12 Ways for Cutting Household Expenses

Cutting household expenses should be a top priority for every frugal elf in the forest. Living is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are many ways in which you can save money and decrease your monthly expenses.

How can you start saving money? While you might focus on the big things, like reducing how much debt you have, there are other things you can do regularly to cut costs.

You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save just by being more aware of your habits and expenses, and then finding smart ways to work around them.

Here are 12 ideas to get you started.

Save Money On Gas

Gas Buddy apps

Gas money can easily become expensive, especially if you’re using your car every day to get around.

Download the Gas Buddy app (Android/Apple) on your phone to help you cut costs.

How it works is that you enter the price of gas you usually pay at the gas station and then the app provides you with a list of gas stations in your area as well as the one that’s got the lowest price of gas.

Extra tip: If you usually use your car for getting around the neighborhood, consider using your bike instead. This will help you decrease your gas expenses and you’ll get some exercise as a bonus.

Use Cloth Diapers

Use Cloth Diapers

The average baby will require 2,500 disposable diapers in a year, as Love To Know reports.

They are not only costly but also bad for the environment. Diapers take up to 500 years to decompose when thrown into landmines, as Our Everyday Life reports.

Start using cloth diapers instead. These can be reused many times over and they can reduce your monthly costs. Besides, cloth is kinder to your baby’s skin and doesn’t contain chemicals that are often found in disposable diapers. You can also save some money.

Disposable diapers used over the course of two-and-a-half-years will cost you over $1,400.

On the other hand, using cloth diapers during that time could cause you to only spend $300, as The Natural Baby Company reports. That does depend on the brand you use, however, so it’s worth shopping around.

Mama Koala diapers are a highly reviews product loved by its thousands of customers. And the diapers come with inserts so you don’t have to worry about purchasing those separately.

Save Money On Disposable Items

Reusable Razors

Although you might think that buying cheap, disposable items, such as razors and paper towels, is still the cheapest option, that’s not true.

You can end up spending a lot more money than you expected. Let’s look at some common disposable items and why you should stop buying them.

Paper Towels

Why use something that clogs up the environment and that you have to buy over and over again? That goes against the frugal lifestyle. So instead of paper towels, just by some cheap rags! They’ll last forever and you’ll never have to buy paper towels again.

Amazon has a great deal on some highly reviewed rags. 100 rags for only $22 bucks. Deals like that make the Frugal Elf very joyous.


Alarmingly, using disposable razors for a year will cost you over $7,000.

You can easily snip away at these costs by choosing a reusable razor. Make the switch to a safety razor instead – the blades only cost approximately $0.10 each, as Check In reports.

Cotton balls

The use of cotton is problematic to the environment because cotton plants take a long time to grow and they require large amounts of pesticides and water during production.

When you use cotton balls, you throw them into the trash after one use, which is a waste of resources. Also, it’s a waste of money.

A Classic pack of cotton balls that have 100 in the pack will cost you between $4 and $14 at Walmart. On the other hand, using a microfiber face cloth instead of a cotton ball costs only approximately $7 to purchase and you can reuse it tons of times.

Cutting Household Expenses by Making Your Own Cleaning Items

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on products to clean your home, such as surface cleaners.

You can easily make your own just by using ingredients you already have in the kitchen. These include baking soda, vinegar, and lemon, which are all known as natural cleaners.

all-purpose household cleaner

To make your own all-purpose household cleaner, here’s a quick and easy recipe courtesy of Wellness Mama.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon borax
  • ½ teaspoon washing soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap
  • 4 drops of lemon essential oil
  • Glass spray bottle (for storage)

How To Make It:

  • Put borax, soap, and washing soda in a spray bottle.
  • Add two cups of boiling water.
  • Shake it well and then use it all around the house, such as in the bathroom or kitchen.

Pro tip: When it comes to cleaning your home, don’t purchase expensive cleaning cloths. Use rags or make your own by cutting up old clothing you no longer wear to save money.

Make Your Own Personal Hygiene Products

easy toothpaste recipes

It’s not just household cleaning items that you can make from scratch.

You can make many personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste and shampoo, which will save you money because buying the ingredients to make a batch won’t cost you a lot. You probably have the items in your kitchen anyway.

Easy toothpaste recipe

Here’s a quick and easy toothpaste recipe, courtesy of News Medical Life Sciences:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 10 drops essential oil, such as mint


Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix them well. Avoid the temptation to add more amounts of baking soda as it can be abrasive to tooth enamel.

