When you start googling “ways to save money” and checking out thrifty blogs there’s several tips that you see over and over again, like use coupons, turn off your lights, or cook at home, so here’s 5 ideas that maybe you haven’t heard as much (or possibly not even at all!):

  1. Cut open your tubes and bottles. I’ve been doing this more lately and wondering to myself why I haven’t been doing this my whole life? Toothpaste, lotion, mustard, mayonnaise, whatever it is, you can often get at least one, if not several more uses out of it!
  2. Use less toilet paper. Glamorous, huh? But seriously, it might be easy to mindlessly grab way more than is needed. Teach your kids to get just the right amount too.
  3. Produce less laundry for the wash, this will not only save you time doing bazillions of loads, but also save money in detergent and water, plus it can help your clothes not wear out as fast. Check out my post 5 Ways to Have Less Laundry.
  4. Drive more cautiously. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to making a post about how we’re saving on gas, but in a nutshell, don’t drive too fast and use downhill roads to your advantage.
  5. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think snail mail letters are a blast! Try sending a home-made post card instead of a regular card, saves postage and uses less paper!

 

”Amy”

This Frugal Friday Photo I have a picture of Gracia playing with a really cool Arthur book. It has little figures from Arthur and throughout the book there’s slots you can put them. I got it for Gracia at a thrift store along with a coloring book that had stickers in it. Both books were in great condition. The coloring book hadn’t been used at all and I got them both for $1! Another frugal thing in this picture is the outfit Gracia’s wearing. A lady from our neighborhood gave me a bunch of girl clothes last year. Most of them were too big for Gracia then, but she’s starting to grow into them now. The only problem with them is that they smelled really strongly of cigarettes. But I washed them a few times with vinegar and that fixed the problem!

  I’ve already shown you some free stuff, I’ve gotten before, but here’s another picture. Some of them are things I’ve gotten recently and some are old, but I misplaced and just recently found them.

Here’s what I got:

  • 1 GoodNites underwear (just to be clear this is for Gracia…not me!).
  • 1 coupon for a free Suave product.
  • 1 small travel size deodorant (which by the way I have already used and I keep it in my travel toiletry bag).
  • 1 small sample of perfume.
  • 1 Shout color catcher dryer sheet.
  • 1 Small sample of Tide detergent. I’m keeping this in case I ever have to do a load or two of laundry on a trip.
  • 1 sample of teeth whitening strips.
  • 1 coupon for a free bag of rice.
  • 6 samples of different instant coffee flavors.

It’s so much fun getting these samples in the mail! I don’t do every sample I see. Some you have to sign up for a newsletter, do a long survey, or be a member of something. And I only do samples I think I’ll actually use. Like I don’t sign up for anti-wrinkle samples (at least not yet…maybe in 20 years).

Awhile back I was talking to my mom on the phone and somehow got on the subject of smelly t-shirts. She suggested that I either soak them in a water/vinegar solution or put some vinegar in the fabric softener spot of my washing machine, since vinegar is a deodorizer. I’ve tried both of those for extra smelly clothes. It’s easy and cheap. Here’s an expert about vinegar in laundry I got from  http://www.rd.com/home/150-household-uses-for-vinegar/6/ .

“There are so many benefits to be reaped by adding 1 cup white vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle that it’s surprising that you don’t find it prominently mentioned inside the owner’s manual of every washing machine sold. Here are the main ones:

  • A single cup of vinegar will kill off any bacteria that may be present in your wash load, especially if it includes cloth diapers and the like.
  • A cup of vinegar will keep your clothes coming out of the wash soft and smelling fresh — so you can kiss your fabric-softening liquids and sheets good-bye (unless, of course, you happen to like your clothes smelling of heavy perfumes).
  • A cup of vinegar will brighten small loads of white clothes.
  • Added to the last rinse, a cup of vinegar will keep your clothes lint- and static-free.
  • Adding a cupful of vinegar to the last rinse will set the color of your newly dyed fabrics.”

All sound like good reasons to keep some vinegar close to your washing machine! =)

So this morning,I was racking my brain trying to think of something to post, and even considered skipping a post today. And then while I was checking my facebook I saw that Country Woman (I’m facebook friends with them), said that the month of May is national vinegar month. It wasn’t long ago that all I thought of vinegar was that it was a cooking ingredient I only used once in a blue moon, but I’ve started learning all the amazing ways you can use it. Not only can it be used in baking (Vinegar Sugar Cookies),  but also in cleaning (homemade window cleaner) or even in laundry to help get ride of smells.

So over the next couple of days I’ll be highlighting some great (and frugal) ways to use this humble, yet amazing ingredient! =)

Vinegar Sugar Cookies

I bought a swiffer sweeper the other day. My sponge mop was getting old and gross. I decided on the sweeper rather than the wet jet, because it was so much cheaper. Then I found this pattern to crochet your own reusable covers, much cheaper than buying the disposable kind. If you don’t know how to crochet never fear, just search the internet for knit or sewn ones. Or if you really don’t want to make your own check out etsy.com, they have some pretty affordable ones there.

I’ve been using a spray bottle with a vinegar water solution to wet my floor. You could probably use a floor cleaner and water solution too. Or you could probably wet the cloth down before putting it on, but I haven’t tried this. So this saves you not only by not having to buy the disposable cloths, but also it uses less water. Then just throw the cover in the wash next time you do a load!

Happy Cleaning!

So, I think a lot of times un-frugal people look at us tightwads shopping at Goodwill, folding our aluminum foil and putting it back in the drawer and scrubbing our windows with vinegar and think we’re strange.  And on top of that I think a lot of people don’t think we really save that much…after all buying windex doesn’t usually break the bank!

So here I made up a little example of how one might save a big chunk of cash in only one month by using some of those “little” tightwad strategies. I wanted to come up with accurate numbers, so I either used estimates of my personal experience or looked up prices. Obviously not everyone is going to save the same amount, you may have more people in your family or already be doing some of these, and prices vary in different places, but read on and if you’re already  tightwad like me, maybe you can add an “Amen!” to this, and if you’re not, maybe you’ll convert.

The bold numbers are the savings. Where necessary I’m assuming that this is for just 2 people (think of the savings if you’re a big family!).

Buying Generic Brand Rather than Name Brand: $10

Reduced for quick sale meat = $3

Making a meal instead of going out to eat (say you spend $25 on a meal out and only $8 on making a meal) =$17

Renting from Redbox instead of going to the theater ($19 for 2 adults, $1.08 for Redbox, including tax) = $17.92

Playing a game rather than renting a movie (1.08 for movie, do this once a week or four times a month) = $4.32

Not buying a drink at a restaurant ($1.50 per person) =$ 3


Drying clothes on the line (72 cents a load, do this once a week, or 4 times a month) = $2.88

Borrowing a book from the library rather than buying it = $15

Using half as many paper towels (instead of using 2 rolls in a month, you use 1 at 1.30 a roll for the cheaper kind)= $1.30

Buying gas at cheaper station (3.41 or 3.54 and you buy 3o gallons – these were actual prices last week in Midland) = $3.90

Buying less soda (buy one less 12 pack)= $3

Using grocery bags as trash can liners (10 cents per bag, say you use 1 bag a day)= $3

Mowing own lawn instead of hiring someone= $20

Cutting men’s hair (1 cut for 1 man) = $15

Give yourself a manicure ($15 for a manicure at a salon, let’s say instead you spend $3 buying a new nail polish color) = $12

Buy 1 pair of pants at Goodwill instead of new ($20 for new pants, $5 at Goodwill) = $15


Cooking with beans in place of meat (88 cents for 1 bag of beans instead of 2.25 for 1 lb. hamburger meat = $1.37 savings per meal, do this once a week or four times a month) = $5.48

Make a gift for someone instead of buying one ( $15 store bought gift, $5 for supplies to make one) = $10

Total Savings:  $161.80

Remember this is just for ONE month, and is not at all exclusive of all the ways to save, there’s lots others like planning your menu around sales, trading babysitting instead of hiring a sitter, reusing ziplocs ect…

So, in my first “Lessons in Laundry” I talked just a little about hanging laundry out. But here’s a few tips (maybe everybody already knows these, but I thought I’d share them just in case):

  • hang your clothes inside out, to keep the colors from fading
  • a breeze helps keep your clothes from getting stiff (of course you can’t control the weather, so I guess this isn’t that helpful)
  • If it’s not breezy, you can make your clothes not so stiff by throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes

Other Bonuses of Hanging clothes:

  • Gets you outside. If I’m not busy and it’s a nice day I actually really enjoy hanging my clothes out
  • Easier on your clothes than a dryer (according to www.momadvice.com)
  • A lot of people like the way their clothes smell off the line
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Burns more calories (okay, the calories it burns is probably insignificant, but I was trying to come up with as many “bonuses” as I could lol)

Here’s some more ways to save on laundry, other than hanging out your clothes, because lets face it sometimes you can’t. Whether you don’t have a place to hang your clothes, the weather’s bad or you’re just in a hurry. So here’s some other ways to save on your laundry:

Detergent:

  • Go for the cheap kind. I buy the Sam’s club store brand, and it does a fine job.
  • Use a little less then called for. This may sound weird, but I encourage you to just try it. The worst that could happen is that your clothes come out dirty and you have to rewash them and never try this frugal tip again. But if you don’t notice a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes you can stretch your detergent a lot longer!
  • Some people make their own laundry detergent and it’s supposedly really cheap, but I’ve never tried this, so can’t really give you any tips on it.
  • If using liquid detergent keep the bottle upside-down when it starts to get low. Then when it’s almost gone, shake it up with some water to get it all out.

Dryer Sheets:

  • There’s always the option of simply not using them. I rarely use them.
  • If you do want to continue using them, cut them in half or
  • Reuse them a few times

Fabric Softener:

  • Don’t use it (I never have, but maybe I don’t know what I’m missing)
  • Use  a little less then recommended

Wash big loads, after all you’re using the same amount of electricity whether it’s a big load or a small one, so try to do fewer big loads rather than multiple small ones. And it can be a time saver too!

Do the short cycle on your washer, unless the clothes are really dirty. Or if you want your clothes to soak awhile, wait until the washer fills up with soapy water and just keep the lid open so the clothes can soak , for as long as you want. Then close the lid and let it finish washing.

Keep an eye on your dryer. If you’re drying your clothes on a timer, keep checking them. You don’t want to be paying for electricity that’s just tossing around already dried clothes.

Anybody else have some good ways to save money on laundry?

Laundry…we all do it…at least I hope we all do! Well it costs us every time we wash our clothes. We use electricity (or gas), water, detergent, and maybe fabric softener and dryer sheets. But how much do you really spend in laundry? I have the answer!! Well, okay, that’s a lie, but Mr. Electricity has the answer! Just go to: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html. He has this cool thing you can calculate how much you spend on a load! Here’s my estimated results, the monthly and yearly costs is for 6 loads a week.

Using Dryer:

  • Per Load – $1.18
  • Month – $31
  • Year – $367

Line Drying:

  • Per Load – $0.46
  • Month – $12
  • Year – $146

So if I was to do all of my drying on the line I would save $221 a year! But the truth is I have been using my dryer a lot. I babysit in the afternoons, and well, the dryer makes my mornings a little less hectic. But I do try to hang up clothes at least once or twice a week. I plan on doing more posts in the future about saving in laundry, but for now I just wanted to share the Mr. Electricity website with you, once you know how much you spend on cleaning clothes, you can then decide if it’s way too much and you need to look for ways to save, or if you’re okay with that price. Happy clothes washing! =)

By the way, I wasn’t going to hang laundry today, but I needed a picture for this post! Haha, and I saved myself $0.72 too!

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