Things we do in our home to "pinch pennies":
- We have a veggie garden and blackberry/raspberry bushes... so I do a lot of canning/preserving throughout the summer and fall months.
- We also buy our meat in bulk from a local butcher and then I cut it up and package it myself for the freezer (ie: buying a full-sized half cow
instead of buying meats already cut up and packaged). We even buy hamburger in large 20lb bags. That alone has saved us literally hundreds of
dollars over the past 5 years since we've been doing it that way. When you buy meats from the grocery store, you're paying the hidden costs of
someone else cutting up the meat and packaging everything in individual quantities. Be your own butcher !
- Cut up old t-shirts and use them as your cleaning rags. Not only does it recycle old ratty clothes and save money, but the t-shirt material is
bloody awesome for using as cleaning rags... no lint or fibers left behind on surfaces.
- Wash and reuse Ziploc sandwich/freezer bags
- Wash and reuse plastic or glass containers/jars that store bought foods come in (ice cream pails are the bestest invention ever !)
I also make a lot of everyday household stuff from scratch... it not only saves a ton of money, but it's also way better for your own health and the
health of the environment. Here's a few recipes I've been using for years:
Windex ? Pfft...
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
Pour into a spray bottle and shake until well mixed. To clean your windows, use a crumpled up old newspaper instead of paper towels or cloth. It's
a good way to use up those stupid flyers you get in the mail. Streak free, lint free, squeaky clean windows ! Vinegar and water (or lemon juice and
water) also makes for a super simple basic spray cleaner for around the house.
All Purpose Anti-bacterial Spray Cleaner:
This recipe will give you about one gallon of cleaner. Just pour some into a spray bottle for ready-to-use-ability.
2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 tablespoon liquid dishsoap
1 tablespoon household ammonia
1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
14 cups of warm water
2 cups liquid laundry fabric softener
1 cup baking soda
4 cups warm water
Dissolve the baking soda in water, add fabric softener, mix well. Pour into a spray bottle, use as you would Febreze. You will get a few bottles
from this recipe for less than half the cost. And yes, it works exactly like Febreze... deodorizing and safe on all fabrics.
Comet (powder cleanser):
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup Borax powder
Mix together and voila ! You have your own super cheap abrasive powder cleanser for those stubborn tub and toilet stains. Pour into a container with
a lid if you want to make a large batch to keep around.
6 cups of water
15oz bottle of any "cheapo" hair conditioner
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
20-or-so drops of essential oil for fragrance [optional]
Whisk together all ingredients. Pour into an empty fabric softener bottle or plastic gallon milk jug for easy use.
DIY Dryer Sheets:
1 part fabric softener
1 part water
Mix together in a large plastic container with a lid. Cut up an old t-shirt (or just use clean old socks - now you know what to do with those
mismatched "onesies" that get lost in the dryer) and toss them into the container, put the lid on, and that's it.
When you’re ready to use, pull out a sheet/sock & wring it out good. Then just throw it into the dryer with your wet clothes & run the dryer as
normal. Once your clothes are dry, throw the sheet/sock back in the container for the next time.
Static free clothes that smell purdy too (for pennies on the dollar) !
Wood Furniture Polish:
Fill a spray bottle with unscented baby oil, add 5-10 drops of lemon or orange essential oil (optional) and voila ! Furniture polish. Baby oil is
preferable because it doesn't leave an oily residue on the wood furniture, just a nice clean sheen.
Liquid Laundry Soap:
This stuff works just as good as any store bought brand and it will literally cost you no more than about $5-6 to make a large 5-gallon pail of
laundry soap. This 5-gallon pail will last in a 2-person home about one year or longer !
- 1 bar of Fels-Naptha brand bar soap, or Zote brand bar soap, or 2 Ivory Laundry Soap bars (not the bath bar Ivory soap) – it must be a pure bar
soap without all those added chemicals. These soaps are usually found in the laundry aisle.
- 1 cup washing soda (Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda is the most common brand found in the store)
- 1 cup Borax powder
To be honest... those 3 ingredients are the same ingredients you'll find in any commercially made laundry soap without all the extra added
Grate the bar of soap. Add the grated soap to 4 cups of hot water in a large pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until soap is
completely dissolved and melted. Grating it helps to dissolve faster.
Fill a 5 gallon plastic pail halfway with hot tap water, add melted soap, washing soda, and borax. Stir until dissolved. Fill bucket the rest of the
way with hot tap water. And stir to mix once again.
Cover with lid and allow to set overnight. In the morning, stir and fill an old, cleaned laundry soap container jug (or milk jugs work too) half full
with soap, then fill the rest of the way with water (aka – equal parts concentrated soap and water to actually use it in your laundry). By pouring
it into a smaller container, it makes it easier to keep on hand for using in your laundry. Stir or shake well.
You can add 10 to 15 drops of essential oils into your smaller usage container if you want it scented. (Or 20 to 30 drops in the 5 gallon bucket of
Anti-Freeze Windshield Washer Fluid (methanol free):
Store-bought commercial windshield washer fluid contains methanol. Methanol is extremely poisonous and dangerous to breathe or touch. Less than a half
of a teaspoon can cause blindness and less that two ounces can kill a person. Not to mention how bad it is for the environment.
10 cups of water
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
3 cups rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is where the "antifreeze" part comes in. You can even add a few drops of blue food colouring if you want it to look all blue and
purdy like the store bought stuff.
Shake this all up in a jug until the dishsoap is completely dissolved, and then let the bubbles go down and pour into your windshield washer fluid
canister to the fill line. You can also make a larger batch of this stuff and pour into a few plastic jugs for ready-use to carry in your trunk.
Making your own household cleaners etc can easily cut the costs of your grocery bill down by 1/3 or more !