Contractors & Other Experts Swear By These Easy Hacks To Save You A Lot Of Money Around The House

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

If you’re looking to shave some much-needed money off your household spending and open up room in the budget, you’ll be surprised at how many clever ways exist to do just that. Subtle adjustments and larger modifications both work effectively to help create more money for you at the end of the year. I did the leg work and spoke to contractors and other experts who swear by these easy hacks to save you a lot of money around the house.

Saving money can start by tracking money with an expert-recommended method of keeping a budget-planning notebook. Other experts advise that you grow your own food with an indoor herb garden or store food in clear glass canisters — two tips that can stretch your grocery budget and make every dollar count. There are also tons of creative ways to cut down on your energy usage such as rinsing clothes in cold water, installing solar lights, or using a programmable thermostat.

Your mind will be blown by the large and small ways you can save that precious cash — and these smart products can help.


Replace Your Ceiling Light On A Budget With No Electrician Required

Non-electric pendant light shades can transform your room on a budget and most importantly do not require any electrical knowledge to install, according to Alina Enache, Head Design Consultant at Scotlight Direct. “[...] Non-electric pendant light shades are designed to fit all existing electric suspensions in your home. You simply attach these on to your existing lamp bulb holder.” This large drum lamp shade certainly fits the bill for instant added style and will only set you back a mere $28. The lamp can be used with any E26 bulb socket and the design includes three round tiers made of burlap linen which casts a lovely, warm glow.


Prevent Clogged AC Filters & Improve Energy Efficiency

Though an easy fix, it may never occur to you to change out the filter for your heating or air conditioning system. “Preventative measures like this can take just minutes to do but can help ensure your system is working efficiently and help save thousands of dollars in the long run from costly repairs," said Brian and Mika Kleinschmit of American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning partners, who are the stars of HGTV’s 100 Day Dream Home. "Clogged filters are an added cost and ensuring your home has a clean one can save up to $30 a month. To maximize airflow and efficiency, and help your system operate correctly, replace dirty air conditioner filters monthly leading up to and throughout the summer months. This easy swap will decrease energy use and improve air quality.”

These pleated air filters are a cinch to install, trap tiny particles such as lint, household dust, and dust mite debris, and, to top it all off, cost less than $50 for a pack of six so you can expect efficient energy use and clean air flowing right into your lungs.


Caulk Your Bathtub Regularly To Prevent Water Damage

“Over time, the caulking strips away and can lead to damaging effects on your tub,” Heath Belcher, bath and remodel production manager for American Standard, tells Bustle. Heath advises touching up caulk regularly before costly repairs are required. Using this waterproof caulk and seal will prevent any water, air, or moisture from causing expensive damage, especially from mold and mildew. It promises to not shrink, crack, or become yellow over time. It goes on quickly and is water-ready in only 30 minutes.


Swap Out Existing Faucet Hardware

Updating your kitchen hardware is an easy way to elevate your countertops without having to spend a fortune. However, to ensure that the finished product performs as intended, Belcher has some advice: “Switching out hardware may seem like a simple enough task, but there are pieces to look out for to ensure you're getting the job done correctly.” This sleek deck-mounted kitchen soap dispenser comes with everything you need for easy installation and perfect functionality. It’s made of a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish and lifts up from the top so that the 18-ounce soap bottle is easily accessible for refilling.


Make The Most Of Natural Light To Minimize Energy Usage

“Take advantage of natural light,” Marina Vaamonde, real estate investor and founder of HouseCashin, tells Bustle. “During the day, open the windows or the curtains to let the natural light in. Turn off the lights you don’t use and minimize the use of AC. Natural light can also help warm up the room, so you can save on energy costs.” For a touch of privacy while still allowing in tons of natural light, opt for these sheer voile curtains. They come in seven different lengths as well as 17 colors such as linen, baby blue, or pumpkin spice. Light will softly filter in, making for a beautifully diffused environment.


