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Today's guest post comes from Allen Michael as he discuss how he saved money around the house last year. Allen is the founder and editor of The Stick Vacuums, a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible. Allen stumbled onto stick vacuums while trying to help his family keep their home clean with less work, and has since become an expert on saving money and time in your home. This is the first post in a two-part series, so be sure to check out Allen's next post.
Early last year, it occurred to me just how much money we were spending on our monthly bills. It can creep up on you, and that is certainly what happened for us. There were no obvious areas of wasteful spending, but as time had gone on, I realized that we were spending too much on our monthly bills.
Ironically, we didn’t have to make any drastic lifestyle changes to reign in the spending. Here are 6 simple ways I saved money around my house last year.
The average American spends over $1,100/year getting coffee out. We were spending even more than that, when you add up the several members of our household. Instead, we started making coffee at home every morning, and cut out the expensive lattes. We didn’t stop drinking coffee – we just started brewing it at home.
Making a cup of joe at home costs an average of $0.17/cup, so you can save a lot of money this way. We experimented with different coffee blends to try and give us some of the same flavor our Starbucks lattes did, and settled on a nice vanilla roast. In the end, the savings more than made up for the flavor sacrifice.
With just a little bit of planning, you can save yourself a lot of money. We started meal planning every weekend for the upcoming week. This ensured that we were being smart about what we ate, and had a plan to eat at home (instead of eating out). The planning resulted in a store list, which meant that I was shopping for food with a plan, instead of just dropping by on the way home from work. All of this led to saving money.
We didn’t just stop there – we made a weekly chore list. Dishes got done every night, and the laundry got done every weekend. We found the best stick vacuum, and quickly vacuumed every night (instead of waiting until it got bad). And, we managed to stick to the chore list most of the year. This cut down on the chaos in our lives, and kept our spending in check.
Adjusting your thermostat by just one degree can result in up to 15% savings on your power bill. We settled on a temperature of 66 degrees in the winter (down from 68 degrees) and 76 degrees in the summer (up from 74 degrees).
The reality is that two degrees isn’t that much. I would have a light sweater on in the winter, but nothing more. And, in the summer, we offset the increased temperature with a few box fans to keep the air moving.
How well your home is insulated plays a large part in how much AC and heat you need. And, one area that is easy to inspect and correct is the amount of insulation in your attic.
A quick visit to my attic showed me that we had the bare minimum of insulation. In the winter, as heat rises, it escapes through your ceiling. A trip to my local Home Depot and I was able to throw more insulation around my entire attic.
Once you start trying to save money on your power bill, it can be contagious. It didn’t take long to realize that our front door had a gap at the bottom, and it was letting a ton of air through.
You could literally feel the draft when you got down on your knees and put your hand next to the door. On the same trip to Home Depot, I picked up a cheap door sweep and had it installed that afternoon.
Our incandescent light bulbs were costing us a fortune every year. I read up on the energy savings that can come from switching to LED, and quickly switched our light bulbs out.
The result? Between, #3, 4, 5, and 6, we saved an average of 27% over the course of the year on our power bill.
There are so many things you can save money on every month, but many of them are ridiculously easy. What started as nothing more than a realization turned into thousands of dollars of savings for us. As the next years starts, I’m even more motivated to find additional areas we can save money around our house.