A homemaker is similar to a corporate CEO, COO and CFO all rolled into one. The person who keeps a hearth and home is often responsible for the family finances, home repairs, major purchases and other critical aspects of household’s upkeep. Just like a corporate accountant, a homemaker needs to control spending. Using common sense and tried-and-true methods, a homemaker can save money in a variety of ways.
The first step a homemaker can take to saving money is to create a budget. A budget allows you to see your actual financial picture, including the effect that discretionary spending, such as dining out or entertainment purchases, can have on your finances. Seeing exactly how much -- or little -- money you have is key to avoiding overspending.
Electricity and Gas
Small adjustments to your power usage can provide big savings. Raising your thermostat during the summer and lowering it during the winter by even a few degrees can result in considerable savings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Use fans, changing the blade rotation twice a year to bring warm air toward the ceiling during hot months and push cool air down during warm months. Change your temperature by 10 to 15 degrees when you’re sleeping or out of the house for eight hours or more and you can cut your electric bill by 10 percent. Turn your water heater down by a few degrees and use cold water to wash clothes to reduce heating bills even further. Changing air filters every three months will help your system operate more efficiently and reduce your costs. Unplug phone chargers, iPods and other electronic items when you aren’t using them to prevent these “energy vampires” from sucking money out of your electrical sockets.
Cutting water consumption is another easy way to reduce a monthly bill. Fix a dripping faucet, which can leak as much as 100 gallons per day, or 3,000 gallons per month. Check to see if your municipality offers a rebate on low-flow toilets. If you can’t afford one, take a liter soda bottle, fill it with water and place it in your tank to reduce water use each flush. Run the dishwasher and do laundry only with full loads.
Food can take a big bite out of your budget. Smart shopping, bulk buying, couponing and learning to cook are all ways homeowners keep food costs down. Join a buying club, learn to coupon without buying products you normally wouldn’t and learn basic recipes that are nutritious and don’t rely on expensive, processed foods. Start vegetable seeds indoors to give yourself a head start on the outdoor gardening season, and jar vegetables, soups and sauces for year-round use.
Clothing and Household Goods
Shopping for second-hand goods at thrift stores is an excellent way to get high-quality merchandise at low prices. Many affluent people donate clothes, furniture, household goods and a range of other items to organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, as well as local charities and individual small businesses. Finding collectible treasures as well as designer goods at a fraction of the retail cost makes second-hand shopping fun as well as thrifty.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.