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coins jar money spill

Home budgets are crucial. Here’s how to make them more efficient by eliminating these 5 big home money wasters. Learn how to reduce your costs of living.

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Money. Urgh. It’s a topic most of us don’t like to talk about or even think about, especially when work is precarious or budgets are tight. When all our worries are enhanced by a lack of money, it’s difficult to think clearly about how we’re spending it and how we could save more.

But no matter your relationship with money, we all sure could do with a bit more in our pockets. Whether you like to go shopping for new shoes or saving it for a rainy day, nobody says no to a few extra dollars on their bank account balance. And many of us are wasting dozens of them at home without really knowing it.

Here are the top 5 home money wasters, and how to stop, or at least reduce, their impact on your pocket book.

1. Energy efficiency

If you live in northern climates, you know how important energy efficiency is to avoid insane energy bills in the winter. But people who live in warmer areas can also gain from energy efficiency, especially if their have air conditioning. So much money is wasted on inefficient windows, doors and water heaters.

You can reduce your energy bills in lots of little ways, like turning off lights when you walk out of a room or unplugging appliances between uses. (Yes, that little red light on your TV when it’s off uses energy and costs you!) On a bigger scale, you can check your windows and doors for drafts and change the weather stripping regularly. Consider upgrading the insulation in your walls or even installing a few solar panels to reduce the load on the power grid.

Energy efficient windows interior

 

2. Garbage collection

Many cities now charge for garbage collection aside from regular property taxes. Garbage collection prices are determined in lots of different ways, but reducing the need for collecting garbage at your door can definitely save you money.

Try reducing your garbage production by avoiding plastic packaging and bags, by upcycling or donating unwanted items instead of throwing them away in the garbage, and by starting your own compost pile at home to avoid throwing away food scraps. This is not only good for your pocket book, but also for the environment as a whole.

3. Water waste

Many areas are now charging for water use. It’s not the case where I live, but in a world where drinking water is getting increasingly more scarce, it won’t be long before I too have to pay for the water that flows through my taps.

Because it’s such an abundant resource in most of North America, we don’t really think twice about how much water we waste on a daily basis. Whether it’s a dripping faucet or a high-volume toilet, very long showers or leisurely baths, we often forget how precious water is for billions of people around the world trying to simply survive.

dripping bathroom tap

To reduce water waste (and your water bill), make sure all your taps can turn off securely and that there are no drips. Check your pipes regularly for leaks. Take short showers with an efficient shower head (we’ve had one of those put in our apartment a while ago and it works just the same as a regular one), switch your regular toilet to a low-flow toilet, and save your grey water (from washing dishes) for watering the garden.

4. Food waste

I can’t count the number of food items I’ve had to throw away over the years because they ended up rotting in the refrigerator. We waste so much money buying food that we never eat.

To counteract this, start by planning your meals in advance and buying just what you need. I also have a secret: the Blue Apple product that keeps your produce fresh for longer than the fridge alone. It actually works, and I’ve had one in my fridge and one in my fruit bowl for over a year. And if you really must throw something away, put it in the compost pile rather than in the trash.

5. Buying duplicates

Buying duplicates for things like toilet paper or paper towels isn’t the end of the world–you’ll get to use it all eventually. But do you really need that extra set of sheets or one more throw pillow? Are you sure that you don’t have a bag of ground cinnamon at home?

We waste quite a bit of money buying more of one thing than we really need. This is why lists are pretty useful. I keep an updated list of my spices in my phone so I know what not to buy when I go to the grocery store. Whenever something is close to empty, I mark it as “to buy” and grab it on my next trip. Same idea with beauty items like deodorants, shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

How much do you waste?

It takes courage to take a hard look at how much we waste the precious resources that we have at our disposition. But living more efficiently is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for our bank account.

Are there any other ways you’ve discovered to save money at home? Share you thrifty ideas with us in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.