Sunday, May 22, 2011

Frugal Fail: Repairing Bleached Clothes

At my home I never use bleach.  I just don't.  Because I don't use it, I seem to not know how to be around it; which is why when I was cleaning with bleach water at my gram's I proceeded to get it all over one of my favorite shirts.

I was heart broken & without solutions.  I've made the vow not to buy any new clothes this year, so I decided I should try one last ditch effort  to try to fix this shirt.  I grabbed a matching Sharpie & went to town.

Unfortunately it turned out like this--one big Sharpie colored blotch.  Ugh.  I may try to dye it later in the summer, but for now I think I'll just wear it around the house.  Note to self--Do not get anywhere near a bottle of bleach. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Floor Model Furniture 101

 One of the biggest lessons of frugal living is to plan ahead, find the lowest price, & get the best deal.  Unfortunately sometimes this just isn't a possibility.

When JC's Aunt Lynn & Uncle Steve needed a new desk chair for their office, so they headed to Staples.  While there Lynn found a nice desk chair, but they only had a floor model left.  The floor model was in good shape, it just had a little schmootz on the floor cushion, no big deal. 

The chair was $50 originally & after asking the floor manager for a price break the price was brought down 40% to $29.99.  Additionally Staples offers a furniture warranty, so for $4.99, Lynn & Steve bought a 3 year total replacement warranty if anything on the chair breaks.  A great deal for minimal effort!

When you don't have a lot of time to shop for a deal, buying a floor model is a great & extremely cheap way to buy new furniture.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hair Clip Holder--Take 2

A while ago I made a hair clip holder out of ribbon & some thumb tacks.  It worked perfectly...until E started walking, could reach it, & continuously pulled it off the wall.  I needed something that worked the same way & of course cost me no money.

I pulled out my saved ribbon, some scrapbook paper, & two 8x10 frames.

Both frames were just sitting around, I simply removed the glass, & placed the paper inside the frame.  The one frame didn't have a back, it had a print, so I just wrapped the print with the paper, & taped it down. 

I then wrapped the ribbon around the print & secured it with tape.  A true crafter would have used hot glue, but I'm a lazy crafter at best, so I just used scotch tape & the natural snugness of the frame.

In no time I got the finished product...

They look super cute & work really well.  If you're a lazy gal like me, this is a quick & easy project that is as functional as it is pretty!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Make It Do: Shrink Wrap Style

We're getting ready to stay in a hotel this weekend, and I LOVE all of the "free" hotel toiletries.  I collect them, I use them, and I just generally adore their teeny tiny stature. 

One of the things I've never had much use for is the plastic shower caps.  Does anyone really use these?  Leave it to the Tightwad Gazette The Complete Tightwad Gazette to come up with a use. 

Simply stretch your shower cap over your random sized bowls & use it as a plastic wrap.  You can hand wash the cap & use it many, many times.  The next time you get a plastic shower cap from your hotel stay consider using it as plastic wrap.  It's absolutely free & 100% reusable. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chalk Dehumidifier

Around this time of year we start having a few moisture problems in our house as the humidity outside increases.  I've looked at conventional closet dehumidifiers, but they're a little pricey & are made up of loads of chemicals.

Now I love me some Martha Stewart, and I always enjoy looking at her website, so when I saw her idea of a chalk dehumidifier I had to run with it. 


chalk (left over from teaching)
a ribbon (saved from a gift)
scissors (the same pair I've had since 3rd grade)
rubber band (thanks post office!)

Martha suggests using a dozen sticks, but half of mine were broken, so I just settled for six.  Wrap the rubber band around the chalk, cover with a ribbon, and hang!

Easy peasy, especially if you don't try to make yours look like Martha's!   No more moisture in our closets for nothing & no weird chemicals!  Woot Woot!!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Frugal Fail: Gardening Edition

This isn't me, but the picture was so similar to what I attempted, I couldn't resist. 

I'm a bit of a procrastinator at the game of life.  I don't mean to be, but somehow I can't get anything done until the absolute last second.  Maybe it's genetic, my mom & sisters are the same way.  I've been planning to have a garden since we moved in to our house two years ago this August.  Last year it just didn't happen, but I still had high hopes, and would day dream about a lush garden often.  

Of course come fall, when good gardeners prepare their gardens, what did I do?  Why nothing of course.  Why would I do the most logical thing & prep our garden in the fall?   So come spring I decided to try to suffocate the grass that was planted in my prime garden spot.  I raked all of our leaves from the fall (why would we rake them up when they actually fell?), piled them on our garden spot, & tarped them down in hopes that the grass would suffocate & die.  After about two month the grass was close to dead,  so we uncovered it, mulched up the leaves & planned on tilling the soil.  The only problem is that it rained...for like two weeks, and we never were able to get the soil tilled.

Needless to say the grass had a lovely renaissance during our little monsoon season, and was nowhere near dead by the time it was finally dry enough to till.  Which brings me to today.  We went ahead & tilled the garden, hoping it would sufficiently tear up the grass (it didn't), but we HAD to get the seedlings in the ground, so I charged ahead.

