Ways to cut down on household expenses

Thank you for your encouraging comments on my last post. I knew that being a stay a home mum is the right decision for me but it is nevertheless, nice to have support. The thing that scared me the most was losing my salary. Stu and I always had two incomes and we had become accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

These days, I've learnt to live and spend differently; I'm not spending money on lunches, coffee, banana bread, after work drinks at work anymore. Nor do I need to constantly update my wardrobe because let's face it, there's hardly a need to get dressed up at the playground. I've also figured out a few ways to cut down on household expenses which I'll share with you today...
something new growing in the vegetable patch
1. Grow an edible garden. How many times have you had to buy a whole bunch of herbs only to use say, five leaves? I still have a long way to go before I can finally have the edible garden of my dreams, but my little vegetable patch is a good start, I think. I love the ease of being able to gather my own vegetables, fruits and herbs from the garden and create dishes with them. For ideas and inspiration, do check out my "From garden to kitchen" series.

2. Menu planning/ bulk buy groceries. It's usually cheaper to buy groceries in bulk but it requires careful menu planning to ensure there is no wastage. I plan my menu two weeks in advance, make a list and stick to it. I also try to bulk buy meat and items that I use lots of (such as pasta and rice). With the meat, I divide into portions to freeze for later use. Or sometimes, I buy and cook in bulk, then freeze individual portions for reheating later.

3. Clever cooking. There are many clever ways to do this, such as cooking with broccoli florets and stems, or using bones and vegetable scraps to make stock, or using lemon zest for flavoring in cakes and seafood pasta. I also have a few "leftover meal" recipes which allows me to make an entire meals our of whatever is left in the fridge and cupboard (a stray tomato, some mushrooms, a couple of eggs and the odd potato makes an excellent frittata, for example).

4. Cold laundry wash/ line dry. Not only does using cold water saves me money, it is also gentler on clothes, which means they'll last longer (hot water causes fading, wrinkling and shrinkage). I used to rely heavily on a clothes dryer, but now, I line dry all my clothes - it is environmentally friendly and gentler on clothes, there is no static cling and the sun does a great job of disinfecting and whitening clothes and best of all, it's FREE.

5. Solar electricity. Sure, the set up costs are high but with a quarterly electricity bill of $400-$600, installing solar panels was the right way to go for us. That said, it is important to consider your average energy consumption as well as usage pattern. Make sure to do your research to find out which local installers have the best price for you; a company like Australian Solar Quotes can help you with this and their website also contains great resources about solar power.

6. DIY spa. I used to treat myself to monthly facials, manicures and pedicures at a spa near work. Then bub came along and it was just impossible to find the opportunity to do that anymore, so I decided to create the spa experience at home. It was fun, calming and relaxing and saved me a ton of money. I even went one step further and made my own bath salts and foot scrub, which you should absolutely check out!

Do you have any tips to share too?

27 Responses to Ways to cut down on household expenses

Jane said...

these are all great suggestions! i've been cold washing my clothes for a long time and i was just telling yangkyu that i want to line dry some of our clothes and towels too. and i so want to start our own vegetable garden. i love the idea of growing our own things to eat.

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

I'm with you on strict menu planning. We don't have much room to buy in bulk but I'm really lucky to live adjacent to Chinatown where the food and produce is way less expensive than most places in NYC. Do you pack Stan's lunch? We save alot by doing that cause the places to eat by my husband's office can be quite pricey.

Rowena @ rolala loves

Briseidy said...

These are all great tips...I' m a stay at home mom too..and enjoying every second of it :)

Kelsea Echo said...

Ooo smart! Love these tips. :) I am thinking about ways to save, too, for different reasons. Quit my job to start up full-time self employment and it has definitely been an adjustment while I get my business started. Thanks for sharing these suggestions!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Menu planning really helps. We always wait for the sale ads and determine the menu around that.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

These are great ideas! I would love to have an edible garden :)

Tina Bradley said...

