If you are sitting at home, wondering what to do and how you will survive financially, you are not alone. You may be wondering what you can do from home to save money or make a little more; well, here’s a massive list with an enormous amount of valuable resources to help you find more cost-effective solutions in the comfort of your home.
This article will cover everything from simple budgeting and spending to homemade recipes for cleaning and beauty products along with ways to stay entertained for free. You don’t have to be bored or feel useless because you can’t leave the house; instead, check out all these ways you can get busy and put more money in your savings account!
1. Slash Your Budget
It’s time to look through your budget and see which expenses are essential and which you can cut. Do you really watch all the channels you pay for? Are you still going to Sam’s or Costco, or can you cut that membership fee out? What about your gym membership?
There are some pretty drastic ideas out there, such as selling your car or moving to a smaller house. If you are ready for the extreme, take a look at your transportation costs (gas, insurance, auto maintenance, car payment, etc.), and see if public transportation or Uber/Lyft would be a better option for you.
Canceling memberships and subscriptions is a great idea if you aren’t taking full advantage of them. Sometimes you are paying for things you don’t use anymore and are unaware you are subscribed to.
Don’t have a budget? What are you waiting for? If you are sitting at home, now is the perfect opportunity to create a budget that you know you or your family needs. Make savings goals and create a game plan to meet them.
Are you ready to get out of debt, too? Cut up those credit cards, close the accounts, and start using the debt snowball method to pay them off.
There are probably budgeting areas you have less control over, such as rent, insurance, and loan payments, but you can do something about the variable expenses on your budget.
Check out these ideas on ways to save on television and cellular plans, or shop around and figure out what is best for your family. Now is the time to compare insurance companies, credit cards, and banks online. Save yourself some money by researching companies to see which are the best fit for your household.
Shop around for your television needs, too. Consider Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and other TV streaming services. Many companies are offering specials right now since many people are stuck at home and want something fun to watch, so check out your options and find something new to watch. Just be careful all those subscriptions can add up.
2. Get a Firm Hold on Your Spending
Master the 30-day rule. This rule states that if you see something you want to buy, wait 30 days. Put the money aside for that item, and if in 30 days you still want to buy it, go ahead.
Shopping is pretty tempting when you are at home with the ability to do online shopping like on Amazon with a click of the button, but if you follow this rule, you can save yourself a lot of money.
Keep a journal of all the things you want to buy right now; then, review it 30 days later to see if those are still things you want or even need. Check out more ways to trick yourself into saving money and use your imagination when it comes to controlling your spending.
Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, and always take full advantage of coupons, reward programs, and freebies, but only purchase things you need; don’t buy goodies just because they’re on sale or because you have a coupon. Shop wisely with a premade shopping list and budget.
You can stock up buying in bulk, and you can do so in the comfort of your home with Walmart delivery or Amazon Pantry. During your birthday month, you can get all sorts of freebies, so be sure to sign up for those.
You can even save on clothing if you buy some basic clothing items in neutral colors, staple pieces like pants, skirts, shirts, and jackets in black, brown, white, and tan – anything that you can mix and match. Once you have the base items, you can watch for sales for the things you know you’ll wear.
3. Fix or Maintain Household Appliances
Did you know that appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, freezers, and refrigerators take up approximately 37% of your electric bill? That’s why it’s crucial you use these appliances efficiently.
Save on repairs and fix it yourself. Watch YouTube videos to see how to be your own handyman. Do a “maintenance run” on your appliances.
Check that there isn’t dust clogging them and give them all a good spring cleaning. Look behind your appliances and vacuum any dust. Check all the vents, especially on dryers, refrigerators, and heating units.
Just think of the money you can save! The less dust you have blocking the mechanics of these appliances, the more efficiently they will run, which will help with your energy bill. This will also help them last longer, which will save you on the cost of replacing them. The goal is to make your appliances work smarter, not harder.
If you do have to buy replacements, buy quality appliances that will last, and don’t forget to shop for energy-efficient models; they might be a little bit more expensive, but they will save you the most money in the long run.
4. Do Spring Cleaning and Decluttering
Spring cleaning or decluttering is another free and easy way to save money. You don’t need to pay for maid service if you can do it yourself. You can save more money than you may think by cleaning your home yourself because you might find things you didn’t know you owned or forgot you had.
Save money by making a home inventory, which will help you not buy duplicate items and can help you with insurance claims in the event of a fire or theft. Be sure to keep a copy of it in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe.
When decluttering, don’t forget to unsubscribe to all those annoying emails and discontinue subscriptions; those things are just taking up your valuable time. While you can easily toss junk mail, it still takes time – time you could be spending on something else. Get your name removed from junk mail and stop it from coming in the mail.
