Top 10 Frugal Tips of 2010

In honor of the new year, I thought it would be fun to look back at last years frugal tips and find my favorites.

Hope you find a new frugal idea!

1Energy Efficient Curtains – These curtains have made such a difference for us! We can really tell the difference in the comfort of the rooms.

2Homemade Fabric Softener

3Homemade Cleaners

4Homemade Detangler Spray

5Homemade Chocolate Sauce – yummo!

6Making Homemade Broth

7. Homemade Acne Soap

8Saving Money on Condiments

9Saving Money on Cheese

10Saving Money on Tomatoes  and Recycled Garden Marker  – It’s time to start planning our gardens again!

For more frugal ideas, visit:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Fantastic Frugal Friday
Homemaking Link-Up

Frugal Recipes

It seems like every week when my husband goes grocery shopping the prices go up. With 4 hungry kids still at home, ages 16,14,12,and 10, we go through the food! lol

I am always trying to cook frugally, and always have my eye out for new frugal recipes.

Friends can be a great source of new recipes, and the preferred choice, but the internet is also a great tool for finding frugal recipes.

I always try to be careful, though, I don’t want to make a recipe only to have no one want to eat it. There’s nothing frugal about tossing out food because a supposed frugal recipe was inedible.

So I thought I’d share my favorite frugal recipe sites, as well as some of my favorite frugal recipes.

These 2 sites are my favorites. I have used numerous recipes from them, and all have been great.

Hillbilly Housewife
$5 Dinners

Frugal Recipes is a new favorite of mine. I will be making the Chocolate Oat Snack Cake very soon!

Here are a few of my favorite frugal recipes that I have shared here:

My Homemade Chocolate Sauce

Crockpot Cheeseburgers
Homemade Sports Drink
Brownies for a Crowd
Homemade Chocolate Sauce
Cooking & Freezing Dried Beans
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
Make Your Own Breadcrumbs

Do you have any great frugal recipes to share? I’d love to try them!

For more frugal ideas, visit:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Fantastic Frugal Friday

Mr Food

Homemade Fabric Softener

I hang my laundry outside on the line, year round, no dryer here.

Well, we own a dryer, it’s out in the shed. And it doesn’t really work. You can run it 2 hours, and the clothes still won’t be dry. So I had my husband move it out. No since taking up space with a very large metal box that doesn’t do anything except collect junk of top.

I don’t like using store bought liquid fabric softeners as they all smell like chemicals. Yes, they try and pretty them up with scents, but really, all I smell is chemicals. And then the chemicals on the clothes come off on our skin all day long. Not something I want for my kids. Or me.

Plus, it’s dangerous to use fabric softeners on my husbands work clothes, as if exposed to flames, it will ignite on the clothes, and cash a flash fire on the clothes. My husband had this happen to him when he was welding. We later so a news report on it, and figured out what had happened. If you do a search, you’ll see that this does happen and it’s very dangerous

I often use plain vinegar as a fabric softener and it works well for most clothing items.

Sometimes,though, the jeans and towels will still be a little stiff when I take them off the line. I found this recipe for Homemade Fabric Softener online somewhere about 3 or so years ago. I don’t remember where, though. This works great on jeans and towels!

Homemade Fabric Softener

2 cups baking soda
2 cups vinegar
4 cups water

Put the baking soda in a large container. Add the vinegar, then the water.
I do this in one of the vinegar bottles that I saved. Just make sure you do mix it in a container large enough, or you will be cleaning up a volcano!

Shake well before using each time.

I used to use one of those fabric softener balls and fill it up to the line. My new washing machine (ok, it’s 2 years old now) has a fabric softener dispenser, so I pour it in there.

Works great! Saves money! And no unwanted chemicals!

For more frugal ideas, visit:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Fantastic Frugal Friday


Make Your Own Breadcrumbs

Bread crumbs are one of those things that are so easy to make, that I often as myself, “Did I really used to buy these?”

