Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Posts on New Blog!

Looking for more posts?  Go to

That is where all the newer stuff is in addition to all the old stuff !


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saving money after a purchase

Recently, we purchased a new computer through Of course, I had researched my product to make sure I was getting the most for my money! (We are economically savvy, yes?!)
Something I didn't consider before the purchase was
Don't forget about comparing prices for a couple of weeks (14 days after purchase specifically for Staples) after you shopped! I was leafing through my Sunday sales flyers and spotted the same exact one on sale again for $30 less than before. One painless 800 number phone call (about 10 minutes time with very polite customer service)...and that bargain I already had found got even better!
Other companies offer similar do your research and check those sales flyers!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Blog Site Starts Tomorrow

This site is closing due to threat of a legal hassle.  Please go to:

to find me!  Thank you -

And my first blog post there will be about my speaking engagements!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Speaking Engagements

I have 2 speaking engagements coming up.  I am so excited and nervous at the same time.

The First one is at our church's Whole Ministry Center at 7pm on January 13th, and the topic will be related to food, grocery shopping, meal planning, making things homemade, gardens, etc - pretty much anything food related.

The second one will be at our local library in their multipurpose room in the back on Monday January 31 from 630pm until 8pm.  I will begin with the same topic (different crowd) but will expand into laundry and electricity as needed.

I am soooo excited!

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

If you like the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it's store - now is the time to shop.  They are having a huge sale.  Their planner (normally $39) is $10, and lots of their ebooks are $1-$2.  I racked up !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Plastic Bread Tabs

You know those flat, hard plastic tags that come on bread, buns, bagels, etc.  I have 2 good uses for them:

  1. Mini pan scrapers (just like the Pampered Chef ones, but free and smaller so you can toss them more frequently)
  2. Tagging cords going into one of those strip plugs so you know what is what without unplugging the wrong thing, or without following the cord all the way back to the appliance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Threat of Legal Action

I have been threatened with legal action.  Here is a copy of an email I got just a few minutes ago:

I'm writing to kindly ask if you could change your blog's name? We own the federal trademark on "Money Saving Mom" and since that phrase is in your blog's name, it actually violates our federal trademark, which would mean you'd be subject to federal fines and more if you continue to use it.

I'm sure you didn't know this and I hate to even request this since I know it's tough to change one's blog name. However, since we have gotten Walmart to stop using them phrase "Money Saving Moms" on a section of their site, our attorney also says we have to ask blogs using the phrase "Money Saving Mom" in their name to discontinue it's use because the size of a company or blog doesn't matter when it comes to the federal trademark rules.

I'll be happy to give you 4-6 weeks to change the name (or longer, if you need it). Please just let me know when it is changed, or if you have any other questions.

Thanks so much!

Crystal Paine

Money Saving Mom®

Helping you be a better home economist

So, I guess I have no choice, I'm not rich because I don't advertise on my site, so I have to ask you a question - It will be on the side bar after today - What should I name my site?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cost of Beauty

People (especially women) spend a ton on beauty, let's see where else we could put those dollars

  1. Professional Hair coloring - once every 6 weeks, millions of women get their hair frosted/highlighted dyed at the beauty shop.  Let's say they spend about $65 - that means in 1 year, they spend about $550 just on their coloring. (That's and entire month's worth of groceries plus some gas)
  2. Fancy Beauty cream - millions of women also drop $25 or more every 2 months on special creams to make them look younger and reduce eye puffiness - truth is, none of those creams are proven to work better than sleep or hemmrhoid cream.  In one year, that's $150 a year (one month of both cable and landline telephone bills)
  3. Makeup - this is a big variable, but let's go with a nice low figure - say $10 a month on makeup related expenses.  Because of what makeup does, it actually makes you look older instead of younger.  That's $120 a year, plus now you have to buy stuff to try to make you look younger again.  (the equivalent of one month cell phone bill, plus a tank of gas)
  4. Special smelly body washes and lotions - not proven to do anything more for your skin than regular moisturizing bar soap and basic lotion, costs about $20 a month ($240 a year - or one month's car payment or electric bill)
Let's add this together: $550 + $150 + $120 + $240 = $1060 a year (most or all of one month's mortgage)

So beautify smartly, and don't be fooled by ads designed to pull you in, and also, let your natural beauty shine through, and laugh more all the way to the bank!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I love pets, I really do.  When my husband and I got married, he had a dog named Gus, a golden retreiver.  He was beautiful and gentle, and I instantly fell in love with him.  We had him for 4 1/2 more years until an unfortunate accident took him away.  I miss him a lot.

Pets can cost a lot of money though.  If you are not broke, not behind in your bills, and have an adequate savings on top of that, then have pets, and love them and enjoy them.


