Members Share How They Save Money at Home

The home is where the heart is, so why not try to save some dough at your humble abode?

From planting a garden and turning down the thermostat, SparkPeople members have great tips for saving some green at their home sweet homes.
  • "Plant a garden. You can make pickles, chili sauce, and jams to give as gifts. Everyone loves a gift from the heart."
    -- ADOPTMOM1
  • "Make friends with the neighbors. I give them extra produce, outgrown clothing, old cars, and a helping hand when needed. In return, I have gotten babysitting in a pinch, and other things, such as a free bike."
  • "I keep my air conditioning set to 78 and run fans to circulate the cooled air."
    -- LECATES
  • "I closed off part of the house, so I now cool a smaller area during the summer."
    -- VHASKEW36
  • "We practically live in the basement family room and outdoors in the summer, so we don't have need to keep the house too cool. We barbecue a lot to avoid heating up the house using the stove, too."
  • "We turn off and unplug our satellite TV box, cell phone chargers and computers (and other electronic equipment) when not in use. They use electricity when plugged in, even when they're not being used."
  • "We watch our utilities closely. We use fans, blankets, and open windows to manage our temperature."
  • "Plant a garden, and save rain water for it. My boys love to help garden, harvest and of course eat what we grow. We have a few chickens for eggs as well. Chickens are great pets and easier to take care of then a dog--and the eggs are so fresh and yummy. (You can even keep chickens in most cities.)"
    -- CRMAGNO
  • "I am saving on heat by not turning the heat on even when the weather gets cooler than normal. Instead we dress in our sweats when the weather cools, and if we actually start feeling cold, we exercise!"
  • "I use cloth napkins, and reuse my towels and other linens before washing."
  • "I post a list outside of my refrigerator reminding me of what's inside, with a special section for things that need to be used soon. Every morning I glance at the list and decide what to have for dinner. That has cut back on food waste, and I don't forget what I already have and end up buying duplicates."
    -- ANARIE
  • "Instead of nagging at my family about using too much detergent, shampoo, dish soap or pretty much any liquid, I started watering it down. No one has noticed yet!" --LILYREDCLOUD
  • "In winter, I keep the heat at about 62 degrees. I take navy showers. (Turn the water on to get wet, turn the water off while you shampoo and wash. Turn the water on again to rinse, then turn it off while you condition hair, shave, etc.) I have no dryer—I use a clothesline inside or outside of the house. Lastly, we have a small apartment, which is much more energy efficient than a larger house."
  • "I sell stuff I don't need and don't use on craigslist. (Visit I also look at craigslist first when I need to buy something."
    -- DEMIKIT
  • "In the summer months, I plant a small garden. I will also blanch and freeze veggies that I get cheaply during sales or because they are in season. It really doesn't take long."
How do you save money around the house? Share your tip in the comments section.
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Member Comments

Great Report
DH and I have gotten rid of our home internet, and we go to the public library as often as necessary (I still have internet access at work). so we have saved $60/month. we got rid of Netflix because we borrow from the public library. since DH has been unemployed since March'11, we plan our meals and groceries and pretty much everything so that we aren't spending $ unnecessarily. he does the grocery shopping, we share the house expenses. i do my best to not rack up debt on my credit card, in case an emergency happens. we buy good food for our dogs, but not the most expensive. Report
I like MaryLou's navy shower tip. I'm going to try that. Report
at my local grocery store, they do all of their markdowns on wednesday and thursdays. if i go on these days, i can buy nearly everything i need on markdown (meat/cheese/prod
uce/bakery). if i wait until the weekend, everything is full price.

we only use cold water to do laundry, use 1/2 the detergent and then hang the clothes to dry. this also helps keep the humidity up in our house during the dry winter.

when i have to turn on the oven, i make sure there is more than one thing going into it. for example, i will make a pie and rolls in the first batch, and two meatloaves destined for the freezer in the second. and during the winter, i let the oven cool with the door cracked. it makes the kitchen so toasty. Report
In the winter when we are all out of the house during the day, I program my heat to drop to 68 until about a half-hour before the first person gets home in the afternoon. The thermostat also is programmed to drop overnight after everyone is in bed and under the covers, and then go up a few degrees so that its not so cold when we wake up and take showers. Another way we save on water is to tke showers together,. It's romantic for my husband and I and my daughter and grandaughter shower together so it doesn't use as much water or gas for heating the water. Report
I hang about half of each load of laundry on a wooden rack in the house, then dry the rest after the second load;

in the winter, my husband won't let me turn the furnace down below 20 degrees Celcius at night, so I won't let him turn it up higher than 20 degrees Celcius during the day!