Set Up A Household Budget To Track Spending

You can’t save money if you don’t know how much money you have and where it all needs to go. “Budgeting is basic, but you’ll be surprised that many Americans don’t have one – they just wing it,” says Vaamonde. “Creating a budget can save you a lot of money because you’ll know where your money goes and what expenses you can cut. You can plan your grocery shopping and pay your bills on time, so you prevent unexpected purchases and penalties.”

Though this seems like a simple idea, the resistance to reconciling with reality may be fierce. If that’s the case, get yourself one of these ingenious budget planner notebooks. It includes tons of practical tools to organize your budget and track your spending. You can put bill reminders on the included calendar, track day-to-day spending throughout the month, and create financial goals that will be all the more achievable with this clever notebook.


Prevent Expensive Exterminator Costs With A Mattress Encasement

Bed bugs are notorious for being very difficult to get rid of, and can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get rid of them, according to Diana Ludwiczak, NYC certified bed bug and pest inspector at Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs. “A good mattress encasement will seal up all the cracks and crevices in your mattress and box spring, which are where the bed bugs like to hide,” Ludwiczak tells Bustle.

Take preventative measures to avoid everyone’s worst nightmare and add some protection to that precious mattress. This mattress protector comes in sizes ranging from mini crib to California King and is 100% waterproof. It features a moisture-wicking cotton terry surface that doesn’t distort the feel of your mattress. Toss the whole thing in the washing machine and dryer for easy cleanup.


Save On Water Bills With Water-Efficient Fixtures

Installing water-saving fixtures is a smart way to save money, Kevin Bazazzadeh, founder of Brilliant Day Homes tells Bustle. “This includes low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and dual flush toilets,” Bazazzadeh said. “These fixtures can save you a lot of money on your monthly water bill, so they're worth considering. For example, more efficient toilet models can cut the average water use from roughly 3.5 gallons per flush to 1.3 gallons. Similarly, an aerator reduces water usage from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1.5 gallons.” This handheld shower head installs in minutes and creates a high-pressure stream, which is known to use less water than conventional shower streams. Choose from six spray patterns such as rain mist, power rain, and even water saving.


Reduce Plastic Use & Save Money With A Water Filter Pitcher

If you’re worried about the impact that bottled water can have on the environment and your wallet, there’s an alternative you may not have thought of yet that can save you money. “[...] A much better option is switching to water filter pitchers or faucet-mounted filters,” Bazazzadeh tells Bustle. “These are relatively inexpensive and can remove impurities from your tap water, making it taste better and healthier for you.” This genius water filter pitcher uses an activated charcoal and ion exchange filter to eliminate bacteria, parasites, and even microplastics from your water while still retaining essential minerals. Refill your reusable water bottles again and again from the borosilicate glass pitcher, thereby saving you loads of money on unnecessary plastic consumption.


Cut Down On Energy Bills Using Solar Lights

One great way to save money and make your home look aesthetic? Install solar-powered outdoor lights. “These lights collect energy from the sun during the daytime and turn on automatically at night,” Bazazzadeh says. “For example, Gigalumi's pathway lights can last up to 10 hours at night and cost $41 for a set of 12.” The pathway lights use warm white LEDs, require absolutely no wiring, and install easily and quickly. The lights are both weatherproof and impact-resistant while the charming design is reminiscent of the arts and craft style.


Install A Programmable Thermostat

Exorbitant monthly energy bills are especially painful if you haven’t even been home to reap the benefits. Bazazzadeh highly recommends getting a programmable thermostat. “These devices allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day so you're not wasting energy when you're not home,” Bazazzadeh says. “For example, Orbit's 7-Day Programmable Thermostat is an excellent option for those on a budget. Apart from its sleek design, it's very easy to use and can even alert you to water damage and leaks." Program each day individually with this thermostat and clearly read all your settings on its large, backlit LCD screen. It comes pre-programmed with energy-saving settings, but once you set your own specific settings, a clever feature allows you to easily copy them from one day to the next.


