(NewsUSA) – Is the cost of household items getting you down? During tough times, families are forced to cut their spending down to only the bare necessities. Yet, even the basic essentials can take a big bite out of a financial budget. The key to trimming your bottom line doesn’t mean skimping on necessities; it means saving money on them. So when shopping for your must-haves, make your dollar stretch even further with these money saving tips:
Switch to LED lightbulbs. The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent light bulb costs five to ten times the original purchase price of the bulb itself. LEDs last up to 10 times longer than the typical bulb, and although they’re more expensive than others, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings.
Invest in a water filter. Don’t like the taste of tap water, but spending wads of cash on bottled water? A quality water filter can cut the costs of your water-drinking tremendously. A Brita filter costs around $20, but you must refill when it runs out. A family of four who drinks two gallons a day combined can save upwards of $2,500 a year by using a filter.
Install a programmable thermostat. This handy device is a crucial addition to your long-term money-saving strategy. Ranging in price from $30 to $130, it allows you to automatically regulate your home’s temperature at certain times of the day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save 10 percent on energy costs a year by setting your thermostat back 10-15 degrees for eight hours out of the day.
Buy HP Ink. When stocking up on office supplies, make sure you’re getting the quality and reliability you’re paying for. A recent study found that HP ink cartridges print on average up to two times the pages of refilled cartridges tested. And while HP ink cartridges had no failures, the overall failure rate for the refilled cartridges was 72 percent, according to the study (http://www.buyerslab.com/news/viewarticle.asp?article=74815). Companies like HP offer online options (www.shopping.hp.com/supplies) for purchasing new cartridges with ease. Additionally, ink cartridge recycling programs, such as HP Planet Partners (www.hp.com/recycle), help reduce the environmental impact by diverting cartridges from landfills.
Skip the grocery store. Amazon.com helps you save not only on books and movies, but groceries, too. It has a program called “Subscribe & Save,” where you can sign up to automatically receive grocery staples every one, two, three or six months. That bag of Splenda that costs $10 at your local grocery store is only $6 on Amazon and ships to your home for free — saving you time, gas and money.