College Advice Blog

Aug 18, 2011

How to Save Money on Household Essentials

The Money-Saving Idea Book: Inside Tips for Starving Students, Frugal Seniors and Every Financial SurvivorSaving money is important to most people, but if you are a college student or graduate, it may be a necessity. Living on your own can be costly, especially when you are responsible for purchasing the everyday items you use in a house or dorm. If you put some effort into your shopping, it is possible to save money on the most commonly used household items. Your finances can remain intact with a few money-saving steps.

Check out the dollar stores

One of the best ways to save money on household essentials is to shop at dollar stores. You can find anything from food products to cleaning supplies at one of these discount merchants. A dollar store is the ideal place to purchase items that you quickly run out of. Dental health care products, like toothbrushes and dental floss, bath and shower supplies, and cleaning chemicals are sold at a fraction of the retail cost.

Buy only what you need
You can further save money on cleaning supplies by eliminating the ones you do not need. Most cleaning products are geared toward specific jobs such as wiping kitchen counters or disinfecting toilets. You do not need to purchase two separate cleansers for these jobs. A mixture of vinegar and water makes an effective, cost-efficient sanitizer. Additionally, a spray bottle filled with dishwashing liquid and water is ideal for cutting through kitchen counter grease.

Recycle your old clothes
To save money on mops, dusters and paper towels, cut up some old t-shirts or towels. You can clean virtually anything with a used shirt, and when you’re done cleaning, the shirt can go into the laundry. You can avoid continuously replacing mop and duster refill cloths. If you already have a sweeper mop, try using fabric softener sheets instead of the costly refills. You can also use these sheets to dust around your house. 

Want your dorm to smell good?
Many people waste hundreds of dollars on air fresheners. You can avoid falling into this money trap by making your own scents. Purchase essential oils in bulk and fill a spray bottle with your favorites. You will only need to spray once a day to maintain the fresh scent. You can also place fabric softener sheets near air vents and in dresser drawers. Oil diffusers work great as air fresheners as well. Instead of replacing the diffusing reeds when the scent becomes weak, simply turn them over.

Go secondhand
To save money on other types of household items, shop at outlet stores and secondhand shops. At a secondhand store, you may find gently used electrical appliances like vacuums, blenders and coffee makers. Kitchen supply outlets also have bargains on most items you will need to complete your list of essentials.

It’s worth the extra effort
If you take the time to search for inexpensive alternatives to some of your household essentials, you can save hundreds of dollars. Avoid buying things impulsively by making a necessities list each time you plan to shop. Don’t buy any items that you do not need. By making a plan and looking for hidden bargains, you can enjoy the excitement of living on your own without destroying your wallet.

About The Author
Richard is a freelance writer who works for a site about cosmetic dentists. He hopes you will pay him a visit on Twitter at @thefreshhealth. 


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