Finding Savings Around the Home

It's getting tougher to stretch a dollar these days. But there are many ways to save a few pennies here and there, be it at the grocery store or even in your own home. Some methods require nothing more than a little forethought and/or change of habits. Others may need a little financial investment that pays off later. But all can help you save money around the house.

The most obvious ways to save money at home are in reducing energy and water costs. Turning off lights, closing the doors properly, making sure the entrances are properly sealed, and doing regular maintenance can save hundreds of dollars every year in electricity and gas. Water costs are cut down by taking shorter showers and turning off the taps while brushing your teeth. Some people will even go so far as to insulate their water heaters, wrapping a special thermal blanket around them. This saves both energy and water.

To go one step further, many homeowners will have their houses inspected for efficiency. Many power companies offer this service for free, or will tack on a small fee to your electricity bill. The inspection usually entails checking heating and air conditioning units, insulation, and other areas to ensure there are no costly leaks. The inspector(s) sometimes even hand out pamphlets that tell the you how to save money on your energy bills.

Keeping the house efficient will work well in saving money, but another method that many people use is buying generic or store brand items. The term "generic" usually applies to prescription medicines and merely means that the medicine is made from the same ingredients and works just as well as the brand name drug. Store brand items are similar in that they are usually made with the same ingredients and often work just as well as the big brand names. A few examples might include household cleaners, shampoos, aluminum foil, cellophane tape, printer paper, and hand lotions.

Store brand food items, however, are much different. Every company has their secret recipes and they do not share them with their competitors. With tinned vegetables, fruits, and meats (such as chicken or ham) there usually is not much difference, as they are usually canned with the same ingredients: water, salt, and/or sugar. Dry goods such as pastas or rice packaged by the store often taste just as good as those offered by the big names. However, items such as tinned pasta or soda that have a closely guarded recipe might taste extremely different due to dissimilar recipes. Some people may find that they are unable to trade taste for savings. In that case it is up to you to decide whether it is worth spending an extra dollar on the frozen pizza you like, or doing without it for a while.

To find more tips and advice regarding savings in the home, try searching the internet using the keywords "saving money home". You can find plenty of suggestions from people who live in your area as well as articles from local writers. Join some of the web forums and exchange ideas with the other members. Just remember to switch off your computer when you are done; this will save you up to eighty dollars a year in electricity.