There are plenty of ways to control spending at home without making drastic changes. And these days, experts say it’s more important than ever. “By cutting household expenses, you will give yourself extra money to put toward an emergency fund, which is really important in these uncertain economic times,” explains Lynnae McCoy, who writes BeingFrugal.net. Here are six ways to save while keeping up your home.
While keeping things neat and tidy is a must, sometimes taking time out to do a longer cleaning of a piece of furniture or the carpet can help give things that new shiny feel, says personal finance expert Erica Sandberg. “Even if you can’t afford to purchase something new and luxurious, you can make a vast difference in the way you feel about your home,” explains Sandberg.
Host a Yard Sale
Sell seldom-used things to clear up space and earn some extra cash. Besides using a weekend day to set-up a yard sale, you can also get rid of un-needed valuables on Craiglist.org. “It will help you make some extra money and de-clutter your space,” explains L.C. Dumke, author of How to Decorate and Furnish Your Apartment on a Budget.
If you’re itching to change the look of a room but don’t want to spend money on furniture, most decorating experts recommend painting the room a new color. “Covering dingy walls with a fresh coat of color immediately and dramatically improves your surroundings,” says Sandberg who adds that painting each room costs about $100.
The time you bought anything handmade was probably at your kid’s craft fair. But adding hand-crafted accessories to your home can help you add a unique touch while staying within your budget. Interior design consultant Holly Becker recommends sites like Etsy.com or DaWanda.com for budget-friendly finds like wall hangings or art, which “doesn’t look cheap or generic.”
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Determine your meals for the entire week to stay within your food budget and start eating healthier. “If you know what you're going to eat and plan for it, you're less likely to splurge on eating out or convenience items,” says McCoy who recommends planning a weekly or monthly menu.
Reevaluate the Phone Line
With options like cell phones and voice over Internet phone companies like Vonage, maybe it’s time to consider ditching the landline. Even if you want to keep your home phone service, reconsider add-on services like long distance, which is often free on your cell phone plan, says Steve Thornton, founder of RafterTales.com. Reevaluate “whether you really need call waiting, Caller ID and all the other bells and whistles that come with your current phone plan,” adds Thornton.