Improve Your Bathroom’s Look & Functionality With A Grout Colorant

If your grout joints are discolored and dingy-looking, an easy way to refresh them is to use a grout stain on them, James Upton, a bathroom remodeling specialist in the Seattle area and founder of DIYTileGuy, tells Bustle. “An example of a product is Mapei Grout Refresh [...],” Upton says. “Not only does it color your grout joints in a new, consistent color but it also acts as a sealer.” The formula for the grout refresh colorant is both non-toxic and water-based and is available in over 10 shades so you can easily match your existing color. If you choose to branch out with a less common color, Upton has a helpful tip: “It's easier to go from a light color to a darker color than to go from dark to light."


Always Use A Cold Rinse Cycle To Save On Water Heating Bills

It isn’t just about how often you wash your clothes if you’re trying to save money — how you wash your items is also important. “[...] Just by changing the setting of your washing machine, you can now save hundreds of bucks every month,” Andrew Gaugler, an interior designer and the founder of Best of Machinery, tells Bustle. “Simply wash your clothes with warm water and rinse them in cold water. The expense of heating the water for rinsing is a huge chunk that you can now save.”

To keep that washing machine in fighting-fit shape during your warm/cold cycles, use these popular washing machine cleaning tablets. The tablets dissolve to clean all parts of the washer from the pump to the filter to the drum, removing residue and accumulated grime. They have over 172,000 reviews on Amazon and are recommended for washer maintenance by top brands such as Whirlpool and Maytag.


Manage Electronic Devices By Turning Off Power Strips When Not In Use

“Electricity is being sucked all day long even when you are not using your devices, especially if your electronics are plugged into the power strip all day long,” says Gaugler. He offers a very simple but effective tip: “To save a few dollars every month, unplug your electronics when not in use or plug them into your power strip, then turn off the strip. This little hack allows you to save money.” Take this hack one step further by using this smart wifi power strip that allows you to connect to either the provided app, Alexa, or Google Home to monitor how much energy each plugged-in device consumes. On top of surge protection, the strip allows you to control each device independently, turning it off when too much energy is being used.


Create Your Own Household Cleaners Using Simple Ingredients

There’s no need to spend a fortune on cleaning supplies when all the ingredients you need are simply sitting in your cabinet. “Save a few bucks by making your household cleaner at home with a few basic ingredients,” says Gaugler. “For instance, you can make a cheap glass cleaner simply by mixing water and vinegar. Another easy formula for an all-purpose cleaner is to mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with warm water.” These amber glass spray bottles are absolutely perfect for containing any and all of your homemade cleaning supplies. The amber glass acts as UV protection so as to keep ingredients potent and the adjustable nozzle gives you three spray settings. You’ll get two bottles in each pack and labels are included to keep supplies organized.


Control The Flow Of Your Toilet With A Dual Flush Option

You may be surprised at how many dollars are unintentionally being flushed down the toilet every month when you use a sub-par toilet. “Installing a water-saving toilet kit will enable you to save water (and money!) with each and every flush,” Laurice Constantine, digital managing editor at Forbes Middle East, ex-executive producer at CBNC Dubai, and founder of Casadar, tells Bustle. This water-saving dual flush toilet kit allows you to effortlessly install a new system that lets you choose to use more or less water per flush. No tools are needed to convert a standard toilet to this new dual flush system and it promises to conserve tons of water and money, to boot.


Switch To Energy-Efficient LED Light Bulbs

If you’re trying to save money, here’s a bright idea: swap out old light bulbs for LED bulbs that will stand the test of time. “With energy-efficient LED bulbs, you can lower your electricity expenditure,” Constantine says. “You won't even be able to notice the difference and they'll last forever. " These bulbs emit soft white light, are dimmable, and come in a money-saving pack of six.


