If you feel like you never seem to set the right budget for your monthly housekeeping expenses and have to keep increasing it every month, maybe you are overspending. Even though individual housekeeping expenses don’t seem to burn a hole in your pocket, all of them put together can become a huge sum.
Here are some handy tips on how you can save on little things each time you shop for housekeeping items. To make it easy for you, we have divided them into three broad categories – with helper, without helper, and general tips.
For those of you who are lucky enough to get a helper, here are the ways to save on your housekeeping costs:
1. Buy in bulk
It is no secret that buying items in bulk is always cheaper than the smaller packs. And, it’s better when someone can help you organise it all! So, to get more value for your money, make sure you hunt down the biggest packs of a few items that you use frequently and ask your helper to store them well.
For example, while shopping online, you can order big packs of your regular dishwashing detergent or glass cleaner. Make sure you buy refill packs and not new bottles each time you purchase them. A word of caution here: If you come across an item you do not use or need, don’t be tempted to buy it even if the price is discounted. Here, you are not saving anything but adding to the cost.
No, we are not asking you to become Martha Stewart. Even if you are not overly creative, there are innumerable household products you don’t actually need to buy – because you can make them yourself; or ask your helper for assistance. And believe us; it isn’t rocket science.
Your helper can actually make all-purpose cleaners, carpet stain removers, fabric softeners, and an array of household items using simple ingredients. There are various mobile apps that can come to your rescue here. For example, you could learn from BrightNest how to make your own disinfectant sprays and remove rust from old items.
You could also hunt the Internet for ideas; and remember, vinegar and lemon are magic words when it comes to this. Sounds like a good project for next Sunday afternoon, eh?
3. Reuse, reuse, reuse!
Instead of throwing away that old bed sheet, why not teach your helper to cut it into a tablecloth and add a fancy new lace? How about using an old ladder as a bookshelf, or old, empty CD cases to organise small items? There are so many ways to reuse old stuff that you will end up asking yourself, “Why did I not think of this?!” It’s time to get creative.
So, you are all by yourself. Fret not, there are many things that will come to your help – phone apps, credit cards and umm…us?
4. Ditch brands
You are super excited to try out the new laundry detergent you saw on TV the other day. It is a bit more expensive than your current one but looks rather fancy. Cut to reality – you do not need a fancy, branded detergent!
While shopping for detergents and other regular household items, ditch those expensive branded packs and look for the cheaper, local house brands. Trust us; as far as it is going to serve the basic purpose, it will work.
5. Make a list before you shop
Those attractive aisles of supermarkets can be quite compelling sometimes. More often than not, you end up buying stuff you don’t need or won’t end up using (remember all the fancy cleaning equipment you buy but don’t use?). So, the next time you go shopping, make sure you make a list and stick to it. Also, eat well before you enter a supermarket; science has proven that you end up buying more if you are hungry.
6. Buy reusable items
This tip will not only help you save money but also help you do your share for the planet. Replace your regular batteries with the rechargeable ones and paper napkins with cloth napkins. These are just two examples but there is an unending list of items you can replace in your household to save cost and be kind to nature.
7. Use phone apps
Here’s a fun fact: you can actually use your phone for better things than playing Candy Crush Saga or texting on WhatsApp. There are various helpful apps you can download to keep a check on your finances. Apps like Good Budget and Pocket Expense help you track your expenses and manage your budget. They are simple, precise, and effective. So the next time you overshoot your housekeeping budget, you will get a notification!
8. Use credit cards
Plastic magic! There are many credit cards that offer cash rebates when you shop at supermarkets. The Maybank Family & Friends Card offers you and your family, 8% cash rebate on daily essentials and unlimited 0.3% cash rebates on all other purchases.
If you are devoted to Fairprice, you should consider the NTUC Plus! Visa credit card that offers a discount of up to 12% on Fairprice purchases. The Standard Chartered SingPost Visa Platinum Card also offers 7% cashback on eligible online purchases plus 2% cashback on supermarket purchases. So, apply for the right card and don’t forget to use it when paying.
These tips are relevant regardless of whether you have a helper or not. So go on, just follow them.
9. Maintain goods
If your vacuum cleaner or refrigerator is making weird noises and begging for repair work, do not ignore it. You might think you are avoiding an expense but what you don’t understand is that you are inviting a bigger one. Make sure all your appliances are well maintained and regularly serviced. This will boost their lifespan and mean lesser spending for you.
10. Use your mother’s tricks
Call your mother, or better, your grandma, and discuss with her a few housekeeping ideas. We are sure they will have a treasure chest full of tricks. From using toothpaste to clean silverware to making natural air fresheners using orange or vanilla, they will surprise you with tips! Not only will you save cost but also have a great bonding session with them reliving the good ‘ol days.