Make home a place you love to be (and save money)

Make home a place you love to be (and save money)

Make Your Home A Place You Love To BeI admit, I’m a homebody. Home means peace and comfort to me and there’s no place I’d rather be (well, except the occasional vacation and trekking in nature).

One of the best ways to save money is to simply stay home. Any time you leave the house there’s a good chance you’ll spend money.

Not only does staying at home save you money, it saves time. Less time running errands, driving, and shopping means more time to be productive, enjoy family, and relax at home.

Could you set aside at least one or two full days each week to stay home? Schedule it, if you need to. Batch your errands on one or two days the rest of the week and modify your schedule to create your “home” time.

You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do this. Not only will you have more time and money, you’ll be more creative and life will naturally slow down.

To me, home is a place to relax, create, grow, and spend time with my family. Part of the reason I like being home is we’ve created a home environment that we love to spend time in.

But several years ago, I didn’t feel the same. Home seemed to feel chaotic, representing a to-do list a mile long and perpetual chores that never seemed to get done. Over the years, we’ve done some things to create a more comfortable, relaxing home environment.

Make home a place you love to be

Here are some of the reasons I love to be at home – maybe they could help you too.

Keep only what you love and use

I honestly think this is the secret to enjoy being at home. When you’re overwhelmed with stuff to put away, store and clean, being home just feels like one long “to-do” list. And that’s certainly not relaxing and peaceful.

If you have clutter, I suggest facing it head on. Read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, check out Flylady, or start a declutter challenge. Whatever works for you, get started and try it! I can almost guarantee you will feel more at peace in your home when it’s free of things you don’t love or use.

I’m far from perfect here, but did de-clutter several years ago and now I’m very careful about what items I bring into the house. When I’m thinking about buying something, I consider it’s usefulness and how I will feel with it in my house. If I think it will add value and I will enjoy it, it’s allowed in. But that also means something I already have has to go. I have a one-in, one-out rule. One thing comes in, another has to go out.

For example, though I don’t usually buy “stuff”, I fell in love with these coffee cups at Costco. They were cheap, they were big and I loved what they represented. I could picture myself drinking from them each day and their message of nature brought me joy. I bought those 6 cups (less than $2/ each!) and got rid of 10 older, smaller, not so attractive cups we’ve had for many years. No regrets there – my coffee cups make me smile.

Create space for organizing projects and hobbies

Alan and I always have a project or two (or 10) going (there’s no question we’ll keep busy in retirement). We make space for working on those projects, usually in the garage, but sometimes in the spare room of the basement. Many of our projects involve our yard and garden, so we need space to store our supplies.

Alan is great at building shelves to organize our project materials. He built large shelves in the basement to hold totes of yarn, canning supplies, photos and painting supplies. In the garage, he built shelves above the garage door to store our gardening/seasonal supplies during the winter months.

Have books on hand

I don’t keep many books, but I do like to have a few great reads on hand. I love the library and use it often, but I like to own my favorites that I will read again. Having those books on the shelf brings me joy. Having the ability to pick them up to read on a whim is important to me.

Spend time in nearby outdoor space

Even if you don’t have a yard, find an outdoor space close to your home. Nature is free, it’s also relaxing, entertaining and peaceful. Check around your neighborhood, you might be pleasantly surprised at the options for outdoor recreation.

We are fortunate to have plenty of outdoor space at home. A nice bike path is within walking distance and just up the road is a nature center we enjoy visiting. I am grateful for this space since it’s something I love.

Have a “home” for everything

If you have “stuff” scattered all over, it’s hard to concentrate or relax. It can be overwhelming too. Having a “home” for everything is a good solution. Develop a clean-up routine each day (either morning or evening works well). Recruit help and take just 15 minutes to clean up the main living area. Putting everything back in it’s “home” can make things feel so much better!

