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Home Improvement: Small Changes Can Equate to Big Savings

For some, cutting back and spending wisely have always been part of the everyday routine; but for others, the everyday routine is being turned upside down. The current economy has forced many Americans, Boomers in particular, to look at their spending (and savings) habits through an entirely new lens. 

“Often times, people are so focused on their big financial picture that they neglect to consider what little things they can do to help themselves out,” said Heath Tudor, consumer liaison for RESQDEBT. “Making smart choices and small changes around the home can go a long way to helping you decrease your monthly spending habits and reduce the risk of debt down the road.”

Tudor suggests incorporating these simple tips for saving money:

Don’t Shop Hungry: Research has shown that people who grocery shop on an empty stomach are more likely to impulse purchase, which translates into a higher grocery bill … not to mention an expanded waistline. If you’re hungry, eat a snack before heading out the door to stave off cravings while shopping. 

Be Smart About Utilities: Spending can add up quickly on many basic household necessities. Three easy cost-cutting measures include: bundling phone, cable and internet services (a $90/month savings); cutting back on the use of your clothes dryer (dry clothes on a rack and use the dryer for heavier items such as towels and sheets); and use your microwave instead of your oven whenever possible to save up to 50 percent in energy costs for cooking.

Slay the Energy Vampire: According to the EPS, the average U.S. household spends $100 annually to devices know as energy vampires—electronic products such as power adapters and cell phone chargers that continue to “suck up” energy even when not in use. To avoid this, the EPA suggests unplugging battery chargers and power adapters when not in use; using power strips that can be turned off when appliances are not in use; and purchasing appliances with the Energy Star label.

Plant Perennials: Sounds simple, but planting perennial flowers instead of annuals can potentially save you $100–300 per year. Perennials are a one-time cost and require little additional effort for years of enjoyment as opposed to the investment of time and money associated with planting new flowers each year.

It’s Hot to Use Cold: About 90 percent of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat water. You can reduce water costs almost in half by switching to the cold water setting (be sure to use the correct cold-water detergent). Likewise, eliminating use of the heat-drying feature on your dryer and switching to the cold (or air-dry) setting can reduce energy use and wrinkles!  

Small changes around the house can save you hundreds of dollars a year which can translate to more money for investing or saving.