Needing to find ways to stretch the budget? Here are 30 Easy Household Tips to Save Money:
#1. Use up leftovers
The average household throws away food to the value of €400 per year. Instead of chucking the leftovers, make them into lunch or dinner next day.
Related: Tips to Stop Food Waste
#2. Use vinegar for your windows
Instead of buying expensive window cleaners just add white vinegar to water in your spray bottle and you’ll find it does just the trick.
#3. Plan your meals for the week
“Meal planning has been working great for me. Every Sunday our fridge is almost empty, exact meal planning & shopping means 0 waste for us.” Babina
#4. Reduce toilet paper use
When my daughter was younger she’d use screeds of toilet paper often blocking the bend. We hit upon a simple number of sheets that she had to count up to.
Saving on toilet paper does add up and helps the environment too.
You can also keep empty paper rolls and fill them with compost to plant seeds in which saves money on pots.
#5. Switch off gadgets
Gadget chargers left plugged in keep using electricity. Plug your gadget chargers into a multi plug strip and each night make sure the strip is unplugged.
#6. Buy fruit and veg loose
When shopping at supermarkets, buy your fruit and veg loose.
“Most supermarkets sell bags of bananas, carrots etc for £1 or so but if you buy them loose it costs a fraction of the price.”, Melissa
#7. Make stock out of trimmings
Save and freeze carrot tops, potato peelings, wilted herbs and scraps of meat or a chicken carcase. Freeze and then add water and a bay leaf later to make a stock for casserole or soup.
#8. Make your own Ice Lollies
Use an ice lolly mould (or if you don’t have one you can use an ice cube tray with toothpicks) and try different juices or combinations out. Tip: half fill the mould rather than to the top, firstly it helps keep juice intake a little lower for kids as even natural fruit juice has sugar in it and secondly by the time they eat their way halfway on a larger ice lolly the juice has mostly gone so you’re left with half eaten ice anyway
Lots of ideas for fun flavours of ice lollies on this Crumbs video:
You may also like 8 Healthy Ice Pop Recipes for Kids
#9. Use less detergent for your laundry
Use less washing powder per load. Nowadays washing machines are more efficient and often half the amount of powder or liquid will be plenty.
#10. Switch off lights
Train everyone to switch off lights when they leave the room. Turning off lights that aren’t in use could save you 10-20% of your bill
#11. Cook instead of doing takeaway or buying ready meals
Simple dishes can cost very little compared to takeaways or ready meals.
For example, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, glug of olive oil and some basil if you have it or dried oregano whips up a nice sauce for pasta for 4 people.
Our Food writer, Caitriona from Wholesome Ireland has lots of recipes and suggestions for keeping the weekly food budget low but cooking easy and tasty recipes at the same time.
Sign up for our Food newsletter for monthly recipes from Caitriona
#12. Make your own flavoured water
Instead of buying expensive bottled waters from the supermarket add your own flavour to tap water with slices of cucumber, orange or lemon.
#13. Look for alternatives to expensive cleaning products
“I use Norwex microfiber Enviro Cloths with tap water and have replaced my all-purpose cleaners. (They cost $16.49 and are guaranteed for 2 years.)” Sandra
“Instead of using bleach to take stains from your clothes use Milton sterilizing fluid. It’s a fraction of the price and brings white items up like new” Alana
“I have saved tons of money by making my own laundry soap.” Jen
Here’s a video on making your own laundry detergent:
#14. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
When you’re hungry you can end up buying tons of extra things as your tummy leads the charge instead of the brain.
“Make a list before you shop and stick to it”, Michelle
#15. Use coupons
Most supermarket loyalty schemes send out coupons regularly. Often these are based on your previous purchases so use those if you buy the items regularly.
Tip: Check the coupon date and don’t forget to use before expiry.
“Get Sunday’s paper and clip money saving coupons. Be sure to read the coupon as sometimes the coupon value is given if you buy two of the product. And always check coupon date!” Robert
#16. Use a local milk delivery service
Check if there’s a local milk delivery service available as this can be more cost effective (and guarantee you have regular milk to your door).
“This is saving me a lot. I used to go to local supermarket every 2nd day for milk and always ended up spending €30-€40 on other non essentials. This way don’t need to go for milk, only for the main grocery shop” Linda
#17. Bulk buy your meat
“I buy all my meat monthly and spend a day seasoning and bagging. I mark all the bags so I know what I’m pulling for dinner…. That way I avoid getting takeout too often” Natacha
#18. Use Apples or Marshmallows!
“A marshmallow in brown sugar will keep it from getting hard, and an apple in a bag of potatoes will keep them from going bad. Saves me money on tators!!” Beth
#19. Consider Investing in a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are easy to use and you can also use cheaper cuts of meat which helps with the meat bill. Here are 15 Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes for Families
#20. Grow Your Own
Growing your own can be very cost effective, for example salads are quick to grow and a fraction of the price of bagged leaves from the supermarket. Plus the kids will enjoy planting and watching things grow.
“Buy a greenhouse they are 20 euro in the pound shop at the minute. You can buy all the seeds there too. Growing your own will save a fortune. You could also grow flowers and use them for gifts.” Elaine
#21. Change all your lightbulbs to energy saving light bulbs.
They might be a bit more expensive at first but they can reduce your electricity bill by 30% and they last longer so don’t need replacing as often.
#22. Don’t fill the kettle if you don’t need it
When using the kettle, just put in enough water for what’s needed. It’s more efficient and uses less electricity.
#23. Do your shopping on off peak days
“I shop on Sundays or Monday morning when there is loads of fresh product half price which I can freeze” Lydia
#24. Don’t buy everything in the supermarket
Supermarkets make it easy to buy everything under one roof and while it does save petrol to only go to one place, with a bit of careful planning you can save more money by shopping elsewhere. Often the local fruit & veg shop has good deals.
“Buy all of your produce at the farm markets/ roadside stands when possible. You’ll not only save a ton, but you’ll be supporting your local farmers.” Ann-Marie
#25. Use vinegar and baking soda.
Independently and combined, they are great cleaning agents. Our grandmothers and mothers cleaned with vinegar, baking soda and lemon.
For example, pour 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain and rinse with water to keep drains clear.
“No need to buy anything else except maybe bleach” Aneesa
More tips here on Earth911.com.
#26. Batch Cook & Freeze
The next time you are cooking, double or triple the quantities and freeze the extra in batches. Next time you need a quick meal you’ll be able to reheat quickly. This can also be a good way of using bulk buys (see tip #17)
#27. Look for deals and special offers
Check each week for deals or yellow label items. But be careful that you don’t get tempted to buy 3 for 2 if you won’t actually use them. If you see a good deal and buy it but it’s extra spend that you hadn’t planned then remember to take it out of next week’s budget.
“I look out for offers and bag them for the freezer.” Deborah
#28. Swap out some meat for less costly meals
“I use a couple of butchers that do the family packs of meat for 20 pound and I use my meat every other day with something like tuna bake in between” Sally
#29. Turn your heating down
Turning your heating down by 1degree can reduce the amount of electricity, gas or oil your heating is using. Consider installing programmable thermostats and/or investing in separate heating controls for upstairs and downstairs so that you can set timers on your heating and avoid heating rooms that you aren’t in at the time.
#30. Buy supermarket own brands
While there might be some brands you wouldn’t compromise on, you might be surprised at the quality of the supermarket own brand and save some money at the same time.
“Look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves”, as my grandmother used to say.
Have you got a household tip to help save money that you can share? Tell us in the comments below.