I recently decided to give myself some bangs…which I haven’t had since I was a little girl.

Me with bangs...I'm the one in the middle.

They were a little uneven, so I tried to fix them the next day…then I got them too short…so I went to the hair salon to get help. It was the same lady who swooped in and saved the day with my disastrous highlights from the hair school. I told her I really learned my lesson this time about trying to save money on my hair, to which she replied, “That’s what you said last time.” It was a little embarrassing.

She was able to pull more hair forward for my bangs and kinda cover up my mess. And now that it’s been a few weeks, my bangs have gotten longer.

Anyways…when I was in the stage of not sure if I liked them/mad at myself for trying to do it myself, I thought maybe some headbands would help. So I looked through my clothes and decided that my red t-shirt that was getting holes could be re-purposed. I simply cut a strip off the bottom and tied it on my head. So easy and no sewing. I found the t-shirt material really comfortable as often headbands hurt my head.

Later I was scrounging around the mission barrel (a place students and staff donate/take things for free) and found some dark brown stockings. I took them home, cut part of one of the legs off and it works great as a headband. I sometimes even safety-pin a fabric flower to it. I love just pinning the flower on that way if I want to change it up, it’s a breeze! Plus it’s quicker than sewing it on.

Do you have any great ideas for making your own headbands?

 

Amy 

Today is December 3rd, the countdown is on for Christmas. Usually we end up giving at least some homemade gifts. When a gift is made yourself it’s usually:

  1. Cheaper - Most homemade gifts cost way less than the same thing bought in a store, and all my ideas today are economical.
  2. More meaningful and you can personalize them – It’s nice when receiving a gift to know someone put time and thought into it and you can personalize it with their name, favorite colors or interests.

 

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s usually the males on my list that are harder to think of gifts for, especially if I’m wanting to make something, so I was overjoyed when I saw this marshmallow shooter tutorial! It was so cheap and easy to put together for my 14 year old brother!

 

Chai tea is one of my very favorites, especially in cold winter months. This is a great recipe to whip up a batch of instant chai tea mix which can be used for multiple gifts.

 

Crocheted dishcloths or pot holders are one of my go-to gift ideas because they’re so useful and I can usually make one in a couple of hours. Check out my free crochet potholder pattern.

 

How about baking muffins or quick breads? Lots of people give away cookies and candy at Christmas, and while that’s a yummy treat, sometimes it’s nice to have something with a little less sugar that can also be used as a quick breakfast or snack. I have lots of muffin recipes on my blog, like the orange cranberry ones pictured above.

 

Another food gift is granola, like this coconut granola.

 

Looking for homemade gifts for kids? How about playdough for just over a quarter…talk about economical!

 

Do you have a box full of random little crayon pieces? Simple melt them into crayon cookies,

and if you have molds then they can be even more exciting!

 

If you buy those frozen concentrated juices than re-use those metal lids for making a juice lid memory game,

which is not only super resourceful, they’re also more durable than your usual paper memory cards making them a great idea for young toddlers.

 

DIY fingerpaint can be a fun gift idea for kids too! What kid doesn’t like painting?

 

Let’s make this list of economical homemade gift ideas even longer! Leave a comment or link with your favorite DIY gifts!

 

Linked at Living Well Spending LessA Blossoming Life and Lady Bug Blessings.

You don’t have to buy them anymore!

 

I’m not a huge fan of the cost of buying disinfecting wipes, but I am a fan of how easy they make clean up after handling raw chicken or raw meat. So I finally got around to making this homemade version, and here’s why it’s awesome:

  • Cheaper
  • Produces less trash
  • A cloth wipe is more substantial and less likely to tear when you’re using it than the disposable kind.
  • Quick and easy to make.
  • You can make the wipes the exact size you want. Make some bigger and others small for the little jobs.
  • You can have a use for all those lonely socks and ratty t-shirts!

Thanks to Our Thrifty House, where I found this recipe!

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohold
  • 2 Tbs. dawn dish soap (she really recommends using Dawn brand)
  • 2 Tbs. ammonia (this was optional so I skipped it)

You’ll also need:

  • A container (an old wipes container works perfect, but any sealable container will do).
  • Rags (a sock missing it’s partner, a raggedy t-shirt cut up, whatever you can find around the house!)

Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags in your container. They wa-la! You have your own disinfecting wipes!

What kinds of cleaning products do you make yourself?

Linked at A Blossoming Life.

1.Healthier

When you make your own food you can easily cut back on sodium intake, toss in some extra fiber with whole grains, add vitamins and nutrients by using more produce, cut back on the amount of sugar and completely skip artificial junk!

Buying a muffin from the store is like buying a cupcake minus the icing. But when you make them yourself they can be full of fiber, vitamins and even fruits and veggies, and have way less sugar!

2. Yummier
I’ll admit that I do prefer some things from the store over the homemade variety, but usually homemade is better. Think about a slice of fresh warm homemade whole wheat bread with melted butter….mmmm.

3. Cheaper

Most foods are going to be cheaper when made at home rather than bought pre-made. Even if you only do part of it from scratch, like the pizza bagels below. Price break down here.

If you make pizza bagels once a week instead of ordering pizza, you can save about $240 a year!

 

 

4.Less Waste

A perfect example of this is popcorn. When I used to buy microwave popcorn, there would be the bag the popcorn was popped in, the plastic wrapping around that bag and the cardboard box that held all the popcorn. Now when making popcorn over the stove, the only trash produced is the one plastic bag the kernels come in and the bottle of oil (and even those only get used up and tossed maybe once a month, not every time I make popcorn!).

Now think about the amount of trash if you compared even more foods like, bottled ice-coffee, pudding cups, pre-made pizzas…..