If you are behind on your mortgage or your bills, struggling to make ends meet and stressed.  You need to find a new home for fluffy.  Pets cost money. A minimum of $50 a month just in feeding them (that's $600 a year).  I'm not trying to be mean at all, but prioritize.  Another thing is if you lose your home, chances are that where you go will not allow pets, so you will have to get rid of them.  If you are proactive and give them away, you can find great homes for them where they will be loved, well cared for and possibly you may be able to visit them.  But if you are suddenly having to move, fluffy doesn't always get the best end of the stick.  I hate seeing animals ditched because people can't afford them anymore - do the loveable critters in your world a favor and don't let it come to that.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buying Books Online

When I have to purchase books, I shop around.  There is no need for me to pay full price for books.  Some of the sites I frequent are:
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Barnes & Noble
These sites have their sellers display cost and shipping right up front to reduce suprises at the checkout.  Please just take 2-3 minutes to shop around before you  purchase.  A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

This also works for movies -  you can save 50% over Wal-Mart.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Empty Milk Jugs

I enjoy having a little food storage around.  Nothing fancy, and not too detailed or whatnot.  But when I purchase things like rice, sugar, beans, etc., I want to be able to store them in smaller packs that are handy, and that you can see.  In comes the empty milk jug.  I clean it out with hot water, a little dawn and a little white vinegar, rinse it really well, then set it on it's side in a cabinet to dry out for about a week to make sure there is no moisture in it.  Then I fill it with whatever I'm wanting to store, label it with contents and date, cover the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, then put the little plastic top back on it.  If I have silica gel packs from other household items I have purchased, I put one of those on top.  These are easy to work with and hold about 4lbs of dry items.  You can see through them somewhat, and they have a helpful handle.  Best of all, they are already around and every one that gets reused stays out of a landfill. 

Words to the wise.  Milk jugs are great for short term storage of lots of things, but I would not recommend them for long term storage.  they are not intended for use in the types of food storage that people don't use for 10 years.  I also would never put anything liquid or semi liquid in them.  Pretty much anything that has moisture, I would avoid.  Just dry stuff.  And if you don't want to use them for food, you can use them for your powdered items like laundry soap, dishwasher soap, kitty litter, epsom salts, beads, lego's, etc.

Use your imagination, and use your head.  Happy Storage!

Skip the soup, pass the hash

My family is not big into soups.  I like soups, but not too frequently.  My husband even less so.  Therefore, all of those 'cheap meals' cookbooks have huge sections I don't use.  However, I tried something last night that might be a new breakthrough for me.

My husband is a meat and potato man.  So, we eat a lot of meat and potatoes in various concoctions and contortions and whatever.  He also only likes leftovers once.  Well, okay - new challenge.  I know that soup is a cheap meal, and the idea of soup of leftovers is catchy among tightwads like me.  But if the family does not like soup, what do you do --make hash!

Easy Leftover Hash

Veggies (fresh and leftover cooked)
Diced Potatoes (about 1 cm so they cook quickly)

Put potatoes in skillet with a little olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes until they are almost tender, and any veggies (I like to add additional onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, etc - whatever I have that I don't want to spoil in the fridge), let those cook a couple of more minutes then dice up what ever meat you had leftover (yes, you can do this with meatloaf and meatballs, and even taco meat, just run a bit of hot water over them to rinse old sauce/seasoning off.).  Add the cooked meat and cooked leftover veggies toward the end.  Stir until all is hot and potatoes are completely done.

At this point, you can do several things:  1) serve as a dry hash, 2) make a little gravy in the pan with it ( or add some cream of whatever soup you want)  and serve it over old homemade bread (soaks up gravy), or 3) top it with cheese and serve.

There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:
1) match your flavors well - leftover taco meat does better for a soutwestern style hash, so go with those flavors; same for meatballs and italian, meatloaf chunks (minus the tomato topping) do well in a swiss style hash, etc, etc.
2) experiment and write down what you did and how your family reacted
3)  this same concept can be applied to making it a hamburger/chicken helper style meal, your meat and veggies additives are just already done for you.

Let me know if you come up with any 'rock star' dishes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project 2011

Look at my sidebar on the right--------->

Project 2011.  This is my debt reduction goal for next year.  This is not one specific thing, this is my total goal, and this does not include regular monthly payments.  This is over and above that, principal debt payments.

Do you have debt reduction goals?  How much?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Books for the Frugal Family

Here is a list of some of my favorite books for the thrifty-minded (most available at your local library)

Yankee magazine's 'Living on a Shoestring'
Better Basics for the Home
The Tightwad Gazette
The Tightwad Gazette II
The Tightwad Gazette III
Cheap Talk with the Frugal Friends
The Tightwad Twins
$5 Mom Cookbook
Any of the Mary Hunt Books
Any of the Dave Ramsey Books
Any of the Jeff Yeager Books
Living Well on One Income
Homeschool your child for free
Homeschooling on a shoestring

There are many others, but I wanted to share a brief list of ones I have read and loved

Monday, December 6, 2010

Side Note

You won't save money by drying your laundry on the line if you are already partly sick and then just go ahead and completely put yourself under by trying to save a few bucks.  Hang them up around the house instead.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Many Uses of a Cast Iron Skillet

I love my cast iron skillets.  I have 5 of them.  2 fryers, 1-12 inch, 1-10 inch and 1-5 inch.  I try to use them for as many things as possible. 