Make Sure Your Food Containers Are Reusable

You’re throwing away money when you throw away plastic food containers — and all of that waste is terrible for the environment. A better solution? Switch to these glass food storage containers that come in a pack of 12 and include leak-proof hinged locking lids. “Stop tossing plastic bags and cash in the garbage,” Constantine says. “Reusable storage containers are simple to clean and ready to be used again in a day, a year, or a lifetime.” And this set is safe in the oven, microwave, and freezer.


Cook More At Home With An Instant Pot

Whipping up meals after a long day isn’t easy. But if you are trying to save money, trimming your take-out budget is a super-smart idea — and this Instant Pot can help. "Instant pots are quite popular because they combine seven different kitchen gadgets into one and make cooking enjoyable and simple,” Constantine says. This 3-quart pick, which boasts more than 139,000 reviews, acts as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and more — it will get lunch or dinner on the table fast while saving your money.


Grow Your Own Herb Garden

Produce is so expensive — and that’s why taking matters into your hands and growing a herb garden in your home can save you a ton of grocery money. “A home herb garden kit is another brilliant little money-saving device,” Constantine says. “Put it on your kitchen window to grow the herbs you typically use rather than purchasing them from the store.” This kit features seeds to grow five herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, and thyme — peat pots, potting soil discs, and plant markers are also included.


Choose Motion-Sensor Lights That Turn Off Automatically

How many times have you accidentally left lights on for hours (or days)? One money-saving solution is to add more motion-sensor lights like this pick to your rooms so that they turn off automatically and cut down on your electric bill. “Using energy-efficient lighting is extremely effective to cut down on energy costs,” Aleesha Dane, lead editor at RelaxingSpace, tells Bustle. “[...] These energy-efficient bulbs will result in overall energy cost reductions that will far outweigh their initial expenditure over the course of their lifetime. Motion sensor-driven lights have also been proven effective as they turn off as you walk out of a room and vice versa."

These plug-in lights feature three lighting modes, with adjustable brightening settings, and they come in a pack of two.


Fill In Cracks And Holes Beneath Doors

Little spots in your home that you’d ordinarily never consider (like that crack beneath your door) could be leaking cool or hot air and contributing to a rise in your electric bills. “If you live in an older or poorly built home, you likely experience drafts from under the doors, attic or basement access, or spaces around your windows,” Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home, tells Bustle. “Grab a tube of caulk from the hardware store and cover any cracks or holes in your home. It is also a good idea to install insulation on your attic door."

Another affordable solution? Place this door draft stopper beneath your door to instantly remedy the situation. The weather stripper is easy to install, adjustable, and comes in six colors.


Turn The Heat Down And Find Other Ways To Stay Warm

Before you protest: “But I can’t live in a cold house,” consider whether you are doing all you can to stay warm without cranking your thermostat. “Lowering your daytime heat from 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees will make a big difference,” Stark says. “Wear sweaters and slippers in the house to stay warm." These fuzzy cross-band slippers are perfect — they’ll get your feet toasty while still allowing your toes breathing room. They come in three sizes and 13 colors and designs.


Rely On Insulating Curtains To Cut Costs

Sometimes only a sheer curtain can create the atmosphere you want in a room. But when you’re trying to cut down on energy costs, turning to insulating blackout curtains is a great idea. “Throw open the curtains or blinds on south-facing windows during the day to let in the warm sun and keep other curtains shut to hold in the heat,” Stark says. “Keeping all of the curtains closed is also a great way to keep your house cool in the summertime."

This set features two panels that block UV light and can reduce outside noise and they come in six sizes and 21 colors and patterns.


Replace Dryer Sheets With Reusable Wool Dryer Balls

It’s tempting to focus on only big fixes when you’re trying to save money, but don’t disregard the small changes you can make that will add up to major savings in the long run. “Something as small as dryer balls can help save money,” Eyal Pasternak, a licensed realtor and licensed real estate agent, tells Bustle. “The wool balls reduce the drying time required by assisting the clothes to dry quicker. These balls are chemical-free which is healthier for the environment.”

