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9 Ways to Pinch Pennies Around the House

I’m certainly not an extreme frugalist. I’ll never reuse plastic bags or ration toilet paper into a certain number of squares per use, but if I can save a few pennies here and there, we all know they add up to dollars. Every dollar counts, especially if you are trying to get out of debt, save for a goal, or plan for retirement. Here are nine simple ways to pinch pennies around the house.

1. Eliminate Food Waste

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy. While that’s wrong to think about on many levels, it also adds up to lots of wasted money. Some easy ways to prevent food waste are using leftovers for brown bag lunches, freezing fruit and veggies for later use in smoothies or stir fry, and taking a week each month to eat out of your pantry or fridge instead of grocery shopping.

2. Turn the Thermostat Up or Down

We used to keep our thermostat on 70 degrees pretty much year round but have realized that if we turn it down to 66-68 degrees in the winter and 72-74 degrees in the winter, it saves about $20 per month on utility bills.

3. Don’t Buy Expensive Cleaning Products

Fancy wipes or lemon-scented cleaners are certainly nice, but they are expensive. You can clean just about anything with soap, warm water, vinegar, and a little bleach for a fraction of the cost. Buy a lemon candle if you really miss the smell.

Continue reading at Mint.com


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. We always turn our thermostat way down at night, especially throughout the Winter when those heating costs can add up quick. We turn it down pretty low when we leave the house, too.

  2. I literally cry when we have to throw food away. I hate it. It’s not just the financial aspect either- it’s so wasteful!

  3. Nice work on the Mint article Kim!

  4. Nice work on the Mint article! We’ve really cut down a lot on our food waste to where we have very little. I always hate throwing food away because I just feel like we’re literally putting money in the trash.

  5. Congrats on the article on Mint Kim!

  6. Great post! We’ve never done the bucket in the shower thing, but it really does seem like a great way to catch water and water our plants. I worry a little that if soap got in there that soap might kill my plants. Do you ever have that problem?

    • Dee, I’ve never had a problem. There is a little soap in there, but it’s pretty diluted at that point. That’s a good point to bring up and I’m sure it could be a bad thing if there was enough soap, but we’ve done this for a long time and it’s never been an issue.

  7. I am all about pinching pennies around the house. Mostly because I try to not be wasteful, but also because I love to save some money. I’m going to head over to Mint and read the rest. Congrats on getting the spot on Mint! That’s great!

  8. Headed off to mint now…I’m interested!

  9. I recycle almost all my gray water. I have a septic system, but all the gray water just runs to the outside. It’s better that putting it in the septic system anyway.

    Set back thermostats are also a great way to save heating and cooling costs. Do not forget about turning the hot water heater down a notch too.

    Generic cleaning products, by the gallon, with a refillable sprayer, is cheaper, and many commercial products are even better than the residential ones.

  10. Great tips here, Kim!! We do all of them, except savings the gray water, and it really helps to cut the spending nicely.

  11. Congrats on the MINT article, Kim! I don’t understand the whole bottled water thing…I wife is a big fan, so I end up buying it (although it’s a relatively inexpensive store brand). I don’t deny using it too…but I typically open one bottle, and just keep refilling it from the tap over and over and over. 🙂

  12. I just found your blog! I try to be as frugal as I can but still enjoy life. I can’t use credit, I have a 500.00 limit. It is teaching me so much to live like that. I am not an extreme person but I have found a few things. The one I swear by is unplug everything. I unplug my router and cable which is plugged into the same strip, my microwave, toaster and Kurig. It saves me so much I would not have believed it! Good luck on your journey!

    • I do think it’s amazing how much little things do add up. We did several things a few years ago to lower our electric bill like using CFL light bulbs and changing the thermostat settings, unplugging at night, etc. I don’t know that any one thing was incredibly noticeable, but our electric bills are consistently $20 or more lower per month now that they were two years ago. I don’t think it’s because the cost of electricity has gone down!

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