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If you are a homemaker trying to cut down your expenses, all the money-saving advice out there can be overwhelming! There are millions of ways for homemakers to save money–but where do you start? You start with the changes that are going to make the biggest difference in your budget, which is what this list will help you do. I took nine different everyday household expenses and shared the BIGGEST way I know to save money in that area. I finished the list off with my favorite way to continue learning about ways to save even more money on household expenses.
If you are new to saving money, just doing one thing in each area of your household budget to save money will have a snowball effect that will dramatically lower your bills from month to month. To get you started in your saving money efforts, I thought long and hard about what one thing saves me the most money in nine different areas of our home finances–number 10 on this list will help you with all areas of your expenses.
10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money
My number one tip for saving money on groceries is creating a method for comparing prices so that you know the lowest prices of the top 20 items you buy over and over. This will dramatically lower your grocery budget. You can do this by making a price book or a spreadsheet or save it in your notes app on your smartphone.
Shopping at thrift stores or yard sales for clothing is the cheapest way to clothe a family, but not all of us have the time to devote to it. If that is you, then the best way I know of saving money on new clothing for your family is to sign up for the email lists of your family’s favorite clothing stores. Yes, you do end up deleting quite a few emails, but I find it worth it! Not only do I get the heads up about clearance sales, but often the company will include unique subscriber-only coupons and codes that will knock prices down even further.
3. Cell Phone Bills
Hands down the cheapest smartphone service out there is a pay as you go plan. My family has used Ting for several years and have been very happy with their service. When I first leaped, I paid just $17.46 a month for my iPhone, and that includes all taxes and fees. About a year or so later my son and daughter joined me on their family plan, and now we pay right around $45 a month for service to three smartphones.
4. Eating Out
It is true that avoiding eating out altogether is going to save you the most money in this area, but I don’t think that is realistic for all families. Instead what has worked best for us is to set a weekly budget for eating out and put it in the form of cash in our cash envelopes each week. When the money in the envelope is gone, we don’t eat out.
Our budget covers one fast food meal for the entire family each week. If we want to eat at a sit-down restaurant, then we save up and don’t eat out for a week or two.
If you think your family would have problems cutting back to just one meal out a week due to busy evenings, check out this list of 20 quick and simple dinner ideas, they are how we manage to skip the drive-thru line on busy nights.
5. Heating & Cooling Costs
Find the lowest temperature your family is happy with in winter and the highest they can stand it in summer.
The rule around our home in winter is if we are all not wearing sweaters inside in winter, then the thermostat is set too high and in summer it is if you feel the need to put a sweater on indoors, the air conditioning is set too high.
For us that looks like 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer. We like to sleep cool so at night in the winter we turn down the heat to 64.
Experiment in your own home. At what temperature do people start complaining (and not just that one hot body or cold body)? Are they dressed appropriately for the weather? I don’t see anything wrong with wearing a sweater in the house in winter, but if people are dressed in down parkas and long johns you might have the heat set a bit too low.
6. Household cleaners
Making your own cleaners is the best way to save money in this area of your household finances. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients or effort to begin making your own cleaners and the best part is you can have your older children help you with the cleaning without the fear of them handling a cleaner wrong and harming themselves.
7. Transportation Costs
The best way to save money on transportation costs is not to own more vehicles than you need. Secondly–and yes I am including two steps on this one–don’t own a vehicle that is fancier than you need. I added two steps here because I know most of you are not able to reduce the number of vehicles you own, but you might be able to change the type of car you drive to something more fuel efficient with less expensive upkeep costs and preferably with no need for a car loan. For instance, if you’re a family with just two children, do you need a minivan? Most compact cars cost less to maintain and are more fuel efficient then minivans.
I know this is not a change a family can do quickly, it takes time to research what would best work for your family and to save money to get rid of the payment. In the meantime, you can save money on gas by making sure you combine errands as much as possible. Every time you need to go out ask yourself, “Am I going to be passing a store where I can pick up something I need?” Write those errands down in the order that makes the most sense for the route you will take to and from your activity.
Cut cable completely. You can use InstaGC to earn a gift card to pay for your Netflix each month and stream your favorite shows when you want to watch them (here is a guide to using InstaGC to earn gift cards). If you like news and daily talk shows invest in a high-quality antenna. Our family bought an antenna so we could watch the last Winter Olympics and we have loved it. The channels it brings in are crystal clear. If you have a sports lover in the house try Hulu or Sling. Depending on the sports channel you want, either of these live streaming TV services could be cheaper than cable.
9. Use Point Programs To Pay For Your Vice
Love Starbucks coffee? Keep it in the budget by using one of these 8 different reward programs that offer gift cards as a payout.
Love Kindle books, but the titles you like are rarely on the freebie lists? Enjoy a few each month by doing a few simple things on Swagbucks each month to earn Amazon gift cards (see how to earn a $25 gift card to Amazon each month through Swagbucks here). You can also receive free paperbacks and more from My Reader Rewards. More into magazines than books? You can get those for free too!
There are so many different point programs available that you are bound to find one where you can earn gift cards without too much monthly effort.
10. Never Stop Learning
This point will save you money in all areas of your budget. If there is one thing I have learned in my 20 years as a homemaker, it is this: “there is always room for improvement, and improvement comes through learning”. My favorite way to learn is through reading. I can pick up a book and read a chapter here and there and find out about a new way to save money in an area of our finances, then apply it and reap the savings.
Here is a list of 10 books I recommend for those wanting to reduce their month to month expenses.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
Also join my Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group where I share my thrifty posts, tip, and frugal finds.
Three More Posts For Homemakers:
- What To Do When You Don’t Feel Talented At Homemaking
- 4 Flexible Ways To Earn Money As A Stay-At-Home Mom
- The Popular Mom Thought That Keeps You Busier Than You Have To Be
Do The Daily Tasks Of Being A Homemaker Leave You Worn Out?