I had been reading about using newspaper as an organic weed block, so I decided to try it.  I wet the sheets of paper, and lovingly layed them all out to cover the entirety of the garden.  The tedious process took the better part of two hours.  Then I got to planting.  It went rather well, & I had planted the majority of the garden when all of the sudden, we had a rather large gust of wind....and you guess one fell swoop ALL of the papers went EVERYWHERE.  And I of course, embarrassed as heck, I scrambled all over after them, trying to pick them up before our neighbors thought we were real hillbillies.  It was so depressing.

Suffice it to say that I firmly believe that our little seedlings will be choked out by grass, and the ones that actually do survive will probably be eaten by Penelope, the neighborhood wild rabbit, her babies, & extended relatives.  Frustration thy name is gardening. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You Gotta Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I would like to consider myself a good recycler.  I grew up in a house where one of the weekly chores was recycling.  I can remember many a Saturday spent separating newspaper from glossies & crushing aluminum cans.  You would think after a lifetime of recycling that I would know what I'm doing.  Apparently, that is not the case.

Last month we got a quarterly newsletter from the city.  In the newsletter was a special about what is recyclable in our municipality, and what is not.  While I have been throwing all of my plastic in the recycle bin that is a HUGE mistake.  Our city only recycles 1,2,4, & 7 plastics.  NOT 5.  Do you have any idea how many things come in number 5 plastic?

While this is a problem for me, it is also a HUGE problem that I've been throwing the wrong things in our bin.  All recycling here has to be hand sorted, so that means some poor city employee has to pull out all of the number 5 container that I've unknowingly, but lovingly, been throwing in to the recycling.  Additionally if one of those No. 5's gets past the city worker & gets melted down with the other plastic it can contaminate the WHOLE batch & cause ALL of the plastic to be thrown out.  NOT GOOD.  Not at all what I'm hoping for when I try to recycle. 

I have the desire to save the world when I recycle, but it seems I may have been causing a lot more harm than good by not knowing EVERYTHING that could & could not be recycled in my city.  Evidently recycling has gotten a whole lot more complicated since I was a kid.  For instance, did you know that NO ONE can recycle the lids of pop bottles, water bottles, milk jugs, & the like?  They're a freaky deaky hybrid plastic that has no use.  They have to be thrown away. Also, pizza boxes can't be recycled if they've got grease or any remaining food particles on them, even though they are cardboard.  I did ask our city if I could recycle the tops if there isn't any grease & they said yes. 

I had no idea all of the recycling mistakes I was making, and how much harm I might have been causing.  If you are a recycler call your city, get yourself educated, but most of all KEEP RECYCLING.  The Earth will thank you for it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UPS Mail Time!

Yesterday I wrote about my beloved USPS mail time & all the glories that come in the post.  Today, my other absolute favorite type of mail came...UPS!  Our much beloved UPS truck pulled up this afternoon bearing more treasures--FREE purchases from Amazon that I got with my swagbucks!  Joy!  Bliss!  Excitement!!

That picture you see above is 48 pouches of applesauce & 2 Munchkin straw cups.   The pouches of applesauce were $33 (or $28 with subscribe & save) & the cups were $7 and I paid....drumroll....NOTHING!  This is why I LOVE swagbucks!  I used to use my swagbucks to purchase more frivolous things,  but lately I've begun purchasing more practical things like toilet paper & baby wipes, & it has become a serious aid to our budget. 

If you don't know what swagbucks is, it is a search engine that rewards you with swagbucks periodically when you use their search engine.  Earn enough Swagbucks and you can purchase things in the Swagstore.  Things like gift cards or Starbucks gift cards.  You can also earn more swagbucks by watching swagbucks tv, taking daily polls, and completing special offers.  Currently you can receive 30 swagbucks just for signing up, so if you're interested head here.

After doing swagbucks for a while, and working at it a bit (watching special offer videos, taking the daily polls, etc) I average, at the very least, $25 worth of Amazon gift cards a month.  That certainly adds up quickly!  Additionally, if you are a mother, father, or anyone who would be purchasing things for little ones, sign up for Amazon Mom to get free prime shipping for up to a year.  That makes your swagbucks purchases go even further. 

Oh how I look forward to the mail, especially when I can anticipate freebies!  :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mail Time!

Anyone remember that song from Blue's Clues?  Mail time is seriously one of my favorite parts of the day. With regularity the mail truck pulls up in front of our house & brings me many wondrous treasures.

Here is an example of my mailbox one day last week.  It contained 3 tampons, 2 sticks of deodorant, 1 biscotti, 2 flossers, 2 coffee creamers, 1 laundry detergent sample, a coupon for a free Glade product, a coupon for a free coffee creamer, E's Dolly Parton book, a $15.99 rebate check, and many other high value coupons.  It's seriously better than Christmas! 

I do realize that sending away for samples might not be the greenest of choices, but it is something that I need to do to live our frugal little life.  I try to be as responsible as possible & recycle all of the packaging, but I do realize that this can create a lot of extra paper. 


If you do send away for samples, please be responsible about it & RECYCLE the packaging, as well as all other envelopes, etc. that come in your mail.  

Speaking of recycling, have any of you seen the best stamps of all time?  The post office has released new forever stamps that show different ways to go green.  They're seriously so awesome I'm going to stock up so I have enough to last me till I'm 82! 

JC's aunt & uncle got these for me as a birthday present.  Do they know me or what?!

Yet another reason to love mail time...