Wonderful tips, Trishie! I do my own home manicures. I read once that every French woman knows how to do her own mani. That inspired me to learn how--plus, it saved me scads of money! :) T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

ez vina said...

Great tips, thanks for sharing.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Wonderful suggestions, Trish! It's been a while since I was a stay at home Mom, (with 4), but living frugally has always been a necessity when only having 1 income. I started visiting thrift stores and consignment shops to save money, too. Sweet little photo of your little love. xo Karen

burntfeather said...

I love this - my life has definitely seen a downgrade in disposable income in the last year but there are always ways to be smarter. I think looking at the way you spend money for food is really important as I'm sure for lots of people that's a big expenditure! Thanks for all the tips Trishie :)

Rose said...

That diy spa sounds fun. Right in the comfort of home. Interesting.

More or less you covered everything a sahm should know.

Once kid starts schooling you will need to plan and do more. That will be few years down the road, Trishie! ^^

Ananka said...

Great tips. I think menu planning is something we need to work on!!

What a cute photo of Alexander :-D

Erika Lee @ A Tiny Rocket said...

Buy in bulk is always good one and it sort of goes hand in hand with meal planning. The big thing I do to try and reduce costs- is only do the grocery store once a week because it cuts down on getting random things.

trishie said...

@Rowena yes I do pack Stu his lunch somedays and that's a real money saver too

trishie said...

@juju, I do try to plan my menu around the specials or whatever is seasonal as I find they are not only fresher produce but also tend to be cheaper

trishie said...

@Beatrice I love visiting thrift shops too. Have some great bargains there

trishie said...

@Rose I feel I have so much to learn from you about motherhood!

trishie said...

@Erika totally agree! It's so easy to get carried away and buy items that aren't on the grocery list. It may not seem like a lot of money at the time but it all adds up

Sonia De Macedo said...

These are great tips Trishie! Congratulations on choosing to stay at home. Whatever you decided though was your choice and both options should never be shunned or frowned upon by anyone! People are way too judgmental these days. I've been looking at buying a place and solar has always been something I'd be installing. Sure start up costs are HUGE but so is everything else in life! You buy a TV it's a couple of grand, so I hate it when people use that as an excuse lol because in the long run it pays for itself and more importantly helps our planet. You know, so future generations can potentially enjoy what we have and more today.

Sxx
www.daringcoco.com

Rigel Barry said...

I do all of these too :) another one is I always make sure I go out with snacks for the kids so I'm not having to buy things while we are out. I've also been wash and ironing my husband shirts (we used to take them to the dry cleaners to wash and iron) - i can't say it's my favourite job ( I hate it to be honest!) but over a year it all adds up. my husband takes his lunch to work most days too.

Michelle {Jarrah Jungle} said...

Great tips! I always use the cold washing cycle unless they are renovating clothes which are soiled and need a more heavy duty clean! Menu planning also helps to use whats in the fridge or clear out the freezer instead of buying more food, definately a money saver too :)

Beauty Box said...

Great tips. Definitely trying to be more prudent with $$ since we are trying to get our business off the ground. We eat in alot which def saves $$ - and I menu plan on a weekly basis to save me from having a crisis at dinner time. Even if I'm not in the mood for what I planned for, I always end up feeling grateful for having something already in mind and I just focus on making it. I tend to rely on fail-proof favourites that I can just churn out with my eyes closed.

Sharon D said...

Great suggestions, Trishie! I plan my menu around discounts. If carrots are on offer this week, then that's what I'm having..lol ! ^.^

Anouka said...

Great tips! There are so many ways that one can cut down on consumerism and leave an equally fullfilled life.

Enara Girl said...

Great suggestions. I walk instead of using car all the time. xoxo

kidgranny said...

Thanks for sharing these tips! I agree with you; menu & grocery planning is the way to go. Although, I have trouble every now and then and get stumped on what to cook for the week.

lisacng @ expandng.com said...

Menu planning and buying in bulk is something I need to do!