Chain of Wealth

E181- Saving Money Around The House

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Denis O’Brien [0:38]
Episode 181, saving money around the house. Hey, Money Clan! A very warm welcome to the Chain of Wealth Podcast. I’m your host, Denis O’Brien.

Katie Welsh [0:49]
And I’m Katie Walsh.

Denis O’Brien [0:51]
So Katie today, a lot of hot fire tips to really save money around the house, and, you know, have more money to save in the month and put to whatever you’re looking for.

Katie Welsh [1:0]
We have been really trying to be a little bit more self sufficient, because we have been trying to pinch where we can to be able to pay for the wedding. And we thought, though, to give a couple of tips that we feel we are saving money just by doing it ourselves.

Denis O’Brien [1:15]
You know, the thing is, Kate, I feel like also, in the world that we live in today, it’s all about instant gratification. And you can typically pay your way out of anything. But I think that very often, if you put in the time and energy, you invest in skills to learn how to do things better yourself, you can save a lot of money instead of just having to pay someone the whole time.

Katie Welsh [1:33]
Well, and it makes me feel good. It makes you feel like I’m really handy when I’m able to fix something.

Denis O’Brien [1:38]
Yeah, it’s totally true. So before we dive into our episode, if you guys haven’t already, we’d love if you join our Facebook community, head on over to and come and say hi. All right, Kate’s you ready to dive on him?

Katie Welsh [1:52]

Denis O’Brien [1:52]
Fantastic, let’s do it!

Alright Kate, so saving money around the house. And I know this is a big passion area of yours. So what would you say is a good reason to try and learn stuff like this?

Katie Welsh [2:19]
For obvious reasons, Den to be able to cut back and do things yourself, it gives you more money to be able to put another place like you’re saving or paying off debt. It just makes life easier. We I know he said earlier that you can basically pay your way out of anything. But sometimes having to find somebody to come and fix something can really be a hassle. And I say that because a few weeks ago, the pipe under my mom’s sink broke. And she was like, Yeah, I could probably fix it myself. But she was like, I don’t want to I’m old. I want to just be able to pay somebody to come and do it. I don’t want to get under their sink. And even still wanting to pay her way out of it. She’s had a hard time finding a plumber that is reasonable and reliable.

Denis O’Brien [3:10]
Yeah. And, you know, the thing is, like, very often, if you do things yourself, you do it the way you want it. Relying on other people, you don’t get that sense of Okay, well, I got the exact outcome I was expecting, in fact they did it definitely, I’ve now paid them for it. And I’m disappointed sometimes can be a really bad situation.

Katie Welsh [3:30]
Well I feel a lot of times that happens, especially with, you know, things around the house that you most people don’t like doing. And I’ll just say for example, yard work.

Denis O’Brien [3:41]

Katie Welsh [3:41]
I mean, a lot of people don’t enjoy yard work, because it’s hot, and it’s hard and it’s dirty. And last time people pay somebody to do it. And then they start off great. And then after a couple of weeks, a couple months if you actually walk around your yard, they’ve had sprinkler heads, they have..

Denis O’Brien [4:3]
Cut corners?

Katie Welsh [4:4]
Cut corners. They’re not eating properly. They’re not doing this but not doing that they’re not coming in there say they’re going to come. So even hiring sometimes can be a little bit of a letdown and a disappointment and an annoyance.

Denis O’Brien [4:17]
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. So what are some great ways that people can save money around the house? What are some of the biggest topic areas that you personally think are great?

Katie Welsh [4:26]
Well, I really thought when I was a child that one of the reasons my mom had children was to do the housework. There’s a while that I thought my mom only had a daughter to wash the dishes. So obviously, like cleaning up your own house and doing yard work is a great start. We don’t have a yard in Virginia. So one way that we really have been working on trying to save money is you have sacrificed yourself to let me cut your hair.

Denis O’Brien [5:0]
This is true.

Katie Welsh [5:1]
I’ve been cutting your hair for a while now.

Denis O’Brien [5:4]
Yeah, and I’m not gonna lie, first couple of times. I didn’t look so well put together.

Katie Welsh [5:10]
You are so we’re super..

Denis O’Brien [5:13]

Katie Welsh [5:14]

Denis O’Brien [5:15]
Well, yeah, I mean, you know, your hair is something that people see every day. You know, you gotta work. You got off. everyone notices your hair. It’s one of the I mean, it’s on your face, you know, face.

