There are many ways to cut corners when it comes to household costs. My favorites are finding a use for something that I already have. I don’t need to buy an extra item and I get more use out of the items I have. It reduces clutter and increases the room in my shopping cart.
The Fridge Instead of Dry Erase Boards
If you have a standard white fridge don’t buy a dry erase board. Dry erase crayon and marker comes off of your standard white fridge just fine. It’s also a high traffic area so it’s very likely that if you leave a message for a family member on it, they will get the message. For our shorter family members it’s a treat to be able to write on the fridge and only takes a wet cloth to wipe away. You can draw a calendar on your freezer door or write down emergency numbers for the babysitter. It’s a great way to get more use out of your fridge.
The Cleaning Sponge Instead of Wash Cloths and Loofahs
Sponges were made for cleaning and that includes your body. They absorb more than enough soap and water to get your skin clean. If you want to exfoliate use the ones (lightly and gently) that have a the green scrubbing pad on one side. They come in a variety of colors so that you can tell each family member’s sponge from another. If the color system doesn’t appeal to you, you could just get a six pack of sponges and cut them into different shapes for a useful kids crafts. They will love their custom sponge and you will love using the leftovers as cleaning supplies.
Cook Wear Instead of Mixing Bowls
This is a great tip for those with limited cupboard space in their kitchen. Don’t get mixing bowls. Instead use pots to mix up your cookie dough, or mix ingredients for your latest casserole recipe. Your cookware will work just as well as mixing bowls and using them saves both money and space.
Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.
Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.
Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.
A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.
Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.
Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.
Most women love to treat their hair with luxury. Wisely, not all of us want to spend the money for a regular salon routine when it comes to our hair. Luckily we don’t have to. There are alternatives to high cost hair care and most of them can be found in our fridge, cupboard, or in our local grocery stores.
Skip the shampoo and just use baking soda and water. Really it’s that simple and is great for your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great rinse and conditioner. Due to its acidity it has a way of pulling gunk out of your hair. It leaves hair soft and manageable. It also has a great plus for those of us with brown hair. It brings out the red highlights in their hair. All three of these advantages are natural for those who are trying to remove some chemicals from their hair routines.
Corn meal can be used as a dry shampoo in a pinch. If you do a lot of camping, are having water issues at home, or are just out of shampoo, you can use corn meal to absorb the oils in your hair and give you an extra day or so before shampooing.
If you want to use a less amount of conditioner, then try using a shower comb. It helps to distribute conditioner throughout your hair. A shower comb also helps remove loose hair and reduces the chances of knots and broken hair.
A blended up avocado mixed with some mayonnaise is said to repair damaged hair. Use a comb to distribute the concoction through your hair and leave it to sit for ten minutes. After that just wash the mixture out of your hair.
Gardening can be a great hobby with a product that you know you will use either in decor or edibles. It can also be quite a money sink, but what if there was a way to reduce the amount of money you invested into your garden, produce less waste, and reap the same results? There is such a way to garden.
What is Bag Gardening?
In traditional container gardening, you use a pot to grow your plants. In bag gardening, you skip the pot. Instead, you plant your seed, seedling or plant cutting directly into the bag of soil that you would have used. Just cut an X in the area of the bag you would like to plant, add enough water to moisten the soil, and add your plant. This can help you save money in a number of ways. Best of all if you are an apartment dweller or move a lot in the same area, or just want to move your plant across the yard, your plants are extremely easy to move.
No Need For Containers
When you have a bag garden, you don’t really need to have other containers. You only need to cut a hole in the bag to add water and place the seed. In fact depending on the size of the soil bag you get, as well as the size and number of plants you are growing, one bag could hold more than one plant. Just cut a hole for each seed and make sure you leave enough room for the plant to grow.
A potting soil bag usually is made from a material that holds moisture inside. As a result you will need to water you plants less and use less water while you are watering your plants. In fact, with a bag garden your concern would most likely be over watering. Poke a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. This will reduce the chances of mold or mildew taking hold of your garden. A bag garden is ideal for those of us who want to grow plants, but also want to keep our water bill down.
Halloween is a fun time of year when done correctly. There is candy and pumpkins and costumes. Oh, the costumes! They could by far be the most expensive part of Halloween. There are ways around spending that money and still coming up with a great Halloween costume.
That’s right. One of the best ways to save money on Halloween costumes is to use your children’s pajamas. The best type to use are the one piece one color type. In infants, this could mean a onesie. In older children, it could mean those much loved footie pajamas. When dealing with your much taller and more seasoned trick or treaters, sweat suits of one color could make a good base for your outfit. A gray sweat suit is a good starting point in making an elephant costume. Add a gray tube sock for the trunk and you’re set for a night of candy and fun.
Old Make Up
What family of teenage girls don’t have some old make up products lying around? Time to put that over hyped face paint to good use. Since cardboard and plastic masks have been deemed a safety hazard (limits the ability to breath) face painting has become the best way to integrate your face into your costume. That doesn’t mean we really want to spend the money on face paint. Eye shadow can create real looking dirt stains and bruises. Lips stick makes convincing blood red lips or tiger stripes depending on the shade. This is a night to go heavy on the make up.
