11 Money Saving Ideas

Yes, I know…most people would have posted 5 or 10, or some easily divisible number. I’m just weird like that. 😉

Some of these ideas have been around a while. And not all of them will work for everyone. But, they have worked for my decent sized family so far.

1. Cut your family’s hair at home. We save up to $288 a year cutting our own hair! This is figuring a trim for 6 people every three months at $12 per trim. I keep my hair fairly long, but I trim my own bangs. My husband and boys all have hair that grows very fast, so someone is always needing a trim. It takes a little practice to cut hair, but there are lots of tutorials on Youtube to show you how. If you invest in a decent pair of clippers it makes it easier. Plus, the money you save will pay off the clippers in no time. (And yes, the little shaggy haired kid in the picture got his haircut shortly after the photo was taken 😉  )

2.  Utilize online deal sites. We use slickdeals.net This site keeps an updated list of deals at different stores and websites. We saved over $200 on our tv by utilizing this site. I have found Izod shirts for $4, shoes for under $2, baby clothes for $2 -$6 etc… all at reputable stores like Best Buy, The Children’s Place, Kohls, The Gap and Old Navy.

3.  Plan a menu. Planning a menu really does save a lot of money. First of all, you know exactly what you are going to make each night. It forces you to actually look in your cupboards and freezer to find out what ingredients you already have and which ones you need. This prevents buying excess or duplicates. Also, menu planning keeps you from having to run to the store as much. I don’t know about you, but the more I’m at the store, the more things I see that we “need.” This inflates our grocery bill. If I have everything planned out, I can usually make do for a while and determine whether I need item “x” or not.

4. Make it yourself. You can save a lot of money making your own breads, puddings, candies, cleansers and laundry detergents. Plus, there is the added benefit of cutting down on the less than desirable ingredients that the store brand versions have.

5.  Shop Thrift. Shopping thrift stores and Goodwill are a great way to save money. We often find great deals at Once Upon A Child (click the link to find a location near you), You can save money on books movies and games at Half.com. Another great source for used games and equipment is Gamestop.

6.  Cut down on disposables. This one is a bit more difficult for me. There are some time saving conveniences to disposables that are worth the money for me. But I have managed to cut down on the number of paper towels I use by using bar towels instead. You can also use re-washable dish sponges, cloth napkins and cloth diapers to save money. Diapers is one area that I prefer disposable, however. I don’t particularly care for the idea of having to hand rinse the poopy ones…blech!

7. Cook outside in the summer.  OK, so that might sound a little weird. This last summer I was pregnant with my daughter and dealing with very bad morning sickness. We had a countertop convection oven that my husband moved outside onto our porch. This way I could continue to bake and cook foods, but not have to smell them cooking. The added benefit was that it did not heat the house up. This saved money on our electric bill in two ways…one,  the smaller oven used less electricity. And two, the air conditioner didn’t have to work overtime to cool things off.

8.  Go meatless. Incorporating a few meatless meals a week into your menu plan will not only save money, but it’s healthy, too!

9. Wash laundry at night. Washing  laundry at night  is another way to keep the air conditioner from working overtime. And, if you can hang things on a line, you’ll save even more money!

10. Look for alternatives. Simple substitutions can save you money. For example, I often substitute sausage ($1.30lb) for ground beef ($2.39lb). I like the L’Oreal face creams but don’t like the price at $8 – $12 per item. I substitute the Aldi (Lacura) brand (which is high quality) which is only .99 cents to $3.99. Most Aldi brands are made by the brand name companies anyway, so you get the same item at a significant discount. Plus, if you add in Aldi’s double money back guarantee if you are dissatisfied…how can you lose? We also prefer aluminum free deodorant. Burt Bees is approx. $8. Expensive! Axe has several aluminum free varieties for about $3.

11. Don’t substitute quality items. There are some brand name items that just work better than others. For me, Dawn dish soap is one of those items. When I tried switching to less expensive brands I ended up using so much more to get the job done. I found that I saved more money by using the brand name in this case. Another brand name items that I find work better are Purex Crystals vs. fabric softeners. Also, some generic drugs are not worth your time. My husband suffers from migraines and takes Excederin. So far we have not found a generic excederin that works as well.

These are just a few of the ideas that I incorporate into our home to save money. What money saving ideas work for you?

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Easy $2 Large Hurricane Vase

                                                         

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Ours was pretty quiet for the most part. 🙂

The other day I was walking through Wal-Mart when I saw a display with large hurricane style vases on stands for sale for $15. My first thought (after “Those are pretty!”) was “I can do better than that!”

So I went to Dollar Tree and found a large plain glass hurricane style vase.

Then I went to Goodwill and found a large candle holder for $1.

I pulled out my trusty hot glue gun and glued the two pieces together.

