Saving Costs in the Household: Interesting Money-Saving Tips for a More Affordable Everyday Life

by | Feb 28, 2020 | Saving Tips

People who want to save costs in the household can do so by simply grabbing a calculator.

“Where does all the money go?” is a question many people ask themselves when they find their wallets and bank accounts empty towards the end of the month. Despite not having bought or undertaken anything particularly costly, the small everyday expenses gradually eat away at hard-earned income until it becomes quite tight, especially just before the next paycheck.

But the good news is: Upon closer inspection, there is plenty of potential for savings – and this can be achieved without or with minimal effort, just by being a bit more mindful. All that needs to happen is a change in one or two habits.

Cleaning with Traditional Household Remedies: Many Expensive Cleaning Products Are Unnecessary

Cleaning products are often a significant cost factor, especially since there are specialized products for various devices and purposes: dishwasher tabs, glass cleaners, hand dishwashing liquid, bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, floor cleaners, drain cleaners, fabric softeners, and countless other products can be found on supermarket and drugstore shelves. However, the idea that all these products are essential for effective house cleaning is a myth perpetuated by advertising. There are simpler and much cheaper alternatives for almost everything.

For example, consider drain or pipe cleaners: when a drain is clogged, the instructions usually state that a large amount of the contents must be poured into the drain. Two or three applications later, the bottle is empty and a new one must be purchased. Meanwhile, the good old plunger, often overlooked, stands by. It cleans drains mechanically and often surprisingly effectively. It’s definitely worth learning how to use this extremely cheap household helper properly.

Traditional household remedies that were commonly used in the past but have now somewhat fallen into oblivion can clean the house just as effectively as expensive specialized products. These include items like soap, vinegar, washing soda, or baking soda. All of these can be purchased in large quantities at very low prices. There are also online tutorials and even books on how to use them in the household, such as the book “Fünf Hausmittel ersetzen eine Drogerie” (Five Household Remedies Replace a Drugstore) from Smarticular Verlag.

Costly Environmental Sin: Food Waste

Although specific figures vary, and food waste probably cannot be accurately measured, whether it’s half or a third of all produced food that is discarded or how many million tons of food end up in the trash in Germany annually, it’s not crucial (according to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, it’s 11 million tons per year). The fact is: food waste is as absurd as it is avoidable. And those who handle food consciously and sparingly can save a lot of money.

Exceeding the Best-Before Date Doesn’t Mean It’s Spoiled

Often, food ends up in the trash simply because its best-before date has passed. However, this term should not be taken literally: the food is safe to eat at least until the specified date. Certainly even after – only for how long, no one can say. So, it’s always worthwhile to inspect a food item carefully, smell it, and, if necessary, taste it before throwing it away just because it exceeded the critical date – and thus also the money that was previously spent on it.

Shop More Often but Buy Less

With really big shopping trips that happen once a week and are supposed to last for several days, food waste is practically inevitable. Foods that end up at the back of the refrigerator when it’s being stocked are often forgotten and spoiled. Also, it often happens that too many perishable foods are bought, so there is simply not enough time to consume them all. Instead, it’s advisable to make more frequent but smaller shopping trips and to consume perishable foods in between.

Saving Costs with Tap Water Instead of Bottled Drinks

Mineral water costs a lot of money. Even the seemingly cheap 1.5-liter plastic bottles for about 19 cents per bottle add up, considering that one person usually consumes more than one bottle a day, not to mention a whole family. Sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juice blends, iced teas, and the like are even more expensive – and their high sugar content makes them unhealthy as well. The cheapest option, which almost doesn’t affect the household budget, is to drink tap water.

Avoiding New Purchases: Repairing Household Items and “Do It Yourself”

There is a problem with modern household items: many of them are designed to break prematurely. New purchases are intended to trigger economic growth. There’s even a technical term for this: planned obsolescence – a phenomenon as crazy as food waste. But as an individual or family, you don’t have to participate in this and instead you can save resources and costs in the household. Even if you initially lack talent and knowledge of technology or electronics and a new purchase seems simpler, it’s worthwhile to deal with these issues. Often, there are people in your circle of acquaintances who are knowledgeable and willing to share their knowledge, and there are plenty of tutorials online as well. With DIY, you can definitely save money!

Smaller items can be taken to repair shops, which now exist in almost every city, where volunteers are willing to repair devices like CD and DVD players, blenders, microwaves, as well as chairs or shelves either for free or at very low cost.

Just two or three generations ago, it was absolutely common to make things yourself because finished products were either too expensive or not available at all – from tables and clothing to jam. Today, many households buy everything and don’t even consider making things themselves. But why not? As a counter-trend to this “buying trend,” the “Do It Yourself” movement has emerged in recent years. It’s about making as many things as possible yourself instead of buying them ready-made.

It’s obvious that there is a very high potential for cost savings in this approach. In addition, “Do It Yourself” can be a lot of fun and bring out skills that you never thought you had. Of course, nobody has to start from scratch – but anyone who makes their jam from the neighbor’s currants and avoids the purchased jam has already made a small saving. YouTube also offers countless inspirations and tutorials for different creations.

Saving Costs in the Household Helps Ourselves – and the Environment

If all or even just a few of these tips are followed, chances are good that your financial situation at the end of the month won’t look so bad, and there might even be a decent sum left over for savings or for long-awaited, smaller purchases. If you save for several months, you can suddenly afford larger purchases – and all without a loan by adopting clever cost-saving measures in the household.  Not to mention, you also get to save resources and protect the environment in the best possible way!