They say that duct tape can fix almost anything, and I have found that whoever they are, they are telling the truth. This includes Halloween costumes. Due to the fact that duct tape comes in a variety of colors, it’s a great pick for making stripes on a tiger or zebra. Or you can use old fashioned silver to create chains for your little ghoul or puppy on a leash.
Not all of us started on the thrifty path without financial baggage. Luckily, debt can be managed and reduced through a few financial tools and attitude tweaks towards money.
Sometimes what kills your budget is not the amount you owe. Sometimes it’s the death of one thousand payments a month. They land everywhere in the month, can be confused with each other, and that makes them hard to plan for. Instead, see if you can get a loan, and then pay the various companies, hospitals, and cards off with that loan. In the end you still need to pay off the loan, but the bill falls at one time and may even be less of a payment monthly than having numerous small payment plans.
Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loans can be difficult to pay off. Sometimes a payment plan will work for you. Sometimes your loans can be deferred for a while due to hardship (though watch out for interest that can’t be deferred!). Sometimes you need to look into student loan forgiveness. The plan that the members of my family has puts our loans in a state of forgiveness for twenty five years based on income. If after twenty five years we haven’t made enough to start making payments, our loans are forgiven. If we do make enough to start paying off our loans during that time, the payments will be based on our income. The company that buys your student loan may take part of your tax refund if you have one, but it’s a small price to pay rather than dealing with the monthly stress of super tight finances.
Hold Off on Big Expenses
Until you have gotten yourself out of the old debt, don’t create any new debt. Lay off using credit cards. Don’t buy or trade up on your housing. Don’t buy a new car. When you pay off debt it may take a few years. In that time learn what purchases are worth debt, are not worth debt, and what type of debt won’t cause harm to your credit rating.
Kids are not frugal. Toddlers do not sit at the table thinking I shouldn’t waste these green beans. Nor should they. While it is important to teach children to be frugal, it’s also important for them to have a happy childhood. It’s up to us adults to think frugal for them until they can learn for themselves. Here’s a few thoughts we have come up with.
Nothing will reduce the amount of laundry that you will have to do like using a bib. Children are not the cleanest individuals, and that’s exactly how it should be. At the same time that small fact doesn’t mean you can’t save money on water and laundry detergent. Use bibs on infants when they are awake. It will keep them clean during feedings and when the burp everything up after feeding. For toddlers, get the plastic rinse off type of bib. Use it during meal times and times the two of you are doing an art project together.
Dinner is the New Lunch
Toddler’s don’t care about wasting food. If they aren’t hungry they won’t eat. If they don’t want to eat, they won’t eat. If you let them walk around during a meal, they will almost all of dinner time. Often you may find yourself switching plates with them simply because they are more interested in eating your food than their own, and your only interest is for them to eat anything. If it’s just one of those nights where they aren’t going to eat, wrap up their food for tomorrow. One of you can eat it for lunch.
Batteries and LED
Toddlers are like little moths. They are attracted to light. Often you could run up a huge electric bill just by their fascination with flipping the light switch on and off. First, keep furniture away from light switches so that they can’t climb up and play with them. Second, use night lights and candles that are battery operated and/or LED. This won’t just reduce the electric bill. This will reduce the chance of your little one burning themselves.
Do you have any money saving tips for parents of infants and/or toddlers?
Who doesn’t love getting freebies? I am currently on a quest to make my poor mailman stuff my mailbox full of them. Believe it or not, freebies aren’t that hard to find.
Bookmark your favorite freebie finding sites. This can include forums, blogs, and listing sites. Check these sites daily for new freebies. The best time to check is in the evening when the freebies have been listed, but you may want to check in the afternoon as well to reduce the possibility of missing one you will want.
Newsletters and Emails
One thing that I love is when the most recent freebies are sent to my inbox. This saves me the time of looking for them. I just let someone else do the looking.
Read The Offer Carefully
Some offers look free, but aren’t. Avoid trials that will need to be canceled before they expire (unless you’re absolutely certain you’ll remember in time). Avoid shipping and handling charges (unless it’s a really good deal worth that small cost to you). Avoid any freebie that requires your credit card information.
Check Older Offers
Just because the offer is old doesn’t mean that it’s expired. If you like a freebie, but think you missed the offer, check anyway. The offer may not be expired yet. You may still be able to get it.
Some freebies can only be redeemed in a store. Print out the offer and take it with you. It may not be as convenient as them just sending it to you, but it’s still free. Go for it!
Some items you do have to buy, but then you can mail in your receipt and be reimbursed. I rarely do this, but if the value is high enough then it’s worth the postage to send in the receipt.
Earn your points by doing the tasks, or taking the surveys, or watching the videos that are available to you. Don’t buy points. Often when you buy bids or points, in the end, you may as well have bought the item.
Sometimes you have to like something on Facebook to be able to fill out a sample order or enter a giveaway contest. Go for it! Also, use it as a moment to share with your friends.