I remember when my kids were little, toys would get completely out of control.* It drove me insane. Eventually, I got into the routine of putting everything in a laundry basket at the end of the day. Sometimes that’s as far as it got, but the goal was to put things away as quickly as possible (sometimes the kids helped, sometimes it was easier if they didn’t).

*Btw, Ms. Montana has a great solution for this problem – check it out!

Create a place of comfort

Home should represent a place of comfort. So whatever comfort means to you, try to create it at home.

I don’t mean you need to redecorate, I just mean you should figure out the things you love and enjoy and make them a focus at home.

For me, it’s photos of family and from our trips. I have those hanging on the walls, along with some homemade wood decor I created. I love trees and wood because it feels like nature (and comfort) to me.

What does home mean to you?

Think about what home means to you. And then think about your home and if it fits that meaning. If not, identify the areas you could work on to make it feel more inviting, relaxing and comfortable so you want to spend more time there.

Do you like to be at home? Why or why not? What does home mean to you?


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48 thoughts on “Make home a place you love to be (and save money)

  1. I can totally identify: I’m a total home-body as well. We love the summertime because it means hanging out outside on our patio and going for walks around the neighborhood. Such simple treasures, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with my wife and family.

    1. Thanks, DJ! We really love our outdoor space and are particularly fond of the front porch. And just this morning we took a bike ride on the trail close to our home. No better way to start the day! Like you, there’s nothing else I’d rather do! 🙂

  2. I love being home so much that I probably need to schedule going out more. lol! I do agree with everything you said. My place isn’t big, but it’s tidy and it’s a great source of comfort. I feel at peace being home.

    1. I am totally the same way, Tonya. Sometimes my daughter tells me I need to leave the house! 😉 Tidy is the key for me. If it feels cluttered or messy, it’s just not that comfortable.

  3. This post speaks to me!! There is nothing better than being cozy in your space. I am exhale parts vagabond and homebody. I feel like if I had my home utopia I may never leave at all. Recently I have been working on a checklist of what that “home” space looks like to me. Perhaps I may be there in the next few years?! Gardening is one of my favorite things to do so I know that will be at the top of the list. Nice mugs for my morning tea sound like the perfect second step. 🙂 Don’t you just love Costco?!

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone here! I’m the same way – while I love to travel and see new places, I love to return home. I’m thinking of working more on my home space too. While it’s great (and actually fairly minimal), I still sometimes feel like there’s too much stuff. We rented a lake house last week – and I loved it because it was so simple. It had minimal furniture, no stuff. And I truly love my mugs…it’s such a weird thing because I don’t like to shop and I don’t like stuff in general – but these mugs remind me to slow it down (they have images of nature and say “hiking, fishing, nature, etc). And, yes, I absolutely adore Costco! 🙂

  4. I’m just headed home from a short trip and realized that even though I’m a complete homebody, I’m dreading going back to the endless to-do list of cleaning and decluttering. I really need to take a good, objective look at how to implement some things that will make my home more of a haven. Love this Amanda!

    1. Ahh, yes. I understand! We were gone for 3 days last week – and it was glorious not having to clean and do laundry! And there was no excess stuff – like mail (ugh) sitting around waiting to be dealt with. Home is still a work in progress for me, but we really do stay home a ton more than we used to because we’ve created a space we love. Thanks, Kathryn! 🙂

  5. I think you’re right about what makes a home comfortable, Amanda.

    We spend a ton of time at home, but it’s not as comfortable as I’d like. We have a real tension now between the house we want now (me) and the way to get there (getting rid of stuff) and the house we want later (Jon) and the stuff he wants to use after he finishes his remodeling projects. I keep trying to convince him that if we got rid of some of the excess now, those remodeling projects would get a lot easier to actually do.

