You know what really puts a dent in the grocery list budget? Household items and cleaning supplies. Laundry detergent, disposable bags for lunches, and cling film are all guilty of eating up a good chunk of household funds. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize spending on these items.
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies can get expensive, so making your own can be cheaper in the long run. As a bonus, DIY cleaning supplies tend to be less harsh, more sustainable, and are made with simple pantry items like baking soda and vinegar. Here are recipes for a few cleaning solutions that work. Store-bought cleaning supplies also tend to be advertised as having different purposes (cleaner for the sink, cleaner for countertops, etc.) when really, one all-purpose cleaner can be used for multiple areas.
Get the Deal and Stock Up
Cleaning supplies will inevitably go on sale. These are things you’ll always use, and they keep for a while, so stock up when you can to save a couple dollars. However, it’s easy to buy unnecessary things when they’re on sale, so be wary of doing that. Buying supplies from dollar stores and discount stores are also a great way to save money. Another option is buying in bulk if you have a membership, but make sure to check the unit price against other stores to see if purchasing half a year’s supply of toilet paper is worth it.
Skip Name Brands
Off-brand and brand name products often have the same ingredients and do the same thing. Most of the time, the only difference is in the price — which pays for the branding and marketing. Medicine, for example, is a great area to save and buy off-brand. Legally, they must be identical to their name-brand counterparts in order to get on shelves.
Get Stuff for Free
Join a buy-nothing group, where you can post what you’re looking for and if someone nearby has it, they might be willing to give it to you — no strings attached. These groups are limited to people within a certain radius and are designed to foster community. People also post things that they don’t need anymore, so it’s worth scrolling through. Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji are also places where people often give away things for free.
Reuse or Replace Single-Use Products
It can seem like a big change, but you won’t miss the endless amounts of paper towels and sandwich bags that were unnecessarily used in the first place. Switch to beeswax covers instead of foil or cling film, buy reusable sandwich bags instead of disposable ones, and use the perfectly clean kitchen towel to dry your hands instead of a sheet of paper towel every time. There are also things like dryer balls that are reusable, and better for you and the environment.
Fight Phantom Power
Phantom power is a real thing, and leaving appliances plugged in all night can rack up the electricity bill. TVs, game consoles, and lamps are all still using energy, even when they’re not in use. It might be tiring to go around the house and try to switch everything off manually, so investing in a power bar where you can plug multiple things in makes it easy to switch them off. Smart power bars are convenient because they can be timed to switch off whenever you want.
Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer