Category Archives: Frugal Tips

The essentials for keeping a clean house are really quite simple. We don’t need to purchase expensive overachieving cleaning equipment such as super filtering vacuum cleaners, sanitizing dishwashers, mite-proof mattress covers and ionic air cleaners. Of course if you are an allergy sufferer or have other sensitive allergies you may need these things, but for many of us most of our cleaning tasks can be performed with man-powered tools that work as an extension of our hands.

Here are the top three cleaning tools

The miraculous microfiber mop.
It can dust, wash, and polish your floors more thoroughly and anti-bacterially than any mop ever made, using nothing but water! How does it do this? It’s all bout the fiber. A microfiber is a very thin synthetic fiber that’s thinner than a human hair. It absorbs about seven times its weight in water and dries out two or three times faster than cotton, and refuses to grow mold and mildew! It sheds no lint or other allergens, holds it’s shape and can be machine-washed hundreds of times!

How do you use a microfiber mop? Lightly dampen the mop pad with water, slap it on the floor and press the Velcro-ed mop head onto the pad. You can quickly mop a whole room, when the pad looks dirty, either rinse it or toss it in the washing machine. Let your floor air dry or give it a glossing over with a dry pad.microfiber mop

The Humble Corn Broom
No mater how many advances there are in technology the corn broom is still considered irreplaceable as a serious tool of commercial cleaning. It has the ability to sweep rough surfaces as well as smooth ones, indoors or out. It doesn’t just move dirt around, the fine hairs at the end of its bristles grab onto particles and move them further up into the broom. It doesn’t’ require much manpower; a gentle sweeping is surprisingly efficient. As it ages the bristles soften and when they finally wear out the whole tool can be composted!corn broom

The Nontoxic Toilet Brush
There is nothing glamorous about a toilet brush – nor should there be. The real innovation is in how you use the thing. Television commercials have taught us the we need to gear up while pouring toxic potions into the dreaded bowl. This is unnecessary even in the worst situations. Instead, use some distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. For light cleaning, just spraying the bowl and around the rim, and scour lightly with the toilet brush. For heavier cleaning add a couple of cups of vinegar to the bowl and close the lid. Walk away for a couple of hours, and then brush the insides of the bowl as usual.toilet brush

What are your essential cleaning tools? I purchase vinegar by the gallon and have a pile of old cloth diapers I use as my cleaning rags. Nothing fancy but it does the trick!

Want to save money on cleaning products? Don’t just head over to the dollar store and load up on a slew of off-brand scrubs and sprays. If the global environmental repercussion of chemical cleaners don’t seem like enough of a motivator, let’s face it, sometimes organic has to take a backseat to cheap – consider your health. The fumes of corrosive cleaning products will stick around in a sealed environment, causing air pollution inside the home. The good news is that “green” cleaning products don’t have to be expensive, quite the opposite. Stick with a few multitasking basics and you’ll actually spend less.

If you are looking to green up your cleaning regimen but don’t want to go broke in the process, baking soda and vinegar will be your new best friends; but Castile soap is also a good product to know about.baking soda/vineagar

The typical liquid dish soap or laundry detergent bought at the grocery store today is made from a petroleum distillate, a toxic and nonrenewable resource. Castile is made from coconut or olive oil, both renewable resources and is a natural and readily biodegradable alternative.Castile Soap

Castile can go anywhere: in the washing machine (1/4 cup per load), in squirt bottles for hand, dish and body washing and in garden remedies and natural cleaning formulas. Castile soap can be expensive, but just think of it as an investment up front. Cleaning formulas made with castile require only a few tablespoons of the stuff at a time.Castile Soap

You can find Castile in liquid or solid form in health food stores and some supermarkets.Castile Soap

You may remember over a month ago when I attempted to make soap? I had always wanted to make soap and had read many accounts of other people’s attempt to make soap. I had gathered all the ingredients needed and decided to give it a try. I would make Cold Process Soap and set up shop in our garage. I wanted to make sure the area was well ventilated!Making Soap

I was surprised at how easy it was to make. In no time at all I was pouring the mixture into my molds.Making Soap

The soap was allowed to harden for 48 hours before I removed the soap from the mold. The bars were then allowed to cure.making soap

After six weeks I decided to try the soap and see if it actually worked?making soap I lathered up under the faucet and was pleasantly surprised to see that my soap worked! My hands were clean!making soap

I’m so excited that I had success with making soap! Now to investigate a few more recipes and make another batch!

One of the best tips I have is line drying your clothes. Hanging your clothes on the line not only gives them a nice clean scent, but also saves the wear and tear on electric dryers, and saves energy! It will also help your clothes to last longer. Many people don’t like to hang their clothes on the line because they don’t feel very soft after they are dried. Did you know you can add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your load and your dried clothes will be much softer. Hanging clothes on the line is also a great way to diminish stains. The sun has a natural whitening power which will help diminish stains. I just love the way sheets smell after hanging in the sun all day!clothes drying, prudent living

Have you ever tried making your own dryer sheets? Using a piece of old cloth or a cotton rag or even an old cloth diaper ad 5 drops of your favorite essential oil. Throw the cloth in the dryer. Don’t use more than 5 drops or you may stain your clothes! Try mixing essential oils to get just the scent you enjoy: rosemary and thyme or lavender and chamomile for example.

There are also several recipes of making your own fabric softener. These are used in the washing machine and are much cheaper than store bought fabric softeners. In a large plastic container with a tight fitting lid, add 4 cups of water or 2 cups of baking soda. Then add 2 cups of vinegar (add slowly as the mixture will foam). Use ¼ cup to ½ cup per load.Give a boost to your laundry with baking soda.

The easiest fabric softener is just adding 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle as mentioned above. Want some fragrance to your clothes? Take your gallon jug of vinegar and add 25 drops of lavender essential oil to it.Vinegar and essential oil

What are your favorite tips for doing your laundry? I remember the days well when I never seemed to get ahead of the laundry with four children under the roof. Now with just my husband and I it is much more manageable!

 

Do you have a friend or relative who always seems to walk away with the deals, who’s never made a single less-than-impeccable purchase, who somehow manages to squeeze more perks out of the toniest of vacations? You, too, can transform yourself into a wheeling dealing wonder. Time to get more out of your money, whether you’re working the warehouse club aisles or bargaining down the price of a jacket.sale

Our consumer culture has turned many of us into professional shoppers. But how good are we? We shop with emotional fervor, but we scoop up the merchandise too fast and we’re too trusting of marketing claims and hype. While we’re obsessed with low prices we are also mesmerized by new “features” and “options” but are we calculating value: performance over time? A better picture would be if we found pleasure and pride in living with a small and finite collection of durable goods. Durable goods are those items that last longer than three years. How do you get there? We need to think before we buy and then care for what we have.gadgets

As I begin to sort through my kitchen and canning supplies I am taking hard look at what I have in my cupboards and how often I use these items. For example I have several gadgets that I can use to chop nuts, an old fashioned bowl and chopper blade (which I NEVER use), a Zyliss chopper, which I SELDOM use and a mini chopper which I use all the time and a mini Cuisinart which I also use all the time. Do I need all four, no! Keep two, the other two go.nut choppers

Now is a good time to be conscience about my spending. In fact with my husband unemployed it is the perfect time to put selective spending into action.

The first thing I am going to do is calculate how much we’ve spent over the last month on any discretionary subscriptions we have. (For example Hulu, Netflix, etc.) We actually don’t have very many discretionary subscriptions as we have really cut back in the past. However I am canceling our Hulu subscription. We really don’t watch much TV in the summer. We have no cable subscription and usually rely on Netflix to watch any shows or movies.

An evil plot to destroy the world. Enjoy! (Log...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The idea is not to deprive yourself but to realize if you are spending money for things you don’t really use or want you can consciously reallocate that money into something you need or love! Let’s work at making the most of our money and pay attention to what we’re spending it on. Make sure you really want or need that jacket before buying it!bargains, frugal tips, prudent living

We’ve all got our favorite herbs and spices, but some ingredients are basics. For many, sugar starts off the day in your tea or coffee. Sugar is also a key ingredient in many treats. Salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar are also non-negotiable. As for condiments, many can be made at home and they’ll most likely taste better that way. A few recipes will get you started, but if you’re curious, head to the store and take a look at the labels on items like specialty dips, taco seasoning and cocktail sauce. You might be surprised to learn you have all the necessary ingredients at home.

Here is a list of the basic pantry items:
Sugar
Salt
Peppercorns
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Vinegar
Herbs and spices you use the most
Tea and/or coffee

My favorite Taco Seasoning recipe.
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepperKeep your red spices in the freezer for maximum freshness.

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce is another easy sauce to whip up at home. I love shrimp in any form and once you try this homemade shrimp cocktail sauce you will never buy it in a bottle again! Best news is that you can make it up to a week ahead and store in your refrigerator. Makes enough for about 8-10 servings.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons horseradish, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined.

Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more horseradish or any of the other ingredients to suite your taste. When you’re happy with the sauce, transfer it to a small serving bowl.

Cook the shrimp by poaching them in boiling water, pan-frying them on the stove, or roasting them in the oven until opaque. Arrange the shrimp around the cocktail sauce and serve hot or cold. Delicious!shrimp cocktail

Homemade salad dressing is another great way to use the ingredients you have on hand. This is my favorite balsamic vinaigrette that only has five ingredients! Store the leftovers in the refrigerator and if the dressing thickens just bring to room temperature before serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the mustard and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Perfect on any salad!Salad dressing

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