If you are looking for ways to stretch your household budget, then we have pulled together some great ideas and tricks to help.
From energy-saving tips to ideas on how to cut your grocery bill, we have 30 easy (and effective!) household tips to save money – the best part is you can get started today!
Easy Household Tips to Save Money
All of the suggestions in this article are simple to implement, after all, we’re busy parents too so we understand that simple and easy is the best way to go.
#1. Use Up Leftovers
The average household throws away food to the value of €400 per year. Reduce your food waste and, instead of chucking the leftovers, make them into lunch or dinner the next day. Or pop them in the freezer for a future meal.
Alternatively, turn wilting veg in the fridge into a stir-fry or quick soup. Soups freeze really well and are there ready and waiting for you on a busy day.
#2. Switch Off Gadgets
Did you know that 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 switched off or unplugged.
People often charge phones overnight but the phone doesn’t take all night to charge up so get in the habit of charging earlier in the evening so you can unplug when it’s full again.
#3. 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!
#4. Use Less Detergent for your Laundry
Use less washing powder or liquid per load. Nowadays washing machines are more efficient and often half the amount of powder or liquid will be plenty.
#5. Look for Alternatives to Expensive Cleaning Products
Branded cleaning products can be expensive, and need to be replaced every few weeks. Look for alternatives with either natural or own-brand products.
“I use Norwex microfiber Enviro Cloths with tap water and have replaced my all-purpose cleaners. The initial cost is higher, but they are guaranteed for two years and work out considerably cheaper than buying cleaning products every few weeks.” – 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:
#6. Use Vinegar on Your Windows
Instead of hiring a window cleaner or buying expensive products, just add white vinegar to water in a spray bottle and you’ll find it does just the trick.
A microfibre cloth is great for leaving a streak-free finish, but tradition actually would have been to use scrunched up newspaper for the same effect.
#7. Make Stock Out of Trimmings
Save and freeze carrot tops, potato peelings, wilted herbs and scraps of meat or chicken bones. Bag and freeze them, then add water and a bay leaf later to make a stock for casserole or soup.
#8. Buy Loose Veg Instead of Prepacked
When shopping at supermarkets, buy your fruit and veg loose rather than pre-packaged. Not only could you save money, but you will only buy what you actually need.
“Most supermarkets sell bags of bananas, carrots and so on, but if you buy them loose it costs a fraction of the price.” – Melissa
#9. Cook From Scratch
Simple dishes can cost very little compared to ready meals.
For example, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, a glug of olive oil and some basil (if you have it) or dried oregano whips up a nice pasta sauce for 4 people.
#10. 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. Here are some ice pop recipes to try.
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.
#11. Swap Out Some Meat for Less Costly Meals
Beans, lentils and vegetables are much cheaper than meat-based meals, so it’s definitely worth incorporating some vegetarian meals in your weekly plan.
“I cook meat every other day, with something like tuna pasta bake in between.” – Sally
#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. Turn Your Heating Down
Turning your heating down by even just one degree 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.
#14. Reduce Toilet Paper Use
When my daughter was younger she’d use screeds of toilet paper, often blocking the bend in the process! 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. Alternatively, they are free craft supplies for kids looking to make creative paper roll crafts.
#15. Don’t Fill the Kettle
When using the kettle, just put in enough water for what’s actually needed. It’s more efficient and uses less electricity.
Are you looking for some free ways to entertain the kids? We take the hard work out of planning your free family time with 101 FREE things to do with kids that will cost nothing but time (and perhaps just a few store cupboard items!).
#16. Change 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.
#17. Grow Your Own
Growing your own can be very cost effective. Salad leaves and herbs, for example, are quick to grow and a fraction of the price of bagged versions from the supermarket. Plus the kids will enjoy planting and watching things grow.
“Buy an inexpensive greenhouse and some seeds. Growing your own will save a fortune. You could also grow flowers and use them for gifts.” – Elaine
#18. Use a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are easy and economical to use – in fact this is one of our favourite household tips to save money!
Cheaper cuts of meat are actually ideal for the slow cooker, which will help to bring down your grocery bill.
#19. 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 your brain.
“Make a list before you shop and stick to it.” – Michelle
#20. 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 second day for milk, and always ended up spending €30-40 on other non essentials. This way, I don’t need to go for milk, only for the main grocery shop.” – Linda
#21. Use Coupons and Discounts
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. Keep the coupons in your wallet so you always have them to hand.
“Get Sunday’s paper and clip 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
#22. Bulk Buy Meat
Have you ever considered buying meat in bulk? Instead of buying 3 or 4 chicken breasts for one meal, what about buying a month’s worth and portioning it out into the freezer?
“I buy all my meat monthly and then spend a day seasoning it and bagging it in meal-size amounts for the freezer. I mark all the bags so I know what I’m pulling out for dinner…this way I avoid getting takeout too often.” – Natacha
#23. Batch Cook & Freeze
The next time you are cooking, double or triple the quantities and freeze the extra in meal-size batches. Next time you need a quick meal you’ll be able to reheat quickly. This can also be a good way of using your bulk buys.
#24. Use Apples or Marshmallows!
Keep your food fresher for longer with some handy household tips.
“A marshmallow in brown sugar will keep the sugar from getting hard, and an apple in a bag of potatoes will keep them from going bad.” – Beth
Family budgeting can be tricky at the best of times. Take our 52 Week Savings Challenge so you can gradually put away some cash to help with unexpected expenses!
#25. Look for Deals and Special Offers
Check each week for deals or discounted items – but be careful that you don’t get tempted to buy something that you won’t actually use. 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
#26. Do Your Food Shopping Off Peak
Shopping at off peak times can sometimes mean nabbing food bargains, e.g. end of day or end of weekends, when there are more yellow sticker deals.
“I shop on Sundays or Monday morning when there is usually loads of fresh produce at half price – I buy it and freeze for later.” – Lydia
#27. 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 brands – and save some money at the same time.
Look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves, as my grandmother used to say!
#28. Don’t Buy Everything in the Supermarket
While it does save on fuel costs to just go to one store (and supermarkets make it easy to buy everything under one roof), often local shops such as a butcher or bakery will have good deals.
“Buy all of your produce at your local farmer’s markets or greengrocer if possible. You will get fresher foods, save loads of money, and you’ll be supporting local businesses.” – Ann-Marie
#29. Plan Your Meals for the Week
Meal planning is possibly one of the biggest things you can do to save money before you go shopping. This free meal planning sheet can help you get started.
“Meal planning has been working great for me. Every Sunday our fridge is almost empty, exact meal planning and precise shopping means zero waste for us.” – Babina
#30. 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.
“I have no need to buy anything else, except maybe bleach.” – Aneesa