Swap out disposable dryer sheets for these popular wool dryer balls that have more than 54,000 reviews, are made from quality New Zealand wool, and can cut drying time by 25% (which will also save you money). They come in a pack of six.


Opt For Durable Vinyl Flooring

If floors are next on your list of home improvement tasks, Andy Kolodgie, real estate expert and owner of Sell My House Fast tells Bustle a simple hack is to choose vinyl materials to save you serious money. "Shifting to vinyl is one of the most efficient ways to save up on your house’s flooring costs,” Kolodgie says. “While a wooden floor can cost you up to $10 per square foot, installing vinyl flooring ranges from $1 to $5; this means you can get the same sheen for less than half the price. And vinyl does not wear down quickly. It is durable and easier to maintain when compared to wood, tiles, or even rugs.”

These chic peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles can be trimmed to fit your specific dimensions, and, best of all, are both water resistant and washable.


Refresh The Look Of Your Home With High Quality Paint

If you find yourself frequently wanting to redo your walls for a fresh look, Kolodgie recommends skipping the expensive wallpaper and opting instead for efficient and cost-saving paint to give your walls an easy and aesthetic reset. “A gallon of good quality paint is priced at $100, while covering the same area with paper may cost up to $250,” Kolodgie says. “So, you can protect your wall with paint for half the cost. Wallpapers are also more expensive to install."

This quality paint is a perfect option as it’s available in over 15 gorgeous neutrals and comes in a 1-gallon size for an affordable $25. It can be used in both exterior or interior environments, is available in a low-sheen or semi-gloss finish, and is even made with eco-friendly and non-polluting materials.


Choose Sustainable Materials & Reuse As Much As Possible

When it comes to conserving your budget, money can be saved by simply swapping out your normal household items with more sustainable choices, like these reusable bamboo paper towels. “The easiest, most practical, and not to mention, enjoyable choice is to be sustainable,” Steve Elliot, owner of Restoration 1 Minnetonka tells Bustle. He recommends saving money by refurbishing what you can as well as doing pre- and post-cleanup on spaces being renovated to make the most of your hard-earned dollars. As a perfect choice for eco-friendly cleanup, one bamboo paper towel roll can take the place of six months’ worth of regular paper towels. On top of being both durable and absorbent, you can wash them by hand or pop them in the washing machine to be ready to go for the next clean.


Stylishly Store Similar Items In A Neutral Basket

When organizing your books or other household items, you might be pulled to sort them by color (à la Pinterest trends), but Ryan Eisland and Brandie Larsen of Home Sort tell Bustle that this method is often impractical and doesn’t work in many homes. “A better option is to sort like items together and use something neutral to house them,” they say. “Our collection with mdesign has naturally woven bins and baskets that work wonders for any space. The right bin will help keep you organized and look good at the same time."

With a choice between natural or black pine, these elegantly neutral bins can be used to store anything from pantry items or fruit to towels or books. They’re both lightweight and sturdy with handles on either end for easy portability.


Use Clear Storage Containers To Store Food

Came home from the grocery store with a bag of lentils only to see an unopened bag of those same lentils sitting on the shelf? Avoid any unnecessary spending when you use clear storage containers to store your food, recommends Eisland and Larsen. “We use this hack in every pantry and bathroom to help stay organized,” they say. “When you're better able to see food, you're more likely to eat it before it's expired, which helps save money. The same for toiletries. Because you can easily see items, you won't end up purchasing doubles unnecessarily.”

These glass canisters are part of Home Sort’s collection with mdesign and come in multiple sizes that can be stacked to save space. They each feature bamboo lids that create an airtight seal and have wide mouths to store and access any pantry item or bathroom accessory easily.