* sauteeing
* deep frying
* cornbread
* cake (very moist results)
* pizza (much better than the stoneware)
* biscuits
* frittata  (the crust will be divine)
* shepherd's pie (or chicken pot pie)
* anytime I want to crust a piece of meat before putting it in the oven
* breakfast casserole (allows you to have a good crust on your bottom hash brown layer)

Cast iron takes a little bit longer to heat up than stainless steel (about 30 seconds longer), but it retains heat for many more minutes than stainlesl steel.  That means you can turn your heat source off and your food will continue to cook for a while.  This means saving gas or electricity depending on your stove type.  You save of dish soap because you can't use it on cast iron.  It can go from the stove top to the oven, you can put it on the grill, directly on a fire, and even on one of those homemade coffee can stoves!  It is truly the most green and economical cookware I have found.  Plus it is cheap!

How many cast iron skillets do you have and what do you use them for that's different?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clothesline Questions Answered

Here are a few of my most common clothesline questions answered for you:

#1 - How much does it cost to dry a load of clothing in the dryer for 1 hour?

Ok, this one takes some calculation, but here we go: 

The average electric clothes dryer burns 6000 watts per hour of use (check yours for a more accurate figure).  Our cost per kwh (kilowatt hour) for electricity from October to May is 8.928 cent per kwh (7.227 base rate + 1.701 fuel charge), From June through September the base rate is 8.330 making the total 10.031per kwh.  So, the 6000 watt per hour dryer is burning 6kwh.   In the summer, that equals 60.186 cent per hour and in the winter that is 53.568 cent per hour.  Now, let's assume your family only creates 1 load of laundry per week.  That equals $4.21302 per week in summer and $3.74976 in winter.  That is $205.18 per year!

Of course that is only if your family creates 7 loads of laundry per week, and if each load only runs for 1 hour.  You will have to adjust your calculation based on your family's use to figure out the cost. 

There are a couple of things that figure doesn't include.  For instance, in the summer, the heat from the dryer makes you house hotter so that your AC has to work harder.  In the winter, the extra heat from the dryer is helpful, so it costs a couple of cent less. Another thing - How many of you turn the dryer on "for just a couple of minutes" to de-wrinkle your already dry clothes?    that 'just a minute' is usually about 20 minutes and repeates itself because most of us don't even get the clothes out then, so we do it all over again.

#2 - I don't like the stiff feeling clothes get on the clothesline.

First of all, be thankful that you did not live 60 years ago when no one had a dryer.  Secondly, that stiff feeling goes away after about 5 minutes of wear.

There are a couple of practical solutions to this problem.  One is to take clothes off the line when they are just slightly below dry (very slightly below) and put them in the dryer for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don't forget), and your clothes will not feel line dried at all.  Another option is  to add some fabric softener to your load.  My husband likes Gain and so we use it - of course I only use half the recommended amount, but it still does the trick.

#3 - How much does it cost to put up a clothesline?

Mine was about $25, but I also went ahead and got the green line that is a piece of wire coverend in green plastic.  It is heavy duty and has no problem holding up my laundry.  The cotton line dry rots and breaks after a couple of months

All in all, lines cost as much as you want to put into them.

#4 - That's a lot of work.

Hogwash.  It takes between 5-10 minutes to hang a load of laundry on the line, and 2 to take it down.

#5 - But how about those new 'high efficiency dryers' that don't use as much electricity?

Look at the price tag, they cost a lot more.  There is no way they save money.

#6 - I don't have the time, I have 6 children.

If you have 6 children, then you have children old enough to train how to help you.  A 6 year old can help with the laundry.  My 4 year old is able to help with laundry somewhat.

#7 - I work full-time so it doesn't fit into my schedule.

I have always found this reason to be interesting.  Partly because I have heard it from people who are 'out shopping', or always doing leisure activities.  Take horseback riding for example.  If you have time to care for and ride one of those creatures, then you most certainly have time to hang your clothes out.  Of course if you're in debt and have horses, send me an email so we can discuss how to prioritize and the difference between wants and needs.  Same thing with golf, going to a weight watchers meeting, reading trash novels, sitting on your bum in the sun doing nothing, etc.

#8 - It's not good for your clothes.

Air drying is best for your clothes.  It's the hanging part that some clothing can't tolerate, so there will be some things best to lay flat to dry.  But that is the case whether you use a line or the dryer - there will always be things too delicate for a dryer.  Another thing is that a high heat dryer actually wears your clothes out faster becuase it shrinks fabrics and pulls at the stiches.

#9 - What do you do about all the lint

Lint is not a big problem with line drying becuase there is no heat and tumbling around creating lint to begin with.  The little bit of lint created can easily be removed with a 3 inch pull of duct tape.  I have only had to resort to this maybe 3 times, ever.