    1. It’s hard when you have differences in opinion on the stuff. We aren’t necessarily always on the same page – but we get closer with time. It’s been a process though – we’ve been working on it for about 8 years now. It’s the stuff that interferes with comfort, for me at least. Alan does keep quite a bit of our “home improvement” stuff – but it’s in the garage on shelves and it’s not a huge amount. We actually had about 100 square feet of tile sitting in our basement for a future project…but we sold it last week and it’s so nice to have freed up the space. Who knows if/when we would ever get to the project anyway!?

  6. I love this article! We spend so much money and effort into furnishing and maintaining (maybe even owning) a home… why not enjoy it?!? We live in an exciting area in the summer, so we have to remind ourselves to just take an evening at home, relaxing and enjoying what is right under our feet every day!

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Adventure Rich! 🙂 My thoughts exactly! It’s great you live in a great summer spot. Just being at home can feel like a vacation when you take the time to enjoy your surroundings and forget the “to-do” list!

  7. As much as we love to travel, we’re always happy to be home. We have a tendency to incorporate things we enjoyed on vacations into our own home to make our place more like a mini vacation pad in itself.

    Clearing clutter is also a big help. It makes it much easier to clean the house, and even when you have a mess to clean up, it’s never overwhelming 🙂

    1. Same here, Mr. CK. Since we love camping so much, one of the first things we did when we bought our house was work on the outdoor space – and put a fire pit in. We really enjoy evenings outside. And, yes, clearing the clutter is huge – though it seems like it has to be an ongoing process to keep it out. One thing I do is keep a tote in the basement specifically for the stuff we want to donate – this gets it out of the way right away, which is a huge help.

  8. Carrie

    I love being at home. There are many weekends I do not leave between getting home Friday and going back to work Monday. I’m never bored at home 🙂

    1. Same here, Carrie! 🙂 I love weekends when we don’t have anything scheduled. Those no spend weekends are actually pretty easy for us – since there is so much to do at home.

  9. I’m also a homebody but need to work on organizing our space so that it doesn’t always feel like there’s a chore to complete. I just recently read Marie Kondo’s book and got a lot from it but have yet to put it into practice. Feels like a winter job to me (I’m procrastinating). We’re just so busy in the summer though that I think I’d quit before finishing.
    I agree about the importance of outdoor space. I’m lucky to have a big backyard and spend a lot of my homebody time out there when it’s warm out.

    1. I hear you, Sarah! I think that’s a huge step in feeling relaxed at home. I like Marie Kondo, but cannot for the life of me continue to fold my clothes like she suggests! And, I agree, decluttering is a better job for the times when you don’t have great weather. We love our big backyard too – it keeps us busy and brings us joy. 🙂

  10. It really is true what they say – home is where the heart is. My family recently realized this while stranded on a trip due to car trouble. Our extended stay made us miss our house, but we had each other and felt “at home,” despite our unusual surroundings, for that very reason.

    1. We once planned a 3 week camping trip and hit several states, but toward the end of the second week started missing home, so we cut it short and headed home. I don’t plan any trips longer than 2 weeks now for that very reason. Even toward the end of our last 2 week trip, I started to miss home – particularly my garden! Thanks for the comment, Jason!

  11. We love our house and it is hard as we get ready to sell 🙁 But we’re on to new adventures. I love your comment about finding things you love to display. It’s your house – it doesn’t nee to look like ones on the furniture showroom floor (or on HGTV for that matter!) Great ideas here to make your home special for you!

    1. Oh, I completely understand, Vicki. We sold our old house 4 years ago, and I remember walking through it for the last time after it was empty. So many memories! BUT, you’re right, your moving on to new adventures and you’ll make your next house a home soon. You know, I delayed putting my photos and things I love out when we first moved to our current house, and it didn’t feel like home until I did. Thanks so much, Vicki, and I wish you the very best on your projects and transition. 🙂

  12. I’m a homebody as well. But while I like to go out at times, there are definitely a good amount of things that I’d prefer doing at home. Rather than watch a movie outside where I have to wait in line, pay exorbitant prices, and deal with other movie goings, I like to watch in the comfort of my own home. Same thing with going to restaurants. This is even more true now that I have kids!

