Sometimes you want different. You want to be pleasantly surprised when you read an article on cutting bills. Because you’ve read a few and they are all the same. Well, this is not one of those articles. I want to show you 5 surprising ways to cut household costs.
With an emphasis on ‘surprising’.
Surprising, as in different, fresh and new.
We’ve all read articles about what to cut from your budget (cable and eating out for starters). And these are good ideas and ones I hope you are either already doing or actively working toward.
When you need to know how to reduce household costs quickly you need as many different ways to reduce expenses as possible. So these 5 surprising ways to cut household costs are bonus ideas for you to save money.
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1. Rotate your clothes closet
Of course I don’t mean physically turning your closet back to front! We all have way more clothes than we need. Indeed having too many clothes can mean it takes us longer to decide what to wear each day.
Take this decision making problem and fix it by organizing your closet so you only wear the same few items at a time. Doing so stops you trying to decide what to wear and speeds up your mornings.
Wearing the same items of clothing more regularly means you aren’t wearing your whole closet.
Each month choose the items you are going to wear for the month and then ignore everything else in your closet.
At the end of the month, choose another set of clothing and wear those. You’ll feel like you’ve got a whole new wardrobe, without spending any money. It’s one of the simplest ways to cut expenses and reduce buying new clothes!
You have less temptation to buy anything new and you have new things to look forward to wearing the following month!
Separate work closet
I kept the clothes I wore to work separate from those I wore at the weekend and on days off. My work clothes were more of a uniform I created (jackets, blouses and trousers) which I wouldn’t choose to wear outside of work.
I also kept the cost of work clothes very low by buying from charity shops and thrift stores. I didn’t want to pay a penny more than I had to for work purposes!
In fact having certain clothes for specific activities means you don’t agonise over what to wear and you don’t ruin you favorite clothes doing something inappropriate like gardening in them! Been there, done that!
2. Save your savings
Do you love getting a bargain? Using a coupon or discount code to save money? What do you do with those savings? Do you even know how much you save each month through using coupons, discount deals and the like?
When you ‘save your savings’ you will!
Check your receipts for every ‘saving’ made. Whether it’s a 50c coupon or 10% off your house insurance. Track these savings, like you track your daily spending, and add up your total savings at the end of the month.
Then transfer the total amount you have saved through coupons, discount codes and money off deals into a separate savings account. I like to use one dedicated to these savings.
That way you can see how much you really are saving by finding these deals. As the total grows you’ll find yourself looking for more and better deals which in turn increases these savings. Winner!
Related post: What’s The Point Of Having A Savings Account These Days?
3. Ignore your mortgage repayment term
Just because your bank says you have 25 or 30 years to pay off your mortgage, doesn’t mean you have to take that long.
In fact, you’ll save a tidy sum if you pay off your mortgage sooner.
The key thing is to have the discipline of paying more than you need each month on top of the minimum amount. If possible, pay extra every single month and watch that number grow! It doesn’t have to hundreds each month, even $20 will make a difference over time.
By overpaying regularly you will save yourself a lot of mortgage interest. You do need to check the terms of your mortgage, especially if you are on a fixed rate. Most fixed rate mortgages allow 10% in overpayments each year but do read your small print to make sure.
On our first mortgage we started overpaying straight away by £25 a month. This was 5% of our monthly repayment and would have shaved 3 years off a 25 year mortgage! For such a small overpayment, it had a big impact.
When we took out a new, larger mortgage due to moving house, I made small overpayments whenever I found a way to shave money off a bill.
I used all the savings I made using coupons and discount codes as per the tip above and threw this money into our mortgage overpayment account. Some months it was as little as £4, sometimes as much a £100.
But overpay we did, whenever we found a way to reduce a bill we would have paid a higher price for.
We ended up paying off our mortgage 10 years early. Purely through these simply ways to reduce spending, saving our savings and finding extra cash when we had it!
Related post: How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early (So You Can Be Free)
How can I reduce the largest household expenses?
Your largest household expenses are usually your mortgage and your insurances. When you want to know how to reduce household expenses I would encourage you to not to reduce payments towards your mortgage but increase them instead.
This is of course after you have made sure you are on the best mortgage finance deal, no point paying more in interest than you need to!
Your insurances are ripe for action if you need to reduce household expenses, especially auto/car and home insurances. If you want to reduce the largest household expenses then the next surprising tip is for you.
4. Increase your auto insurance deductible/Excess
Your insurance deductible/excess is the amount you would have to pay if you were to have an accident (and be at fault).
The higher your deductible, the more you pay in the event of an accident. But the flip side is your total insurance premium will be lower.
It’s worth considering increasing your deductible/excess as a simple way to reduce spending, if you consider yourself a safe driver.
You might find that, by increasing it to say $500, you could save a lot of money on your premiums as opposed to keeping it at $250 (for example).
This would mean if you were to have an accident where you are fully liable and the damage is $1000, you would have to pay the first $500.
The gain is that every year you don’t have an (at fault) accident, you are paying less for your insurance.
It pays to shop around when it comes to home and auto insurance but you don’t need to make multiple calls or plug your details into a dozen websites.
They compare multiple quotes from 20+ top insurance companies, saving you $720 on average.
Increasing your deductible/excess is not restricted to your car. You can do this for your house insurance too.
When you use a price comparison website it’s easy to adjust the voluntary excess/deductible to see how it affects your overall premium.
You just need to decide which is worth more to you. The lower premium or the increased insurance cover.
I increased our house insurances voluntary excess by £150, because it shaved £20 off our premium. That’s a 10% saving each year.
I’ve only claimed on our house insurance once in 30 years. So a 10% saving every year is most definitely worth it to me.
5. Don’t let your kid play with all his presents
Say what?! Kids, especially those under 10, get a crazy amount of presents for both birthday and Christmas. So much so that they grow weary of even opening the presents on Christmas Day, never mind actually playing with them.
Try this instead. Choose at least 50% of these toys and put them away. Out of sight and out of mind.
This gives your child a chance to really have fun with the toys they do have. And not get overwhelmed with choice and end up not playing well with any of them.
Every so often (monthly?) you can suggest that they swap some of their current toys for those not yet played with in the cupboard.
The key thing here is to swap them over. Not just pull out the unused toys. By swapping them, it gives the current toys a rest so when it comes time for another swap, they will seem like new all over again.
This might seem a bizarre tip but believe me there are many more funny ways to save money that you might want to try out. Saving money is saving money, right?
How do you drastically cut household expenses?
When you need to know how to drastically cut household expenses, these tips are only the tip of the iceberg. Drastically cutting expenses to the bone needs action on every bill, every spending you do.
For detailed help on getting successfully drastic, head over to my post on how to drastically cut your expenses to the bone.
5 surprising ways to cut household costs
As you have read these are 5 of the more surprising ways to cut household costs. There are a lot of simple, creative ways to save money. Some more obvious than others.
Making small changes like putting your coupon savings into a separate account, increasing your deductible and paying off mortgage debt faster are simple cost cutting ideas for home that you can achieve.
Save money with these 5 tips then move on to find more ways to save money on things like groceries, utility bills and your various insurances. The sooner you start saving now, the better off financially you will be down the road.
Have any other cost-cutting tricks or ideas on what to cut from your budget? Share them in the comments below!
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Last Updated on 15th September 2021 by Emma