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11 Little Habits That Can Cost You Big Money

Bad Habits

Quitting a bad habit often requires us to find the right motivation to be able to truly change our behavior. Motivation comes in many different forms, and also varies from person to person. One person might decide to break a bad habit because they want to be healthier, while another person might change because of a desire for personal growth. But if there’s one thing that can motivate almost anyone to change, it would be the desire to save money!

That’s what today’s post is all about—breaking bad habits around the house in order to save money. Because the unfortunate truth about these common behaviors is that all of them can cost you money over time. They might even be costing you money as we speak! So if you’re guilty of any of these 11 bad household habits, it may be time to break them for the sake of your budget!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve personally been guilty of several of these bad habits! But by making ourselves aware of the little actions that have unintended financial consequences, we can change those actions and start saving money! :-)

Related: 7 Unexpected Ways To Save Money At Your Local Library

11 Bad Habits Around The House That Cost You Money

Bad Habits

1. Yanking Cords To Unplug Them

Yanking a cord to unplug it might save you a couple of seconds of time, but it could end up costing you a lot of money! Tugging and yanking on cords can cause all kinds of damage, like bending the plug, fraying the wires, splitting the cord, or even cracking the outlet itself.

Instead, just walk over to the wall and gently pull the cord out by the plug. It only takes a few more seconds, and it could save both your plug-in appliance and your wall outlets!

Related:  9 Sneaky Hidden Fees You Need To Be Aware Of

Bad Habits

2. Flushing Cleaning Wipes

When in doubt, don’t flush anything you’re not sure you should flush! Because while toilet paper is designed to break down quickly after flushing, baby wipes and household cleaning wipes are made from woven fibers that don’t break down that way. These can lead to clogs in your own plumbing system at home, or even affect your municipality’s entire sewage system.

Instead, toss all wipes in the trash! It’s the easiest way to avoid expensive plumbing problems.

Bad Habits

3. Overfilling (Or Underfilling) Your Fridge Or Freezer

Your fridge and freezer both operate best when they’re kept about three-quarters full. A jam-packed fridge or freezer will likely have items blocking the air vents, resulting in poor air circulation throughout. On the other end of the spectrum, a bare fridge or freezer requires more energy to keep everything cold, and that will show up on your electric bill.

To avoid these issues, keep your fridge and freezer most of the way full as often as you can. (Noticed your fridge or freezer is looking a bit empty? Just place a few jugs of water to take up some of that extra space!)

Bad Habits

4. Running A Half-Empty Load Of Dishes

Your dishwasher uses the same amount of water and energy to wash a half-empty load of dishes as it does for a full load. So you might as well get the most value for your money by only running full loads of dishes. If you have a few dishes that you want clean, just wash them by hand to save money and energy.

Bad Habits

5. Leaving Spills In Your Oven

Grease splatters, drips, and other food messes can be unavoidable when cooking in an oven. But it’s important to clean up those spills and splatters as soon as the oven cools off. Leaving greasy messes at the bottom of your oven can lead to weird-tasting food, bad odors, or discoloration inside the oven.

In addition to wiping up spills as soon as possible, make sure to clean the inside of your oven every few months or so. Check out the link below to learn my favorite method for cleaning your oven’s interior.

Related: How To Clean Your Oven While You Sleep

Bad Habits

6. Failing To Tighten Your Car’s Gas Cap

Firstly, driving around with a loose gas cap will cost the environment, because it allows vapors to escape into the atmosphere. Secondly, most newer models will alert you about a loose gas cap by displaying the “Check Engine” light. If you aren’t aware that the gas cap is the issue, this could send you to a car repair shop for an expensive (and unnecessary) diagnosis.

Bad Habits

7. Slamming The Front Door

It turns out that Mom was right to warn you to close doors gently! Repeatedly slamming your front door shut can pull the door out of alignment, leading to drafts, air gaps, and potentially higher utility bills. If your door-slamming habit is due to the weight of the door in question, consider installing a door closer to help remind you to let the door do the work.

Bad Habits

8. Letting Dryer Lint Accumulate

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are about 2,900 clothes dryer fires each year, leading to injuries, deaths, and an estimated $35 million in property damage. And one of the major causes of those dryer fires is a failure to clean out the lint trap regularly!

Get in the habit of clearing out your lint trap before or after each use. Additionally, you should vacuum out the vent where the lint trap sits about every 90 days. This will keep it clear on an ongoing basis, but if your dryer vent is already clogged, you will probably want to call in a dryer technician to get it properly cleaned out.

Bad Habits

9. Forgetting To Change Filters

Many appliances have filters that need to be kept clean, like your HVAC system, your range hood, personal air filters, and even your vacuum cleaner. These appliances can’t run efficiently with dirty filters, so it’s important to change them out or clean them regularly! Most filters are designed to be easy to remove, clean, or replace.