Consider being a minimalist. There are many benefits, including saving you money. Having less stuff means less maintenance, less cleaning, less stress, less shopping, and less time spent keeping up with additional belongings you don’t need. When you make that home inventory, see what you can get rid of.
Rather than purchasing new things, look at the things you aren’t using, and see what you can repurpose. Turn a ladder into a bookshelf or an old telephone stand into a small printer table. Get crafty and turn your junk into treasures.
Find things to barter, sell, or donate – all three can add value to your life. Consider selling your electronics to Amazon with their Trade-In program. Use Paperbackswap, an online forum where you can swap paperbacks, to get rid of old books. Sell your goodies on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or get them ready for a garage sale, consignment store, or pawn shop.
Donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Many charities will pick up your goodies on your porch, so it’s almost effortless. Don’t forget to ask for receipts for your donations; these will come in handy when doing your taxes next year!
The best way to get rid of things you do not need is to put them in a black trash bag and stuff it full; don’t look at what you’ve decided to part with or else you’ll be tempted to keep things you don’t need. Instead, fill it up and donate the bag without a second thought.
5. Pamper Yourself at Home
Learn how to give yourself a manicure and pedicure. Watch YouTube videos on how to do things like give your kids their haircuts at home. Make yourself a facial mask out of ingredients you have on hand.
Create a homemade latte out of coffee, milk, honey, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Let your hair grow out an extra month or two. Take a relaxing and luxurious bubble bath.
There’s no reason you still can’t be pampered just because you are stuck at home. Here are a few more DIY recipes:
Sage Hair Rinse
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 teaspoon of dried sage
- Pour the water over the sage; then, allow it to soak until it cools off a bit. Strain. Sage helps reduce the oil buildup from the scalp, and it promotes healthy hair. Continue using this herbal rinse after shampooing for at least three weeks to see the full benefits.
Oatmeal Facial Scrub
- 1 tablespoon of finely ground old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt
- To remove dead, scaly cells and deep clean your face, combine the ingredients, apply the blend to dampened skin, massage gently for five minutes, and rinse.
Lecithin Hair Treatment
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons of shampoo
- 1 teaspoon of lemon-balm oil
- Mix ingredients and shampoo with lukewarm water. This mixture allows the protein to help strengthen hair cuticles and adds shine.
6. Expand Your Knowledge and Learn Something New
Watch some YouTube videos or read about how to do something new. Beef up your resume by learning new skills – learn how to type faster, take online classes, learn new Microsoft Word and Excel short-cuts so you can work more efficiently, or research something you’ve always wanted to know how to do.
Learning can be fun and can make you a valuable asset; what do you have to lose? You can also reach out and make money. Create a website for someone else, start your first blog or website, or write that novel you have been talking about doing your whole life.
7. DIY and Make it Yourself
Maybe you didn’t know this, but there are many things you can do on your own to save money. You don’t have to be crafty; the items are simple to follow and are made so that anyone can do them.
Create your own cleaning products to save major bucks on laundry, dish soap, detergent, and more. You can also make soap in a crockpot, do homemade crafts with your kids, or create your own beauty products, saving you a lot of dough.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 cup baking soda
- ½ cup of salt
- 1 cup Borax
- 2 tablespoons Vinegar
- Mix the first 3 ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Add 1 tablespoon to each of the two compartments in your dishwasher and add the vinegar to your rinse compartment.
Homemade Penny Laundry Detergent
- 3 tablespoons Borax
- 3 tablespoons Washing Soda
- 4 cups hot water
- Swish until dissolved, ensuring there are no lumps. Add 4 tablespoons of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid soap.
- Fill an empty milk jug with ingredients. Use two tablespoons per load. Use vinegar in the fabric softener slot if desired.
Homemade “Forever” Dryer Sheets
- Cut six regular-sized sponges in half. Stir together liquid mixture (2 cups of fabric softener and 4 cups of water). Add one sponge to the dryer by pulling it out of the container, squeezing out excess liquid.
- Toss it in the dryer with your clothes. When the load is done, just put it back in the liquid container for next time.
Do your own lawn care or create your own garden. These are things you may typically pay for, but if you have the time and are at home anyway, why not get out in the fresh air and exercise? Practice DIY auto care like washing your car and changing your oil.
Consider putting your talents to use and make everyday items that you can use rather than having to purchase them. Or use what you make as gifts and save on your gift-giving budget.
