Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #25 - Reuse

We've addressed repurposing things that can't be fixed in order to save money, but going along with that is just reusing things.  Now, obviously you can't reuse something that's broken, but what about things that are just going to end up in the recycling can?  Why not reuse them instead of buying new things.  Most of these items just need a quick wash and they are ready to be used again.  Let me give you some examples:
  • Wash out your empty Parmesan cheese shaker and use it to hold baking soda.  This way you can easily sprinkle it on whatever you want cleaned or freshened.  I use mine for scrubbing the tub, and toilet, and for freshening up our carpets.   
  • Wash out your empty margarine/butter/Cool Whip tubs and use them to hold leftovers.  This is especially nice around the holidays when you want to send food home with family members, and now you won't have to worry about getting your favorite Pyrex containers back.  
  • Collect your junk mail envelopes and use them for your grocery lists.  You can write the list on the back and stick the coupons inside.  You can also use them for scratch paper when you need to make a note, or give them to your toddler to play with.  Howard loves envelopes.
  • Wash out empty ketchup or salad dressing bottles and refill them with homemade.  Salad dressing can come together rather easily, and this gives you a way to easily pour them.  You can also use them to hold paint, and even maple syrup.  This is especially handy if you buy the big containers of syrup - those things are heavy and can easily spill.
  • Use any kind of old clean food jar (glass or plastic) to store hardware or craft supplies.  They are usually clear so you can see what's inside, and they come in a variety of sizes.  Think peanut butter and mayo jars, spaghetti sauce jars, and baby food jars.  We use ours for nuts, nails, screws, and buttons.  
  • Keep your empty astringent, detangler, and hand soap bottles and just refill them.  I make simple homemade detangler with just hot water and little squeeze of conditioner, and it works great.  My homemade astringent is just as easy and only takes three ingredients.  And we all know it's cheaper to buy the big refills of hand soap and have a reusable pump to refill.
 So before you toss things into the recycling can, see if you can reuse them to save money.  You might be surprised at what can be used again with just a little soap and imagination.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tip: Day #24 - Repurpose What You Can't Fix

Yesterday we talked about trying to fix things before spending the money to replace them, but what about the things that can't be fixed?  Well, before you throw it out, try to repurpose it.  This concept doesn't work with everything, unless you are super creative.  I'm not, but I can give you a few basic examples:
  1. Take a stained T-shirt and cut it up into cleaning rags
  2. Use your old curtains, or tablecloth to make some new throw pillows for your sofa
  3. Use your old shower curtain liner as a drop cloth when you craft or paint
  4. Break the lid to you favorite sugar bowl?  Turn it into a one-of-a-kind vase
  5. Take your old scratched-up Tupperware and use it to organize your drawers or things like nuts and screws
... and the list goes on and on.   How does this save you money?  Well, by taking something old and making it into something new, you no longer have to buy the new item you were in need of.  If that makes sense.  Let's take the T-shirt example - you can no longer wear the T-shirt, so you cut it up for rags, now you don't have to buy rags to clean with.  They do actually sell rags for cleaning.  I swear, it's a thing.  Basically instead of spending money on something new, you are using something you already had, which is free.  Repurposing takes some thought, but once you get the hang of it, you will start to repurpose almost anything, which will end up saving you a good chunk of change!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #23 - Try to Fix it First

Going along with performing maintenance to save money, is trying to fix things before buying new.  If your fan broke, instead of replacing it, try fixing it first.  You might get lucky and all it needs is a cleaning, or maybe some grease.  If not, are you really out anything?  Nope, and if you can fix your fan, you've saved yourself the money of a having to buy a new one.  This really depends on how handy you are, but it can be applied to other things besides appliances.  Did you loose a button off your favorite flannel?  Buy a new one and sew it on instead of buying a new shirt.  Got a hole in the knee of your jeans, tear up the other knee for an intentional distress denim look.  Or cut both legs off at the knees and cuff them up for a nice pair of Bermuda shorts. 
So, instead of running out to buy a new whatever when your old one breaks, try to fix the old one first, and you might just save yourself some cash.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #22 - Keep Things Maintained

