Sunday, August 31, 2008

Getting that George Foreman Clean

Well I must confess I didn't clean my kitchen last night and we were gone all day. We left for church at 9:30 and then went straight after to a birthday party in Paducah, Ky. We didn't get home until almost 7pm and I knew I had to get my kitchen done.

So I washed the dishes and swept and mopped the floor and cleaned up the counter tops. All that was left was the George Foreman grill. We have the kind that is a grill on one side and like a flat skillet on the other for like making eggs or bacon. I do love to cook with it but the cleaning is never fun.

I never clean it until it cools and maybe that is my problem?! We even have the special George Foreman sponges that are have grooves to match the grill. But it seems like every time I am sudsing it up with dish soap and warm water and letting it sit and then getting part of it scrubbed off and putting some more suds on.

So today I had an idea....I sprinkled baking soda on it and wet the sponge with warm water and would you know it cleaned like a breeze. I really could not believe how easy it came off. This just makes me love baking soda even more.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cutting out the Unnecessary Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning products can be very expensive. Not to mention there are certain products for every little spot in your home.

I have cut my supplies down to the bare minimum. At this time I only am using vinegar, comet and occasionally bleach.

In an old windex bottle I have a mixture of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water. I use this for mirrors and windows. I also use it for wiping down the kitchen table and counters.

Comet is super cheap and I think it works best if you have a stain on the counter top or in the tub. Now if you have certain types of countertops you will probably have to clean with something else.

When I mop the kitchen floor I either do a mixture of vinegar and water or bleach and water. Just depends on how dirty I feel the floor is. If I think it is really bad I drag out the bleach.

I also use comet for the toilet bowl. I use my vinegar spray for the exterior of the toilet and the bathroom sink.

I have started looking into all the things I can do with baking soda, it is super cheap and great for many cleaning projects.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Reducing Cost and Waste with a Brita Pitcher

We always have kept bottled water in the house. While drinking water is so good for you, the cost of the bottled water is not.

The taste of our tap water is not great at all so just drinking it straight out of the tap is not an option. While shopping in Wal Mart today I found this Brita Slim for only $7.97.

It holds 40 oz and the filter is supposed to last 2 months.

One 24 pack of Nestle pure water is an average of $4. Sometimes it is a few cents under and sometimes a few cents over.

One case is 480 0z for $4

The Brita filter works for 40 gallons, 1 gallon equals 128 oz. For a total of 5120 oz for $8.

It will take 10 1/2 cases of water to equal 1 filter cartridge.

$42 for the water opposed to $8. WOW!!

The replacement filters are $40 for 5 filters.

If the cost dosen't sell you on it, just think about how much you are doing for the environment by not throwing away all those plastic water bottles.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shop Your Local Goodwill or Salvation Army

Who says you have to go to the mall or even Wal Mart when shopping for good quality clothes for your kids?? Your local thrift store is full of wonderful little gems for pennies on the dollar.

I really should go more often, I usually end up going every month or two. But my youngest daughter has hit a serious growing spurt and she is skipping sizes. She has not a single pair of jeans that fit her. I had went to WalMart the other day and got her 3 pairs of jeans for $7 each. Not bad but I knew I could do better which is why I only bought 3 pairs.

Today I was out of town so I stopped in at the closest Salvation Army. Just my luck, sign on the door read "All pink tags 49cents". Here is what I found in my daughters size. Pair of Levi's Jeans for $2.99. Pair of Rt 66 (Target) denim Gauchos 49 cents. Ralph Lauren denim pleated skirt with shorts built underneath 49 cents. Zana Di khaki shorts 49 cents. Rt 66 Distressed denim skirt with shorts underneath 49 cents. Last Delia denim with pink and blue jersey skirt 49 cents. I spent a total of $5.83 with tax!! :)

The skirts can be worn now and also this fall and winter. Add some colored tights or leggings underneath. As for the gauchos they are also good for several seasons. Add a nice pair of boots that come up to the calf and a sweater and you are good to go!

My daughter loved everything and I loved the price!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Many Uses of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

For just barely over $2 you can buy a 4 lb box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda. The cost is so little and the uses are so many!!

If your really brave you can use it to make Home Made Laundry Detergent!

Or you can add 1 cup with your liquid laundry detergent to each load of laundry for cleaner, fresher clothes.

For Scratchless cleaning. Scrubs away stains and grease without scratching.

