35 surprising ways you're wasting so much effing money around your house

Small (but very effective) ways to lower those bills.

ByRachel Bar-Gadda
Originally Published: 
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If perusing your credit card statement at the end of the month always leads to concern — and you’re never sure why cash seems to flee your wallet — the answer could be something you’re doing at home without even realizing it. As you’ll see on the list below, I can count at least 35 surprising ways you’re wasting so much effing money around your house — and thankfully, I can also name 35 clever solutions to match.

For example, you might be opting for disposable items like paper towels or plastic snack bags instead of choosing ingenious reusable products like Swedish dishcloths or silicone food storage bags that will save you tons of money down the road. Skipping takeout and cooking at home with a steamer or using a lunch box tote to pack your to-go meals will also help you save major money.

Here are some small-but-effective ways you can show that monthly credit card statement who’s boss.


Having to constantly replace your sponges because they become moldy

This extremely clever little sponge holder not only looks great on your countertop but also extends the life of your sponges by letting them dry out in between dishwashing sessions. The holder is made of ceramic and features a charming embossed design reminiscent of vintage tile work. It holds your sponge upright to allow water to drain and also increases airflow for a mildew-free result.


Leaving the lights on overnight

Save major money on your monthly energy bills by simply installing a few of these motion sensor lights in key places. They come in a pack of six and use three AA batteries to provide you with a warm white light that turns on when motion is detected and turns off after 30 seconds to save battery power. Mount them anywhere you might need a little extra light at night, such as stairways or in closets, and use the provided self-adhesive or screws to easily mount them.


Buying endless amounts of single-use paper towels

Once you start using these life-changing Swedish dishcloths, tearing a fresh piece of paper towel will begin to sound like someone ripping up your hard-earned cash. Each dishcloth lasts longer than fifteen rolls of paper towels and is machine-washable, so it can be used up to 100 times. They’re made of biodegradable cellulose and cotton and cost a mere $18 for a pack of 10, which, when you think about how much paper towel rolls cost, is the solution to saving money while keeping your house looking clean.


Constantly replacing disposable candle lighters

When your most recent butane lighter kicks the bucket, never again invest in another disposable lighter and instead reach for this clever USB-rechargeable candle lighter. Not only does it charge within an hour but it also uses no flame to light, instead utilizing plasma technology to spark your campfire or barbecue. The lack of flame makes this lighter virtually windproof and the long neck and angled head help you access hard-to-reach places effortlessly.


Letting leftovers go bad sooner than necessary

This collection of airtight food containers will turn those leftovers into a satisfying meal days later, squeezing every last cent out of expensive ingredients. Three BPA-free containers are included in each set with accompanying lids that lock for freshness. They’re freezer, microwave, and dishwasher-safe and, in addition to being used for leftovers, are ideal for storing a variety of food — from produce to pantry items.


Spending money on new jewelry pieces because old ones have lost their luster

There’s no need to rotate out treasured pieces of jewelry just because oxygen and moisture may have gotten the better of them. Use this jewelry cleaner to restore glory to tons of different kinds of materials such as gold, platinum, sterling silver, and diamonds, to name a few. It uses a gentle, non-toxic formula made without ammonia that gets rid of tarnish and restores shine to keep those precious metals and stones in constant use.


Giving up on wine stains left on clothing & furniture

Time seems to slow down when that errant drop of Cabernet hits the surface of your stylish all-white outfit – but if you act quickly with the help of this red wine stain remover you can save those precious neutrals for many soirées to come. It relies on a nontoxic yet commercial-grade formula to rid clothing, carpets, and furniture of both fresh and old wine stains. Simply spray the stain, blot it, then rinse to see the biodegradable and pH-neutral formula work its magic.


Running your air conditioning or heat too often & wasting money

Maximize that precious heating and cooling by directing the airflow to just where you need it with these vent deflectors. They attach magnetically to your air conditioning or heating vent via strong magnets and have an adjustable design that allows you to extend it to fit your dimensions. Once you’ve heated or cooled your space to perfection, sit back and watch that previously wasted money return to your wallet.


Buying new eggs because the carton you have is hidden in the fridge

Just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there — and this definitely goes for those eggs hidden in their cardboard carton in the back of the fridge. Prevent the unnecessary purchase of more than you need with this egg container made of transparent BPA-free plastic that allows you to see exactly what you have on hand. The container holds up to 24 eggs and features a built-in handle and removable lid for easy stacking.


Having a faulty, hard-wired doorbell installed

This weatherproof wireless doorbell gives you full flexibility as to where you place both your doorbell and receiver so that your home can run efficiently. The receiver plugs into any outlet and has a huge range, being able to be placed up to 1000 feet away from the doorbell. Customize your ring from over 50 chimes and adjust the volume from four different settings as needed.


