Saving Money Around the House : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Other than food, or laundry (seperate current threads) does anyone have any good household money saving hints?

I was thinking late last night that I need to fill a large plastic bottle I have, with gravel and place it in the commode tank in the kid's bathroom. It is an older one that uses a lot of water to flush. The one in our bathroom is new and uses much less. Maybe we will look into replacing it when we have the money. This should cut down on our water bill a bit, as this bathroom gets the most use from the kids and company as well.

-- Melissa (, October 20, 2001


I was able to cut down on ouw phone bill a great deal. I buy AT&T phone cards at Sam's Club. I hear they have gotten even cheaper since I bought them. Then we use our cell phone for the rest of the calls. You can call anywhere in Nebraska, No roaming charges,etc. We only use the local phone for internet and local phone calls. I bill was reduced a great deal. I told a friend about this. They had a toll free number for their kids to call them on. I couldn't believe how expensive that was.She told me she was going to do the same thing as I did. The only drawback is I am told there are people in our area that have scanners that can listen to your phone calls. So you don't say anything you don't want people to hear. Cindy

-- Cindy Herbek (, October 20, 2001.

I have a scanner on most of the time because we live next to the hospital and I hear the sirens all the time. Now I know what is up. The draw back is everyones phones come in on it to. Not just cell phones but cordless ones to.

-- Teresa (, October 20, 2001.

I also was thinking about this the other day! I don't buy toothpaste any more. I use bakingsoda,salt and a drop of mint oil. I but the deoderant stones, they are about $4.00 and they last a year. It has no aluminum and better for you. I also buy no more personal products since I bought "the keeper".I am fanatic about turning off lights and and limit myself to 2 out of town phone calls a month. Most of my friends live within walking distance(we live 1/2 mile from a small town of 150), and so does the church. My biggest bill is the feed bill.I reuse baggies(except ones that had meat in them) and save all bags, ties, rubber bands. My next challenge is the trash. I am trying to see if I can burn most.We have a ton of trash with my daycare and all and I've never burned diapers. My dad says they leave alot behind and he's not for sure. I used to buy books and lots of them. We love them. Now we go to the library and a second hand book store where you trade in yours for others.Yard sales and thrift stores know my name.I love to try and save. It is now a game with me.See how much I can save. Can't wait to hear yours!!!!Give me some ideas....

-- Micheale from SE Kansas (, October 20, 2001.

I buy very little new clothing. I figure I can save several hundred dollars a year by picking up things at yard sales and thrift stores. We have a great little thrift store in our local village that sells perfectly good sweat shirts and sweaters for 50-1.00 each. I stay away from the "Name" thrift stores. Their prices are sometimes higher than new! I also try to limit use of the dishwasher and dryer. I'm not a fanatic about it, but they are expensive to run and I'm capable of hanging out clothes or hand washing a sinkful of dishes. I also try to make any trip to town count by combining errands and always making a list. When you live 18 miles round trip, you don't run in for a loaf of bread or carton of milk.

-- melina b. (, October 20, 2001.

This time of year for those of us in more northern climes, it's "insulate, caulk and seal" to cut down on heating bills. I hope this helps.

-- Gary in Indiana (, October 20, 2001.

Use vinegar for cleaning, it disinfects and cleans. You can use full strength or delute with water. Works great for cleaning windows. Keep some vinegar and water in a spray bottle for cleaning around the house. Also can be used as vegatable cleaner. I got these ideas from the book Honey, Garlic and Vinegar by Patrick Quillin. There are lots more.

-- Jo (, October 20, 2001.

Jo, can you use vinegar to clean toilets? I have four boys:o)

-- Cathy N. (, October 20, 2001.

I save all of those tiny slivers of bath soap in a crock in the bathrooms and when I need dish soap, I melt them down in a double boiler, add some water and pour it into an old squirt bottle. I buy a few huge sponges twice a year because somehow they are cheaper than the hand-sized ones. I cut them into fourths and now have 8 sponges for cleaning. I toss them in with the laundry every other week to help keep the germs down. A year ago I made a dozen cotton "personal" items (ahem) which work rather well rather than buying other stuff once a month. I turn old socks into dusting mitts, and old tee shirts into patches for my husbands' long-sleeved work shirts. I save panty hose from my working women friends and use them to stuff pillows, quilts, etc. Last year, taking a hint from somebody on the CS forum, I bought a bunch of used receiving blankets at yard sales fro a nickle each and made a nice pair of flannel fitted sheets! Great idea since sheets are so expensive! I also make my own furniture polish out of linseed oil and fresh lemon. A large can of linseed oil runs about $8.00 and you only need about three TBSPS to dust several rooms of furniture (using old socks as dust mitts). When the house gets a little musty in the Winter, I boil up some nutmeg, ginger and cloves in my teakettle and then put it on a trivet in the livingroom so the scented steam will fill the house. All of these things cost much more if you buy the ready-made things at the store, and it all adds up over the years.

