Today’s thrifty living tip is decrease your amount of laundry. How do you ask? There are two simple tricks I use in my household. First is to use a towel more than once. We don’t use washcloths, but the towel that only dries hands can be used for a week. The same thing for the bath towel. I make sure to hang it so it will dry between uses. We also wear our pajamas for 2-3 nights before calling them dirty. I have 2 pairs that I rotate nightly so I only have to wash 2 each week. I don’t wear my pajamas all day and only for bed. I also don’t wash clothes that I only wore for an hour or two like dress clothes for church. Unless I got sweaty, there is no need to wash them since they aren’t dirty. This has helped cut down on the amount of laundry we do each week.
Your local public library is your best way of saving a lot of money. A library card is free (just don’t lose it). Since I am living in a rural town, then it really saves me a lot of money in gas since I can do more than just check out books. They have lots of services and many times have clubs that meet. My library also offers classes on different things and not to mention the great kid related activities. Summer reading programs are very popular and many offer rewards for your kids to read. Check with your local branch to see what they offer. With your library card you can check out savings!
FAX/PRINT: I can pay a small fee to have items faxed, sent to me, or print/copy. It’s much cheaper than many places including grocery stores and the post office.
FREE Computers: If I need it, then I can get on the computers for free. Mine has a time of 1 hour per patron as they only have 3 computers. Many times the bigger libraries offer more so no time limit.
FREE DVD RENTALS: I can rent DVD movies and many are new releases! I find a great selection of movies, how to videos, seasons of tv shows, and kid’s movies/cartoons! My library gives me 1 week and the other one 2-3 weeks rental.
FREE Magazines/Newspapers: I can read many of the current magazines for free and my newspaper. They also give me the coupon inserts since they don’t want them. I have also been given older back copies for free as they would just trash them. Handyman magazine is great as diy tips last for years.
Story Time/Kid’s Activities: On weekends and in the summer, they have story time and crafts for the kids. My son loves participating in the summer reading program. Each child receives a free small cheese pizza to a pizza shop for participating. They also get entered into a drawing. He won the grand prize this year which was a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart! If you don’t go to your library then it’s time you check it out.
Naturally you can check out books. Of course libraries can also offer free classes on computers and other things. You just never know what you will discover at the library!
Today’s thrifty living tip is make your own cleaners. You are literally pouring money down the drain along with caustic chemicals. I put vinegar in a small spray bottle to use for counters, the sink, and cutting boards. It disinfects and won’t hurt anyone if ingested including kids and pets. This would also be great for high chairs and cleaning kids toys. I also use vinegar in the toilet bowl and bathroom sinks. Vinegar makes a great fabric softener and disinfects my towels and sheets. To clean vinyl floors I again reach for vinegar. It cleans my floors well and the smell usually goes away within twenty minutes.
For my stove top, I make a paste of baking soda and water. Just be careful not to get it close to the burner openings. I let it sit for 20 minutes, and just remove with a cloth and warm water. I may have to use a little elbow grease on the burnt on stuff, but this usually loosens it up making it easy to clean. There are lots of great recipes on the internet so just google homemade cleaners.
One of the benefits in living a sub-tropical climate is that I can grow vegetables when most of the country is buried under snow. I can grow food year round which helps my food bill plus I am outside in fresh air. I haven’t actually had much of a chance to start planting since it’s rained almost every day for the last two weeks. I’m expanding a little more for the fall season, but not too much so it’s overwhelming. I bought my seeds for baby spinach, green onions, and two variety packs of lettuce. I made sure one variety pack is slow to bolt since we usually have spring weather in late February. My father-in-law is giving me transplants of cabbage and broccoli.
I was very pleased with how well my garden did this past year. I had more than enough cucumbers which I used to make pickles. It was a big hit with our family. I want to learn how to can so I can give dill pickles as gifts. I decided to stagger the seeds so I don’t get so overwhelmed with everything wanting to harvest near the same time. This will be really helpful with the lettuce, cabbage, and spinach plants. My husband is really looking forward to the lettuce since he likes to eat salads in the morning for breakfast. If you live in a snowy climate then use your winter to make gardening plans and looking at seeds.
I have several social networks that I belong to for personal and also to pick up more readers for my blog. I think using them is a big advantage for your blog. It’s a great way to meet other blog writers, share ideas, and readers. I recently joined Twitter and I love if you follow me. I’ll return the favor. I also joined Networked Blogs through Facebook. I also have the older ones like MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog. I was using Entrecard but I haven’t been as involved with that once since I don’t always have to time to drop cards daily. I’m sure there are some other great sites, but these are a few that I really like. If you have a site that you would like to share then please leave a comment. I love hearing about new websites and ways to pick up new readers.
Today’s thrify living tip is to thin out those ultra concentrated dish liquids. I have noticed this new trend with the ulta concentrated liquids like dish and laundry detergents to even hand soaps. Of course the bottles are getting smaller so I’m not sure how much more you getting for the price increase. I also noticed that the coupon amounts have shrunk (ok pun intended). I used to be able to find $1 and 50 cent coupons, but now I noticed the manufacturers are issuing 50 to 25 cent coupons. I decided to battle this by adding water to thin it out. I found more was being wasted. I put 1/3 liquid into an empty bottle and just add water then shake to mix it up. I can now make a bottle last for several weeks which makes my stockpile last much longer. I recently bought 18 bottles from a CVS sale for $2.xx so this will last well over a year. I find that it bubbles better and the dishes are just as clean.
So you are probably wondering what is a free Christmas spending challenge. It’s a challenge that I’m doing this year to pay for Christmas with our pocket change and the things I get for free. This includes gift certificates I redeem from My Points and other reward programs. I am also using the change we’ve saved in a jar. I normally use this money to pay for presents for our family like DVD movies and games. This year we are on a tight budget like most people so I decided to spend less. I can still give nice and thoughtful gifts without spending a fortune.
I give gifts to around 30 people which includes my family, hubby’s, teachers, mail lady, and such. My hubby and I aren’t exchanging any presents this year unless I can score some great deals on DVD movies and/or games, but I’m not holding my breath. I also buy items for gift baskets that I get for free or almost free. I get lots of compliments on my gift baskets from my friends and family. I have Tupperware left from in my inventory that I will give as gifts. I do plan on making homemade treats this year like chocolate covered mint patties, peanut butter balls and fudge.
I already have several gift certificates saved up. I redeemed 2 $10 Subway gift cards and a $10 Chili from My Coke Rewards. I just ordered another $10 Chili gc so I plan on giving those 2 to a couple. I’m hoping to get the Snow White blu-ray DVD combo pack that will be on sale at Wal-Mart on Tuesday for $9.96 plus tax after I use the $10 off coupon I printed. That will make another wonderful gift. I also got stainless steel water bottles on clearance. I just requested a $50 check from my bank since I use a free checking rewards program. I am getting a $25 CVS gc from My Points which I will use to help pay for the great deals I’m getting. I also did the CVS Monsters vs Aliens deal this past week. I paid $6 for that movie which is a great stocking stuffer for my son. My son’s Christmas and Birthday is already paid for with all those Bionicle Legos we scored last October so click here to read about that great deal. I’m glad we saved them so that is a huge help to our Christmas budget. I found a couple more gifts I had bought but didn’t give them last year. I have a bad habit of forgetting what I buy people earlier in the year, and then buy something else when it gets closer to Christmas. I will report back and update my Christmas spending challenge especially when it gets closer to Christmas.