How to Save Money at Home

...And Other Things They Didn’t Teach You at School

We went to university. We know Art History or Calculus or how to write a Financial Report. How come no one thought us how to manage a household. Here is a crash course on how to keep house - and save money at the same time.

1. Have a Budget

Budget planThe only way you know whether you’re able to afford that trip to Bali is to have a budget. No need for anything elaborate. Just simple cash in and cash out. Then compare it with what you’re actually doing. You’ll be surprised how much clearer things become and it will help you with your decision-making.

2. Plan Your Meals Around What’s on Sale

People have found that working with what’s on sale for the week can save a heap of cash. If steak is on sale that week, you might want to put that chicken curry on hold. Or use steak instead. Who knows what you’ll come up with?

3. Make Food From Scratch

It’s tempting to buy that read-to-eat casserole but you can save lots if you make it yourself. Pre-packed foods charge a premium and you end up paying for packaging and leftover bits. Whether its stir-fry vegetables, apple pie or lamb curry, you don’t have to be a masterchef to whip something up.

4. Laundry Tips

Preparing laundryUse cold water. Washing detergents these days are just as effective in cold water. If clothes are sweaty rinse them immediately after your workout. Minimise the use of your dryer. It will not only preserve the life of your clothes, but also save you money. Line dry is best. It makes laundry smell fresher and kills germs. If you find towels get too stiff, pop it in the dryer for ten minutes before hanging it out.

5. Make Your Own Cleaning Solution

The best use for lemon (next to gin and tonic) is for cleaning. Make your own cleaning solution with lemon juice, two teaspoons of white vinegar, two cups of water and a few drops of tea tree oil. Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and you’re ready to go.

6. Save Money for Each Child

You don’t have to wait until your child has a piggy bank to start a savings account for him. The price of education goes up much faster than the inflation rate. So start putting money away right away. Saving $50 a month from birth would get you about $20,000 by the time your child is 17. (With an average return of 7%).

7. Stick to Your Shopping list

How many times have you walked into a supermarket with a basket and ended up taking the trolley. Advertising is evil. There are people in rooms who spend all day coming up with promotions for every season and celebration. In a department store, use the 10-day rule. If you still want it after 10 days, get it. Chances are, you won’t.

8. Save Water in the Bathroom

Sink plugWater is one of the most expensive utilities these days. Use sparingly in the shower. Make sure you have a low-flow shower head which uses a third less water yet still feels just as wet. In the toilet, check for leaks. If you have to jiggle the handle to make the water stop running, it means you might have a leak.

9. Save Water in the Kitchen

When washing dishes by hand use a plugged sink to rinse instead of running water. Use less detergent and you’ll also use less water. When you’re waiting for the hot water to get hot, collect the cold water and use it for filling a drinking jug or watering the plants.

10. Use a Slow Cooker

If you can’t cook, you can still use a slow cooker. All you have to do is plonk stuff into a pot and it will taste good at the end of the day. Hours of simmering also means you can use cheaper cuts of meat and vegetable scraps. Don’t throw away anything. Everything can go towards making good, slow cooker stock.