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With four little tricks, I save $200 a month around the house.

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With four little tricks, I save $200 a month around the house.

Author Jen Glantz is trying to cut back on spending because of inflation.
Jen Glantz

Since inflation makes everything more expensive, I’ve been looking for creative ways to save money.

I sell things around the house that I no longer need and reduce my electricity consumption.

A more conscious approach to food helps me to save money in the supermarket.

We’re currently testing machine translations of articles by our US colleagues at Insider. This article has been automatically translated and checked by a real editor. We welcome feedback at the end of the article.

With inflation driving up the prices of groceries and household items, I’m obsessed with saving more money each month.

Since I work entirely from home, I spend a lot of time at home. For the past two months, I’ve been thinking about how I can change my household habits to save $200 or more every month.

By making a few tweaks and trying new behaviors, I’ve found four ways to accomplish this.

1. Selling items in the house

One of my favorite ways to make extra money on the weekends is to sell items I have around the house that I no longer need.

Every Sunday I spend 45 minutes gathering everything I want to sell before listing those items on apps like Facebook.

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Last month I made $75 selling three pieces of furniture, and this month so far I’ve made about $100 selling clothes and shoes. I do spend some of the money, but I try to save 25 to 50 percent and either put the money in my emergency fund or my general savings account.

2. Lowering my electricity bill

When I look at my electricity bill in the summer months, I break out in a sweat. In an average month, the electric bill for my 500-square-foot one-bedroom apartment can be around $180.

In order to reduce the bill as much as possible, I have started to strategize my habits around the house, taking advice from my local utility company.

I feel guilty about leaving the house with the lights on and the air conditioner running, even if I don’t intend to stay home for hours. I put a note on my front door reminding me to turn everything off before leaving the house.

Since I’m working from home, I’ve started lowering the blinds to keep the apartment cooler and running the AC for 20 minutes at a time before turning it off for 40 minutes instead of cranking it up all day.

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When it comes to using appliances (e.g. dishwasher or washing machine and dryer), I no longer turn them on three to four times a week, but only wash dishes once a week (I wash the rest by hand) and do laundry once per week.

While the size of my electric bill can depend on many factors, I hope that by making stricter behavior changes, I can deduct at least $20 a month from that bill.

3. No food waste

A few months ago, I checked how much I spend on groceries every 30 days and found it totaled about $600. I realized that I could save a little bit of that amount if I was not only smarter about buying the groceries, but also careful not to throw them away.

After I got better at checking for coupons before I went shopping and buying more frozen foods, I found another easy way to save $15-20 a week on groceries.

Instead of wasting food, I turned it into meals and put it in the freezer before it went bad. For example, last week I had an unused bulb of garlic, an onion, a potato, and a zucchini that were all about to go bad before I could use them up. I made them into a soup and put the container in the freezer. With this soup, I can have lunch for at least two or three days, saving money on buying other groceries.

I also realized that I would buy a new loaf of bread every week and only eat a third of the loaf. I started putting the leftover bread in the freezer and now only buy bread every three weeks.

These actions have saved me about $60 to $80 a month on my grocery bills.

4. Purchasing other brands of cleaning products

One easy way to save money on my grocery bills was by making sure to buy private label products and not the popular and well-known branded items. When I started doing this with cleaning supplies, I found I could save anywhere from $15 to $30 a month depending on what I needed to buy.

For example, if I needed new dish soap, I could buy the store brand product for 99 cents instead of the $4.99 big brand dish soap I was loyal to. When I stopped sourcing most of my cleaning products from well-known brands, my savings started to increase. And depending on the store you’re shopping at, there might even be more coupons or special offers if you buy private label instead.

This article was originally published in September 2022. Read the article in English here.

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