Category: Frugal Living Tips

TMR Frugal Living Tip #89

conservewaterwhilebathingToday’s thrifty living tip is to conserve water by bathing the kids together or if they are too old, then bathe them back to back unless they are very dirty. If they are that dirty, then I might think about rinsing them off before bathing them. As a child, I remember taking a bathe with my brother until I was about three or four. My mom did it to save time and money.

Another way to save money on water and conserve water is only fill the tub partially. I never fill mine more than half and sometimes less. We are all taking showers now with a low flow shower head so I can turn it off while soaping up.

One more tip to conserve money even while showering might be to take a shower with your significant other. I know it sounds a little risque for a family orientated blog, but I’m just merely pointing out the fact that it does conserve water plus puts more money in your wallet instead of going down the drain. I hope these tips help you to find ways to conserve water plus time and money.

Give Your Furniture a Makeover

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Last May I posted about remodeling my house. We painted almost every room in the house, put down new vinyl floors, painted kitchen cabinets, fixed cracks above the door frames, and put in a new bathroom sink and toilet. I bought new furniture for our bedroom which I got on clearance. We only had nightstands, and we needed a dresser. I wanted a nice set of matching furniture for our bedroom. When it came time to redo our son’s bedroom, we didn’t want to buy him all new furniture. He has lots of shelving in his closet so he doesn’t need a dresser. He already had a couple of mismatched pieces of furniture in his room. He had an entertainment center and a nightstand. They were still in great condition but in dire need of a makeover.

We watch a lot of remodeling shows on DIY and HGTV channels. My husband had already completed the kitchen cabinet hardware project (you can read about it here). The obvious solution to our problem was to paint the furniture. It was going to be a lot of work with sanding, priming, and then painting. I already did that with the kitchen cabinets and was not in the mood to do another big painting project. My husband had a brilliant idea to solve our problem. He decided to spray paint the furniture. We already had the black satin spray paint from the kitchen hardware project. My son’s room was gray with diamond plated outlet covers. Hubby thought black furniture would compliment the room nicely. He was exactly correct. I told you we watch a lot of remodeling shows on tv.

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The spray paint had primer already mixed in so no need for another step. He did rough up the nightstand with a 120 sanding block. Then he wiped it down thoroughly. He used a satin black finish which brought out beautiful details of the piece. He used two coats which dried very quickly outside. It was a very sunny day with little humidity which helps it to dry faster. The one mistake we made was not using a clear coat protector afterwards. The nightstand has a few chips as you can see in the pictures. I am going to wait until spring to add another light coat and then apply a clear protector coat. To further protect the top of the nightstand I had a glass top cut by the local glass shop. It cost me $12 plus tax. I think it adds a nice touch to the nightstand. I also did the same thing to my nightstands and my bathroom vanity. It’s a built-in vanity to the wall. I spent around $80 for all four items. It makes cleaning so much easier and protects the pieces more from water stains.

glasstopThe project was very easy and inexpensive. I paid around $15 for two cans of spray paint to makeover the entertainment stand and nightstand. I didn’t take pictures of the entertainment stand, but it looks just as nice. Hubby also spray painted the drawer pull a nice silver which gives it a wow factor. It was just a plain brass color. We already had the silver spray paint color. I am planning to do the same thing for my living room end table and entertainment center. I promise to do more of a step by step with pictures for those pieces. This project extends the life of furniture you already own. Why spend more money when you can just give your furniture a makeover. Do you have any furniture you would like to makeover? I would love to read about it.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #88

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Today’s thrifty living tip is to use baby wipes to spot clean your clothes. I know they have the Tide fabric wipes, but baby wipes do the same job and cost less to buy. Baby wipes are very effective at cleaning up spilled food or drink. I keep a small pack of wipes in my purse. They have the hard case or you can buy the small pack of samples. I also receive free wipe samples from time to time in the mail. My little one is a tween, but I still keep a box of baby wipes in my house to use for many things as they are so versatile. You can even use them as makeup remover especially for your eyes.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #87

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Today’s thrifty living tip is to take an inventory of purchased gifts. This is the time of the year I take advantage of clearance sales by purchasing gifts now to give throughout the year. I like to have a stockpile of gifts for teachers, last minute gifts, kid birthday parties, or gifts you know a certain person would love. You aren’t saving money if you forget you have Aunt Sally’s gift sitting in the closet so go out to buy her another one. What if no one else on your list likes poodles? Then you’re either stuck with it or donate it to charity.