#10 - I don't want to

Now this is an honest response.  No excuses, no nothing.  Just an honest "I don't want to".  Okay, so keep looking around and find another way to save money, there are plenty of options out there.

But if you find yourself in debt still or getting worse, send me an email so we can talk.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Christmas List

Okay - so it's that time of year again, and you have your list of those to buy for and there's your personal list for you, because someone is going to ask "What do you want?"

So this list is dedicated to the things that would help a mom save more money:

  1. A mixer (KitchenAid, Bosch, Hamilton Beach), this is one of those items, that once you have it, you really don't know how you did without it.  It kneads bread dough for you to save you lots of time and arm use while at the same allowing you to ease more homemade items into your repetoire.  If you want to save people money, tell them a second hand machine is fine with you too.
  2. An immersion blender, this is on my list.  It makes smoothing out sauces a breeze without having to break out the entire blender.  It also doesn't take up a lot of space
  3. Sewing machine, and maybe a how-to book to go a long with it
  4. Books, I have a personal recommendation to help keep you in check and inspired in your frugal journey:  The Tightwad Gazette I, II & III or The Complete Tightwad Gazette (3 in 1) a word of caution here, the tightwad gazette is for those really wanting to make every cent count, and it's a great read!;
  5. Dishes & Cookware, some very useful pieces include a cast iron skillet (10in or 12in), bread pans, 9x9 square baking dish, glass mixing bowls in various sizes, a stockpot and 1/2 gallon size canning jars

Look around your kitchen or other areas and try to visualize what would be a helpful addition!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mineral Oil

This is great stuff.  If you have a wooden cutting board, you use a little of it once a month to keep your wood moisturized and smooth.  However, you can use it on other things to.  For instance, I have some pampered chef bamboo utensils.  After a few months, the nice satiny finish begins to wear down leaving it looking dry.  So, give all of your bamboo a nice bubbly spa bath (in your sink), and towel it dry.  After you towel it dry, allow it to air dry for a while too just to make sure.  Then, rub it with a very thing layer of mineral oil.  I used a small piece of parchment to do this since it doesn't absorb the oil.  After you rub down each piece, go back to the first tool you rubbed down, and buff for a few seconds with a clean towel to remove any excess oil.  Then store as usual.  If the suface is rough at all, sand it a couple of minutes first with a very fine grain sandpaper.

If this sounds time consuming or boring, then just do in when your sitting in front of the TV not moving anyway.  You'll never notice the time was spent doing something constructive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Wrap

Some folks buy their Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas to save 50% on it. I don't.  I buy it at yard sales and thrift stores.  On Saturday, I bought a total of 5 rolls of Christmas Wrap; 3 were used but very thick on the roll, and 2 were still in the plastic sleeve.  Total Christmas wrap investment - $1.10.  And I won't need any more than that this year!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Need extra counter space?

If you are in the middle of a project, and find yourself in need of somewhere to sit items...look to your laundryroom! Grab the ironing board and put it to use! This works for hot pans straight out of the oven...or for scrapbook/school projects. It is the perfect place for putting kids' painting or glue projects until they are dry. This can even be used as a sidetable at Thanksgiving, just throw a pretty sheet or tablecloth over it first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saturated with Soy - Yuck!

I am not a fan of putting soy in everything.  Actually, I am not a fan of putting soy in anything except soy products.  If you are buying hamburger, you should get beef, if you are buying turkeyburger, you should get turkey.  You should not be getting added soy. 

Today, I was reading the back of a package of Food Lion Sandwich bread.  First of all, it contained too many ingredients for me,secondly, it contains soybean/cottonseed oil (aka vegetable oil - and by the way, who actually eats cottonseeds?? NO ONE!!  They are not a food, much less a vegetable!), soy lecithin, and soy flour.  SOY FLOUR!  REALLY! 

Soy is pretty cheap, and because of that, it has infiltrated our food supply disguised as health food.  I have heard countless 'experts' talk about the health of the Japanes and other Asian cultures, and 'it must be the soy' so they put it in everything.  Well, let's talk about the soy and the Asian cuisine.  Tofu and soy sauce.  Both fermented soy products - in fact, I have never seen any fresh soybeans or other soy products served to the Asians, and you also don't see it in their restaurants.  Why would that be?  Probably because they already know that fresh soy has chemicals in it that pull nutrients out of the body - when it is fermented however, those same chemicals become neutralized, so that you can get the good stuff out of it - like in tofu.

What does this have to do with saving money - well, when you buy your food, make sure you are getting what you pay for and not lots of unhealthy filler - that'll cost you in the long run.

