NC State Extension Publications


There are a number of things you can do each day to help reduce the cost of running a household. Here are some simple ideas to get you started. Challenge family members to come up with even more money-saving ideas.

Save money on cleaning products by selecting multi-purpose cleaners. You usually don’t need a different cleaner for every job. In reality, a multi-purpose cleaner can take care of many cleaning jobs in your home. It isn’t always necessary to purchase a specialized cleaner.

Save money on cleaning accessories by selecting reusable items. Remember when dust rags were just that? Rags. There are many disposable items you may love for their convenience, yet they can add significantly to your budget. You may decide to go back to damp cloths for dusting, re-usable toilet brushes and sponge mops. These items produce the same results with little or no cost.

Save money on dishes and utensils by eliminating paper and plastics. While paper and plastic products offer convenience, their cost can add up quickly. Use dishes and silverware instead of paper plates and plastic ware. It may require a bit more work in terms of cleanup, but it will help your wallet and it means less trash in the landfill!

Save money on household products by using store brand products. This is especially true for disposable items such as trash bags, sandwich bags and paper plates. You will get the same use with less cost. The important thing is to make certain that the quality is comparable. For example, if you buy thin paper towels, you may end up using twice as many for the job, thus producing no savings.

Save money on garbage disposal by composting. Composting is a way to turn fruit and vegetable scraps into free fertilizer for your garden. Keeping fruit and vegetable scraps for your compost also reduces the amount of trash you have. If you take your own trash to the landfill, this can result in fewer trips, thus saving gas. In addition, it also reduces the number of trash bags you use each month.

Save money on utilities by implementing energy- and water-saving behaviors. Turning off appliances when not needed, adjusting the thermostat temperature and reducing the length of your shower are a few ways to cut utility costs.

Save money on home repairs by fixing small problems before they become large problems. While it may be tempting to let household repairs wait, don’t. Your home is likely your single largest investment, and it is important that you maintain that investment. Make repairs as they are needed. This can keep them from becoming major problems that end up costing more in the long run.


Associate Professor and Resource Management Specialist
Agricultural and Human Sciences
Professor and Department Extension Leader
Agricultural and Human Sciences

Publication date: March 1, 2010

There is an alternate Spanish language version of this document here: Ideas para ayudarle a ahorrar dinero en su hogar

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.