I like to keep a list either on my smartphone or computer with all the gifts I have purchased. I know what I have in my gift closet, and I know who is getting what. I do make changes if I find something else during the year, but I make sure to change it on my list. This keeps me organized and on budget. I also have a special closet where I store all the gifts. Lately I have started storing them in a chest, and I keep an extra list taped to the inside lid. I have my list in two spots. Do you have a system to keep you organized for extra gifts? I have also created a gift list that is printable for anyone to use. I would appreciate a link back to my blog if you decide to post it on your blog or website. Just save the picture and then you can print. Enjoy the free printable gift list.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #86

First I have to comment I never post two frugal living tips in a week so consider this a nice bonus for the end of 2011. I don’t have any pictures to show for this daily tip so I apologize for cleaning it so quickly.

Today’s thrifty living tip is to clean or fix appliances before replacing. I know this seems pretty logical, but many people get discouraged by older appliances and distracted by new shiny ones. My Kenmore gas dryer is 14 years old. I already replaced the washing machine a couple of years ago with a front loader. That was a great decision which has saved me money in water and electricity. I just want to say it wasn’t worth fixing so it was time to replace. The dryer works great, and works less as my clothes are drier when they come out the washing machine. I do like to line dry which also helps extend the life of the dryer.

Lately it’s too cold and rainy to put it on the line. I’ve been a little too busy to keep up with laundry because of the holidays. We noticed all these scuff marks inside the dryer while doing laundry this past weekend. It wasn’t getting on the clothes so I wasn’t too concerned. Hubby mentioned maybe it was time to replace it with our income tax refund next year. He tried to clean it but said the marks weren’t coming out.

I looked at it again today as I needed to do laundry. I pulled out my Mr. Clean magic eraser, and viola! The marks were coming out quite easily. I did take a wet dish towel to wipe it out a couple of times to make sure no residue is left. I wiped it with a dry towel afterwards, and over 90% of the marks are gone. I’m not sure what caused them, but now they are all gone. I have dried a load of towels and all looks good. No marks on the towels or the dryer. I will keep an eye on the dryer, but I’m hopeful I can get a few more years of service. I will also start a new appliance fund just to be on the safe side.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #85

Today’s thrifty living tip is to save money by coloring your own hair. I usually get 2 boxes of hair color for $5 after sale and coupons.Do not be intimated by using a coloring hair at home kit. Many of the do it yourself home kits are super easy to use with great instructions.

My stylist charges me $35 so I was going every 3 months. I was spending $140 yearly not including tip so around $150+ with tip. I can color my hair every 8 weeks which costs me $30 a year. I am saving over $100 each year. It might not seem like much, but it does add up.

I use Garnier hair color, and I have used all of them. I prefer the ultra color as I find it covers the gray well and the color lasts. I have become a bit of an expert on coloring my own hair. I don’t do streaks or frosts. I just want to cover those stubborn grays. I’m much too young to have gray hair. I love the dark auburn color as it is closest to my natural color. I love how the red looks when I’m outside in the sun. I get lots of compliments on my color so I must be doing something right.

Do you color your own hair at home or do you prefer to have a professional color your hair?

Guest Article: Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Child's Birthday Party on a BudgetThe following post was written by Melissa C. who writes for the Blog Content Guild.

Throwing a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Throwing a birthday party for your child doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. There are lots of fun tips and tricks you can use that allow you to save money and will still allow for a memorable time!

First of all, if your child is very young, you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy cake from a bakery. These can be very expensive and, if your child is too young to even remember it, it is a waste of money. Many children love the Funfetti cake mix from Pillsbury that you can find at most grocery stores. You can make a fun cake yourself that will save a lot of money.

Instead of a cake, consider having cupcakes. You can make these yourself easily, or buy them from the bakery for usually cheaper than a cake. This takes the hassle out of having to cut a cake, and if your child is young they may enjoy playing with the cupcake far more than they would have enjoyed having a cake.

If you’re having a theme party, like a Mario party, save by buying minimal amounts of mario birthday party supplies. Instead, make some Mario-themed party-ware on your own. You can bake Mario-shaped cookies or a Mario cake.

Before heading to the store, survey what you already have with an eye for repurposing. If you have some leftover curling ribbon from Christmas, you could use it to tie around balloons. Similarly, some wire ribbon could help you decorate chairs and make the interior of your house colorful and welcoming.
Head to your local dollar store, especially goodie bag items. You can often find lots of stickers and small toys that you can put in small bags and tie with ribbons. It will look impressive to the children but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to assemble.

With some creative thinking and a little bit of planning, you can throw a great birthday party for your child without breaking the bank. Sometimes it could be easy to get caught up into the mentality nowadays of trying to have a birthday party better than any of the other children, but that’s not what is important. The important thing is to give your child a great, memorable time without stressing yourself out, and hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective and create a great celebration.