By the way - the asian cultures are probably healthier than us because #1) they don't eat a lot of processed junk, #2) they eat plenty of fish, both raw and cooked, #3) they don't overeat like Americans, #4) they walk a lot more than Americans.  I bet if we as Americans did those 4 things more, we would be a lot healthier even without all of the soy and soy by products.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Purpose Cleaner

Here is the recipe for my new favorite all purpose cleaner

24 oz rosemary infused water (you can choose any herb you wish)
3 oz white vinegar
2 oz dawn dish detergent or castille soap

mix in a spray bottle and use generally

* To make your herb infusion, take your fresh herbs of choice, bruise them to help release their oils and stuff them into a mason jar to 1/2 full (or more if you have it).  Pour boiling water over it and allow to steep for at least an hour.  A note of caution - jars that are not made for home canning are thinner and can easily rupture, so either use the canning jars or just put the herbs in the pot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shampoo Review

This shampoo formula needs a little work.  It did lather nicely after the second day, I guess the mix had to have time to sit and mix for a few hours.  The problem I'm having is not with the lathering or rinsing, and by the way, it rinses out really fast, but it leaves my hair a little dry.  Now, I have purposely not put any conditioners or creams on my hair after the shampoo so that I could get a good 3 days of use for an assessment, but I'm going to have to figure out a conditioner or rinse or some sort.  More digging to do, but this shampoo experiment was way better than the one from a few months ago.

I will figure this out!

The Big Deodorant Review

Okay, first of all, thank you Stacie for reminding me to review the deodorant!

I tried 6 things to replace my chemical laden deodorant and they were:
  1. powdering a clean pit with baking soda
  2. spritzing a clean pit with rubbing alcohol
  3. Powdering a clean pit with baking soda after spritzing it with the alcohol
  4. Spritzing a clean pit with a mix of 1/2 and 1/2 rubbing alcohol and body splash
  5. powdering a clean pit with baby powder after spritzing with alcohol
  6. the solid crystal deodorant
And the winner was:  (drumroll please)

#6 - the solid crystal deodorant

Here is why:

All 6 of the options actually did really well, to be honest.  I really didn't think they would, but they did.  All of the options took care of the stink and #4 would actually emit a bit of the perfume scent.  But during this experiment I realized that I have really sensitive pits.  I actually had discovered this a couple of years ago, but at that time I just switched to Dove deodorant because of all of the moisturizers, and that took care of it, so I had to rediscover this again.  So to give you pros:
  1. easy, no odor
  2. easy, no odor
  3. easy, no odor
  4. easy, no odor, light fragrance emitted
  5. easy, no odor, light baby powder scent emitted
  6. easy, no odor, easily portable, non irritating, no residue or powder to get on clothing
Now cons:
  1. scouring effect on pit if you forget to rinse before you wash
  2. irritating after a shave
  3. combo of the two above problems
  4. no real cons here, the body splash has aloe to stop irritation
  5. also no real cons, the powder took care of the irritation
  6. none, well maybe initial cost for the stick (about $5)
I went with the crystal stick after reading many reviews on it, and realizing that it would not cake under my pits with activity, there was no residue or powder to get onto my clothing, it kept my pits drier feeling for longer and the whole dry solid portability factor versus taking a liquid or powdered item that may spill (if you knew my kids you would get it!)

So, I forked over the $5, but it takes a lot longer to use up the solid crystal than the regualar stick Dove which was 3.60.  So, I'm happy, and I'll come back to it again one day and let you just how long it took to use it up.

I'm also still doing the shampoo, and by the way, the low sudsing thing is a non issue after the mix has time to sit and blend, because then it suds like crazy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Eco and Bio Friendly Waves of Change at my House

That may have been the longest title for a blog post ever on this blog!

I have been on a quest in the past couple of months, I really want to go more eco-friendly and biologically friendly in my home and with my personal care items.  Why?  Well, several reasons, but I'll only divulge a few here, otherwise this whole post with be tremendously long -
  1. We have well water in my home and the well is on my property, so I want the things that go down my drain to be eco/bio friendly and nontoxic
  2. I have been reading up on what many of the crazy chemical ingredients in things do in our body, most of them are carcinogens, some of them are unknown (which may be a bit more scary), so I would like to get rid of them in my older body, but also prevent them from building up in my children's young bodies
  3. It can actually be cheaper to go clean and green if you homemake your formulas versus buying the conventional synthetic cheap brands over the counter
  4. My youngest son has problems with asthma sometimes, so I would like to decrease the pollutants and VOC's in my indoor air.
So that's enough.

I have a couple of books, one came from the library "Easy Green Living" by Renee Loux is a great reference tool about different products to go greener in your life.  The better book is "Better Basics for the Home" by Annie Berthold-Bond.  I got that one for free from some stuff my dad had.  Another interesting one I got from him was "1001 Chemicals in Everyday Products" by Grace Lewis.  Using these 3 together has really been an eye opener for what is in different household products, plus ways to make my own natural nontoxic alternatives.


My first experiment is the basic shampoo formula:
  • 10oz water (I have a reverse osmosis unit, so that's where mine comes from)
  • 2 oz castille soap (I keep Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild on hand)
  • 1 tsp glycerin
Mix and store in a jar or bottle, whatever suits your fancy

So, I used it tonight, and I will say it doesn't give your hair that slippery feel while you wash, which is different, but not a big deal.  It also doesn't get as bubbly as shampoo, which is fine with me because it also doesn't leave a residue.  I did not use conditioner (although the book gives a recipe for one) because I wanted to test the shampoo formula first.  So, I let my hair naturally dry, and as of right now, it feels about the same as it does after a shampoo with a little bottle conditioner or one of those shampoo/conditioner combos.  I wonder if it's because the natural stuff didn't strip my hair of all of it's natural protection.

I will use it without the conditioner for a few more days and come back with the results.

If you are considering go more natural formula in your home and body care, here is a short list of the most common ingredients in most of the formulas:
  • castille soap
  • glycerin
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • aloe vera gel
  • alcohol (she calls for a lot of vodka in the book)
  • essential oils (there are listed in the book as optional, but lavender and tea tree are the most common)
  • borax
I actually already had most of this stuff anyway, I just purchased the glycerin (1.49 for a 4oz bottle at Harris Teeter)

I can't wait to see how the next formula I try works out!!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baking Soda Deodorant

I was recently reading up on heavy metals (that our bodies do not need) in different everyday products and what alternatives are available.  One of the biggies for me was aluminum.  I learned that aluminum is linked to alzheimer's.  This is not a big deal to some, but my grandmother had alzheimers, and it is not pleasant at all.  So what is aluminum in anyway?
  • Deodorant
  • Baking Powder
  • Some cosmetics
  • Maalox
  • Rolaids
  • Canned foods (it's what the can is made of)
  • Many cooking utensils, pans, etc.
My, my.  Well, a girl can't tackle everything at once, so I started with the ones I have the most contact with - deodorant and baking powder.  It's easy to find aluminum-free baking powder, and it's just as cheap as the other.  Check one off my list.  Two - deodorant.  Now that one is a little more tricky.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to stink! 

So, I was doing a little research, and I thought about the homemade deodorant recipe posted here by one of my comerades, but until I have the materials, I just wanted something easy.  I came across 2 things:  isopropyl alcohol and baking soda.  For the isopropyl alcohol, just simply fill a small spray bottle with it, then spritz your pits a couple of times a day.  The alcohol kills the bacteria since that's what causes BO anyway, but allows you to sweat, which is one of the ways the body detoxifies itself.  For the baking soda, the instructions said to put some in a small tupperware style container, take a large facial powder brush and treat the baking soda just as you would facial powder - dip, tap, brush on delicately.  Done.  So, this is the one I tried today.  It was not hot, so even though I perspired, I was not drenched.  However, I did run/walk intervals for about 2 miles today.  And you know what - NO STINK!  I was impressed. 

So, I will try this for a few days and just see if it holds up, and I'll let you know.  I may still try the alchol one too, or maybe some combination like a 'spritz, dry, powder' routine.  I'll get back to you on that one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

I do love yard sales, at least most of the time.  This past Saturday there were several that looked pretty interesting in our local paper, so, Saturday morning, I was up early, paper in one hand, coffee in the other an headed out the door on my adventure.

Word to the wise, if you have GPS, use it for yard sales!  I was taken directly to where I wanted to go each time even in our local 'turn and twist' neighborhood.  When I saw an unadvertised yard sale, I was able to make a quick stop, then when I was done, my GPS had me back on track to my destination.  I did make a few excellent deals:

  • A comb binding machine for $5 (not the $35 version, but the 330 page $250 version)
  • A multi function, leather desk chair for $20 ( about $200 or more new) with just a few small scuffs on the botton corners (nothing a little shoe polish won't fix)
  • A cast iron bundt pan, in good useable condition
  • plus a few odd and end items, but these were my biggies
Early Fall is big yard saling time, so go prepared and ready to bargain hunt - and oh yeah, take a list!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dill Pickles

Talk about a cheap snack.  And low in calories - about 5 calories fo 3/4 of a spear (how'd they do that measurement anyway?).  I personally buy Mt. Olive brand dills most of the time because I like the taste, and they are manufactured in my home state of NC - nothing like buying locally!

Anyhooo - I was checking prices a few days ago and noticed something - a quart sized jar of dill pickle spears was about 2.99, and a gallon sized jar of whole dill pickles was $4.50.  Really?  So, I bought the big boy and just cut several of the ones at the top into spears before I stuck them into the fridge.

And, now I will have a glass gallon sized jar to reuse after the pickles are gone - or at least low enough to put into a couple of quart sized jars!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homemade wet wipes (repost from 5/2008)

I have a few things I'm going to repost since I haven't seen them in a  long time.  Here's one,

I used to buy the Clorox and Lysol brand quick wipes all the time, but at $3 or more a pop, that can get pricey. So, I did a little research on other sites and came up with a formula and method for my own at a fraction of the price. I purchased 2 square shaped tupperware-style containers at my local Wal-Mart (about 2.50 for a pack of 2) and of course you pick the size that fits the size of the wipe. I also bought a top quality white napkin (the ones that are folded into quarters like bounty or brawny) (about $3 for a large pack) I stuffed the square container full of the napkins. Then I used a high quality all purpose concentrate like Lysol and diluted it according to package directions. I poured the mix over the napkins a cup at a time until they were well soaked. I closed it up and left it overnight so that the solution could have time to soak into the middle of the stack. Then I just labeled the container as such and use them whenever I need a quick wipe

If you already have a containter these will fit, then that will trim your costs.  But do yourself a favor and don't skimp on the cheap napkins, because they won't hold up over time.  The Bounty ones held up for me for a month.  Then I had to make it again anyway, so it may have actually gone longer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yardsale Deals

I love a good yard sale.  Today my neighbors had one and I found a furniture item I had been searching for a long time.  A rocker recliner with matching ottoman (I'm sitting in it now). I only paid $30 for a $200+ dollar chair that she said she rarely used, and I checked under the bottom of the cushion and the springs aren't even dented in (of course I will do that myself soon). 

The economic times are not showing any signs of improving, so take advantage of the fact that we live in a throw away society and go get those things you need that others are just "throwing away" ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Really? Another 14%!?!?!?!?

I received a letter in the mail a few days ago from the power company.  They are raising our rates another 14%.  Now, the letter states that they haven't raised our rates in years, but 2 years ago, instead of 'raising rates', they tacked on an 18% fuel charge to our tab.  Same thing to me because my bill still goes up regardless.  Nickel and dime, nickel and dime us to death.

Anyway, now I have to come up with a 14% deduction on our other bills to make up the difference - I'm gonna have to think on it, but the first three items I have the most influence over are power useage, food cost and gas consumption.  Boy, I have some work to do!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Who loves to pay many hundreds of dollars for a new computer?  Not me.  Well, there are many resources now to get a good refurbished system for around $200 or less.  Dell Financial Services offers factory refurbished off lease systems, as does HP, Gateway, etc.  Ebay lists tons of systems and you can eliminate easily by selecting features you absolutely need and setting a price range (otherwise you are browsing through thousands).  Don't pay retail when you can get a solid discount.  However, if you don't know how to look for potential problems, either find someone who does to help you pick through systems, or go ahead a buy a new one, but try using a coupon or sale, etc and save a little that way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Paperback Swap

I'm not positive where I initially heard about this, but I think it was Steph G.  But in the past month I signed up for and I am hooked.  I offloaded several books that I was through with and in turn, have received several other books that I was considering buying.  They have rules about the condition the books must be in, so that people make sure they're not mailing out junk.  So far, what I have received has been in pristine condition.  I'll read them a few times, then swap again.  I have also discovered several books on there on my homeschooling wish list for my kids, so I'm excited at the incredible amount of savings I'm having on homeschooling books.

As a side note, I only search for swap books that I can't find at the library for free*

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Soap and Water

Now there's a combination, capable of cleaning, sanitizing, leaping tall buldings in a single bound. . . . .. well, maybe not that, but anyway - it's good stuff.  You know, we have only been addicted to antibacterial this and that for about 15-20 years now, and you have to wonder - "what did they do for the prior 6000 years?"  Well, I have a thought - soap and water.  My grandparents used soap and water for everything (including the inside of my dad's mouth from time to time) and their homes were perfectly clean and sanitary.  Soap + Water + Elbow Grease = Clean.  Nothing need be invited.  Wanna save money of cleaning products - go simple.  It worked for our grandparents, their grandparents, their grandparents, and on back, it still works, we just have to be willing to use it and to sacrifice the flowery smell.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

.15 notebooks

It's back on!!  The .15 notebooks are here again, please get some along with all of the other supplies you will not see this cheap again until next year.  Here's my own list of favorites:
  • 1subject notebooks, college ruled, .15 each (I have purchased 46)
  • 12 ct. crayola colored pencils, 1.00 (I purchased about 8)
  • 11ct. WASHABLE magic markers, .70 (I purchased about 10)
You can use the notebooks for anything.  For instance:
  • Journaling
  • Phone message book
  • Lesson Plans (1 or 2 days per page leaving lots of room to write and jot and tittle)
  • Recipes
  • Lists
  • Kids doodle pads and drawing books (they don't care about the lines, so neither should you)
  • Books just to have on hand to write your thoughts down
Think about it, the cute journals in the store go for an easy 3.50, give you kid one of these, and let him or her draw their own artwork on a piece of paper, or print something cute off of the computer, and paste it on, but don't pay a ton for a notebook

Just write on the front what it's for and who it's for and go with it.  Options:
  • 'Mom's Thoughts'
  • 'Bible Study Notes'
  • 'Jacob's Kindergarten Lesson Plans'
  • 'Booklist, Field Trips and other Enrichment Activities for Kindergarten 2010-2011'
  • 'Recipes and attempted Concocktions'
  • 'Money Saving Mommies best Ideas Ever'  (wink, wink)
  • 'Shopping list'
  • 'Blog ideas'
  • 'Ideas to save more money around my home'
  • the list goes on.......
If you have kids, get a  ton so they have their own, if you do not have kids, I would still get about 25 and have them ready to go anytime.  At .15, that's a bargain.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shower & Tub Cleaner

I originally posted this on my blog & knew I had to post it here as well!  I was amazed at how wonderfully this worked.  Aside from it being non toxic (unless you swallow tons of Dawn) it's also very cost effective as we probably have the 2 ingredients needed right in our cupboards.  I did use the blue Dawn as suggested, but I'm sure one of the other dish soaps would work just fine as well.  If you try it with other soaps let us know how works.