Did you know that owner's manuals can actually save you money?  The much overlooked owner's manual contains everything you need to know in order to maintain your car or slow cooker or hair dryer.  It also usually has parts numbers so that you can order replacement pieces.  This generally isn't the case for electronics like cell phones and computers because the technology is updated so frequently, but for most other appliances you definitely want to reference the manual.  You Tube is another place to look if you are a more visual person.  Just be specific in your search to make sure you have the correct brand and model.
So, why is all this important, and how does it save you money exactly?  Well, say your blender is missing a blade, instead of going out and buying another blender for say $25, you can contact the company and order a replacement blade for around $4.  You just saved yourself 21 bucks.  The manual will also tell you how to keep things up and running, how they can be cleaned properly, and if they need to be greased or oiled.  Not only do things run better when they are maintained correctly, they also last longer.  If you keep the back of your hair dryer clean, the motor inside will run better and not burn up because it couldn't get enough air.  This doesn't just go for small appliances either.  Make sure you are vacuuming out your dryer vents and the coils behind your fridge at least a couple of times a year.  We were given a fridge once that the owner thought was broken and was destined for the garbage.  The real problem was a LOT of dust.  We gave it a good cleaning, let it sit for a few days, and low and behold, it worked just like new. 
Basically if you maintain things, it keeps you from having to buy new things, which cost money.  So, cleaning and maintaining what you already have, saves you money. 

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 10/16-22/2016

This week I kept my spending fairly minimal.  I didn't really need anything from ALDI, so I decided to stop into the Dollar Tree instead.  It had been a few weeks since I have been in to look around and see what new things they have.  There were a few things that I had on my list like shelf liner to use in some drawers, but I also was pleasantly surprised to find some new stickers and snacks for Howard.  Overall I think I did pretty good.  Here's how my spending broke down this week...
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $30.20 oop, Earned $15 ECB's ($5 Huggies, $10 Benefiber)
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $12.17 oop
  • Tuesday's Dollar Tree Trip: $12.48 oop
  • Tuesday's Baugher's Trip: $2.99 oop (no picture, just a mini pumpkin and 3 tomatoes)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $18.72 oop
Total OOP: $76.56
Total Earned: $15
Total Remaining for October: $109.81

Linked to I Heart Publix, and many more... 

Friday, October 21, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #21 - Buy Used

My most favorite way to save money is to buy used.  This is mostly because it involves shopping at thrift stores, which are some of my favorite places to shop.  There are always deals to be had, and you see so much interesting stuff - some things worth buying, and some things just worth looking at and wondering what people were thinking.  I definitely recommend taking a list with you so that you don't get side-tracked by all of the shiny things and great prices.  Because most things are an amazing deal, it's very easy to talk yourself into buying something you didn't need when you walked in the door but now are going to die without.  We do not buy everything used, obvious second-hand stores do not sell things like food and toiletries.  I'm also very particular that everything I buy must be able to be washed and sanitized properly - if it can't then I don't buy it.  In addition, I don't buy things like under garments and shoes, but that's just my personal preference, they do sell them if that's your thing.  I have not only found clothing for my son, but also my plus-sized self.  My husband has trouble since he is tall and husky, but he does sometimes get lucky.  I am in LOVE with the household items - I have found such beautiful and unique decor, baskets, and storage over the years.  Howard's favorite section, by far, is the books.  He knows that if he is good he can pick out a few 'new' books before we leave, and at $0.49 a piece you can't really go wrong.
So, the next time you are in need of a new shirt, DVD, book, or wine glass, try to buy used first.  Buying second-hand is guaranteed to save you at least half if not more than buying new, and that's a great way to save money!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Frugal Finds: October 2016 Edition