Alternatively you can use bentonite clay mixed with water for an excellent, ancient toothpaste.

How To Make Your Own Shampoo

Another really easy recipe is for shampoo, courtesy of Wellness Mama.

You’ll need:

  • 20 drops essential oil
  • ¼ cup liquid castile soap
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon of olive oil for dry hair

How to make it:

  • Take all the ingredients and put them in a glass jar or empty shampoo bottle.
  • Shake it well and make sure you always shake it well before use.
  • When using the shampoo, you’ll only need about a teaspoon to wash your hair. You can also store this shampoo in your bathroom for up to a month.

Change Your Lightbulbs

LED lights are consume less energy

Although it can feel overwhelming to change all the lightbulbs in your home with LED ones, you can make a huge dent in your expenses just by changing the five most important lights that you use the most.

By replacing these with Energy Star bulbs, you can save $45 every year, as Energy reports.

Once they are installed, they will continue to help you save money.

This is because they last a really long time.

Just one LED bulb can last up to 25,000 hours, while an incandescent bulb will only last approximately 1,200 hours, as Millennial Money Man points out, adding that LED light bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

The Frugal Elf finds the best deals for you. Check out these LED bulbs, they’re the cheapest you can find while still have stellar customer reviews:

Save On Warming Up Your Home

Turning the heating to a lower temperature saves money

Heating up your home during the winter months can cost a lot of money, but you can save it with these tips instead.

Choose a lower thermostat setting

Seriously, just turning it down a bit can save up to three percent of the money on your heating bill for every degree during a 24-hour period, as Cash Money Life reports.

Also, you should invest in a programmable thermostat as this can save you between 10 and 20 percent on your energy bill all through the year, the site goes on to explain. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, here’s the best-reviewed cheapest one available:

Replace Your Air Filters

You need clean air filters so that there’s more air circulating through your home’s heating system. This allows a larger amount of warm air to reach you through the vents.

Replacing air filters will cost between $2 and $10, but if you feel more heat entering your home you’ll need less than it, thus saving money.

Seal Up Any Leaks

If there are leaks in your home, they are letting cold air inside your home. Find them by scrutinizing areas such as around windows and doors. Fill any gaps with caulk.

You should also caulk any areas in walls, ceilings, and floors where wiring or plumbing comes through. Doing this can save you between five and 30 percent on your energy bill every year, as the U.S. Department of Energy reports (via Electric Choice).

Avoid Heating Your Entire Home

It’s a waste of money to heat up rooms in your home that you’re not even using. Rather purchase a space heater that you can use to warm up the air in your current room.

The U.S. Department of Energy (via Minnesota Chamber of Commerce) states that space heaters can be less costly if you only heat one room or use them to bring extra heating to your home.

Don’t neglect this powerful way to unlock household savings! Here’s our favorite space heater, we always choose the best build quality combined with the cheapest price:

Make The Most Of Your Curtains

Try to make the most of the sun’s warmth by using your curtains smartly. This can reduce how much you need to warm up your home with energy.

So, keep your curtains open during the day so that the heat can enter your home. Then, just before nightfall make sure you close your curtains as this will help to trap the heat inside.

Thermal heat curtains can help prevent heat loss. These have many layers of microfiber that trap the warmth inside your home and they can also prevent too much heat from entering your home during the summer months. They also keep your room nice and dark so you can get a better night’s rest. Here are the best thermal blackout curtains:

Replace Cable And Satellite TV With Netflix

Netflix is cheaper then having cable

If you’re relying on cable to provide you with all the shows you want to watch, you’re missing out on savings.

Even with Netflix’s price increases, it’s still cheaper to use Netflix instead of cable, as USA Today reports.

It’s also cheaper than satellite TV. DirecTV’s entry plan is $88 while Dish Network costs $74.99. Both are much higher than Netflix’s cost of $11.99, the site goes on to explain.

And don’t forget about Amazon Prime Video. They have been making some really great movies and shows, such as FLEABAG, a TV show with so much buzz that even Obama recommended it.

Make Your Own Food

Cooking your own food is a lot cheaper

You don’t have to have a black belt in cooking to make your own bread.

You can easily do it while saving money. Consider this: a loaf of bread costs approximately $2.50, and if you’re buying one every few days that can easily add up. You can make your own bread at home to cut costs.

