5 Ways to Cut Costs on Routine Chores
We all have to complete certain chores regularly, and most people really don’t enjoy it. Although chores are part of our every-day life, they can be hard to fit into the schedule sometimes, and it can be equally difficult to find the motivation to do them. Most chores require specific tools or chemicals, which can cost money. Everyone does laundry, dishes, and other chores (with the exception of those who can afford to have someone else do it). However, there are many ways to cut costs on specific chores that are a part of our regular routine. From saving money by conserving water, to making certain supplies yourself, to even cutting costs when you are getting help from other people, you can save money on chores. While we can’t magically make your chores disappear, we can show you five ways you can cut the financial cost of those chores.
1. Use less water
It’s necessary to wash dishes and do the laundry regularly. One way to save money when doing dishes is to quickly rinse off dishes and pots right after you use them. If you have to vigorously scrub later, you will use more water; it is especially important to scrape food off. Even though dishwashers are designed to get your dishes clean, you might have to wash dishes several times if you don’t pre-wash first. You should also turn the water off when you are not using it; this seems obvious, but many people get in the habit of leaving water on when they are doing dishes, or even brushing their teeth. Make sure you only run the dishwasher when you have a complete load.
You can also save money by being responsible with your water use for your laundry. Don’t run small loads and forget to change the load size (select small if your load is small.) Also, unless you have clothes that need to be washed immediately, wait until you have enough clothing to do a complete load so that you don’t waste water. Lastly, only wash clothes when they are actually dirty. Your winter coat doesn’t need to go to the dry cleaners once per month.
2. Make it yourself
Purchasing cleaning supplies or laundry and dish detergent in bulk can save you money, but making these items yourself can save you even more. According to Wellness Mama, you only need three different ingredients to make your own laundry soap: washing soda, bar soap, and Borax. There are also many affordable ways to clean your home, without using harsh or expensive chemicals. Baking soda cleans and can freshen a room, and white vinegar can also help remove stains and mildew. It will take time to make your own cleaning supplies, but the money you will save will make it worth it.
3. Conserve energy and electricity
Certain chores require the use of electricity, like the dishwasher, the washer, and the dryer. If you can avoid using hot water whenever possible, you will save money on your bill. You also can save money by hanging clothing outside to try whenever possible. Some clothing isn’t meant to be put in the dryer at all, so if you don’t have a clothes’ line, you can drape clothing over chairs or other furniture, as long as the furniture won’t be harmed by the wetness.
Although a light bulb uses very little electricity, if you frequently clean at night, you are probably using more lighting than you need to. Try cleaning during the daytime and using natural light. Also try to clean during the time of the day when you are most comfortable (if it’s hot out, avoid cleaning during the hottest part of the day so that you don’t have to turn the air conditioning up, or put on a fan, in order to be comfortable while you work.) Also, be sure to switch to fluorescent light bulbs.
4. Save on professional help
If you regularly hire someone to clean your home, try to cut back on the amount of times that they come. Save professional cleaning services for when you are preparing for a party, or when you experience a big life event and need a lot of extra help (like if you are taking care of a new baby.) If you really want to have someone come out to do a more thorough cleaning routinely, at least try to cut back so that you only pay to have them come once per month or less. Although professional cleaning will cut back on your workload, it is usually expensive. If you must hire help regularly, shop around. Don’t assume that the big chains do the best job, or cost the least. Often new start up companies, or individuals who clean part-time, will be more affordable. Companies also often offer coupons that come in the newspaper.
5. Get everyone involved
Encouraging your kids to help you clean will benefit you in at least two ways: you will have to do less cleaning yourself, and they will learn responsibility. Assigning age-appropriate chores to your children is a great way to teach them to value their home, and not to regularly trash it. Children as young as two can put their toys away, wipe up spills, and dust. Every child is different, so you will have to experiment, but most kids can help with chores.
Encouraging your kids and your spouse to help will save you money because you may find that having everyone help diminishes your need to hire a professional. You also might see that if your kids learn that chores are important (but can be a hassle), they may take better care of their stuff, and have more pride in their home, which will hopefully cause them to be more careful around the house in general. Then you will have to spend less on expensive cleaning supplies, and hopefully have to replace broken or damaged furniture less often.
There are many other ways you can cut the costs of your regular chores. Use reusable mops, dusters, and gloves, instead of purchasing new ones each time. Have your kids use a designated towel to pick up a mess, instead of using paper towels. Chores are rarely fun, but they don’t have to be expensive.