15 Around-the-House Resolutions That Will Save You Money in 2023
As economic inflation and rising energy costs become an ever-present issue, find ways to save money at home.
Life is surprisingly expensive. You pay for food, clothing, electricity, gas, water, insurance, vehicles, fuel, repairs, and more, just so you can function in today’s fast-paced society. With this year’s economic challenges, you need to keep even more of your hard-earned money instead of spending it on high energy bills, costly grocery trips, and wasteful commercial products.
Whether you are looking to reduce your utility bills or you just want to find new, cost-effective ways to maintain your home, use this guide’s 15 around-the-house resolutions to stick to your budget in the new year. Take some time to consider these ways to save money at home and find one or more that are suited to your home and lifestyle.
1. Lower the Thermostat
A simple way to save on costly energy bills is to lower the thermostat by just one or two degrees during the colder months of the year and raise the thermostat by one or two degrees during the warmer months of the year. This will reduce the overall heating and cooling costs for the home without any significant changes.
Similarly, you can reduce heating and cooling costs by ensuring the doors to any closets or pantries remain closed when not in use. By closing the doors to these small storage spaces, you decrease the total volume of space that needs to be heated by the furnace or cooled by the air conditioner.
2. Turn Off Lights
Few resolutions are easier than simply remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you head to the kitchen for a snack, turn off the light when you are done. If you go to get something from the bedroom, turn off the lights as you leave. Consistently remembering to turn off the lights can save money on the electricity bill.
However, if you seem to have difficulty remembering, consider investing in an occupancy sensor that will turn on the lights automatically when someone is in the room and turn them off when the room is no longer occupied. For a budget-friendly option, we like this pack of four motion sensor light switches at Amazon.
3. Switch to Cold Wash
Anytime the water heater needs to warm up the water in the tank or rapidly heat water passing through a tankless unit, electricity, water, and possibly gas add to energy costs. To save more of your salary, make the switch to a cold-water wash cycle on your clothes washing machine. This switch also can help you save on clothing costs because a cold cycle tends to be gentler on the fabric, ensuring that clothes last longer than they would if they were subjected to repeated hot-water cycles.
4. Commit to a Meal Plan
With the ease of fast food drive-thrus and restaurant or grocery delivery, it can be difficult to stay within your food budget for the month. After all, you can satisfy almost any food craving at the touch of a button, but giving in to this urge can lead to high food costs that leave you short on funds by the end of the month.
A great resolution for your finances and your health is to put together a meal plan and commit to the plan for the year. Make a list of meals and purchase only the groceries you will need for these meals. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of your favorite foods, just that you should add these meals to your plan, so you can budget accordingly. Consider setting aside one day a week for a take-out day to indulge your cravings and take a break from food preparation.
5. Rent Instead of Buying Specialty Tools
There are many projects around the home that an experienced DIYer or even a beginner who is willing to learn can complete. However, some of these jobs require the use of specialized tools, like a power sander to strip a deck, a roofing nailer to replace the shingles, or a plumbing auger.
When the job is complete, these tools often go unused for a long period of time, collecting dust in the workshop. So, instead of purchasing these specialty tools, it’s more cost-effective to head to a local home improvement store or tool rental business to rent specialty equipment for one-time use.
6. Close Curtains and Lower Blinds at Night
Another simple change you can make to help reduce heating and cooling costs is to close the curtains and lower the blinds at night. This provides a bit more privacy and prevents potential break-ins by shielding the contents of the home from wandering eyes. Even more, closing the curtains and lowering the blinds can better insulate the windows and prevent drafts.
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7. Wash Clothes and Dishes During Off-Peak Periods
One of the additions to many new clothes washers and dishwashers is the ability to set a wash cycle to run at a specific time. By choosing to wash your clothes and dishes during off-peak periods of the day, you can save money on your utility bills. If you don’t have a clothes washer or dishwasher with a built-in timer, then set a timer on your phone, so you remember to start the machine during off-peak hours.
