If your income exceeds your bills, you are surviving. If you are able to put some of your income into savings, then you are doing well. Either way, the less you spend on expenses, the better for you and your family.
Here are five simple home habits you can start today to help you save money.
1. Change how you shop for groceries
One way to save money is to shop less often, say once for a two-week period. This will help you get into the habit of using the food in your pantry, fridge and freezer before buying more. You will notice how much less food you have to toss because it is past the best before date.
You can also reduce your grocery spending by buying in bulk and separating items into smaller portions that can be frozen. Meal planning around items that are on sale will help you stretch your money even more.
Ideally, you will set a budget for your groceries and stick to it. You might want to withdraw the cash from an ATM and only use those funds to pay for the items.
Another way to save money is to buy generic products instead of their brand-name counterparts. When you shop the aisles, be aware that supermarkets tend to put the items they want to sell at eye-level. Check the shelves above and below for less expensive options.
2. Adjust your dish-washing routine
Running the water in the kitchen sink as you wash various bowls and pans is equivalent to flushing money down the drain. These days, you can generally wash most things in the dishwasher, even delicate items can generally go on the top rack. Wait until you have a full load before you run the dishwasher.
If you find it takes too long to fill a load, switch to washing your dishes in the sink. The money-wise way to do this is to fill your sink with hot, soapy water. With the faucet off, lather and scrub all your crockery and cutlery. Then, pull the plug and rinse clean. This is even easier with a divided sink. You might even want to fill the sink with soapy water in the morning and let all your dishes collect for the day. That way, you only wash dishes once a day and use less water.
3. Change your filters
Various home appliances use filters such as your HVAC unit, range hood, and vacuum cleaner including your central vac.
These filters need to be kept clean in order for your appliance to run at peak efficiency. In fact, changing or washing your filters regularly can save you 15% on your energy bill. To stay on top of all your filters, program them as an alarm in your phone every three months or as suggested in your owner’s manual.
4. Shorten your showers
Hot, steamy showers can contribute to water damage in your bathroom due to the excess moisture. They also put a strain on your water heater and increase your household water usage.
An eight-minute shower in Canada costs about 34 cents. That’s more than double the cost of having a shower in the United States. If two people in your home take fifteen-minute showers, you are paying over a dollar. Over the course of a year, that’s a lot of money wasted.
Keep your showers to around five minutes. Be sure to turn off the faucet while you shave and install a low-flow shower-head to save even more water. If you are really in the mood for a long, hot de-stressing shower, opt for a bath instead.
5. Stop paying for phantom energy
Even when devices are turned off, they are slowing draining energy. This phantom energy can add up to around $150 a year on your electricity bill. That’s money that could be better used elsewhere. Instead of plugging devices directly into the wall outlet, use a power strip. Then, when you aren’t using the devices, flip the switch to save money. You can even buy smart power strips that automatically cut power once you turn the main device off. This is great for home entertainment systems.
What other habits can help Canadians save money? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honors BA English Specialization and has completed several publishing courses at Ryerson University. She is a proofreader, editor, and content writer based in London, Ontario.