-- lesley (, October 20, 2001.

In my Vinegar Book it just said to disinfect kitchen counters to use full strength. Also says it will remove water spots from drinking glasses. Someone once said on a forum I was reading you could use it for everything. There is a web site with vinegar and peroxide.......... Sorry I forgot about that site earlier. I just went to the site to see if it was still good.

-- Jo (, October 20, 2001.

Thanks, Jo.

Panty hose also works for tying up tomatoes. I am saving my girls' old tites for the same purpose.

If you have lots of noses, stockpile hankies in a handy place. Then you don't have to worry about whose is whose. A family with 15 children kept them in a cupboard by the door--everybody grabbed one on the way out to church Sunday mornings.

Anybody who leaves the door open, the light on, or the water running owes Dad a quarter. I haven't implemented that yet, but I'm going to give a week's warning tomorrow. Maybe, with six children, we'll have enough $$ for an evening out on our anniversary next month.

Do your baking on cold, stormy days--the oven will heat things up just enough so that the furnace won't run so much.

-- Cathy N. (, October 20, 2001.

I've used vinegar to clean the toilet. I use baking soda in the kitchen sink and salt to clean the oven. Vinegar and newspapers for cleaning windows.

-- Cindy (S.E.IN) (, October 20, 2001.

I make a disinfectant spray using rubbing alcohol. Just put it in a spray bottle. I got this trick from my sons teacher. She made the kids spray down there desks and all door knobs before lunch and before they went home. She was never sick and very few in her class were, even during the height of flu and stomach bug season. It is also good because it dries so quick!

-- Ivy in NW AR (, October 21, 2001.

Use less shampoo, dishwashing detergent, clothes detergent, etc.. than called for. I find that 1/2 usually works as well. Don't wash clothes that aren't dirty!

Showers use less hot water than baths. Put a timer in the bathroom.

Old washclothes become dishclothes. Old towels are used for washing the dog or car.

Don't buy a new plastic shower curtain--wash in washing machine with towels.

Use old peanut butter or may jars for leftovers (even freezer) rather than buy tupperware.

Use a sheet of paper towel instead of expensive paper plates for lunch (saves time and $ washing plates too).

Save old dill pickle juice and put cut fresh vegetables in them-- tastes great (antipasto?).

Save the tops/bottoms of onions and celery, green pepper and use when making chicken broth.

Cut old tights or hose into one inch slices--makes great pony tail holders--you really cant tell and if you have kids you might have some great colors!

-- Ann Markson (, October 22, 2001.

My dear 17 year old Grandaughter allways wears these Thick Black Opaque 70 Denier Nylon Tights that a lot of young femails now seem to wear.. .As she wears them for school she has plenty ,of which she gives to me when finished with,as they are quite thick & strong i find plenty of use's for them.......I use a pair just as a floor/toilet cleaning rag, the waist bands i cut off and use to hold bin bags in a bin holder,like an elastic band ,i cut up the legs into strips ,very good to tie my bin bags up,the top part i use for a hair net ,i keep a pair for cleaning dust from behind radiators ,very good for this,..cut the feet off ,wear them as socks,Cut off Legs and fill up each leg with other old tights ,till it resembles a "Black Sausage" !tie off the end and place by your door as a draught stopper,I have 8 of these ,one at every door,although it took me a long time to make these ,as i used at least 80 pairs of Black Tights,[luckily her friends allso donate me there old Black school Tights] so i allways have a plentifull supply. I have "stakes "in my garden each tied with a leg of black tights,and i cut up strips from other tight legs for plant ties.Another good use is to tie one leg around your washing line so that one leg is left hanging and fill this leg with all your pegs!! My drain pipe opening is covered with spare tights material ,this stops all leaves/moss etc from blocking your pipes.Before binning your tights ,just think of how much use they can be put to,they're not finished yet !!...Elizabeth,p.s I must admit ,"my gardens full of Black Nylon scraps"

-- Elizabeth Perkins (, December 17, 2001.

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