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8. Make Your Own Household Cleaners
To keep the home free of dirt, grime, bacteria, and other debris, it’s important to clean the home regularly, especially in food preparation areas. You can head to a nearby store or even go online to get cleaning products to help with this ongoing task. If you are looking to save money, you also can make your own household cleaners.
One such DIY solution is to mix 2 cups of water with ¼ cup of vinegar to create a DIY glass cleaner. Another option is mixing 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water for a simple all-purpose cleaning solution.
9. Install a Clothesline
While a dryer can rapidly dry your clothes, towels, and sheets, it will require electricity and possibly gas to operate the machine. Instead of paying high utility bills, invest in a clothesline for the home and take advantage of the sun and wind to dry your laundry naturally. Even if you live in an apartment or condo, a small clothesline can go across the balcony to help reduce the amount you spend to dry your laundry. Or try a compact clothesline that fits in the utility room, like this portable collapsible clothesline at Home Depot.
10. Grow Your Own Vegetables
In many cases, people purchase fresh vegetables from the grocery store and leave them to sit in the refrigerator for days until the food is no longer safe to eat, then they throw the old food out. To save money on your grocery bills, consider planting some of your favorite vegetables in the yard or even in an indoor planter. As the vegetables grow, you can harvest them when you need them instead of sticking them in the fridge to slowly go bad. You can also plant your own herbs and spices to add a touch of flavor to your favorite meals.
11. Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Regular incandescent bulbs are slowly burning through the money in your wallet with short lifespans and costly energy consumption. Make the switch to LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. This doesn’t need to happen in one complete sweep. Just make sure to replace each burned-out incandescent bulb with a compatible LED bulb until the entire home has been converted. We like these daylight LED bulbs with a 10,000-hour lifetime at Amazon, the best value pick in our list of best LED light bulbs.
12. Plant Trees
Although among ways to save money at home that won’t pay off immediately, with a little patience, planting a few trees can lower energy costs. For instance, plant a couple of shade trees on the south and west sides of the home to protect the windows and walls from the heat of the sun while fully leafed out in summer. This lowers air temperature indoors and reduces cooling costs. Planting evergreen trees or dense shrubs on the north side of the home can act as a barrier to biting winter winds.
13. Use a Toaster Oven When Possible
Not every meal requires a full oven to cook or bake the food. When preparing a small meal for one or two people, it’s more cost-effective and timesaving to use a toaster oven instead of a full-size oven. On average, a toaster oven only uses about ½ to ⅓ of the power that a full-size oven will use to cook the same meal. So, unless you are cooking for the whole family, use the toaster oven when possible to save on energy costs. The Oster Toaster Oven at Amazon, the top pick in our researched guide to the best toaster oven, has convection cooking and can accommodate a 12-inch pizza.
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14. Cut Back on Disposable Items
Consumers purchase a wide variety of disposable items every month, like paper cups, paper plates, plastic cutlery, and paper towels. Instead of spending money every month to re-up your stock of disposable items, consider purchasing more permanent solutions that you can clean after each use. These items don’t need to break the budget. Head online or to a local dollar store to pick up some inexpensive plates, cups, cutlery, and machine-washable towels to reduce your monthly costs.
15. Take Advantage of Slow Cookers
Preparing a single portion of food for one person can lead to unexpected costs. Each time you prepare food, you need to wash the pots, pans, dishes, and any utensils that were used. Each meal might require purchasing individually wrapped items in small quantities. However, if you purchase food in bulk to prepare a large meal in a slow cooker, then you can store leftover food in the fridge or freezer to heat up later in the week.
The Instant Pot NOVA 6, the top pick in our researched guide to the best slow cookers, combines slow cooking with pressure cooking and comes in an 8- or 10-quart size for bulk meal prep. This method of cooking reduces the amount of dishes to wash, lowering energy costs. You can purchase bulk packages of food that are less expensive per serving and spend less time preparing food throughout the week, lending more time to relaxing, going to the gym, or reading a new book.