11 Organizational Tricks That Can Save You Tons of Money

Put an end to replacing missing charging cables and tossing what was perfectly good food using these easy organizational tricks.

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Round up receipts

Dedicate a box near your front door as the spot where you stash your everyday receipts from the grocery store, gas fill-ups, clothing purchases, and more. Then, if you need to return something, say that pair of shoes you wore once before the trim started fraying, you’ll be able to easily locate the receipt for a full refund. On a weekly basis, separate out the ones you’ll need for your taxes or expense reports in labelled envelopes inside the box.

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Vegetables and fruits in open refrigerator. Weight loss diet concept.

Rearrange the refrigerator

You won’t eat the food you can’t readily see—and wasted food costs the average Canadian household up to $1,100 per year, according to a 2017 study conducted by the National Zero Waste Council. Organizing your fridge smartly is key. Keep the food that will spoil first or that lunch you want to remember to bring to the office tomorrow at eye level. Store leftovers and snacks, like pasta salad or cut up fruits and veggies, in clear containers so they’re easy to spot.

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Purge the pantry

Have dinner at home more and you could save about $2,500 a year, reports Statistics Canada; that’s the amount the average Canadian household spends annually on restaurants. An organized pantry is the first step toward making cooking at home a whole lot easier. First, toss out the old cans of soup that have been sitting there forever and donate the will-not-use items—this will not only make more space for your favourites, it saves you the time and effort of hunting around. Next, group like foods together so you can quickly scan your available ingredients and be able to whip up a meal—and some savings—in minutes.

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Paper notes on calendar at business office with copy space for text,office supplies

Set reminders

Stay on top of deadlines to avoid rush charges with this simple trick: add “deadline approaching” reminders to your calendar. For example, make a note to “mail birthday gift” a week before the recipient’s birthday and you’ll have enough time to shop, wrap it, and ship it without needing to pay extra for costly overnight shipping. You can save even more money by reminding yourself to cancel subscriptions, auto-shipments you don’t need, and free trial memberships. You can set up alerts a set amount of days before an event on many electronic calendars, including Outlook and Google. Or if you’re using a paper calendar, simply write it in.

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sport, soccer, football and sports equipment concept - close up of ball, boots and goalkeeper gloves on table
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Create a “drop zone”

At the start of each week, look over your calendar to see what’s on tap. Then, gather the items you’ll need—say your daughter’s soccer cleats or a bottle of wine for a hostess gift—and place these in a designated “drop zone” by the door. (This can be a table, shelving unit, or bags on hooks.) This will save you from having to buy new items at the last minute because you forgot to grab the ones you already have at home. You should also check the weather and prepare for it too—this way you’ll never have to spring for a costly new umbrella when there’s a sudden downpour.

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Person holding an empty wallet
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Safely store “like cash”

You wouldn’t haphazardly toss a $20 bill in a junk drawer, so why are you doing exactly that with that store gift card? To avoid misplacing yours and to make sure its handy the next time you’re at its designated store, start keeping them in a single spot in your wallet. Or if you know you’ll be redeeming them online, go ahead and create an account on the site and enter the gift card info; the credit will automatically be there the next time you shop.

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Garage door PVC. Hand use remote controller for closing and opening garage door.

Free up space

Finding extra space in your home pays off in multiple ways. First and foremost, you won’t have to keep shelling out for that storage unit. Second, you’ll be able to hit up Costco to buy things in bulk (and easily store them) for big savings. Lastly, you might even make enough space to get your car back in the garage! Parking your car in a garage helps protect it from the elements to better preserve its exterior and interior, is better for the engine in colder months, and may even knock a few dollars off your insurance.

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Electric socket with connected phone charger

Put things away

The average person spends a total of 153 days of their life looking for misplaced items, research has shown. That averages out to 10 minutes a day; 10 minutes you could be answering emails, cooking dinner, exercising, etc. Then there are the added costs of buying replacement items for things you already own but just can’t find. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and charger cords top the list of regularly misplaced items. Invest in a clear over-the-door organizer for the exterior door you use the most often—and use it. It will pay dividends in extra minutes and money.

Here’s how to charge your phone as quickly as possible.

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Empty cotton shopping bag with shopping list. Food shopping concept.

Prep for shopping trips

If you’re not already, you should always shop from a grocery list; not only does this help prevent you from spending extra on gas on a return trip for that forgotten item, you won’t pick up those little extras that you don’t really need, like that chocolate bar or bottle of ice coffee, on a subsequent trip. You should also check store circulars to see what’s on sale before you go—virtually all grocery stores share these online—and search for digital coupons.

Try these savvy strategies to save big the next time you shop.

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vintage frames on old wooden wall
Valentin Agapov/Shutterstock

Repurpose first

Before you head out to buy a new picture frame, look around your home—and your attic and basement—to see if you have an old one lying around that will work. Ditto organizers and fancy file boxes. Maybe you could cover that cardboard box from your latest Target order with pretty paper and save yourself the expense.

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White notebook, calculator, pen, calendar and phone isolated on wooden background.

Keep a home journal

Whether you use a paper journal or create a virtual folder on your computer, keeping info about your home in a central place can be a big money saver. Jot down the model numbers for your appliances and its accessories, warranty info, and dates of any repair work, so if they break down, you’ll have the info at your fingertips. You’ll also want to note things like the living room paint color, so if it gets dinged you can quickly buy touch up paint and avoid having to repaint the entire room at a greater cost.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest