Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saving money room by room: The bathroom

You can do a lot to reduce costs in the bathroom. What are some of your tips?

Saving money in the bathroom

* Take short showers. Don't brush your teeth in there.

* Make sure the little kids run just a little bit of water in the tub. For babies, use the kitchen sink (or a baby bathtub) instead of the tub for bathing.

* Use hair conditioner (or a cheap shampoo plus conditioner) to shave your legs. You already have it, it's cheaper than shaving cream, and it provides a much better barrier between your legs and the razor.

* Don't run water down the sink while you brush your teeth.

* Clean the toilet, sink, and tub with natural cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, and borax.

* Mop the floor with a little vinegar in hot water.

Baking soda has tons of beauty uses:

* Brushing your teeth. Use it plain or mixed with hydrogen peroxide.

* Washing/exfoliating your face. Use it plain or mixed with a very small amount of facial cleanser.

* Washing your hair. Use it plain or mixed with a very small amount of shampoo. I usually use it with shampoo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saving money room by room: The laundry room

The laundry room is a place where you can considerably reduce costs while being environmentally-friendly. What do you do?

Saving money in the laundry room

* Make your own laundry detergent. Here's my recipe, and some other recipes as well.

* Use vinegar in the rinse cycle to boost detergent. You need less detergent when you use vinegar. It can also be used in lieu of fabric softener, again used in the washing machine. I just put a half a cup or so in when I start the water. The clothes come out clean and very fresh.

* Baking soda can also be used as a detergent booster. It also freshens clothes, gets rid of odors, and lets you use less detergent.

* Wash in the cooler part of the day, early in the morning especially. Electricity is less expensive then.

* Wash in cold water, at least the clothes. I sometimes wash towels and linens in hot, just to be sure.

* If you use fabric softener, use only half a sheet with clothes and none with towels.

* Hang your clothes, towels, linens, etc., out to dry.

* If you don't have a clothes line (I don't; I'm working on that) you can dry at least your linens and blankets by tossing them over chairs, bunk beds, the exercise machine, etc.

* Clean out the lint collector after every use and scrub it with soap and a toothbrush every couple of weeks or so. Stuff off of fabric softener sheets builds up and air can't get through.

* Keep the outside vent clear of lint. We learned this the hard way. We got rid of two probably perfectly fine secondhand dryers because they wouldn't dry our clothes. Turns out the outside vent was clogged with lint.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Saving money room by room: The kitchen

Here are a few tips for saving money in the kitchen. What do you do to reduce costs in the kitchen?

Saving money in the kitchen

* Run a sinkful of water for rinsing dishes instead of running the water.

* Make your own dishwashing detergent. It can be used to clean just about anything, not just the dishes.

* Use baking soda for removing stuck-on food, counter stains, and everything in between.

* Use a diluted vinegar spray for wiping down the counters, cleaning off the stove, etc.

* Mop the floor with a cup or so of vinegar in a sink of hot water.

* Recycle those mesh bags that produce like apples and onions come in. They are great for scrubbing pots and dishes and are much cheaper and cleaner than scrubbing sponges.

* Use your leftover coffee grounds! Just add half the amount of fresh grounds you normally use to the leftover grounds. If you normally use two scoops of fresh, just add one scoop of fresh to the leftover grounds. You can do this at least once with the leftovers.

* Make baby food so much cheaper and healthier with a food processor, blender, or just mashing it up. At first you may want to cook her food separately but later on you can just mash up what everyone else is eating. If she isn't going to eat it right then, freeze it in portions in baby food jars.

* Save chicken stock, meat broth, etc. and freeze it for use later. It's wonderful for cooking rice, pasta, and soup.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saving money room by room: The entire house

Today starts the Money Saving WAHM's series of tips for saving money in each room of the house. Today's list consists of things that can be done throughout the entire house.

Saving money in the entire house

* Adjust the thermostat to over 75 in the summer and under 68 in the winter. You probably want to change the temperature a degree at a time over the span of about a week. Spot cool with fans; spot heat with portable heaters. You'll see savings on your very next bill.

* Turn the attic fan on anytime it's cooler outside instead of running the air conditioner.

* Keep the windows covered in the summer to keep sunlight out. Open the curtains/blinds in the winter to let warm sunlight in.

* Turn off lights when no one is using them. Don't turn them on unless you have to.

* Turn off and unplug things like the computer when they aren't in use.

* Use natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and borax to clean everything. They're much easier on your skin, nose, environment, and of course, your pocketbook. Plus, they clean better than harmful commercial cleaners. Here are some recipes for homemade cleaners and homemade laundry soap.

* Use florescent light bulbs. They're cheaper than they used to be and are more readily available. We put them in when we moved in this house over two years ago and haven't had to change any of them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tips for saving money at home

Families these days want and need to save money. Families with work-at-home moms like myself especially want and need to be frugal with their money. Increasingly, families also want to be environmentally-responsible while they watch their budgets.

Coming up over the next several days are some easy tips for saving money at home, room by room. They have been tested by me personally, and most of these ideas are also environmentally-friendly as an added bonus.

Check back tomorrow and be sure to share your money-saving ideas!