Katie Welsh [5:26]
If it’s that bad wear a hat.

Denis O’Brien [5:29]
Yeah, I mean, you can wear a hat to work, you know. But anyways, yeah, you started cutting my hair, and you’ve gotten better and better at it. And now it’s at a point that I can’t tell the difference between whether I haven’t done at home or whether I go to a store. And look, there wasn’t bit of an upfront cost. We had to buy the clippers and everything else. There was the learning curve. There was me looking like an idiot for a couple of weeks.

Katie Welsh [5:53]
It wasn’t that bad.

Denis O’Brien [5:54]
No it wasn’t that bad. But um, yeah, I think it cost us about 80 bucks to buy everything like all inclusive and we Katie is actually a lefty so we get the special left handed scissors.

Katie Welsh [6:4]
They matter!

Denis O’Brien [6:5]
Which cost more.

Katie Welsh [6:6]
They matter though.

Denis O’Brien [6:7]
But anyway, it was about 80 bucks all in and, you know, every time you go get your hair cut, that’s at least 20 bucks for a dude. So yeah, effectively now it’s more than paid for..]You’ve cut my hair more times than I can count. So that’s one big way that we’ve saved money and another way that I, well another thing that I like saving money with his coffee. So I am a huge coffee person.

Katie Welsh [6:29]
We could even venture snob.

Denis O’Brien [6:32]
Yeah, I would even go as far as snob. So I’m a big coffee snob. And, you know, like, I really enjoy my lattes. And I know, as a personal finance person, like that’s probably one of the worst things that you could possibly say. But I enjoy coffee I do. It’s something that makes me happy. It gets me started in the morning. I like to start my day with it. So I was like, all right, well, what happens if instead of, you know going out and paying $5 to Starbucks or whatever coffee store you going to, what if you tried to learn how to do your own espressos and cappuccinos and lattes and stuff like that.

So I bought my own equipment to do it and it is more than paid for itself by now. And you get the coffee that you want every time so I think it’s definitely was worth the investment for me, but I think this is a very person specific stuff. Maybe coffee is not your thing. But there’s other stuff you can do.

Katie Welsh [7:23]
Right. So just like how you are a coffee snob, and we have like a mini coffee corner in our apartment where you could get anything that you want. I enjoy cooking and herbs are really expensive after a while and I don’t know if it is just me but when I buy like a container of basil, I use like two or three basil leaves and then the rest of it goes bad and it’s like that for almost all the spices that I use.

Denis O’Brien [7:55]
Well yeah, because you normally buy those hubs for a particular dish so once you use it for that dish and then some leftover you can even think oh I should use this

Katie Welsh [8:4]
So, I grow my own herbs and even to cut a little bit more back I buy the seeds so usually in the wintertime I will go and I will buy basil seeds and parsley seeds and everything like that because it comes cheaper. And I’m going to be honest, I do not have a green thumb and I am so good at growing basil. I’m pretty sure basil is like idiot proof. Anybody can grow basil. So if you enjoy basil or pesto or anything like that, grow it yourself. Right now we have basil, cilantro, parsley, spinach, and kale. Because those are the main things that we’re eating, trying to get ready for our wedding diet. So I’ve just gone ahead and I grow those and it has cut back, not a ton. I mean, it’s not a huge savings and off our grocery, but it is fun, I enjoy it. And it’s nice to know that we’re getting fresh stuff. I know it’s completely organic, because it is in a pot in my backyard. And it’s really nice that I don’t ever have to worry about those herbs going bad because I just go and cut what I need.

Denis O’Brien [9:13]
Yeah. And on the topic of the kitchen, you know, a lot of people speak about paying your way out, they don’t pack their lunches, and they will buy lunch at work. And every day, you know they’re like oh, I’m going to go buy a salad, and that’s 10 bucks and whatever doesn’t seem like a lot of money. However, over a longer period of time, you’re going to be eating, you know, you’re going to be spending a lot more money. And it’s not going to be as good for you because like you said, you don’t know what’s going into it. Versus like packing your own lunch. So you’re eating salads, you pack your own salad, you can maybe bulk prep that as well, and effectively save a ton of money. And it’s going to be better for your health.

