26 Ways to Trim Your Household Costs, Room by Room

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Our homes rank high on the list of potential money sucks. From heating to cleaning to keeping things in order, homeowners spend a lot of hard-earned cash maintaining their spaces.

Thankfully, that means our homes are also full of the potential to save (or even earn) us money, and even small tweaks can have a big impact on your bottom line. Let's go room by room and explore the savings opportunities under your roof.

26 Ways to Trim Your Household Costs, Room by Room
  • TV. Downgrade to a cheaper package or eliminate cable/satellite altogether and use services like Hulu and Netflix (NFLX).
  • Electronics. Put your electronics on a "smart" power strip to lower electricity costs. Turn off electronics and unplug phone chargers when they're not in use.
  • Lights. Replace your traditional bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs to cut energy costs dramatically.
  • Furniture. Shop second-hand, go to garage sales and comparison-shop online to get the best prices on some great, unusual pieces.
  • Heating and cooling. Get a programmable thermostat to help regulate your home's temperature based on when you're there and when you're away.
  • Appliances. Energy Star appliances may cost more to buy, but they're well worth it when it comes to the long-term savings.
  • Water. Don't waste money on bottled water. Filter your own tap water with a faucet-mounted or pitcher-style filter and take it with you in a reusable water bottle.
  • Dishes. Only run the dishwasher when it's full, and let the dishes air-dry.
  • Cleaning. Use reusable sponges and dish cloths rather than paper towels. Make your own cleaning solutions from inexpensive household ingredients like ammonia, vinegar and baking soda.
  • Shower. Use a low-flow shower head and limit your shower time. (Sorry, long, hot showers are a no-no.)
  • Sink. Turn off the water when you're brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Toilet. Invest in a dual-flush toilet, which has separate buttons allowing you to flush with a small amount of water or a large amount, depending on the job at hand.
  • Lights. Put lights on a dimmer to use less energy late at night and early in the morning, when bright light is not necessary.
  • Heating. Bundle up in cold months with multiple covers and quilts, and turn the heat down when you're sleeping.
  • Closet. Clean out your closet and sell any unwanted or rarely used clothes and accessories.
  • Use it more. Instead of eating out, cook more dinners at home, and have friends over for a potlucks instead of going out to pricey restaurants.
  • Phone. Get rid of your landline if you rarely use it. There's no point in having one if you're on your cell all the time anyway.
  • Internet. Get internet service from your phone or TV provider and bundle your services for savings.
  • Work out. Create a home gym and cancel your pricey gym membership.
  • Store food in bulk. Get a standalone freezer and create a pantry area with shelving units to store products purchased in bulk or on sale.
  • Laundry. Use cold water, only run full loads, air-dry items, and regularly clean lint traps to keep your machines running efficiently.
  • Hot water tank. Insulate your hot water tank and set it at a lower temperature.
  • Furnace. Change the furnace filter regularly and have your air ducts professionally cleaned every three to five years.
  • Extra space. Rent out unused space, whether it's a storage space, a bedroom to a student, or creating an entire apartment.
  • Insulation. Keep heat from escaping and lower your energy bills by insulating your attic.
  • Odds and ends. Storing a ton of stuff up there? Hold a garage sale and sell what you're not using.
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Paula Pant ditched her 9-to-5 job in 2008. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental units and runs a business from her laptop. Her blog, Afford Anything, is a gathering spot for rebels who refuse to say, "I can't afford it." Visit Afford Anything to learn how to shatter limits and live life on your own terms.
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