15 Ways to Stretch Your Budget at Home

Stop overspending on household supplies! Stretch your budget even farther with these ways to save on everything from soap to trash bags
  1. Look carefully at generics Store brands won’t save you money if they don’t work well, so compare the active ingredients (especially in cleaners) with those in the brand-name equivalent. A few great buys: Costco Kirkland Signature dish soap, Target Up and Up sliding plastic freezer bags and Walmart White Cloud toilet paper.
  2. Strategize with coupon blogs Before shopping, visit a frugal-living blog that matches coupons with weekly sales at local supermarkets (find a site by googling your state plus “coupon blog”). Bloggers alert readers to deal opportunities such as which catalinas are printing that week and how to maximize them to get products for less money—or for free.
  3. Subscribe to save more on Amazon Most household essentials on amazon.com are competitively priced—plus, you get an extra 15 percent off as well as free shipping when you order using the Subscribe and Save option. You can have the product shipped to your door every one, two, three or six months, and you may cancel delivery at any time.
  4. Nab pricey household extras Been saving up your drugstore rewards? Use them to buy expensive household supplies you wouldn’t normally splurge on, such as a toilet cleaning wand or an automatic shower cleaner. If you’re new to playing the drugstore game, learn strategies for grabbing cheap and free goods at allyou.com/drugstore-savings.
  5. Be brand-flexible Most people prefer certain household products, but to truly save money, you should be willing to forgo your favorites and buy sale items with manufacturer (and store) coupons. Keep in mind that when you buy one brand, you’ll often get catalinas for a competing product. Watch out for new-product coupons as well, which tend to be high in value.
  6. Stock up at back-to-school sales Big-box stores often run deals on common classroom supplies including ziplock bags, antibacterial wipes and tissues. Keep an eye out a month or two after school starts as well; you sometimes can find those useful items on clearance for as much as 80 percent off.
  7. Cut consumption You can use half of most home goods and still get the same results. Snip sponges, steel-wool pads and dish scrubbers in two. Each product will last twice as long. Halve dryer sheets and most paper towels, too.
  8. Follow product labels carefully Many people overuse cleaners, especially dish soap and laundry detergent. According to a Method products study, 53 percent of those surveyed said they use more than the recommended amount of detergent per load. Measure the exact amount cited on the label (or less) and your clothes will be just as clean.
  9. Be wary of buying in bulk Before picking up a huge package of disinfecting wipes, paper towels or tissues, calculate the actual cost per ounce, roll or box. At the grocery store (and even big-box stores), it’s often a better deal to buy the smallest size of a brand that’s on sale with a coupon rather than purchase a mega pack.
  10. Shop strategically at warehouse clubs If you prefer to buy large quantities of household supplies rather than match up sales and coupons on smaller sizes, stick to the store brand (Kirkland Signature at Costco, Member’s Mark at Sam’s Club, and Berkley and Jensen at BJ’s). BJ’s and Costco fliers are full of offers, and e-coupons are available for Sam’s Club Plus members.
  11. Sign up for savings Snatch up coupons for pricey items such as Swiffer starter kits and refills by registering on homemadesimple.com and similar websites. You can register at SC Johnson’s Right@Home to receive coupons.
  12. Find freebies On pgeverydaysolutions.com (click on “P&G BrandSampler”), log in the 1st of every month to choose from available samples of Procter and Gamble products such as Cheer detergent. Other sites to check out: allyou.com/freesamples, instoresnow.walmart.com, samples.target.com, cvssavingscentral.com and startsampling.com/retail/kroger.
  13. Grab gift cards Target, Meijer and other stores offer free gift cards when you purchase certain items (a $5 card when you buy a Brita pitcher, for example). Check the retailers’ weekly sales fliers for such deals. Then use the gift cards to purchase brands that rarely go on sale or necessities you have trouble finding coupons for.
  14. Go for green Find offers for eco-friendly cleaners, like Seventh Generation, on the company website or on resources such as redplum.com and coupons.com. Also visit scottbrand.com for coupons for Scott Naturals paper towels, napkins and toilet paper—all made with recycled fibers.
  15. Look at the package Manufacturers often slip coupons or reward codes inside their products for savings on future purchases. For example, purchase three participating packages of Energizer batteries or flashlights through Dec. 31 and enter their codes at nowthatspositivenergy.com. You will earn a $10 prepaid MasterCard.