Much better than $15 and it goes well with the rest of my decor!
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Easy Pine Cone Wall Art

I hope everyone has had a good week so far! Our week has been busy but, we are looking forward to the weekend and a family gathering.
Today, I wanted to share an easy craft  with you.

First, find a frame  and spray paint it. I started with this ugly frame and spray painted it Krylon hammered copper. I know it’s hard to tell from the photo, but it’s kind of a weird faded black. The people who lived in the house before us were avid golfers and left the print here for us.
Now, I don’t have anything against golf…just not a fan. In fact, if anyone is interested in the print I will mail it to you. First one to email me (happyhodgepodgehome at yahoo dot com) can have it!

 Next, dismantle a couple of pine cones. Try to leave the “petals” intact when you take it apart.

Cover a piece of foam poster board (cut to fit just inside the frame) with some fabric. I chose this cream colored knit because I really liked the texture. Stretch the fabric on tight  (try not to leave bunches in the back) and hot glue it to the poster board.

Lay out your petals and beads  the way you want them and hot glue them into place. I used  suede strips (found on a spool in most craft stores) to make the stems. You could also use ribbon if you want.

Place your picture in the frame and find a nice place for it!

This is a very easy and inexpensive craft that can be modified in a lot of different ways! Have fun creating!

I hope everyone has  a great weekend! :o)

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Cute Canisters!

Everything has finally settled into a routine again here after our big trip. I haven’t really had a lot of opportunities to go looking for thrifty finds, but I would like to share something I found at a Goodwill in Houston, TX.

A cute canister set! I wasn’t really looking for canisters but just loved these when I saw them!

Here is the large canister.

I love the little pagoda on the lid.

The medium canister.

The lid looks like a little roof.

The small canister.

Each one had the Winterthur stamp on the bottom.

I could usually pass on canisters, but these…lovely! :o)

Don’t forget about my GIVEAWAY!! $60 from CSN Stores! Ends Aug. 5, 2010.

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Inexpensive Easy Greenery

A few months ago we built a dog run for our very large, sweet, furry family member to play in. The part of the yard that we decided on had a couple of plants that I wanted to rescue. One of the plants  was an Autumn Joy sedum plant. Not only are they green year round…in the Autumn they bloom a beautiful burgundy color. They are so easy to start, too.  Here is an idea for a little indoor, easy maintenance greenery:

First pick a cutting that has several layers of leaves.

Pull off  a couple of layers of the leaves to expose  the nodes.

Place a single layer of smooth stones in a wide vase or jar. Stand the plant up in the middle and carefully layers rocks around to hold it up straight. Add water.

After a few weeks your sedum will develop a root system. This is my plant after a few months. It is healthy and has very little maintenance. It doesn’t need a lot of light either. Mine is in a room on a table with the blinds closed most of the time. Just make sure it has water. Also, it’s a good idea to clean the rocks and change the water once a month.
If you want to plant these outside just bury the plant’s nodes in potting soil and water as needed. They are drought resistant and thrive in full sun.

Here are some of my outdoor sedum plants. They are getting ready to bloom! I planted these only two months ago! The cool thing is that you can keep taking starts and fill a garden or line a walkway for free.

It’s so easy a child can do it which comes in handy when you are teaching your children about plants and root systems! :o)

Joining these fun parties:

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My Cloche



I hope everyone is having a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend! We are mostly relaxing and spending time with family. Maybe we will take in the local fireworks display tomorrow. :o)


Today I have something to share that is by no means a new idea. Here is my version of a cloche that fits with my tropical/Asian decor.

First, I found a couple of candle holders at a thrift store for .25 cents apiece.

I also found an old cheese dome for under $3.
I took the little feet off the bottom of the cheese dome.
I spray painted the candle holder and the bottom of the cheese dome.
I flipped the candle holder over and glued the bottom of it to the bottom of the cheese dome. I prefer my hot glue gun as opposed to other types of glue. It adheres well and there is very little wait time while it sets up. I’m just not that patient. 😉
Next, I glued some heavy twine around the outer edges.
All finished! That’s my version of a cloche. I don’t think I’ll keep the little birds in there long, but for now they work for me.
Have a great Fourth of July!!! :o)
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Glidden Paint Testers

What could be better than paint for a project? FREE PAINT!!

I like to watch forums such as A Full Cup and Hot Coupon World for special deals. Glidden has had several promotional offers where they have given away free paint. In the last 2 offers they gave away enough paint for me to repaint my entire kitchen (OK, so it’s a small kitchen…). This time they gave away two testers.

I am totally sold on Glidden paint. It has great coverage and goes a lot farther.

Here is what I did with my testers:

My husband found this old breadbox at Goodwill for $4. After some major cleaning and some light sanding, I used my tester colors on it. I chose True Turquoise for the outside and Arctic Blue for the door.

Here it is now:

A lot of coverage from those tiny bottles. I still have a little paint left over! What would you do with free paint?

Linking to:

 http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com/