Installing expensive backlighting throughout your home

Instead of paying out tons of money for that sophisticated accent lighting, turn instead to this extremely affordable LED TV backlight that costs less than $10. Using the self-adhesive, attach it to the back of your TV for better contrast while viewing, which in terms helps your eyes to strain less. It’s conveniently powered by USB and additionally can be used under cabinets or in closets for that perfect atmospheric ambiance.


Buying unnecessary groceries or accidental doubles of what you already have

Use this shopping list notepad to jot down what you need throughout the week so that when you arrive at the grocery store, your money is spent wisely. The notepads come in a set of three, use magnets to stick to your fridge and all feature ruled lines with backgrounds of gorgeously-colored floral illustrations. Tear off your note and stick it in your pocket on your way out the door.


Regularly buying takeout instead of cooking at home

Take out is no doubt easy, but you’ll feel the cost without question at the end of the month. Make cooking in your own kitchen that much more appealing and easy with this steamer that comes with two tiers. The base heats up water quickly so you can start steaming within minutes and two tiers allow you to cook different items at the very same time. Steam grain with the help of an included tray and use the timer with included guidelines to have your meal ready in minutes.


Purchasing single-use coffee pods for your Keurig week after week

You can do your wallet and the planet a solid and opt for this reusable coffee pod filter that’s a perfect alternative to your usual disposable system. Two filter pods come included with a handy scooper to deliver the perfect amount of grounds as well as a funnel to easily transfer them into the pod. They’re made of BPA-free plastic and work with most Keurig systems as well as other single-cup brewers.


Always opting for disposable ice packs

When facing that all too frequent “ouch” moment, a reusable ice pack is not only essential but cost-effective as well. This pack is made with a gel that can be used either hot or cold, so pop it in the freezer or microwave depending on your needs. It comes with its own fleece sleeve and attached elastic strap to be comfortable on the skin and maintain good pressure, essential for that inflammation-fighting power.


Damaging table surfaces with crafts or cooking projects

Avoid the cost of repairing a precious countertop or dining table and use these extremely versatile silicone mats that are perfect for cooking, baking, crafting, and much more. They’re made of food-grade silicone which, on top of having a non-slip texture, are waterproof, heat-resistant, and scent-free. They come in a pack of three and easily roll up for space-saving storage.


Buying plastic snack bags that get tossed after every use

Say goodbye to the cost of constantly replacing those one-and-done plastic snack bags and say hello to these endlessly reusable food storage bags. They’re made of BPA-free and non-toxic silicone that’s also free of PVC, latex, and phthalates. They stand up on their own for easy filling and effortlessly zip closed. Use them in the fridge, freezer, or microwave, and toss them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Choose from tons of different sizes and shapes as well as five pretty colors.


Dropping dollars every day on takeout lunch

You’ll be shocked at the amount of money you can save just by packing your own lunch every day. This lunch box tote makes that an easy adjustment with its insulated interior and easy-carrying, chic design. It has expandable sides to fit bigger items and has a mesh pouch perfect for cutlery or other food items. An outside sleeve allows you to store your keys, phone, or whatever else you might need on that precious lunch break.


Scraping up floors & spending tons of money on repairs

Protect your floors and the resulting expense of having to repair them with these felt furniture protectors that are highly customizable. They come in eight pre-cut pieces (four in brown and four in beige) but can be trimmed to fit your specific dimensions. Their self-adhesive will stick to almost any surface and the felt will not only protect surfaces but also dampen sound.


Allowing your cat to scratch up the sofa

You love your cat, but replacing an entire piece of upholstery in their honor can seriously hurt the budget. Do yourself a favor, and grab these cat scratching shields that create a transparent but sturdy barrier to claws. Trim them to your desired size and apply them to your sofa using the self-adhesive. Small twist pins are also included to keep them securely in place. Attach them to any kind of upholstery to keep that pricey furniture looking fab.


Letting your fresh herbs go bad too quickly

These herb-saver pods help extend the life of fresh herbs by providing them with the perfect level of dryness and moisture so that they last up to three times longer. The slim profile of the pods makes them easy to store and they only require fresh water every few days.


Letting cold or hot air escape through drafty doors

You’re paying dearly for it when it comes to heating and cooling, so make the most of it with this draft stopper that maintains your home’s desired temperature. Place it at the bottom of your door and secure it with the use of hook tape. Not only will it prevent heat or cool air from escaping, but it can also block out light, dust, and pollution. When you don’t require the stopper, use the loops at either end to hang from the doorknob.


