Thursday, February 28, 2008

Water, water, water.

You can water anything down, even lotions and cream. Basically, they're emulsified versions of oil and water. When your hand lotion bottle is "empty," add just a little water and shake vigorously. You'll have enough lotion for a few more application. You can mix water into creams, too, to get more from them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Make your own bowl covers

Make your own bowl covers from old vinyl table cloths or shower curtains. To be extremely frugal, use elastic cut from old clothes. Cut a circle, using a dinner plate for a pattern, and cut a piece of elastic an inch or two shorter than the circumference of the bowls you'll be using (a little more or less won't matter much). Sew the elastic around the edge of the plastic circle, gathering as you go. Make larger and smaller covers while you're at it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Save on dish detergent

It happens to everyone who cooks: You need just that bowl or pan to make something in and it's dirty! Instead of using a squirt of dish soap to wash just one or two things, keep a squirt bottle or soap dispenser on your counter filled with half dish detergent and half water. It just takes a tiny bit to wash one item and using it straight from the detergent bottle almost guarantees overuse.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coffee grounds

Ok, so who wants a bucket of used coffee grounds? Well, you might if you garden, because coffee grounds make excellent compost, especially if your ground is mildly (or atrociously) alkaline. Coffee grounds are good for worm beds, too. It stands to reason that the worms in your garden will like them just as much as the worms in a controlled worm bed. They'll put them to good use, making good dirt for your garden.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Cloth napkins beat the price of paper ones that you have to buy over and over again. Don't buy cloth ones, though... make them yourself. And if you want to save another half penny, hem them by hand instead of using the electric sewing machine. If you really want to save, use thread taken from the hem of the old shirt, dress, sheet or tablecloth that you're making napkins out of!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free pot and dish scrubber

Take a nylon or plastic net produce bag and roll it back on itself until it's formed a ball of sorts. Tuck the ends under and secure if necessary. Alternatively, twist a bag into a small ball and insert into another net bag, then twist this bag closed and turn the ends back over the ball. That makes a free dish scrubber. Make one for the car windows or other outdoors scrubbing chores, too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cheap window cleaning

Don't use cleaners, just water. Unless your windows have bird stuff or grease on them, plain water will do the job just as well as "cleaners." And if you just have to use a cleaner, for heaven's sake don't buy it. Use a little vinegar or a drop of dish detergent in water. Why pay for something you don't need?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Milk substitute

Use water in which you've boiled potatoes (peeled) instead of milk when you make bread or gravy. Potato water gravy doesn't look exactly the same as milk gravy, but it's close and it tastes good. For yeast breads and most quick breads, you won't know the difference.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweetened condensed milk

Don't pay that awful price for sweetened condensed milk! Make your own this way: Mix one cup of powdered milk (dry) with 2/3 cup of sugar, then add 1/3 cup of boiling water and 3 TBS of margarine or butter. Mix it until it's smooth. (This makes the equivalent of one can.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Saving soap

Every time you put a bar of wet soap on a dish that drains away the water, you drain away soap, too. Put it in a dish with a solid bottom and when the bar is finished, use the "sludge" in the bottom of the soap dish. It's soap and you paid for it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Make candle wicking

If you like to make candles, but hate to buy wicking or it's hard to find in your area, you can make your own. Save fine string from a feed or seed bag, or use pure cotton thread and braid it into a firm braid. Make a solution of 3/4 cup of hot water, 1 TBS of borax and 1 tsp salt and soak the braid in this overnight, then allow to dry thoroughly. That's all there is to it. Just remember that it needs to be cotton only. Manmade fibers may melt or sputter or refuse to burn at all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Popsicles

Got leftover "juice" from canned fruit? Mix it with plain yogurt for a flavoring, or freeze it as Popsicles. Or use it as part of the water when you make Jello.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clean the jar!

It's amazing how much peanut butter or mayonnaise is left in a jar that's hard to get out. I use a rubber spatula to clean out the last bit. I get enough out of an "empty" jar for another sandwich and sometimes two.

If you just want to empty the jar, but don't use the product at the time, add it to the new jar.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Powdered sugar

Make your own powdered sugar: Process a cup of granulated sugar and a generous tablespoon of cornstarch in your blender until it's powder. That's one less product to buy and store.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Second hand decorating

Use second hand sheets and towels to decorate your home. Sheets can be made into curtains, table cloths, pillow cases, slip covers, napkins, dresser scarves... Use towels to cover throw pillows or make curtains, etc.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Make toilet bowl cleaning easier

An empty liquid dish soap bottle makes a great "squirter" for under the rim of the toilet stool. Put bleach water or vinegar in it, squirt and let it set, then brush and flush.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cheap dry skin remedy

Dry skin responds just as well to shortening, vegetable oil, butter, margarine or lard. While your skin is still wet, smooth on whichever fat you choose just like you would hand lotion or cream.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Free" freezer bags

Do you buy frozen vegetables? Save and wash the bags they come in... they're freezer bags, right? Since they've held frozen vegetables, they're very easy to wash - a good swish in soapy water, a rinse, and you're done. To freeze things in them, close them with a twist'em tie or rubber band and write the contents with a marker.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ironing clothes

It's cheaper to iron clothes than to dry them in a dryer. If you can time it, hang them until they're almost dry, but not quite, then take them down and iron right away. If you can't iron at that moment, roll them and put them in a plastic bag until you can get to them. (How long you can leave them there depends on your climate - don't let them mildew.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hey, I could'a had a V-8!

Or a V-2, or a V-7 or whatever. Don't throw out tired raw vegetables. Salvage all you can by juicing or blending them. If you don't want to drink (or eat) the result, use it for a soup base. Freeze it for another day if you like - just don't throw it out.