  • Kitchen Sinks
  • Refrigerators
  • Pots and Pans
  • Counters
  • Coffee Pots
  • Stainless Steel
  • Ovens
  • Microwaves
  • Bathroom Sinks
  • Showers
  • Bathroom Counters
  • Toilets
  • Tubs
  • Tile and Grout
For deodorizing it Absorbs and eliminates odors

Garbage Pails, Carpets, Garbage Disposals and Drains, Litter Boxes and Dishwashers between uses, refrigerators, freezers, pet beds, diaper pails

For Pure and Natural Personal Care
  • Relaxing Bath: add 1/2 cup into your tub for a refreshing bath or foot soak
  • Fuller, more manageable hair: add 1 tsp to your shampoo once a week
  • Invigorating yet gentle facial exfoliant: After washing face, apply a paste of 3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part water in a circular motion. Rinse Clean for a fresh Clean Face
What is your secret Baking Soda Use??

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Samples -- Shampoo and Laundry

I love free samples!! I love getting them in the mail and maybe it seems a little silly but I love that every time I use a free sample I am saving just a little.

Every week or so I will check Walmart to see what kind of free samples they have. I will also do a google search for "free samples" and see what comes up. I don't spend tons of time but, I just search a little while I am doing my Paid to Click sites.

Here are some that I found tonight!!

Sunsilk Shampoo

Head and Shoulders Shampoo

Purex Laundry Detergent

NEW Gain with Baking Soda Laundry Detergent

Free samples are great, they usually come with coupons and each time you use one you are saving.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Made Laundry Soap....Is it worth it?

While reading blog after blog and searching the net far and wide to find more sources to save money I came across a blog talking about making laundry soap. Well laundry soap is expensive so I am willing to give it a try. Sad thing was, I could find nowhere on the blog that described how to do it. So I googled it and was surprised at how much information I found. I found so many recipes. They were all very similar but switched out an ingredient or two.

So I finally found the recipe I wanted to try, it called for Washing Soda, water and a bar of Dove soap. I went shopping and thought I had bought the Dove soap, later realized it was Ivory. I couldn't find the Washing Soda anywhere. Then I realized the same site promoted a recipe that was just the same except you used Baking Soda instead of Washing Soda. So I decided to go for that one.

I had my ingredients! I needed

2 gallons hot water
1 bar Dove soap (whoops I bought the wrong soap)
2 cups Baking Soda

You grate up the soap in a pan with just enough water to cover the soap. Bring it to a boil and melt the soap stirring it often. Then you take a pail or bucket and add 2 gallons hot water. Pour the melted soap into the hot water and mix well. Next take the 2 cups of Baking Soda and stir them in mixing well. After you get it mixed up good you let it cool.

I found that when it cooled it was super thin and separated just a little. (I probably did something wrong? Or maybe that is just normal) Anyway, I took empty laundry soap bottles and washed them out. I stirred the mixture up real good and filled the bottles. it made 250 oz.

The cost of the ingredients
Ivory soap = 3 bars 1.00 ( I used 1, 33cents)
Baking Soda = 4lb box 2.16 (I used 1/4 54cents)

For a total of 87 cents for 1 batch.

The instructions call for using 1/2 for regular loads and 1 cup for heavily soiled loads

If you only use the 1/2 that makes 62.5 loads for 87 cents

If you use the full 1 cup that makes 31.25 loads for 87 cents

Either way you look at!

How much is your average 30 load bottle of Tide, All, Arm & Hammer or even the store brand??

So how does it work??
Well I have been using it for a week now, still using regular fabric softener, bleach and shout. I still treat my laundry and stains as I did with store bought detergent. Other than the fact that it has very little smell, I think because I used Ivory soap, I think it is working great. The only problem I have had so far was the first load of whites I washed. I wanted to see if using only 1/2 cup would work, it didn't. Hence the instructions, 1cup per heavily soiled loads.

I have actually been opting to use the full cup on each load. It is still saving me a bundle. I do think I will buy the Dove to use next time, I think the scent will be more noticeable.

I also plan to try Home Made Fabric Softener as soon as mine runs out....I will let you know how it goes! -Amber

Friday, August 22, 2008

America's Cheapest Family isn't so Cheap

In my quest to become more frugal I have been scouring the web for more ideas on lowering my grocery bill.

Today I came across an article from ABC News about America's Cheapest Family, I am not a big news watcher so I hadn't even heard of these people. I found feeding a family of 6 on $350 a month very intriguing. Right now we spend $400 a month for 4 people. (I am working on this :)

So I follow a link to their site and low and behold, most everything I found on there costs! They do have a Freezine, but other than that there are price tags everywhere. The most helpful thing I found on the site was the Readers Tips, free suggestions from the readers.

I have to say I am a little disappointed, I have found better/free information on numerous blogs. If you have a grocery tip or a blog on saving money or frugality send me a comment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Revamp Your Childrens Clothing

Sometimes the inevitable happens....a stain on a favorite top, a tear on her favorite jeans. What to do when something bad happens to good clothing? Do you just chuck them in the trash?
Only if they can't be fixed!!

