This story is part of, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
With a, it's never a bad time to start becoming more conscious of your spending habits. and , but those little changes you make around your house can produce a big difference in your monthly costs. Whether it's swapping warm water for cold in your laundry cycle or nixing bottled water from your grocery list, we've got over two dozen tips to help you .
Here are 27 ways you can start cutting costs in your home right now. (You can also check out whether or not it's, and .)
In the kitchen
Grow herbs: A bundle of herbs costs three or four bucks. Keeping a little herb garden on your window sill will cost about the same upfront, but can yield herbs for months. If you're looking to get started, read more about the.
Don't buy bottled water: Bottled water seems cheap, but it gets expensive fast. Settle for a water filter pitcher, and you can use tap water. It's cheaper over time, and it's better for the environment, too. There are many options on the market today, but.
Make your own coffee: It seems obvious, but those daily cafe Americanos can easily take a chunk out of your bank account (trust me, I know). Useor to get your caffeine fix instead. Here's how to make , and . You can even make your own or homemade .
Throw almost-spoiled fruits and veggies in the freezer: Buying fresh produce, then opting for the tastier freezer meals while the bananas and spinach spoiled was a weekly ritual in our house. Then we started tossing them in the freezer to. It cut our weekly waste way down. Here are more tips to .
Keep your freezer full: Speaking of, when you keep your freezer full, it works more efficiently, taking less energy to keep the contents cold.
Keep your dishwasher full, too: Running half-loads of dishes is a quick way to waste water and dish detergent.
Break out that Dutch oven: It could beor a of any kind, but cooking in bulk really helps cut down the costs associated with more individual-size meals.
Eat leftovers: This isn't a tip so much as a choice. Keep your leftovers and don't give yourself the excuse not to eat them. It'll stretch your dollar way further.
Be selective about organic foods: Organic food can be pricey, and ethically grown meat is even more expensive. So, for the most problematic products, buy organic to avoid pesticides and hormones, and get the standard fare for the rest of your grocery list.
In the laundry room
Hang-dry your clothes: Save energy by hang-drying your laundry. (No one will notice your wrinkled shirt.)
Wash with cold water: Another way to cut costs is washing with cold water. Unless you have serious stains or odors you're trying to remove, most clothes can wash on the cold cycle without an issue.
Run full loads of laundry: Pack yourto capacity, because you're going to use the same water either way. May as well get as much use from it as you can.
Check your mechanical closet
Lower that water heater temperature: Check the temperature on your water heater. You generally don't need it to be above 120 degrees, and higher temps come with higher fees.
Change filters: It's not just your water heater's inefficiency costing you money; your HVAC system can burn a hole in your wallet if you haven't changed its filter recently, so learn.
Switch credit cards: If you spend a lot of money at Whole Foods or on travel, consider specificthat will offer the best for your current spending habits.
Use a budgeting app: One of the hardest parts of budgeting is just developing awareness of our spending habits. Using alike is a great way to see exactly how your impulse buys really do shape your monthly budget.
Use coupons: Coupons are basically like cash. If you buy things online, doing a 30-second search for coupons will often save you 10% or more. Check out these.
Pay bills online: There are few things I hate more than late fees on bills. Setting up autopay on your electricity and water bills will help avoid those unnecessary fees, and they'll also remove the need for postage on paper bills.
Unsubscribe from services: While you're thinking about bills, check on your subscriptions. If you haven't used a certain streaming service or that fitness app in a month or more, cancel it. You can always restart it in a few minutes if you change your mind.
Use library online resources: If you have a library card, your public library likely offers a lot of, such as ebooks or even streaming services. Give them a shot.
Check out Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg is a great online resource for ebooks, offering over 60,000 titles. You can read more about it, and .
Go outside: Not to sound like a dad from the '90s, but go outside! It's a free way to mix up the day, get some exercise and remind yourself that your bedroom is not the whole world. Here are some ideas forand .
Start a garden: While you're outside, think about. If you have a backyard, you can avoid many of the upfront costs of a raised bed and simply get seeds to plant in the ground. You can get plenty of seeds for less than $20, and that will translate into much more than $20 worth of food over the following months.
Build a compost bin: OK, this one is a longer-term investment, but building a garden can be hard and expensive if you're starting from scratch. If you start tossing your food waste into a compost bin now, though, you won't have to buy tons of fertilizer or expensive soil for your garden next year. Plus, composting is another. Here's .
3 final tips for cutting costs
Dress for the temperature: If you work from home, that means adjusting the "office thermostat" now directly affects your monthly bills. So adjust it less and dress comfortably for the temperature. After all, no one's around to judge you for wearing sweats.
Switch fan direction: Mosthave a small switch on them that changes the direction they spin. In the summer, run the fan counter-clockwise so it blows air down on you. This can help avoid the need for more air conditioning.
Use energy-efficient bulbs:cost more to buy, but in the long term, . As bulbs burn out in your house, make the switch.