Thrifty Homemakers: Ways to Save Big This Year

Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

From buying cleaning products, to replacing kids’ clothes as they wear out, running a home can be expensive.

Here are three ways you can reduce your household expenses and give you a little more freedom with the budget.

Frugal Not Cheap

  1. Be Proactive

    Major household repairs can be expensive, and it is rare when you can actually afford to take care of them. You can’t foresee if or when your septic system will back up, or if the transmission in the family car will go out, but you can perform regular preventative maintenance.

    Create a weekly, monthly, and yearly home upkeep schedule. Include upkeep for the family vehicles such as oil changes, and cosmetic home upkeep, such as mowing the lawn, and trimming the hedges.

    Schedule regular evaluations for these household components:

    • your heating and cooling system

    • appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, and fridge

    • your plumbing and septic system

    By being proactive, you’ll only spend the flat rate for a technician’s evaluation, rather than the potentially huge costs of major HVAC, dishwasher or fridge replacement, parts, or repair.

    In Calgary and other cold-weather cities, you should have a technician evaluate your heating and cooling system, hot water heater, and furnace at least once a year.

    If you notice changes in how your home appliances are functioning, have a company like Atlas Appliances Ltd. come take a look before major problems have a chance to develop.

  2. Buy Used

    You can save money by buying used whenever possible. You can find secondhand clothes for your kids (and yourself) at local yard sales and donation centers.

    When your mattress, dining room table, or entertainment center needs to be replaced, check your local classifieds before visiting a department store.

    When you need to replace a big-ticket item or have a time limit, one of the best ways to find what you need is to get the word out.

    Let your friends, neighbors, colleagues, church group, book club, and fellow PTA parents know what you’re looking for.

    Chances are, you know someone who can help you get a great deal on that new TV, second car, or deep-freezer.

  3. Make Your Own

    From shampoo to dish soap, your household uses a host of perishable and non-reusable items every day. Families can go through glass cleaner, lotion, and toothpaste unbelievably quickly.

    You can save on many of these monthly costs by making these items at home:

    • Cleaning Materials: You can make carpet powder, cleaning wipes, and other household cleaners with ingredients you already have such as baking soda and scented oils.

    • Hair Care Products: Many hair care products on the market have harsh sulfates and other chemicals that actually damage your hair. Innovative homemakers have come up with their own alternatives that are cheaper and better for your hair.

      Using natural ingredients such as coconut milk and honey, you can make a line of hair care products for your whole family.

    • Skin Treatments: It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to take care of your family’s skin. Switch to homemade deodorant, lotion, and shaving cream to start saving.

    • Air Freshener: Stop buying Febreze, and start deodorizing your home with homemade fabric refresher and air fresheners.

    • Laundry Detergent: There’s a homemade solution for every laundry need. Many of these DIY options are made by combining a small fraction of the store-bought product with natural cleaners like baking soda.

    • Natural Toothpaste: Make your own toothpaste, by mixing coconut oil, food grade diatomaceous earth and peppermint oil. Not only will this save you throughout the year but it is also a perfect natural solution.

    By switching to homemade cleaning materials and toiletries, you will eliminate a big chunk of your family’s budget which will free up money for your other needs (or savings).

Be proactive and conservative this year to decrease your spending and help your household budget stretch farther.

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