Plus, it’s delicious. Here’s a really easy bread recipe to try from Taste of Home:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack active dry yeast
  • 21/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (and an extra ½ teaspoon sugar set aside)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 ¾ cups bread flour

How to make it:

  • Dissolve yeast and ½ teaspoon of sugar in warm water in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together three tablespoons of sugar, three cups of flour, and salt.
  • Stir the oil into the yeast mixture.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and beat it until it is nice and smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining flour, a bit at a time.
  • Sprinkle flour onto a surface, such as your kitchen counter, and then knead the dough until it is stretchy. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Put it in a greased bowl. Cover it and let it sit for about two hours so that it can rise.
  • When the time is up, put the dough onto a floured surface and divide it in half.
  • Shape both into loaves and put them into two greased loaf pans.
  • Cover them with cloths and let them rise for about an hour.
  • Then, bake the bread at 375 degrees until they are golden brown.

Buy A Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cookers are typically cheaper

A pressure cooker is basically an airtight pot that makes use of steam pressure, and it can help you to make food faster – it can be up to 10 times faster than ordinary cooking methods.

Also, a pressure cooker can decrease your energy consumption during cooking by up to 70 percent, as Fast Cooking reports.

Not only does it save energy costs, but it saves The Frugal Elf’s other favorite resource: TIME! Time is precious. You should save it to spend on things that spark joy for you. So toss your food inside a pressure cooker, press a button, and forget about cooking until you’re meal is ready to serve.

What are you gonna do with all that time saved not slaving over pots and pans? Here’s THE absolute best pressure cooker money can buy, and it’s a good deal too, of course that’s the elvish way 🙂

Don’t Purchase Expensive Pet Food

You want to give Fido the healthiest food, but you don’t actually have to purchase the most expensive variety.

A report by Consumer Reports found that dog owners pay approximately $36 on pet food every month and a large amount of the overall pet food bill in the U.S. goes to premium and even super-premium varieties.

However, the site goes on to say that vets will be clear about how the average dog doesn’t need to eat expensive food. As long as the pet food is complete and balanced, that should give your pet the nutrients he or she needs to thrive.

Unless your pets have allergies or other health conditions, you really don’t need to purchase costly food for them.

This is the absolute cheapest dog food you can get. And it’s delivered to your door! Cause who wants to lug 50 pounds of dog food to a shopping cat, to your car, then to your house. That’s backbreaking. And that’s more than any elf even weighs! Let Amazon do the hard work and deliver these cheap cat and dog foods to your door:

Save Money On Pest Control

Home made pest controls

Getting rid of pests in your home can be expensive – you’re looking at between $300 and $700 every year, as Pest Insider reports.

You don’t have to reach that point or use harmful pesticides that can be dangerous to you and your pets. There are cost-effective ways in which you can eliminate pests.

  • Use citrus peels to keep ants, mosquitos, and spiders away. Rub the peels on doorways and windowsills.
  • Use white vinegar for ants. If you’ve spotted some ant trails, clean the area well with vinegar. This removes the chemical trail that ants leave for each other so that they will go elsewhere to find food.
  • Use eucalyptus oil for flies. Dip a cloth in some eucalyptus oil and leave it in a room where you get flies. They will be repelled by the scent.

To deal with rats buy some quality rat and mouse traps and use peanut butter. That’s right, good ol PB is the best bait for mice and rats. These are my favorite cause they’re beyond easy to load and set. No smushed fingers. Even a child could set these up they’re so easy:

Will Keeping Your Home Clean Prevent Pests?

This is important to prevent pests from finding places to hide, such as spiders who like dark, cluttered places.

Also, cleaning food debris can prevent rats and ants from having a field day.

But you should also keep the outside of your home clean. If you have piles of wood or compost that are too close to your home’s entry points, these can cause pests to enter your house and cause a nuisance.

Make sure you keep any items such as the above that can serve as hidden breeding spots for pests away from your home. It’s also a good idea to keep your grass trimmed.

Related Questions

Will installing solar panels save you money?

Solar panels are expensive to purchase and install, but they can help you save money if you live long enough in your home to regain the costs.

That said, your electricity bills will be cheaper because solar panels will help you generate your own power.

Should you insulate your pipes to save energy?

Insulating pipes saves energy

This is a good idea but you have to do it correctly.

This entails insulating hot water pipes wherever you get access to them, as The Spruce reports.

This ensures heat won’t move away from them. You can insulate pipes with pipe wrap or foam, or seal up gaps where pipes penetrate the walls.

Another way to save on energy costs is to get an on demand water heater.


There are many easy ways we can use for cutting down household expenses.

In this article we’ve featured 12 important tips and tricks for cutting household expenses so you can hold onto your money for longer!


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