, not every one of these may apply to you because these expenses may not be in your lifestyle, but hopefully this can give you some ideas of ways to cut costs. Also, some of these things might only save you $2 or $5 a month, however, if you add all the little bits together, they add up to big savings.
Here are 20 things you can do to cut costs.
1. Protect your trash bags
Glad Garbage Bags are $.18 a piece. We normally go through approx. 12 bags a month. In order to use less garbage bags, take things out of your garbage bag rather than dumping the whole bag. Ok, that might sound gross, however you can plan for this. We have 100000 plastic grocery bags not being used. When you throw away wet items or food products, put them in a plastic grocery bag first. When your trashcan is full, take the individual bags to the dump rather than your entire trash bag.
Another way to cut down on your garbage bag use it to utilize boxes. Anytime I get a package in the mail, I fill the empty box with trash from our trashcan and take that to the box. Because my wet items are in separate bags, it isn't gross pulling things from the trash and putting them in my box. Sure, you aren't going to keep the same garbage bag all month, but you might be able to cut down from 12 to 4 or 5 a month.
Save $2 a month
2. Do away with dishwasher pods
Cascade 77 count dishwasher pods are $.21 a piece= $16. This lasts me about 3 months, which averages about $5 a month. Dawn Dishwashing liquid is $3 a bottle and also lasts me 3 months- $1 a month.
Save: $4 a month
3. Don't buy diaper pail liners
Playtex Diaper Genie 3 Pack Refills are $17 and last 1 month. Instead of buying these, we take the little green bags from doggie trash stands or use plastic grocery bags, wrap the diapers in them, and toss that into the diaper pail. Then, anytime I have an empty box (see #1), I empty those bags of diapers into it and take them to the trash. If a diaper is particularly smelly, I dump a few drops of lemon essential oil in the bag to help deter any smell.
Save: $17 a month
4. Shop at Aldi
You can see my post about how Aldi can save you money - Here. We save a huge amount of money by our grocery shopping location.
Save: $70 a month
5. Combine car insurances
For the first 6 months of our marriage, my husband and I kept our separate car insurances. Wanting to pay 1 bill instead of 2, I combined them and our bill went WAY down! We use Geico and they reward you for having multiple vehicles on one plan. Our insurance went down $70 a month! It has since gone up due to them being jerks so I will average saving a bit less that that.
Save: $50 a month
6. Only do a full load of laundry
Tide pods are $.30 a piece. Those pods are filled with enough detergent to do 1 full load of laundry. If you do a half or 3/4 load you are washing detergent down the drain! I never ever ever do laundry unless the drum is completely full. If we are desperate for a certain piece of clothing that is dirty I either hand wash it, or I filled the drum with other linens that are in need of washing. For examples, if I need to do laundry but only have a half load, I take advantage of the empty drum to wash sheets, bath rugs, throw blankets, etc. This will help you do 7 less loads a month.
Save: $3 a month
7. Close Shades
Most people know to turn off lights as they leave a room, but do you also close shades and curtains? The sun coming in through the windows will heat up you home and make your AC work harder. I know we all love natural light, but if you aren't in the room, the light shouldn't be either.
Save: $10 a month
8. Cloth Diapering
I recently wrote an article- HERE- about cloth diapering and how to get started. Huggies Size 4 diapers are $.23 a piece. If you do 3 cloth diapers a day, you will saves on 90 diapers a month.
Save: $20 a month
9. Give Your Boiler A Break
It is recommended to turn your hot water heater temp down to 160 degrees when you have children to prevent scalding water, but it is also smart to turn it down for your power bill. Your hot water heater is keeping that water hot constantly, so you can have hot water at the snap of a finger. If the highest temperature of the water is turned down, your hot water heater won't be working as hard. You may not have access to the hot water heater if you are in a rental, but you might be able to ask your landlord to turn it down. Plus, who needs 160 degree water anyways!
Save: $5 a month
10. Buy kids seasonal items used
Kids grow so fast. We don't buy all of Oliver's clothes used, but somethings just don't make sense to buy new. He has used his raincoat 4 times to date, and used each of his 4 bathing suits 5 times this summer! Seasonal items that aren't going to be used year round are great to buy used. I know you aren't buying these items every month, but if you consider what you would save on a snowsuit (maybe used 3 times where we live), a sun shirt, pool hat, winter boots, winter hats, etc. You will save a bit each month. We have a Once Upon A Child near us and I find great deals there. I got Oliver some Timberland boots for $4.50 the other day.
