housesavingHow to Save Money Around the House





Like many of you, I was brought up by a very practical mother who hated to waste money and loved to find new ways to scrimp. As a result, I am a household cheapskate and proud of it! Here are some simple tips that can help stretch your family’s hard-earned dollars just a little further.

Everyday Penny-Pinching Hints

Maximize your morning cup
Instead of throwing out used coffee grounds, leave half in the filter, then add half of the freshly ground coffee for a second pot.

Travel tip
Instead of replacing my travel-size tube of toothpaste, I refill it from my regular tube: I simply hold the nozzle of the big tube against the small one and slowly squeeze.

Paper saver
To save on fax paper, use both sides for cover sheets (or cut one sheet in half).

My mother’s tip
When the mayonnaise jar is almost empty and you just can’t get that last little bit, sprinkle a few drops of vinegar inside, add flavorful herbs and shake well. You’ll have enough salad dressing for one salad.

Pass the plate
Stock up on cheap white paper plates — they have many uses and are less wasteful than wads of paper towels. For example, you can place a plate in the microwave to contain splatters. Or cut one in half to scoop up spills. I once had an invasion of tarantulas in my Texas home. I saw one on my carpet and grabbed a glass bowl, then slid a plate underneath for an instant bug trap!

New life for an old battery
After you take a dying battery out of a camera, try reusing it in a low-energy appliance — an alarm or a wall clock, for example. (But never mix old batteries with new ones.) Better yet, invest in rechargeable batteries.

Cheaper by the duster
To make an inexpensive whisk broom, roll a section of the newspaper lengthwise, then cut across one end a few times and spread out the fringe. Use to brush away cobwebs or crumbs, then toss it out.

Save face
Instead of facial tissues, use toilet paper, which costs less. Remove the cardboard core from a roll and throw away. Then place the roll inside an empty square tissue box and pull from the center of the roll through the opening.

Cheap organizer
Use plastic ice-cube trays to hold earrings, bobby pins, or cufflinks in a drawer.

Mix Your Own Cleaners
Here are two recipes I use all the time:
Stir 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (which contains detergents) with enough water to make 1 gallon of all-purpose cleaner. (Regular, nonsudsy ammonia also cuts grease and won’t streak. It’s good for windows and for mirrors, too.)
Add 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart warm water. Sponge on kitchen appliances, refrigerator shelves, counters, and chrome plumbing fixtures to clean and deodorize.

Why I Love Vinegar
Vinegar (white or apple cider) is not only the safest and most versatile product I keep in my home, it’s by far the cheapest. Here are just a few uses:
Put out a bowl or two of vinegar in a freshly painted room to dispel the odor.
To remove soap or hard-water buildup on chrome fixtures, put tissues over stained areas, then pour full-strength vinegar over them. Let sit for about five minutes before removing and rinsing.
To improve the crust of homemade bread, brush the top of the loaf with vinegar just before baking.
If your hands smell from handling fish or an onion, wash them in apple cider vinegar. Odor gone!
For relief from insect bites, soak a cloth in vinegar and place it over the affected area.
Rinse freshly washed hair with a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water to get rid of soap buildup and give shine.

Go to the market only once a week
It saves gas and important time.
Keep your eyes peeled for special deals
Stock up on sale items that have a long shelf life, such as toothpaste, toilet tissue, paper towels, deodorant, most cleaning supplies, and products for your car.
Buy a mix of ripe and almost-ripe fruits and vegetables
That way, the week’s produce will be less likely to spoil before you are ready to eat it.
Try to purchase items in bulk
Often, products bought in quantity are cheaper than those bought individually.

Make lists — and stick to them
Check off each item and try not to be tempted by what’s on sale (unless it’s a staple). Ask yourself: Do I really need this, or do I just want it?
Always eat a meal or snack beforehand
You’ll be less tempted to splurge on junk food and snacks.

here are countless items around the house that can be reused for another purpose. For example:

Plastic grocery bags: Liners for a small trash can or wastebasket

Checkbook wallet: Coupon organizer
Yogurt containers and margarine tubs: To store craft supplies or as a travel dish for pets
Fabric-softener sheets: Fresheners inside shoes or under the seats of a car
Coffee cans: Containers for small items in your garage or in children’s rooms
Plastic gallon milk jugs: Cut off top just above the handle and use as a scoop
Pantyhose: Garden-stake ties

Fast-Food Finds
Some readers have told me that they save salt and pepper packets from fast-food restaurants to refill salt and pepper shakers at home. It’s certainly better than tossing them out! If you get extra mustard or soy sauce packets with a take-out meal, put them in the freezer. They make great mini ice packs for small boo-boos.