How to Save $162 a Month
How to do it: Even the tidiest and most budget-vigilant person on our staff was surprised to hear that the average family spends $46 a month on cleaning supplies. As it turns out, much of that is unnecessary, because there's one little tool that you can clean almost anything with: a microfiber cloth. "It lasts forever," says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple and The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple. "You wash it when you're done. You don't dry it; you just hang it and use it instead of buying paper towels or disposable wipes." Smallin says that the cloths are so effective that you can generally use them with nothing but water and scrub everything from wine stains in carpet (we were skeptical, too, but check out this video—with a clean white cloth, it's absolutely possible) to wood floors. For a greasy countertop, Smallin recommends sticking with an all-purpose cleaner, but if someone's tracked mud on your floors, scrub those with a water-and-vinegar solution.