Woman on patio cleaning windows

Tasks like cleaning the house or saving money may not sound very exciting. But finding ways to cut cleaning expenses can be opportunities to exercise your ingenuity.

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When you read the phrase "household cleaning expenses," what do you think of? Perhaps the costs of cleaning solutions like laundry detergent and carpet shampoo? Or maybe the fees associated with maid services? Those things can contribute to overall cleaning costs, but there are many related expenses that will also put a dent in your household budget.

Consider not only the soaps and sprays (which come specialized for every area of the home: laundry, dishes, tubs, toilets and the like) but also the tools you use. Cleaning tools might include something as simple and inexpensive as a sponge or mop, or something pricier, such as a vacuum cleaner or carpet shampooer. Don't forget the major investments like washing machines and dishwashers. Add in what you pay for the electricity, water or natural gas needed to run some of your cleaning equipment, and it's easy to see how your expenses can grow. In fact, it shouldn't come as surprise to learn that the average consumer spends $639 a year on housekeeping supplies alone [source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics].

Thankfully, with a little cleverness and shopping around, you can cut your household cleaning expenses. Strategies such as reusing and multitasking your products -- and even making your own cleaners -- can go a long way toward stretching your housekeeping dollars. On the following page, we'll offer you lots of tips for cleaning on the cheap.