    1. It’s definitely easier to stay home with kids sometimes! The movies are a great example of saving money by staying home. You can stay home and watch a movie for a fraction of the price at the theater.

  13. I’m following the advice on clutter, and it’s painstaking work! But even small victories are victories : ) There will be lots more de-cluttering for me at my home this summer. My goal is to learn to tidy and organize “on the fly”. I tend to wait to do it all at a specific time, and it gets overwhelming . . . and grows. Bit by bit, right? I’m getting there.

    1. I think doing the organizing “on the fly” is a necessity. If I didn’t do that, it would never get done (and you’re right, it would just pile up – where does it all come from?). Just today, when I was getting my clothes, I grabbed a few items out of my closet that I don’t wear anymore and put them into my donate pile. It’s a small thing, but it’s something! Good luck with your de-cluttering this summer, Ruth! 🙂

  14. Awesome tips!
    I also love spending time at home. Which is a good thing!
    We also got rid of clutter and ‘stuff’, especially because we downsized and had little space for everything. We don’t have any cozy outdoor spaces though. The nearest parks are within walking distance, but still, they’re not in the close proximity of our home. We’ve learned to live with it though. The fact that I feel safe in our home matters most 🙂

    1. Thanks, Adriana! Downsizing is a good way to force yourself to declutter! I think we should all pretend like we’re going to move each year and clear out what we wouldn’t want to move! I agree, feeling safe and comfortable at home matters so much! 🙂

  15. Mrs. Groovy

    I feel more peaceful just reading this! Thanks!
    I’m a homebody, too and I found our house very comforting. The biggest de-cluttering job we have in front of us is our garage. Otherwise we don’t have every nook and cranny filled with stuff.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Groovy! Yes, the garage. Oh, the garage. Why and how does stuff accumulate so fast there? That’s our worst place too. It’s the place that any “just in case” items tend to reside.

  16. Nice topic! Especially this time of year when everyone seems to be off to a cabin up north… We recently celebrated a July 4 weekend staycation and found it both fun and relaxing.
    I also appreciate the minimalist mindset for keeping your home cozy and low stress. Great post, Amanda!

    1. Thanks, Cubert! 🙂 I love staycations! The key is to not let yourself even glance at a to-do list (not always easy!). It’s always fun to find interesting and enjoyable activities in your community. We tend to do most of our staycationing in the winter months and I look forward to them every year.

  17. I am a homebody, too! It helps to have the personal finance community and social media because then I don’t feel so guilty about staying home as much…it feels sorta social:) One thing that I love about staying home is being with my dogs. I’ve tried to create an environment that is comfortable for all three of us. I could certainly declutter, though. I’ve got piles of stuff I’ve meant to throw out for some time. Paper piles up fast! I’ve got to pay better attention to shred days in town.

    1. It’s true – the personal finance community is definitely social! Our pets are definitely part of that feeling of comfort at home too. It’s so nice to come home and be greeted with such enthusiasm each and every time. Thanks for the comment, Amanda! 🙂

  18. Totally agree! I haven’t really thought about how much being a homebody impacts us financially, but it’s definitely less expensive than going out every weekend or traveling all the time! We love being at home, relaxing, reading, and just being in each other’s company.

    1. When you love to be at home, it’s easy to forget how much you are saving. But it saves a ton. What really made me think about the importance of loving your home environment is an apartment we lived in for 6 months a few years ago. We were very cramped and only had one good window. It was the light and outdoor space that we really felt was lacking. And we definitely spent more money going to movies and traveling while we lived there. We took every opportunity to get out!

      1. We are there right now – a short 6-month lease to save money while our home is being built. The kitchen can’t fit us both. Really puts a damper on our ability to spend time together when we cook and meal prep, which we love to do.