Bad Habits

10. Taking Long, Steamy Showers

Not only can long, hot showers strip your skin of moisture, but they can also contribute to water damage in your bathroom. Make sure your bathroom’s fan is working properly to remove moisture from the bathroom, and keep it running during your shower and for about 20-30 minutes after your shower. And limit your showers to about 5 minutes to avoid overtaxing your water heater.

Bad Habits

11. Wearing Shoes In The House

Want to keep your floors clean? The easiest way to do it is by instituting a “no shoes in the house” rule! Dirty shoe soles can spread dust, allergens, and bacteria all over your house. They can also scuff up floors and track dirt all over, and the solution to all of these issues is simple: take off your shoes at the door!

Have you ever had to overcome a bad habit?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • No slamming the doors!, was right up there with “sit up straight” and others. If we slammed the door, we had to open, step out, close door-gently-, open, step in, close door-gently- ten times. No excuses. It worked for us kids and later mine growing up. We do not slam doors for any reason.

  • My tip is if you throw a dry washcloth in the dryer when you dry your clothes. It takes less time to dry a load of clothes which in turns takes less electricity. I can’t take credit for this I actually saw it on TV for a commercial for “Farmers Insurance”.

  • Some baby wipes say they are flushable but I don’t that’s a good idea.
    This might sound gross but if you have ever taken a stool sample don’t flush the paper it comes with down the toilet! Did it once & flooded my whole bathroom! Had to call the bldg manager!

  • I’m not a coffee drinker but I agree that buying the drinks all ready made can add up. There are tons of hacks online where you learn to do the fancy drinks yourself and save a ton of money. Also drinking only bottled water can add up. I know of several people who won’t drink their own tap water. Just get a pitcher with the filters and that will save a lot of money. I know some communities have water with unsafe levels – but thar would be my only reason.

  • Hi; one of the pictures in this post is of an open refrigerator. Under the cans of Cokes there is something that is holding up zipper bags. I’d love to know what that is; never seen one before and love it! Thanks much
    P.S. really good topic and good suggestions. Thank you

  • @Sandra: @emma just said shorter, not 5 minutes. Plus, she wasn’t being mean, just pointing out facts that maybe we should all pay attention to a bit more. I have long hair too, so I know what you mean, but I don’t think @emma is suggesting that you should ONLY take 5 minutes- just be mindful and not selfish.

  • We actually had a small fire start in our oven several years ago. Luckily it stayed there. My mom several years ago decided to run the self – cleaning cycle before she and my dad left the house. About 10 minutes later it started to get very steamy and smokey with the smoke alarm going off. I decided to call them to see if I should call 911. They told me turn the oven off and run the attic fan and open the windows. The house was back to normal in about 15 minutes. It turned out that a hot dog had been unknowingly left in the oven. My mom had cooked them for the Grandkids one day and didn’t realize there was one still in there. So always check the oven before turning it on for spills or any forgotten items.

  • My tip is a little different but here goes: We were in the habit of daily coffee runs. Wow, that $$ adds up! If it’s something you enjoy then it’s totally worth it but we didn’t after awhile.We actually enjoy our own coffee better so it doesn’t make sense to pay daily for it :)

  • Caveat: I did this when I got my new oven…. However, I sadly found out if you have a ‘self-cleaning’ oven, DON’T DO THIS! Read the directions for your oven. The aluminum stuck ‘forever’ on the bottom….

  • Before you put anything (liner) in your oven, be sure it is NOT a self-cleaning oven. I did this before reading information and my liner STUCK firmly to the bottom of my oven…

  • I have been cutting my dishwashing sponges in half for years now, you know the ones that have a scrub side and a cellulose side. I find the small size fits my hand and many things we wash much better, and we throw them out only half as often. The wave shaped ones cut nicely into a curved side and a side with pints to get into corners. Would love to post a picture . . .

  • I can confirm the gas cap one. Both my daughter in law and I had this happen and totally panicked, expecting an expensive car repair. But the guy at the auto parts place just laughed and said to open and close the gas cap more tightly and the light went right out. Checker will run a free diagnostic for you to tell you what the light means and if it is serious by the way.

    • You were lucky your auto parts man knew to tell you the problem. A girlfriend did not confide in me with her issue and went to her dealer where she had recently purchased her car. They ran a diagnostic check {$75.00} blah blah and couldn’t find the problem. Had her car in shop 2 days, many bucks etc….When she finally got her car and told me, I told her, my son told me years ago to check the gas cap first thing when my light kept coming on.Hence, If she had just said something to me, I could have saved her heartache, time and $$$$$$$’s….

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