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7 hidden places in your home that waste money
Lately, after my ankle started to feel better (read all about what happened here), I started taking over my cleaning schedule again, slowly.
If you’ve read my article on ways to save time on the weekends, you’d know that my cleaning schedule is from Sunday-Thursday.
This makes each day dedicated to something I clean or tidy, which leaves me to Friday and Saturday being wide open to explore fun with my family and get much needed relaxing time.
So, when I started to pick up cleaning again, I noticed things I didn’t notice before.
Things that were eating up more money and not being efficient. So, as I always do, I wanted to share them with you in case they are things you do without noticing too.
1-Not cleaning the lint trap in the dryer
I am huge on cleaning the lint trap after every load, but when I was injured and couldn’t clean, I had a housekeeper come in (she usually helps me once a month) to help me clean and do the laundry.
The first couple loads were fine, but after that, the loads were coming out a little damp and I did know why. Did my dryer stop working properly?
After a few days, my daughter was doing her laundry and noticed (since she’s trained like me, haha) that the lint trap was so full that it was hard to pull out.
Something so little and perhaps unnoticeable could make a big difference, not only in your output, but in the money it costs to run your machine.
If your clothes are coming out of the dryer damp, then chances are that you’re going to put them back in for another run.
Now, that one load has taken double the amount of time to dry and double the amount of electricity, all because that innocent little lint trap was not cleaned out.
2- Washing during the day
I don’t think I mentioned this in the article that saves you time on the weekends, but a lot of how I clean also directly correlates with trying to be more efficient with energy use to save money.
For instance, I always try to wash clothes and turn on the dishwasher after 7pm, which is right around after dinner time, so it’s not only convenient, but I get to save money.
The reason it’s more efficient is because the majority of people tend to do those chores throughout the day, when the energy rate is higher because the energy source is at its peak hours of usage.
I don’t know about you, but I hate folding laundry when it’s a hot day, so if I wait until the evening, when it’s generally cooled down enough that it’s not making me sweat folding clothes.
3- Turning on your oven
I’m a big fan of trying to cut down my oven time. One of my biggest reasons is that it causes my kitchen to get so warm and I hate being sweaty in the kitchen while cooking.
But, one of the other reasons is that it takes a lot of energy to get it to temperature (I have an old one) and takes a long time to cool down.
So, I try other methods of cooking that can save my oven from being turned on altogether.
If I do have to turn it on, I try to get it multi-tasking. I make several things I could stick in the oven at once.
Things I make that don’t require an oven:
-Mug cake or brownies in the microwave (they come out really good!)
-toasting garlic bread, burger or hot dog buns in a regular toaster oven
-braising roasts or chicken in the crockpot
-sauteing veggies in a skillet
I use the same ingredients and the same amount of cooking fat for all of these dishes/sides, but it usually takes me less time to finish and I’ve saved on oven energy.
4- Keeping your appliances plugged in when not in use
My family and I are so used to unplugging small appliances after we use them that it’s become second nature to us. But, we weren’t always so efficient.
It wasn’t until I read an article years ago that I realized it could save you money on your energy bill significantly that my husband and I started adopting this habit in our home.
If you’re not using the appliance, it takes 2 seconds to unplug it. It saves you money on unused energy and it saves your appliance in case there is a power surge.
I will admit, I don’t unplug the microwave, only because I can’t reach it without having to move the microwave every time. It’s not convenient and I’m too lazy for extra steps, so it’s gonna stay plugged in.
5- Maintaining your vacuum
I’ve just recently been doing this, for the last 6-8 months. But, it has literally changed my vacuum game.
Each time before I start vacuuming, I sit down on the floor and clean out the roller on the bottom.
When I tell you that the amount of hair I take out of this roller could be used for a wig, EVERY TIME, I am not exaggerating one bit.
It’s absolutely disgusting. But more than that, when the roller is not cleaned regularly, it can’t roll.
Which means you are just wasting your time pushing and pulling the vacuum and you’re not actually cleaning EVERYTHING.
Clean it out, be disgusted, then see how well your floors look after you vacuum with a clean roller.
The other major thing I clean is the vacuum bin. If you don’t have room in your vacuum to pick up dirt, than it simply won’t pick up any more dirt.
There just isn’t enough room to squeeze in any more dirt if the bin is full.
Clean it out before every use and rinse out the filters once a month or so.
You’ll likely cut down your vacuuming time in half, because it will actually work like a new vacuum and suck up all the dirt during the first pass. Which, saves you time and energy, AND electricity.
6- Using paper towels to clean
Paper towels are expensive. I understand how sanitary it may be to clean with something and throw it away.
But, it’s definitely is not efficient use of your resources and will waste a ton of money. I find that housekeepers tend to do this more than the ladies of the house.
But I always encourage my housekeeper to use the cleaning cloths I have on hand or to use newspaper.
Newspaper? How in the world did you come up with that, Gina?
Back in the late 80’s early 90’s, my mom had a cleaning lady who used to shine all of the class and mirrors using newspaper. It was a trick that stuck with me.
You see, the newspaper (crumpled) doesn’t leave lint behind, and the oil from the print actually gives you a streak free shine!
It’s an amazing hack. It also saves you money on paper goods, since you were going to recycle it anyway.
If you knew about this hack, please comment below! Let’s start a newspaper cleaning tribe in the comments!
7- Throwing away leftovers
I am a huge proponent of cooking at home. Family meals help foster communication and bonding, while building memories.
But often times, we end up throwing away our leftovers after they sat too long in the fridge.
This is wasting money in the same way buying groceries and not using them does.
I combat this problem with 3 methods:
1- I re-purpose the leftovers into another meal
My family is happy to eat the same roast meat if I turn it into tacos.
2-I pack the leftovers for lunch the next day
I love eating leftovers and it saves me from thinking of what to eat at work. It also saves me $10-$15 per day on eating out.
3-I make a day designated to leftovers for dinner
I haven’t done this in a while, but when I did, it worked really well on reducing waste. On Fridays, I would take out everything I cooked from Sunday-Thursday and reheat it.
I would call this our “Leftover Day” and the kids would love it. It gives you so many choices to eat, so it acts like a buffet. Then, after dinner, we barely throw out any food.
Bonus- By having a leftover day, I also essentially cleaned out my fridge. Which this helps me write my shopping list for the next week. Win-Win.
We all save money with the best intentions. But, sometimes, the little things we overlook tend to cost us a lot of money, energy, and time.