This month we took a day trip up to Hanover just to get out of the house, and to take yet another trip to the thrift store!  I always check the clothes while we're there.  Howard doesn't need much for fall or winter, but he's hard on pajamas, so they are always on my radar.  We also found him these AWESOME activity flash cards by Crayola.  The letter ones have the uppercase and lowercase letter on front, and the back has lines to practice writing them.  There are also a few cards with connect the letters activities on them.  The number cards are similar, and they came with a boat load of dry erase crayons.  This soon-to-be homeschooling mama thought that was a real steal!  I'm also always on the look-out for baskets, this one is HUGE, the picture does not do it justice; it is going to be absolutely perfect for Howard's ever-growing Mega Blocks collection.
1 pair 3T PJ Pants for Howard $1.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.99
2 pair of 5T PJ Pants for Howard $2.99 each - 50% off Sale = $1.49 each or 2/$2.98
Dino Book for Howard $0.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.49
3 Kids DVD's for Howard $2.99 each - 50% off Sale = $1.49 each or 3/$4.47
ABC and 123 Dry Erase Activity Flash Cards for Howard with Dry Erase Crayons (all Crayola brand) $3.99 - 50% off Sale = $1.99
1 Hardback Book for Joe $0.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.49
1 Lock for Joe $4.99 - 50% off Sale = $2.49
1 Large Basket for Mega Blocks $4.99 - Did not get rung up = FREE!
1 Fall Tray for Decor $1.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.99
+ $0.66 Tax
Grand Total OOP: $15.55!  
Saved $36.49!!!

We also made a stop at a flea market this month.  We did lots of looking, but I decided that there were a few things that needed to come home with me...
Beautiful tray I am going to use to store my washi tape in $3
Horse Picture for Howard's room $0.25
Box of ornaments for our Christmas tree $5
Total OOP: $8.25 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #20 - Make Your Own

Today's tip goes hand in hand with cooking from scratch, but making your own doesn't have to begin and end in the kitchen.  There are so many things that you use in your house that you can make.  And making your own can save you some serious dough.  Pinterest and Google can help you to find recipes or instructions to make just about anything.  Some things that I make that are super simple include floor cleaner, multipurpose spray, face toner, laundry detergent, and shower cleaner.  Do I make everything myself?  Definitely not, I have neither the time nor the patience.  But I make what I can, and for most other things there are sales and coupons to help me save. 
So, the next time you run out of something, do a quick internet search to see if you can make more yourself instead of having to purchase it.  If you do this just once a month, the savings will really add up, and before you know it you'll be making you own everything, or not. 

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #19 - Cut Back

We've discussed a lot of different ways to save money so far this month, all of which will help cut back on your spending.  Another way to cut back though is to just use less.  Cut your dryer sheets and dish sponges in half to get twice the amount for the same money.  I do both, and even though they are smaller, they get the job done just as well.  Use less soap, shampoo, and detergent.  Even if it's only a 1/2 teaspoon, it adds up over time, and you and your clothing will get just as clean.  When cooking make sure to use the correct measurements of the ingredients.  Yes, the more butter you put in to something the better it will taste, but neither the recipe nor your waistline really need it - trust me on this.  So when you are making something or buying something, ask yourself if you really need that amount?  Will less work just as well.  Buying in bulk can sometimes save money, but if you really only need 6 hot cocoa packets, then the box of 50 is really a waste.  Which means you wasted food, but also your money. 
So to save money, cut back on what you can, when you can, and just use less.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #18 - Go Reusable When You Can

I know, reusable bags don't really save you money, however, other reusable items can.  Think about things you use everyday that are disposable, and thus have to be purchased over and over again, costing you money each time.  Replace these items with reusable options to save money.  Things like plates, cups, and silverware, napkins, cleaning rags, lunch boxes, and even your coffee cup all come in reusable options.  It does cost a little more upfront, and obviously these items need to be washed in order to reuse them, but plenty of people have done the math and reusable options always win out as being cheaper in the end.  Not only that, but it's better for the planet. 
So, to save money, and the Earth, choose reusable options when you can.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.