Stop the Money Leak: 7 Strategies to Plug Unseen Expenses and Save at Home

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When money is tight, it can feel as though you’ve lost your sense of control. Rising inflation, astronomical rents and unforeseen expenses can derail your savings in a split second. Fortunately, you may have some extra cash lying around you didn’t know about.

Sure, someone could have stuffed a couple of bucks in the couch. However, you could also be spending more money daily than necessary. Here are seven strategies to weed through unseen expenses at home and save money for the essentials.

  1. Eliminate Unnecessary Spending

Do you have your eye on decorative pillows for the living room sofa? Maybe your kids are begging you for a trending toy. The first step to saving money at home is to eliminate buying things you don’t need or find cheaper alternatives. Budgeting can help with this.

Senator Elizabeth Warren developed the 50/30/20 guideline to help people budget their spending as follows:

  • 50% on mandatory items: Rent, health care, mortgage, groceries and child care
  • 30% on things you want: Dining, entertainment, phone and internet, shopping, and travel
  • 20% to accrue savings: Debts, student loans, investments and retirement planning

Cutting back on things you don’t need and only spending money on the essentials could give you greater financial stability.

  1. Consume Less Energy

Make energy-efficient upgrades and adopt eco-friendly habits to lower utility bills. Americans could save $200 to $400 on utilities by sealing drafts and air leaks, updating their HVAC systems, and insulating their homes. Likewise, you can pocket $225 annually by switching to LED light bulbs.

Purchasing a programmable thermostat will allow you to plug unseen expenses at home. Correctly setting the programmable thermostat can save you 10% on annual heating and cooling bills. Considering most American households spend around $2,200 on heating and cooling, you can reduce the amount by $220.

Also, remember to change the air filter monthly. A dirty filter makes your HVAC system work overtime, skyrocketing utility bills.

  1. Conserve Water

Upgrading your water heater, fixing leaks, and swapping out toilets, faucets and showerheads for low-flow models are other strategies to save money. The average household in the United States wastes 10,000 gallons of water annually, costing about $1,100.

Retrofitting for water efficiency can save you $350 on water bills. Other ways to save money on water expenses include upgrading to an efficient sprinkler system, only washing full loads of laundry and dishes, and covering the pool to avoid evaporation in the summer heat.

  1. Waste Less Food

Much of your spending may go toward impromptu grocery purchases. However, planning your meals ensures you stick to a grocery list, only buying what you need. Designate a day to write down your meals for the week.

You can also take it one step further by meal prepping. Start by marinating protein and chopping vegetables for dinner the next day. You can also prep your breakfast in advance. For instance, overnight oats will aid your digestive system and curb cravings until lunchtime. The best part is you have a nutritious breakfast ready when you’re rushing out the door for work.

Other ways to waste less food are to store perishables in airtight containers, take inventory of your pantry and refrigerator before shopping, grow your own food, use leftovers, and buy “ugly” produce so you eat it faster.

  1. Shop Strategically

It’s easy to get lost in Amazon deals — before you know it, you have a full shopping cart and less money in the bank. Shopping strategically can save your finances and reduce clutter at home.

Always look for sales and discounts before purchasing, whether it’s groceries, new appliances, electronics or other significant expenses. Be sure to compare prices and consider shopping at warehouse or wholesale clubs. You can buy things in bulk at a fraction of the cost.

  1. Cancel Unused Subscriptions

Popular subscriptions include mobile phones, internet, streaming services, music streaming, digital subscriptions and Amazon Prime. The real question is, do you have the time to watch Disney+, Netflix, Hulu and Peacock?

A Chase survey revealed nearly 71% of respondents waste over $50 monthly on subscriptions they no longer need. It may be time to go through your subscriptions and cancel anything underused.

  1. DIY Projects

You could spend more on repairs if you don’t keep up with your household’s maintenance. Yet, not all projects require hiring a professional.

Aside from electrical and plumbing, are there any easy home improvements you can DIY? Taking on maintenance can save you ample money on labor and materials. Several online resources can guide you through projects you need help with.

Suppose you’re looking to repaint your home. A 2,000-square-foot house would cost nearly $7,000 to paint the interiors. Why spend that much when you can do the job yourself with a $35 gallon of paint? Look up video tutorials for how to set up the room and apply the paint for optimal results.

Simple Changes Save You Money at Home

Managing at-home expenses may require changing your spending habits. Others demand investing in upgrades for long-term savings. Whatever changes you make will reserve money for the essentials and ease financial burdens.