Save: $10 a month
11. Sell unused items
There are so many ways to sell unused items these days. Amazon Trade In will buy electronics, books, movies, and a few other items, Plato's Closet, ThredUp.com or Style Encore are two places that I have sold clothes to, 2nd and Charles will buy books, movies, collectables, games, and more, and you can also try many of the online sell and buy pages on Facebook for your area.
My goal has been to sell $15 worth of stuff we aren't using every month. 1 month I sold $45 worth of old college books that were sitting in a box in our storage at 2nd and Charles and Chegg.com. On other months I sold a few baby items that we never used and wouldn't need for the next baby for $25 at Once Upon A Child and some last season clothing items for $17 at Style Encore. Not only are you making some extra grocery money, but you also get to declutter which is a wonderful feeling! Whatever you make, use towards groceries or a bill so you are saving yourself money rather than getting extra spending money for something you didn't need.
* I wrote a post about selling things online about a year ago that you can check out-HERE.
Save: $15 a month
12. Clean sponges in the microwave
Plain Ocelot Sponges are- $.50 a piece, and I use to go through 4 a month. Now, I go through 1 every 2 months or so. When is starts to smell, I soak it in Vinegar and water for a few minutes until it is completely saturated. Microwave it for 2 minutes, let it cool, and your sponge is good to go (don't do this with sponges that have metal- Those can go in the dishwasher).
Save: $2 a month
13. Cut out beverages that aren't water.
A jug of Simple Orange is $4. We go through one of those a week. We love juice, so we have cut down how much we drink it and only get one every 2 weeks. If you drink lots of gatorades, ice tea, juices, or sodas, try cutting those out. Water is better for you anyways!
Depending on how much you drank previously:
Save around: $10 a month
14. Only make coffee at home
The smallest black coffee at Starbucks is $2. Even if you only bought that tiny black coffee twice a week, you are already at $16 a month. A large tub of Folgers ground coffee is around $8 and lasts a month if you make a pot a day.
Assuming you get a normal person coffee (lots of sugar and some caramel), twice a week (like my husband likes to) by cutting that out you could save a ton. Try getting a nice creamer to spice up your morning coffee. I know this will be rough for some people, but just ask for Starbucks gift cards from everyone for all holidays so you can treat yourself!
Save: $30 a month
15. Get rid of cable
Just do it- don't even think about it! There are a million other ways to watch everything you could ever want to watch without paying for cable! Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Roku, X-box Apps, NFL app (you can get the NFL regular season games), the channels website (you can watch all CBS shows on CBS.com!), etc. Even if you shell out money for something to replace your cable like an X-Box, you will save a ton of money in the long run. We canceled ours a few months ago and haven't missed it at all.
Save: $60 a month
16. Unplug unused appliances
Not using them? Unplug them. Electricity is constantly running up the cord in case you want the item turned on at an instant's notice. As much as you can, keep things unplugged-especially if you don't use them daily like your toaster, guest room lamps, blenders, etc. Even daily items that are used seldom like coffee pots, chargers, and computer cords need to stay unplugged.
Save: $5 a month
17. Never move the thermostat
Find a temp and keep it there. Even time you move the thermostat you waste power. If you are cold, get a sweater. If you are hot... you are at your own home so get comfortable. Most of the time your body will regulate its temp on it's own after a few minutes.
Save: $5 a month
18. Make your own cleaning supplies
Much more time consuming than buying cleaners, but if you already have the ingredients it can save you money and keep your house safer for your little ones. THIS site has tons of great recipes and I have tried most of them.
Save: $3 a month
19. Pay your auto insurance in full
Most people don't know this, but if you pay your year's insurance policy at once, you actually save a bit of money vs. paying it month by month (at least that is that case with Geico so check with your provider).
Save: $3 a month
20. Card Rewards
We pay all of our bills on a rewards credit card and immediate pay it off from our checking account. This helps our card accrue rewards points. I am usually able to cash out with a $25 gift card that I use for groceries or other necessities once every other month.
Save: $12 a month
This brings us to a grand total of $336 a month
I will let Oliver show you how you feel about that!
Some of these may not apply to you and on other areas you may be able to save way more that I did, so I am rounding this off at $300 a month.
I hope some of these tricks can work for you! Let me know in the comments of anything I can add to my list.
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I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.