So if you've grown up in a thrifty household, or have trained yourself to be thrifty, some of these tips are no brainers. If you're trying to figure out how to save your household money for the first time, these may be things you haven't thought about yet.
1. Invest in cloth napkins. Three per person per week is a good start. The cost of the napkins plus the cost of washing them per week is far less than using paper napkins for every meal. We use our napkins for a couple days before they get tossed in the wash unless they get especially messy.
2. In the same train of thought, cut your paper towel usage. Use dish towels for hand drying, wiping counters, even wiping spills on the floor.
3. Cut back on the amount of meat you cook per meal. Look for smaller cuts of meat in the meat case. I almost always purchase the smallest packages available. If a casserole calls for 2 pounds, cut it back to 1 1/2 pounds (or sometimes even less).
4. When cutting your meat for soups and casseroles, once you've cut back on the amount, dice your meat into smaller pieces. It will seem like there is the same amount because you'll still be getting a piece of meat with almost every bite.
5. Make one or more meals a week completely vegetarian.
6. In winter months, if you do not have an active baby or toddler, after using the oven, open the door a crack to allow the heat to escape. This will help heat the house with passive heat rather than with your furnace, heat pump, etc. You might only get an hour out of this, but if you use your oven even a few times a week, you could gain 3-4 hours of passive heat a week.
7. Invest in a good quantity of storage containers (I like glass, personally) to use instead of zip bags, sandwich bags, plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Even if you still need to use these disposable items occasionally, storing most of your leftovers in reusable containers will save you in the long run.
What's your favorite money saving tip?