If you don’t think you have any talents, look online for instructional videos that will teach you how to sew, knit, woodwork, etc. Save money on dry cleaning and alterations by doing it yourself. Buy a home dry cleaning kit and sew, mend, or alter your clothes with a sewing kit.
8. Practice Make-Ahead Cooking, Freezing, and Baking
It’s time to break out the bread machine and use it to make fresh homemade bread or make it from scratch. Bake homemade cookies, muffins, cornbread, rolls, pies, or muffins. Make homemade jelly or jam, and start canning. Freeze what you won’t eat within a few days so that it stays fresh and free of mold.
It’s recommended when making casseroles ahead of schedule to cook four times what you need and to freeze what you won’t eat in the next week. Check out this massive collection of make-ahead freezing recipes to get you started.
Some foods that freeze well include casseroles, grapes, milk, butter, cheese, and rice, so consider investing in a deep freezer and start making meals ahead of time.
9. Save Money on Utility Bills
There are many ways that you can save on your utilities. Here are some basic suggestions:
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances.
- Turn off or unplug anything you aren’t using.
- Keep your air conditioner and heater a little less comfortable.
- Install LED lights around your home.
- Use a programmable thermostat.
- Save on your heating bill by hanging a laundry line outside to let your clothes air dry.
- Optimize your window coverings and any weatherstripping you have.
- Consider purchasing and using a Smart Strip, a surge protector that uses very little energy.
- Install low-flow toilets.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans based on the season.
- Close the vents in the rooms you don’t use.
Vampire Power is power from appliances that suck up energy even when they are shut off. Vampire power accounts for as much as 20% of your monthly energy bill. Learn how to identify and manage this power to save big bucks.
Want some drastic ideas? Take cold, combat showers, hand wash your dishes, or make your thermostat less comfortable, keeping it below 65 degrees in the winter and above 80 degrees in the summer. Bundle up with blankets in the winter and use lots of fans in the summer.
10. Get Healthy to Save on Medical
If you are sitting at home, consider reaching your health goals to save on medical expenses, such as prescriptions, gym memberships, and doctor’s visits. Find a motivating home exercise program that can help you lose weight in the comfort of your home by getting you to move around and have a little fun! Crank up the music and dance!
Make SMART health goals like:
- To drink at least eight glasses of water per day
- To exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- To begin taking a multivitamin each day
- To wash your hands each time you use the restroom
- To build muscle mass
- To stop smoking
- To eat healthier
- To lose weight
For more tips on how to save money on healthcare expenses, check out this article.
11. Find Free Entertainment
Do you enjoy reading? Check out books from the library or download Libby, a library app; most metropolitan libraries offer online reading options, such as eBooks, electronic sources, etc. You can also try Paperbackswap, an online forum where you can mail and receive paperbacks.
Are you used to going to the movies? Make your own popcorn; sit back and enjoy television programs or movies by watching YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Craving social settings? Get hooked on social media. You can do video chatting, post pictures, talk about what’s new with you, and so much more.
Join social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. If you haven’t explored Pinterest yet, give it a try, and see if you need any more entertainment than that. It can be quite addicting!
Get your creative juices flowing by writing, drawing, painting, or sculpting. Fill up your photo albums with gorgeous photographs you can take yourself with your camera or smartphone. Take some awesome videos of your kids – a treasured gift you can give the grandparents at Christmas.
Do you have musical instruments lying around? Get them out and start playing. If you don’t have the know-how, the Internet is full of instructional videos and guides. You can pretty much learn how to do anything with the help of Google and YouTube.
Spend time with your family and pets. Break out the board games, chess set, cards, and puzzles, and have a blast! Find fun, healthy things you can do together at home together. The important thing is to have quality time together.
12. Use Your Time to Save Money
Use your time wisely. Do you own a business but are stuck at home? Get to work on a blog for your business, increase your customer base by using mailers or emails, work on a social media calendar for your company and have it ready for the future, or shop around for the best apps for you and your company.
Don’t know how to start your own business or how to market it? Get in touch with a marketing or social media consultant. What are you waiting for? Not sure what to do with all the meetings you need to have? Consider video conferencing! There are many ways that you can work from home.
Set up a planner with lists of things to do when you get to work. Use this time to get organized. Make schedules, get involved in career associations, write emails that you know you’ll need ahead of time, or spend this time searching for that freelancer or personal assistant you’ve been meaning to hire.
You should now have a solid list of things you can do while at home – plenty of ideas to keep you busy, and lots of ways to start saving money. Get creative in all the ways that you can be thrifty without a lot of effort. Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t use your time wisely, so get busy trying these ideas out.