Katie Welsh [9:52]
We pack our lunches every day. And I’m going to just throw out a little bit of a hint, after working all day and then having to cook dinner and then pack your lunch ii’s really a drag. So I don’t know why it took me about 10 years of working in the real world to figure this out. But pre packing at least some of your lunch on over the weekend is the best idea I ever had. And a lot of times it will take you know, leftover dinner from the night before for lunch the next day. But even just small things, like if you take berries, for example for your lunch, putting all your berries in, you know, a Tupperware per day, it just takes a little bit extra work away during the week when you come home and you’re tired and you just want to go to the gym or watch TV or take a shower, you know, whatever. Meal prepping makes everything so much easier. Because it’s take you’re getting a lot done in the same amount of time that it would have taken to get one done.

Denis O’Brien [10:55]
Yeah, I totally agree. And something else that I think people can do to really save a whole bunch of money is to learn how to repair stuff yourself. So point in case, my coffee machine that I spoke about earlier. It was like you know, sorry, it’s not taste as great, and they would have some coffee grinds falling off the back of the machine. So I decided…

Katie Welsh [11:15]
Coffee grinds everywhere…

Denis O’Brien [11:16]
Yeah, so I decided to take this machine apart and basically see if I couldn’t fix it myself. And I ended up fixing myself, I had to use a glue gun to sort of fix the grinds from not like going everywhere, but the machine is now fixed, and it’s working better than ever.

Katie Welsh [11:31]
And what is the new thing you’re going to learn how to do?

Denis O’Brien [11:34]
You tell me?

Katie Welsh [11:35]
Your bike!

Denis O’Brien [11:35]
Yes, I’m going to learn how to do my bike repairs.

Katie Welsh [12:7]
So in case, this was a new thing for me, if you are not an avid biker. Bikes apparently need tune ups. And tune ups for a bike are not cheap.

Denis O’Brien [11:50]
Yeah, we priced it today. So the store down the road wants like 130 bucks. So yeah, it’s not cheap. And you know, if you figure out how to do it yourself, you can basically save yourself a lot of money down the road. Kate, before we go any further, I think now’s a great time to say a very big thanks to our sponsor.

Katie Welsh [12:7]

Hey, guys. So as a teacher, I think that is super important that you are able to master a topic and know all facets of it. And that’s why we have been loving the Great Courses Plus.

Denis O’Brien [12:24]
I’ve really enjoyed adding the Great Courses Plus to my own personal arsenal of resources. Kate, I think that it’s an absolutely phenomenal product. And it gives you access to a library of over 11,000 video tutorials. And I must say a course that I’ve really been digging lately is the financial literacy finding your way in the financial markets course. So this course is all about understanding the markets and what you should be doing with your money.

As an example, one of the great things that it dives into is it teaches you how to diversify. And most importantly, it teaches you why it’s important and how to sort of figure out the blend between stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and much much more.

Kate, we partnered up with a Great Courses Plus, and we’re going to give our audience a very special offer. This is a limited time offer. If you guys head on over to, you can claim a full month of free access. So it’s full access to their entire library for 30 days, you can claim your offer. It’s That’s

Katie Welsh [13:36]
Okay, so bouncing back to what we talked about before the break. I love cooking. I also love grocery shopping. And I admit, I may have a slight problem where I buy too much than what we need.

Denis O’Brien [13:53]
You buy the groceries store?

Katie Welsh [13:54]
I try really hard. So I have started making it a new goal to eat everything that we buy. And I try really hard to make the refrigerator look quite bare. And then I go.

Denis O’Brien [13:54]
Well, Kate, like I really feel like that’s been fundamental to us saving so much money lately, you know, is that we will literally stretch out our food budgets. And you know, like literally, like you said, eating the entire fridge and making sure that there’s nothing left in that fridge before we will go shopping again. I feel like we have literally saved hundreds of dollars by doing that.

Katie Welsh [14:30]
No, don’t get me wrong. It’s hard for me. I don’t love it. And I the one thing I have noticed, because we try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner from home. We make breakfast in the morning before work, we take our lunches to work and then we come home and we eat dinner. The big challenge that I face is when I freeze meat, and then I forget to take something out to defrost, then I’m just like, Oh, well, let’s just go out. And then for whatever reason, it throws off my entire pattern for the week. So I’ve been trying really hard to keep like two or three chicken breasts or something in the refrigerator at all times. Or if I am cooking and I’m using that meat from the refrigerator, I immediately take another meat out of the freezer, because that’s where I find my fatal flaw is if we don’t have any, defrosted meat, it’s just the straight downhill for me.

