Managing time and responsibilities as an adult is challenging enough, but when you throw kids into the mix, time-saving and money-saving strategies become almost crucial. I know a lot of parents who are busy and looking for ways to save time and money around the house.
Oftentimes, it seems like you have to choose one over the other. Some of the best ways to save money may require more of your time and vice versa. However, one thing my husband and I like to focus on are ideas and tasks that are quick, easy, and will save money around the house.
If you could spend 10 minutes or even 30 minutes doing something that doesn’t require a lot of effort just to save money around the house, would you do it? If the answer is yes, keep reading because I’m sharing my 7 favorite ways for parents to save money around the house.
1. Homemade Laundry Detergent
My family does laundry at least twice per week, but it almost always seems like we have clothes to wash. I’ve always known that we could make our own laundry detergent. However, I used to think it would seem like I was being too cheap or worse, wasting too much time.
Why go through all the hard work of making my own laundry detergent when I could just spend a few minutes picking it up at the store? To my surprise, I came across a video showing how to make homemade laundry detergent last year and it looked super easy.
All I needed was 2 to 3 ingredients and a 5-gallon bucket. Now, I make 5 gallons of liquid laundry detergent in less than 30 minutes. This homemade laundry soap lasts us several months at a time so it’s totally worth it. Plus, we save a ton of money so it’s a win-win.
2. Homemade Household Cleaner
Another item you can make at home to save money around the house is household cleaner. Many families spend tons of money on store-bought household cleaners that contain tons of toxins in them, when they likely have enough materials on hand at home to make their own cleaners.
Typically, you’ll need things like white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils to make your own homemade cleaners. You can buy empty spray bottles at the dollar store. You can even make your own disinfectant and handsoap if you wish.
Making your own household cleaners is also something you can do in minutes even while you’re watching TV or listening to a podcast.
3. Hang Dry Clothes
Another easy way to save money around the house is to hang your dry clothes instead of using your electric or gas clothes drying machine. I’ve seriously thought about installing a clothesline in our backyard and will likely do this when the weather warms up.
It’s usually cold during the winter months in the Midwest, but our summers are really hot so my family could easily use the warmer months to save on our electric bill and airdry the laundry.
4. Change Your Furnace Filter
Did you know that changing your furnace and air filters regularly can save up to $60 per year on average? This doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but you’ll also be taking good care of your furnace and A/C systems which could save you thousands over the years.
When you don’t change your filters, your system has to work harder to heat and cool your home. This leads to unnecessary wear and tear which could cause you to need to replace your furnace or A/C unit sooner than expected.
My husband works in heating and air conditioning so we know how expensive it is to buy a new furnace and have someone install it. That’s why taking good care of your systems over the years can really pay off. Doing something as simple as changing your filters only takes a minute or two but it can pay off big time in the future.
5. Check Your Fridge Weekly
Americans collectively waste 80 billion pounds of food each year which equates to more than $161 billion. With such a huge percentage of all food going to waste (around 30% to 40% of the U.S. food supply), there is definitely room for households to cut back on food waste.
One of the best ways to do this is to check your fridge weekly. Don’t just quickly open your fridge and scan the shelves. Actually commit to doing a thorough check and catching food before it goes bad.
Set your timer for 10 minutes and go through each shelf and drawer. Start to pull food to the front that may be expiring soon and add it to your meal plan for the week. For example, if you notice fresh broccoli going bad, you can add it as a side for dinner that night or use it to make a casserole.
One bad habit my husband and I had was putting leftovers in the fridge each night then forgetting about them. By checking our fridge a few times per week, we can better plan to eat dinner leftovers for lunch the following day and eliminate food waste to save more money.
6. Make Freezer Meals
Another way to save money around the house is to prepare freezer meals for those lazy nights when you don’t feel like cooking. I enjoy cooking and baking but more as a hobby. The idea of having to cook every night, especially after a long day at work, doesn’t really appeal to me.
Instead of placing spontaneous takeout orders or doing to the drive through during those nights, I plan ahead by preparing a few freezer meals instead. Freezer meals are basically meals you cook fresh but freeze and label for future use. Most foods can be stored in the freezer for several weeks or months.
When you’re ready to eat the meal, just pull it out of the freezer and heat it up. Making your own freezer meals is a lot healthier than buying pre-made frozen dinners that are often filled with preservatives and sodium. Instead, choose a day to whip up a few homemade meals you can freeze so you know they are made with whole and fresh ingredients.
7. Buy Used Furniture
Furnishing your home can be expensive even if you’re not starting from scratch. Furnishing just one room can easily cost over $2,000. When we bought our home, I took my time getting furniture and was also open to buying gently used items.
We bought a sectional sofa used that was just like new along with a glass kitchen table that came with 6 newly upholstered chairs for only a fraction of the retail price.
I’ve also not been afraid to grab items from the side of the road if it looked like something we could use at home. Getting nice furniture for free is always nice and if you’re looking you will come across some great stuff.
Summary: Save Money Around the House With These Tips
These are just a few easy ways to save money around the house without sacrificing too much of your precious time. Busy parents shouldn’t feel like they don’t have a few minutes to save money.
Stick to a schedule that works best for your family and start by just dedicating 10 to 15 minutes to an easy savings strategy that works for you.