There are many different methods for making bread crumbs. From putting fresh bread into the food processor for fresh crumbs, to toasting or baking the bread for browner, drier crumbs. You can also use different kinds of breads for crumbs.

Here’s how I make my crumbs.

I start when we finish a loaf of bread, except for the heels. No one likes to eat the heels. So as we finish a loaf of bread, I put the heels in the freezer.

When I need bread crumbs, I take out the number of heels that I need, and throw them in the food processor. No need to defrost first.

If you don’t have a food processor, or don’t want to have to wash it for only a few bread crumbs, you can use a hand grater. Use frozen bread for the grating.

If  you prefer to make a lot of crumbs at once and store them, you can toast the bread in the oven, then grate. You can store your crumbs in the freezer for a longer shelf life.

For more frugal ideas, visit:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Fantastic Frugal Friday
Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Frugal Fall Decorating

I normally don’t decorate for Fall until November 1st. We don’t celebrate Halloween, so I don’t want people to think that my fall decorations are Halloween decorations. So I’m not sure why I’ve been in a Fall decorating mood this week, but I have been! I have a fall wreath on the front door, and a scarecrow on the back door. I have fall placemats out. I also pulled out my fall smelling candles.

Today I was roaming around the house looking for something fallish to use as a centerpiece for the dining room table. I found a low flat basket that I normally use in the kitchen, and 3 candles in glass jars. The large one is my favorite cinnamon candle.

I needed something as a filler, so I sent two of the kids outside with a basket to look. I told them to get acorns or what ever kind of nuts they came across. The brought me back all these acorns. They were just what I needed for the basket centerpiece.
It is okay to use used candles in a centerpiece. In fact, if your putting new candles in your centerpiece, or anywhere else for that matter, please light the candles for a few seconds, then put them out. A candle that has never been lit is cold and uninviting. A candle that has been lit, speaks of quiet dinners around the table or the family gathered in the living room spending time together. So, even if your not going to light them on a daily basis, please light your candles at least once when you put them out.

The next time your looking for seasonal decorations, look around your  house and your yard! There are frugal treasures out there just waiting to be discovered!
For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday.
For more decorating ideas, visit Decorating Your Home

Fall Get Together Party

Homemade Cleaners

I like to make my own cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda are favorites of mine. I use vinegar for just about everything. It cleans windows to a shine, it dis-infects as it cleans sinks and counter tops. I use it as a fabric softener and a drain cleaner.

For the drain cleaner, I put baking soda down the drain, then heat up a couple of cups of vinegar, and pour down the drain. It will bubble up and clean the drains. It works well in the bathroom as well as the kitchen.

Sodium bicarbonate CNImage via Wikipedia

I sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum. It freshens the carpet. If you mix a few drops of essential oils with the baking soda, before sprinkling on the carpet, it leaves a nice scent.

I make a paste of baking soda and water to spread in the oven. Let it sit for a little while, then wipe off. It will soften and clean baked on spills. For tough ones, though, you may have to repeat. I prefer to repeat the process, than use chemicals.

Here’s a recipe for Homemade All Purpose Cleaner.

Here’s a recipe for Safer Bleach Alternative

Edited to add: I just found another link for 6 cleaner recipes!

You can make all kinds of cleaners yourself. It will save you money, as well as keep chemicals out of your home. That’s a win – win combination.

For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.

Making Soap Last Longer

With our large family, we sure have been through a lot of soap over the years.  I can’t begin to count the number of times I have said I just put a new bar in there, how can you be out already?
I don’t remember where I heard about this tip, but it was several years ago.
When you bring your soap home from the store, unwrap it, and store it unwrapped until your ready to use it.
The water in the soap evaporates, and the bar gets harder. The harder soap lasts much longer than a softer one.
I would suggest leaving it unwrapped for at least 2-3 weeks before using it..
You will definitely see a difference in how long the bar of soap lasts!
For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.