Accidentally letting your sliced bread go stale in an open bag

If you’ve reached into the pantry looking forward to fresh bread for your favorite sandwich, then you know the disappointment when you realize half your loaf has gone stale. Forget spending money on excess loaves and get this bread dispenser that cleverly protects the freshness of your bread while also allowing for easy access to each slice. It has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon and is beloved not only for its ability to keep bread fresh and protected from critters but also for its space-saving design.


Leaving the bathroom light on all night

Don’t let that middle-of-the-night fatigue up your energy costs because you sleepily left the bathroom light on all night. This toilet night light that comes in a pack of two illuminates your toilet through motion sensing and shuts off automatically after 128 seconds. Choose from 16 disco colors (or opt for a rotation!) as well as five levels of brightness for a nighttime trip to the bathroom that will bring the party vibes and save you money at the same time.


Constantly replacing your expensive shampoo & conditioner

Prevent that “oops” moment of pouring out way more shampoo than you need with these shower dispensers that at the touch of a button deposit the perfect amount of soap into your hand. They come in a set of three, perfect for your body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Attach them to your shower using the waterproof self-adhesive or included hardware, and clearly see which soap is in each dispenser thanks to the transparent reservoir.


Replacing pairs of lost socks regularly

Nothing is more frustrating than having washed and dried your clothing only to discover several socks have mysteriously disappeared. Seriously though, where do they go? One can only hope they escaped to go sip piña coladas on a beach somewhere. Prevent this sock walkabout with an ingenious laundry sock holder that enables you to keep pairs together throughout the wash cycle. A hook at the end allows you to store it on your doorknob or laundry hamper.


Tossing out lukewarm beverages

Never again toss out an expensive beverage because it’s become lukewarm and watered down. These extremely popular insulated tumblers have garnered over 19,000 reviews with a high 4.8-star rating for their ability to keep drinks colder for way longer. The double-wall construction allows for great temperature retention while also preventing any annoying condensation that leaves moisture on your hands or table surfaces. They can go as easily from the microwave to the freezer to the dishwasher and come in tons of different sizes and colors.


Buying disposable water bottles constantly

Get refreshing, filtered water without spending money on pricey, disposable bottles by using this Brita water filter pitcher directly from home. A long-standing workhorse in the home filtration world, this pitcher has over 58,000 reviews on Amazon and filters out contaminants such as copper, mercury, and cadmium, in addition to tastes such as chlorine. The pitcher holds up to 10 cups of water with each filter’s lifespan equal to filling 300 plastic bottles.


Baking with one-use paper baking cups

If you’re an avid baker, you will love these reusable silicone baking cups that are much more cost-effective than normal paper liners. They’re made of heavy-duty, food-grade silicone that’s odor-resistant, nonstick, and can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit. Available in a pretty array of rainbow colors, they come in a healthy pack of 24 for delicious, large-batch baking.


Breaking wine glasses by storing them in the cabinet

With this wine glass rack, replacing your costly glassware from accidental breakage will be a thing of the past. It’s constructed of stainless steel and comes included with all the hardware necessary to mount it underneath your cabinetry. It comes in a set of two, with each one being able to accommodate four wine glasses, and is available in two finishes: black and gold.


Haphazardly stacking your mugs so they crack

Extend the life of your precious ceramic or glassware when you utilize these ingenious little mug stackers. They’re designed to fit any size of mug or glass and allow you to stack without any fear of chipping or pieces falling. Place the stacker on top of your mug, extend the legs, place the other mug upside down on top, and squeeze the legs in to create a secure fit and protective barrier between the mugs, allowing you to stack and save space without fear.


Buying doubles of groceries because you can’t see what’s already in your fridge

These fridge containers do a great job of showing you exactly what you have on hand by organizing groceries and displaying them clearly. Each set comes with four large and four medium bins, all of which are made of clear acrylic and feature handles so as to easily pull and view the contents. Stack them for even more storage.


Having to replace your razors because they sat in water too long

This razor holder will allow your razor to dry out in between uses so you don’t have to set it in a puddle of water. The hook comes in a pack of two and is made of waterproof and corrosion-resistant stainless steel. It uses a super-strong adhesive that can hold up to 2.2 pounds and can be used on almost any surface from tile to wood to laminate.


Not cooking at home because you live in a small space

Save those dollars you spend on takeout and instead get yourself one of these electric griddles that’s perfect for those with small kitchens and counter space. It measures 8 inches across and features a nonstick surface, perfect for making anything from pancakes to quesadillas. Though small, it gives you powerful heat in mere minutes and is able to be taken on the go whenever needed.


Continuously losing your smart TV remote

Avoid the cost and huge pain of having to replace your remote by getting yourself one of these remote holders. It attaches to either the back or side of your TV using self-adhesive so that you know exactly where to look when it’s time to cue up the entertainment. Note that this remote holder is designed to specifically accommodate all Roku and Fire TV remotes.