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- With inflation raising the cost of everything, I’ve been looking for creative ways to save money.
- I’m selling items around the house that I no longer need, and reducing my electricity use.
- Being more mindful of food waste is helping me save money at the grocery store.
- Compare today’s best savings account rates »
With inflation causing the price of food and household items to skyrocket, I’ve become obsessed with finding ways to save more money every month.
As a fully remote worker, I spend a lot of time at home. For the last two months, I’ve started to brainstorm ways that I can change my habits around the house in order to save $200, or more, every single month.
By making a few changes and trying out new behaviors, here are the four ways I was able to make that happen.
1. Selling items around the house
One of my favorite ways to make extra money on the weekends is selling items I have around the house that I don’t use or don’t need anymore.
I spend 45 minutes every Sunday rounding up anything that I want to try to sell before listing those items on apps like Poshmark (great for clothing and shoes), Facebook Marketplace (great for furniture or random items like rollerblades, dishes, or household accessories), or OfferUp (great for furniture or household accessories).
Last month I was able to make $75 by selling three furniture items, and this month, so far, I’ve made around $100 selling clothes and shoes. While I do spend some of that money, I try to save 25-50% and put the cash in either my emergency fund or my general savings account.
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2. Lowering my electric bill
When I look at my electric bill during the summer months, I begin to sweat. In an average month, the electric bill for my 500-square foot one-bedroom apartment can hover around $180.
In an effort to lower the bill as much as possible, I’ve started to get strategic about my habits around the house using advice from my local energy provider.
I am guilty of leaving the house with the lights and the air on, even when I don’t plan to be home for hours. I put a sticky note on my front door reminding me to shut everything off before I leave.
Instead of blasting my air conditioning all day, since I work from home, I’ve started to lower our shades to keep the apartment cooler and run the air for 20 minutes at a time before turning it off for 40 minutes.
Finally, when it comes to using appliances (like the dishwasher or in-unit washer and dryer), rather than turning them on three to four times a week, I’ve limited my dishwashing to once a week (handwashing the rest of the items) and doing laundry once a week.
While the amount of the electric bill can change based on many factors, I’m hoping that by getting more rigid about these behavior shifts I can knock off at least $20 a month from that bill.
3. Being mindful about food waste
A few months ago, I took an audit of how much I spend every 30 days on groceries and realized my total was around $600. I started to notice that I could shave some money off that amount if I was smarter about not only how I was buying these food items, but also about how I was making sure they didn’t go to waste.
After getting better at searching for coupons before heading to the store, and buying more frozen produce, I found another simple way that I could save $15 to $20 a week on groceries.
Instead of letting food items go to waste, I found ways to turn them into meals and put them in the freezer before they went bad. For example, last week I had an unused garlic bulb, onion, potato, and zucchini that were all about to go bad before I could consume them. I turned them into soup and put the container in the freezer. I can have that soup for lunch for at least two or three days, saving me money on having to buy other items to eat.
I also realized that every week I was buying a new loaf of bread (around $4.99) and was only eating a third of the loaf. I started to put the leftover bread in the freezer and now only buy bread every three weeks.
Using these techniques has helped me save around $60 to $80 a month on my grocery bill.
4. Buying off-brand cleaning products
An easy way I was able to save money on my grocery bill was by being mindful about buying generic or store-brand items over more popular and well-known brand items instead. When I started doing this with cleaning supplies, I noticed that I was saving anywhere from $15 to $30 a month, depending on what I needed to buy.
For example, if I needed new dish soap, I found I was able to buy the store-brand version for $0.99 instead of the $4.99 dish soap I was buying from a major brand I was loyal to. When I switched most of my cleaning products away from well-known brands, my savings started to increase. Plus, depending on the store you shop at, you might even find more coupons offered, or buy-one get-one deals, if you buy the store brand instead.
This article was originally published in September 2022.