I stock up on meat or produce that's on sale and freeze it. I often do this with bell peppers. I just chop them up, then use them on nachos or in chili or whatever.

I make my own taco seasoning, which is healthier, too!

I buy my eyeglasses online at for as little as $8.00 for a complete set! (and no, I don't get anything for promoting it, tho I wish I owned stock in the company)

We moved out of the big city to a small town nearby, where housing is less expensive and we work from home.

We consulted with a financial planner. You might be surprised at what they can do for you! Working with the same income, we were able to buy a minivan on payments and maintain our same lifestyle!

We don't watch much TV, so commercials can't lure us or our kids into thinking we need to buy stuff that we don't really need. We are more aware of the difference between wants and needs.

We give ourselves an allowance of "fun money" that we can spend however we want, without consulting each other. The amount varies according to our monthly commissions. If we want something big, we have to save for it.

We shop at thrift stores for our clothes, and exchange kids clothes with family members.

We have cut back on our Christmas expenses, in the last few years. We buy or make gifts that are appropriate to our income level, rather than trying to keep up with our more affluent family members or friends. We all buy gifts for neices and nephews, but not our siblings.

We rarely eat out! AND, make my sons snacks for school, rather than buying them.

I purchase generics when grocery shopping, but you have to watch it sometimes the name brand might be less expensive. I control portions, not only does the portion control save money but it saves our waistline as well. I'm currently a stay at home instead of driving my daughter to school we walk or ride bikes, again saves money but also saves the waistline. I also try to plan my trips to avoid driving all over the place. I wish the grocery stores were closer...I wouldn't mind going 3 times a week if they were just a mile away then I would walk or bike to the grocery store. Report
I try to save money on my phone/internet/ca
ble bills by making the telephone company compete with the comcast company to offer me the lowest price package deals. Report
Now that I am home full time due to my disability, I have become a safe home for my street. It is a neighborhood program in our area where latch-key children (or other children who get home and their parent may not be there for whatever reason) know they can come if they are frightened to be alone or have a problem of any sort. I can help them with their homework, let them watch tv or just ley them play in my yard until they feel safe or their parents get home. In return I usually get a potluck supper, my driveway and sidewalks shoveled in winter, etc. Some parents offer money but in these times I won't take it because I know the financial situation in our area and if the kids are coming home to an empty house, the parents can't afford a babysitter in the first place. Report
In Arizona, it is not easy to stay cool in the summer. I use my ceiling fans and keep the AC at 81-82. Keeps it just right. Still the bill DOES go up but not as much as it could!

I don't OWN a Dishwasher. WHY? For ONE PERSON?

I have replaced ALL my incadesent light blubs with the curly ones. I KNOW that has brought about a decent savings, and of course you don't have to change them as often! Report
i have all energy efficent light bulbs in my home and my out door lights are on a
timer . they are set to come on and go off . i shut down my computer when not in use
i wait until i have a full load of laundry before i wash rather than wash only a few items at a time Report
When the nearby dollar store runs an extra good sale on cleaning supplies such as extra large scrubbie sponges, i stock up and trim them in half or even thirds (depending on the size of the job and how often they will be used). One 4"x2" (LxW) sponge will last for the whole month. Just bleach to disinfect after daily/weekly cleaning is finished! They come in a variety of colors too! Report
We have a rain barrel that we use to water our side yard and plants. It saves on water and electricity. We reuse our towels until the fresh smell is gone. Our AC stays at 78 degrees all the time in the summer. When the weather starts getting cooler in October or November we turn it way up and open the windows and doors. I am beginning to use cloth napkins instead of paper towels as the cost of paper towels is getting too expensive. I hang clothes on the line sometimes and will try to do that more often. All the conveniences that we once took for granted is now something to think twice about. I think we are going to have to dig down deep and find the pioneer spirit that our forefathers had. We might lose some weight along the way. Report
In the summer I close the vents in the basement (it's always much cooler down there).
No paper towels in the bathrooms.
75% of the bulbs are energy-efficient.
I wash clothes in cold water. Report