        Thankfully we’ve been pretty good on staying in still. We have an awesome view, but we’ve definitely spent a little more than I’d prefer on going out to eat due to the kitchen. Still, it’s less than what we ended up saving with the cost of rent difference between this and our old place…

        1. I feel your pain, Dave. We were in between homes when we lived in the small apartment as well. Our daughter shared a bedroom with us, so it was less than ideal. Thankfully it’s temporary! 🙂 At least you’re saving money overall!

  19. I love this Amanda. I am a homebody also and I love getting to be at home. I used to stress out about being in Brooklyn on summer weekends… now every weekend I get to be at home instead of visiting relatives, etc. is a joy. But the feeling of to do lists and messes can definitely wreck the enjoyment. I try my best to just keep our table clear. If I do nothing else, that makes everything feel less chaotic and mentally exhausting.

    1. Thanks, Linda! 🙂 You’re so right – when you feel like there is always something undone or chores to do, it isn’t relaxing at all. Keeping the table clear is a great way to feel more at ease. I do the same with my table and counters (though I have one pesky area with papers I desperately need to address).

  20. I love the idea of being home all the time because I’m a home body too! But the weekdays are hectic and the apartment does tend to get disorganized throughout the week especially in a really small space–we don’t really own much but I think clutter accumulates in smaller spaces.

    I think that’s the biggest thing that prevents me from staying home more though I love the space…it’s the clutter and all the chores that need doing that prevent me from being productive at home! I actually just wrote a post about why I think spending money to work at a coffee shop is totally worth the productivity you get out of it!

    1. Tackling the clutter makes a huge difference in really feeling at ease at home (in my opinion). I have one area where paper tends to accumulate and it really bothers me. And I totally agree on the coffee shop. For some reason, I’m more focused when I’m not at home. I think it’s just that I’m not as tempted to get up and do the laundry, put the dishes away, etc. Thanks for the comment, Jing! 🙂

  21. As our kids have gotten older, one of the things I’ve been most thankful for is the fact that they love to be at home. It’s definitely a great way to save money, and it also makes for strong, healthy families. : )

    1. Yes! It’s great to have an environment where the kids love to be too. Our kids are (mostly) homebodies as well. We’ve made so many great memories at home, especially around the dinner table, eating and playing games.

  22. Love this read! I am a total homebody that really should probably get out more. lol I’ve been working on organizing and minimizing and it’s such a great feeling! I’ve got a perpetual list of house projects I’m doing and this keeps my busy and productive! My house is nothing spectacular; however to me it’s becoming my perfect space!

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! As long as your house is designed for you, that’s all that matters. I think it’s great you’re making it your own!

  23. Jen

    Great article!!! Just what I needed to hear to put de-cluttering at the top of my list of things to do. I love my home (when all of our “stuff” is put away out of sight.) We have too much stuff and a lot of it is not bringing joy to our lives. We do have a lot of stuff that does, though, such as pictures of our trips, plants, cozy decor and comfortable chairs. I think I would love our place a lot more if we got rid of some of the crap. Nevertheless, I love being home. I like the rule of one thing in, one thing out. Did you sell the 10 cups you got rid of or just donate it? I have a tendency to make piles of stuff I’m going to donate and of course the pile sits there for months.

    1. Thanks, Jen! I am totally with you about having the “stuff” put away. I am more at peace at home when the tables and counters are relatively clear. I really think getting rid of the crap is an ongoing process. About twice a year, I do a major clean-out, and then just clear out smaller things as I find them (and I do ask myself if they bring me joy/if they are useful). But it seems like there’s never an end point!

      I did donate the 10 cups. I typically only take the time to sell something if it’s over $30-50 or so. I keep a tote in our basement where I put our items to be donated – and it does sit there for a few months sometimes. But when it starts getting full, I take a few hours and clear out a closet, or a cabinet and make a run to the thrift store to donate it. It helps that we have a donation site just up the road. If I get it out and set it in my living room, it will get done because it will drive me bonkers sitting there staring at me! 🙂

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