Our school system is very strict on holes in jeans. I know, I know it is so cool but...not at my daughter's school. So instead, just take your daughter or son shopping to pick out the coolest patch they can find. These days they make so many types that your child whatever their age is sure to find something they like. When you get home you can just patch up that hole and the jeans are good to go. If you are feeling really ambitious you can pick up several coordinating patches and attach them on various spots of the jeans making it look intentional.

So we come to our recent dilemma. My oldest daughter got this shirt and wore it twice, somehow she got something on it that I just couldn't get out. I don't know how many times I washed this top and how many types of products I used. In the end I bought a box of Purple Rit Dye and tie dyed it. Voila, shirt is wearable again!! Had I only done this a while back I would have saved some money. The dye was only $1.52 and I was able to dye a couple tank tops while I was at it.

So my youngest, who has an identical pink top, says "Mom, Please tie dye mine too"!! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner

When I was a kid every once in a while we would do breakfast for dinner/supper. Our favorite was bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy!! Yummo

If you think about it most breakfast foods are relatively cheap: eggs, bacon, biscuits, pancakes, waffles etc. When you compare the price of Bisquick and syrup to a meat meal it can be a quite a bit cheaper.

Tonight we had Cheese omelets, using 9 eggs for all of us, roughly $1. 18 count here cost around $2.80. The cheese we used was WalMart brand pepperjack. It has 12 slices for $2.25, we used 4 for a total of .75. We used a most of a pkg of Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon, $2.50. Last we used one 10 count biscuit that came in a pack of 4. They are Walmart brand and I got them for $1.50, total there is 37 cents.

Our whole meal for a family of 4 was $4.62. We also ended up with 2 biscuits and several pieces of bacon leftover.

My kids LOVE breakfast night!! Whether we do eggs or waffles it is something different and definitely budget friendly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Towels, Pjs and Socks OH My!

Such a never ending cycle.....wash the laundry, put away the laundry. It is a definite constant in my life, the laundry is never finished.

So how can we save money when doing our laundry?? Well one way that I have been doing for a long time is saying NO to the dryer. I know that this can be a very tedious job, especially moms if you work outside the home, but it can also save alot of money on your electric bill.

I use the clothesline when weather permits. But mainly I use my basement! I have a dry unfinished basement that has a dehumidifier running at all times. This draws out any moisture that may be lurking in my basement and keeps it smelling nice. I also have a huge fan that I run and it blows towards the clothes. The little old lady that owned this house before us had metal rods and wire clotheslines put up allover the basement ceiling. So I just wash the clothes (washer in basement), then I take things that aren't to heavy and hang them on the hanger they will stay on when put in the closet. For towels, underwear or heavy items I hang them with clothespins. Clothes actually get dried pretty fast down there, if they are light weight they will be ready in a couple hours. Heavier items I try and put directly in front of the fan. I end up with nice smelling clean clothes, that haven't shrunk! :)


Never Pay full Price for Clothing....Almost

One thing I have done to save money for as long as I can remember is not paying full price for clothing. I almost never buy any at the original full price. Having two daughters who wear alot of clothes, I figured out early on to shop at the end of season clearances.

Target and Dillards are two local stores that have great end of season clearance. I have often gotten items for 60, 70 and yes even 90% off. The stores next in line would be Kohls, JcPenney and Walmart. Last year I got girls Levi jeans for $3.99 a pair a Kohl's. Every one of these stores have served me well over the years. I have also occasionally found unbelievable deals at Old Navy and Gap. It's all about knowing when to shop. Also, if you go into Kohl's and they have awesome girls tops for 75% or more off make sure and buy several in your childs next size.

Right now my youngest daughter has tons of tops for this fall and a couple dresses in the closet. No jeans yet sadly, once they get older it gets harder to decide what size of jeans they will wear. It something they most definitely will have to try on.

Summer clothing is already going on clearance, now is the time to start stocking up!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

For nearly a year now I have been on a quest to make extra money from the comfort of my own home. I have found many places that have paid me and I have enjoyed having the extra cash. But what if I could have more extra cash?? What if I could have more money to put in the savings account every month?? What if I had zero credit card debt? The thought of that truly excites me!!

My hubby and I are nearing our mid 30's, he is 35 and I am almost 34. We have been married for 14 1/2 years and have 2 beautiful daughters. The oldest will be 13 in december and the youngest turns 10 this week. During our marriage I have worked very little. (only about 3-3 1/2 yrs worth) My hubby has a good job but we could be making a lot more out of our money!

There are things I have always done to save some money but there are things that I am just learning about. This blog is going to be about all the things I already to do save money, the things that are new to me, the bargains I find and the money I am able to save along the way