5. Make it How You Like it

Ever eat spaghetti with bottled sauce, but you wish it tasted just a little less sweet? Or you wish that your frozen pizza had some more cheese, or that potato salad from the deli had less onions?  That’s one of the joys of making it yourself! You can make it exactly how you like!

6. More Fulfilling

While eating out and purchasing ready-made meals can be fast and easy, there’s something satisfying about sitting down to the table and knowing that everything (or almost everything) was made by your own hands. It’s like a work of art and feels so much homier!

7. Helps You Waste Less Food

While homemade food might go bad a little faster, simply because it’s not packed with preservatives, home-cooking can actually help you use up food. You can use that yellowing broccoli in potato broccoli soup, you can mash those bananas up for muffins, or freeze foods for use in cooking later.

 

As I sit and type this there is a bag of Cheerios in my kitchen, Cameron ate jarred salsa last night and I’ve only made my own yogurt once. I’m not saying we all need to only cook from scratch, but we can definitely see there’s some big benefits to it!

Linked at Frugally Sustainable and the following:

Amy
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You’ve probably seen this done before, if not just google it and you’ll find lots of pictures on the internet of people turning their cereal boxes into a fashionable magazine, book or paper holder.

Boring cereal box...

 

Useful cereal box...

 

Useful and pretty cereal box!

 

This post is linked at A Blossoming Life and The Frugal Girls.

A couple of years ago I began dabbling in the world of baking soda and vinegar as cleaning products, but didn’t get into it whole-heartedly. Then when we moved here I didn’t bring any cleaners with me and thought it’d be the perfect time to see how long I could go without buying any cleaners….well we’ve been here going on 9 months, and I’ve purchased almost none! So what have I been using the last 9 months? I’m glad you asked! :)

Vinegar

You can buy a nice big jug of distilled white vinegar for just a couple bucks.

I use it for:

  • Cleaning mirrors and windows, just keep it in a spray bottle for easy use.
  • Sometimes I clean my floor with just hot water, but sometimes I use vinegar too.
  • Pour some baking soda, vinegar and then hot water down a slow drain to help clear it out.
  • Use in place of fabric softener.

 

Vinegar makes great window/mirror cleaner!

Baking Soda

I like to buy the larger boxes of baking soda and use it not just for baking, but also for cleaning!

It works great on:

 

Keep baking soda in a spice jar for easy use.

Keeping baking soda in a spice bottle makes it easy to sprinkle around for cleaning!

 

Disinfecting Wipes

Disinfecting wipes are really the only store-bought cleaning supply I have right now (not counting dish soap). I know they’re not the most frugal choice, but they come in handy, like when we were chopping up meat from an entire deer on our kitchen table! I’ve been reading about various DIY disinfecting wipes and if I do try it, I’ll have to make a new post! :)

Any recommendations on homemade disinfecting wipes?

This post is linked at Frugally Sustainable and A Blossoming Life.

 

 

 

 

Amy 

 

I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d try making my homemade deodorant, in fact I hadn’t even heard of any one doing it until a couple of years back. But now I’ve tried it and am really liking the results! I used A Blossoming Life’s recipe.

Only 3 ingredients!

  1. ¼ cup of baking soda (I’m always amazed at all the uses for baking soda!)
  2. ¼ cup arrow root powder (the recipe said you could use cornstarch instead)
  3. 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil

Only 3 ingredients!

A Blossoming Life also said you could add tea tree oil, but that was optional so I skipped it. It took almost no time to make! I just mixed the three ingredients together and put them in a cleaned out baby food jar! I had enough coconut oil (that a wonderful friend gave me!) to make a second batch.

I was worried that it wouldn’t work and I’d stink all the time, but honestly I think it works better than regular deodorant! I usually just have to apply it once a day, but I can update you again when summer rolls around and I sweat more! :)

I also have had issues with deodorant getting in the armpits of my shirts and it not washing out well. I’ve only been using this deodorant a couple of weeks, but so far it seems to wash out great! Yay for keeping my shirts nice!

It’s natural, it works, it’s easy, and it’s probably cheaper than the store-bought!


This post is linked at The Frugal GirlsThe Peaceful MomA Blossoming Life, Frugally Sustainable and Creating Naturally.

 

Amy

We have two pinboards in our house and they were both so simple to make and cost us nothing!

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard from an old box into desired size and shape.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric a little bigger than the cardboard and lay it over the cardboard, folding it around to the back.
  3. Duck tape the fabric on the back and wa-la! You’re done!

Of course if you wanted to, you could make it a lot cuter by adding ribbons or something, but for us this was just fine. We were able to get some free fabric and the boxes were just going to be tossed out, so it was free!

(You might notice in the picture below I have a coffee envelope from a free sample hanging up on the board. It’s the perfect size for me to put receipts in until I update our budget).

 

This post is linked at The Peaceful Mom and Frugally Sustainable.

Key holders are my best friend! I think I would lose keys every day if it wasn’t for having one hanging at the front door. When we moved, we got rid of the one we had, but never fear! Cameron came to the rescue! He went outside and found some wood and sticks just lying around, then drilled 3 holes in the bigger piece of wood using an antique hand drill that he had purchased used on ebay.

Then he glued the smaller sticks inside the holes and let it dry…and viola! I now have a rustic, nature themed key holder, so I don’t lose my keys! Plus almost no money was spent making it!

 

I finally got around to mixing up my own foaming hand soap! I just put some water and liquid hand soap in the foaming dispenser then shook it up! That was it, so easy! I used roughly 10 percent soap to 90 percent water, so it definitely will stretch our liquid soap! I’m definitely going to keep this up, since it takes only a minute to do!

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