5 more easy ways to save money at home

Reusing items, such as wooden pallets, and growing your own produce are two easy ways to save money at home. Flickr user Kaija

TORONTO – In our original 5 easy ways to start saving money at home article, we recommended using vinegar to replace household cleaners, making your own laundry detergent, buying certain items in bulk, regrowing produce, and investing in a Foodsaver-type device to help cut down on waste. We received a lot of response from viewers with tips and tricks since the article ran and have compiled five more easy ways to save money at home.

Plan all your meals

Planning all your meals not only helps you eat healthier, but keeps you on a budget when you’re at the grocery store. Meal planning is also one of the best ways to not waste food at home, as you will only be buying what you need. Find deals on the items you need by checking prices — either with flyers or apps — before venturing out to shop.

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READ MORE: How to have a successful litterless lunch plan

If you need help planning exciting lunches and dinners, there are many online resources available, such as $5 Dinners and Living Locurto.

Make your home more energy-efficient

Cutting down on how much you spend on your energy bills each month is a very easy to save money at home. Adding more insulation, installing a tankless water heater, using a programmable thermostat and LED bulbs, and limiting your water usage are all small investments that will pay for themselves quickly and put more money back in your pocket.

READ MORE: Save money on your energy bills with these 6 tips

If you heat your home with a forced-air furnace, keeping it and your furnace filter clean will help your home run more efficient. Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas at Direct Energy says you can save up to $50 per year just by keeping just your filter clean. A clean furnace and filter will also help prevent an unexpected breakdown, which could cost you hundreds to fix.

Find ways to reuse items

Finding a use for something old is a good way to save money while also being environmentally-friendly. It can also be an excellent creative outlet that you can do with the whole family.

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Some easy examples of reusing items include storing screws, nails and small tools in coffee cans and glass jars in your garage, crafting with the cardboard tubes inside rolls of paper towels and toilet paper and using egg cartons to safely store Christmas decorations. Old tires can be used in the garden to grow potatoes (see below) and non-glossy shredded paper can be used as mulch or in your compost.

WATCH: The Green Geek 2 – Upcycling and Decorating with Reused Items

There are many online resources with lists of ways to reuse and upcycle items around the house. Pinterest is a good place to start, and blogs like Apartment Therapy and The Awesome Daily will help inspire ideas.

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Look for free/cheap items online (and sell what you don’t need)

Checking online classified services like Kijiji and Craigslist for household items before heading to the store is a great way to get something at a good price or for free. I was able to score a workbench for my garage and perfectly good sod for my lawn from people who just needed these items gone. I also picked up shelves for my basement and a brand new headset for my son’s video game system for under half the price these would be new in store.

Selling old items — such as baby toys and clothes and computer parts — is an excellent way at clearing out junk in your basement or garage without having to waste a weekend setting up a garage sale.

NOTE: Be cautious when selling or buying big items via online services and watch for scams.

Grow certain vegetables

While regrowing produce is the easiest way to get “free food,” growing certain produce from scratch — such as potatoes, tomatoes and herbs — is super easy and don’t require much space or care.

If you have old tires you don’t know what to do with you can stack them, fill them with a nice soil/compost mix and easily grow potatoes all season long. Tomatoes and herbs can be grown vertically and in containers, so you can even grow them on the balcony if you live in an apartment. If you have access to wooden pallets (check Kijiji and Craigslist for these) you can use them to make easy garden walls if space is an issue or break them down and build containers to grow in.

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WATCH: Building a Vertical Pallet Garden

If you opt for a large garden, remember that composting and using rain barrels have little to no cost and will keep you in good supply of nutrients and water all season long.

SOUND OFF: Do you have a tip on how to save money around the house? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Featured photo courtesy flickr user Kaija. Photo used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license

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