Denis O’Brien [15:24]
Yeah, I totally agree. And something else. Another way that we’ve already started saying having a lot of money as well is we typically have a rule that if we haven’t used something, within about six months, we strongly consider whether we should sell it. And that’s actually stuff that’s just laying around the house. And you know, it’s collecting dust and it’s not going to good use. And, look, we’ve done it, everyone’s done it like you buy stuff and inevitably, it sits somewhere. It’s in a draw or on a council whatever the case is. And that’s money that’s not working for you. And if you were to sell it, you may not get as much as you bought it for however, you’re better off selling it now, before that awesome starts aging and is worth even less.

Katie Welsh [16:6]
I will admit throwing things away slash selling things is one of my favorite things to do. Especially we have a smaller apartment. And when you have a lot of stuff in a small area, it feels very cramped. So whenever I find something laying around, and I’ve pretty much weaseled out everything, but occasionally I’ll find some that we can live without. I love selling it. And I even have like an hair straightener that I won while I was working at the hair salon for my side hustle and it was like a $200 hair straightener. I already have a hair straightener. My hair straightener is fine. Why do I need another one? I sold it for like 100 bucks. It was a win win for both of us. I got 100 bucks. The girl got a great hair straightener for half the price. And it was great.

Denis O’Brien [17:0]
Yeah, definitely is a good deal. I think that another way that you can really save money is like being more strategic when you do go shopping. So..

Katie Welsh [17:8]
All we do is talk about food.

Denis O’Brien [17:10]
No, no, I wasn’t talking about food.

Katie Welsh [17:40]

Denis O’Brien [17:13]
No, I’m not talking about grocery shopping, I’m talking about shopping for things, you know. So towards the end of the year, there’s obviously a massive rush with it being holiday season and everyone’s spending a ton of money. And you know, everything’s marked]up and because everyone knows that it’s time to buy gifts and stuff. However, you wait a couple days after year end or after the holidays, and everything is suddenly cheaper.

Katie Welsh [18:7]
Well, especially for like holiday decoration.

Denis O’Brien [17:40]
Exactly like wait till after the holiday. Because like as an example Easter, you may buy decorations right before Easter, and they’re going to be really expensive. Right after Easter well hopefully not on Easter day. If you go into the stores, they’re trying to get rid of this stock because they got new stuff coming in the next for the next season. So if you quickly buy up what they have, you can cut a ton of money off what you’re buying.

Katie Welsh [18:7]
That reminds me, do you remember our conversation in February?

Denis O’Brien [18:11]
Which conversation in February?

Katie Welsh [18:13]
About chocolate?

Denis O’Brien [18:15]

Katie Welsh [18:15]
I told you don’t worry about buying me a chocolate heart for Valentine’s Day rather go on the 15 so it’s half price and so just as delicious.

Denis O’Brien [18:26]
And it was and you know like very often a lot of times today’s made into such a commercial.. I want to say scam.. but obviously it’s still holiday and that’s not a nice thing to say but that’s what it is like shops try to make a ton of money off your during the festive season then they and they prey on you trying to get them to the whole swing of things. But if you plan a little bit in advance and like plan you know, I know it’s a lot to say a year in advance realistically what it is. You can save a ton of money.

Katie Welsh [18:52]
Yeah it is. I think that’s about maxing out all my ideas for quick easy ways to save money around the house.

Denis O’Brien [19:0]
Yeah Kate and I also think you know, like making small incremental changes around the house can really save you a ton of money.

Katie Welsh [19:6]
Yeah, you don’t have to do change your whole life all at one time. You know, if you have a husband and three sons, maybe invest in a pair of clippers and start learning how to cut hair at home. Because that is a lot of money that you’re spending probably every couple of weeks.

Denis O’Brien [19:25]
Yeah, definitely. Well, awesome, guys. We’ve loved hanging out with you. And we’d love to catch you on another episode of Chain of Wealth

Katie Welsh [19:32]

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The Chain of Wealth podcast is a biweekly podcast boasting over 500,000 downloads. We interview inspirational guests about money topics. You can learn more about us here.

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