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Money-Saving Ideas #2

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Take advantage of stores like Grocery Outlet.  Their stock changes because it's mostly over-stocks, discontinued, almost out-of-date or damaged.  Your receipt tells you how much you've saved and mine are at least 50-75% and many times close to 100%!   They're stocking a lot of organic foods now that are way below a health-food store's prices.  You can save big on house plants here, too, like beautiful, large orchid plants for under $20 or others from $1.99 and up.  One large Boston fern in a room does an excellent job of cleaning the air of pollutants (which, depending on where you live, can be worse than outdoors).

If you regularly use a dry-cleaner for your clothing, do you realize the chemicals they use go into your lungs and into your skin?  I've never taken anything to the cleaners.  I love silk and cashmere and have never had a problem hand-washing or machine-washing any articles that say "Dry Clean Only" - just use cool water and mild soap (not detergent) and set your machine on 'delicates', then tumble-dry on the 'air' setting or hang to dry.  If you don't have powdered or liquid soap, you can grate some off a bar and use it - it doesn't take much, but melt it in hot water since you're using cool to wash the items.

If you have an article you want to wear, but find it wrinkled, take a spray bottle with water (you can add a little rubbing alcohol), lightly mist over it, then hold it by the shoulders or waistband and shake it - like you're shaking a rug - hard.  You may have to repeat one or both steps, but I haven't ironed clothes in 15 years doing this.  

Hanging musty smelling clothes or other material articles in the sun works better than anything else.  In fact, dry all of your laundry outside in nice weather.  If you can't stand stiff jeans and towels, hang out until almost dry, then finish them in the dryer on low or medium heat.  Make your own fabric-softener sheets by pouring a little softener on a washcloth.  If you're worried about colors fading, add a cup of vinegar to final rinse - it sets colors, gets rid of any detergent, softens and freshens laundry.

I about had a fit when my husband told me he'd spent 30 bucks on a box to ship a computer he'd built for a friend.  If I need boxes, I just go behind the stores and get what I need from the bins they throw their cardboard in.  It's a good idea to ask first in case someone gets huffy, but I've never been turned down.  You can find good packing material like bubble-wrap (expensive stuff for any quantity!) thrown out, especially at places where they sell glassware and fine gifts.  Ask them to save it for you.

For shower gifts, it's fun to buy a bunch of inexpensive stuff that you know they're going to need and others don't think of.  The last baby shower I went to, I filled a laundry basket with natural detergent, a box of borax to use instead of bleach, cornstarch instead of powder, trial-size organic baby soap, oil and lotion, a couple of washcloths, and booties I crocheted.  For wedding showers, you could find a big wicker basket (to be used for laundry or whatever) and fill it with detergent, etc. and include rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, bags of sugar and flour, coffee and/or tea, basic spices, sea-salt, measuring spoons and cups, a manual can-opener, other utensils, cleaning supplies you've made (with the recipes), toilet brush; do a theme or a hodge-podge.  Another gift that's fun and unusual nowadays is a sewing basket filled with an assortment of thread (white, black, tan, and dark blue), scissors, needles, pins, pin-cushion, tape measure, buttons, iron-on patches and tape, white glue, and anything else you might see that's inexpensive in the notions department.  These are all things they will definitely use and appreciate, plus they love opening all the little packages.  For a man, fill a bucket with products for their car - car wash, wax, tire stuff, micro-fiber cloths or chamois, long-handled brush, a squeegee, fix-a-flat, etc.  Ask someone to go in with you if you can't afford everything and don't have a dollar store in town.

A few years ago, I had a skin tag grow on my neck.  It was winter and the turtleneck I was wearing irritated it, so I put a bandage on it.  After showering, I noticed the bandage hadn't come off, so I left it there for several days (they either last for 10 minutes or a long time).  When I finally took it off, the tag was gone with no trace!  I got another one on my arm and tried the same thing and it worked again.  Beats putting up with them or going to the doctor for removal.

If your hummingbird feeder gets mildew in the little spaces where they feed, fill feeder (say 3 times real fast) with warm - not hot - water and a little dish soap.  Then add about a tablespoon or so of clean sand and shake.  Usually comes right out.  Be sure to rinse well and don't let it get that dirty in the first place!  Make your own nectar by using 4 parts spring water to 1 part sugar.  Mix and boil 10 minutes.  Cool and keep in refrigerator.

Make a bird feeder using a tube sock.  Fill with bird seed, poke small dowels through at right angles every couple of inches down the sock.  Close top with string or rubber band and hang.  If you have finches in your area, they'll come in droves and are so fun to watch.  You can also set out a shallow dish filled with fresh water for them to drink and bathe in, but keep out of reach of kitties!  Who needs a fancy, expensive birdbath that weighs a ton?  

When your car won't start, but it's still getting juice to the radio, etc., it might be your starter.  Find out where it is under the hood and carry a hammer with you to TAP, not pound, it to get it to start.  I had to do this with two different vehicles - it worked for quite a while with both of them, until I had the money to get new starters.

If you're not sure eggs are still good, fill a small, deep bowl with water and put an egg in.  If it sinks to the bottom, it's fresh; if it stands straight, it's still good enough to use (we've never gotten sick, anyway); if it floats, forget it.  Also, the fresher the egg, the rougher the shell.

Quick tips:

Store sour cream, cottage cheese and yogurt upside down after opening - keeps air out so it stays fresher longer.

Clean wallpaper and suede with rye bread.

The absorbent part of disposable diapers is an excellent fire extinguisher.  Take them apart and keep a coffee can full for the kitchen or shop.  They are also great for sopping up big spills.

Don't buy deodorant that's full of harmful chemicals (it will also eat into clothing!)- get one of those natural, solid crytal deodorants.  One will last forever and they work.

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Libra; frugal living expert; write for greeting card company; love gardening, digging for treasure, back-road exploration; justice reform activist; almost a conspiracy nut; into spiritualism; hate housework. No time for snobs. I believe that: the (more...)
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