I promise you won't be disappointed if you try this "recipe" for a shower & tub cleaner.  Especially if you have a textured shower floor & can't ever seem to get it completely clean. 

I clean my shower pretty regularly so you would think the shower floor would be pretty clean or at least easy to maintain.  However, I always seemed to have several gray spots left that no brush or cleaner would pull up.  I even used a Mr Clean Magic Eraser and didn't get the results I was looking for.

So, the other day I opened up the Everyday Cheapskate email from Mary Hunt & one of the paragraphs was about this amazing tub & shower cleaner.

Here is the exact entry taken directly from the Everyday Cheapskate email newsletter dated July 27th:

Tub and Shower Magic. If you haven’t experienced the power of original Blue Dawn plus white vinegar, you are in for a treat. Remove the top of a plastic spray bottle and fill it half full of white vinegar. Carefully heat it in the microwave until the vinegar is hot, taking care not to melt the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with Blue Dawn liquid dishwashing soap. Apply the top tightly. Gently shake the bottle to mix. That’s it. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

I can speak from experience...this TOTALLY works like a charm.  I had other things to do so I sprayed it on & then went about my business.  Several hours & one scrubby brush later I had a sparkling tub & shower.

So easy, so cheap & totally green.  Plus, I didn't need a gas mask since their were no chemicals!  Love that part.

One thing though...don't pour hot, recently boiled vinegar into a plastic bottle.  It will never be the same again!  Trust me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blessing Others

How in the world can blessing others save you money - well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't, but it is still a wonderful thing to do.  Earlier this week, I received a large envelope full of coupon fliers from Steph G (one of the moneysavingmommies authors), and I received one a couple of weeks ago too.  I am so thankful and feel so blessed to have someone think of me in this way.  What she didn't know is that in the past 6 weeks my husband has worked nearly every single day and, in general, about 70 hours a week.  He was tired at the end of it, and quite frankly so was I.  Receiving those envelopes in the mail melted my heart.  Sometimes I wonder if I have many friends left do to my 'unconventional' homechooling lifestyle, but that little act reminded me that I am not alone, and that there are others who are also struggling, just maybe in different ways.

Thank you so much Steph -

Keep blessing one  another -

Friday, July 30, 2010

Magazine Articles

Do you ever read a great magazine article, then save the entire magazine only to want to read it again months later and not be able to find it?  I do it often.  So, my project for the past couple of days has been to offload some space-sucking magazines.  However, I do like some of the articles.  So, I have been thumbing through the magazines and tearing out the articles, and putting them in a binder in sheet protectors, then the rest of the magazine is either recycled or tossed or whatever you want to do with it.  Then you just label your binder "Magazine Articles" or something so you can remember it, then you have the articles you want and the space you need!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I have not posted in awhile, but I've been busy with doing a few things, and here is what I've found.
  • I like the zote soap, it works fine and it's less expensive than the fels naptha
  • If you freeze your own leftovers, they microwave and serve up just like stouffer's for a  fraction of the cost, and it really beats going for take out because you have not planned well.
  • you can buy from sam's club online and still get really great prices on things and the shipping is usually included in the price - plus it took my order 4 days from ordering to my doorstep, so I was a happy girl.
  • you can't get everything you can get inside sam's from the online store, but also, there ther things you can get online that you can't get in store.
  • also has great prices on nintendo Wii games
  • Dell financial services has an outlet and you can get a dell refurbished computer  with warranty and great specs for a fraction of the cost (like 60% less than brand new - and with WARRANTY!!)

That's a few things I've discovered in the past month since I last blogged.  I have more though, but I'll save them for another post!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fix your own car!

I'm trying to sell my car.  It has 94,000 miles and is wonderful.  But my husband wants us to have something a little newer with fewer miles, plus AWD or 4WD for our mountain trips.  So, I listed my car on craigslist and yesterday, my speed and tachometer stopped working.  I was a little disheartened thinking that something was seriously wrong.  Today I took the car by my favorite mechanic and he said he didn't know how to fix it.  He had seen it before, but didn't know what to do.  So this afternoon, I looked it up online, just to check and see if others had the same issue......lo and behold, others not only had the same issue, but there were instructions on how to correct it FOR FREE!!!!  AND THEY WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm sure it save me at least a couple of hundred bucks on mechanics fees and no telling what else.  So google the problems with your car, microwave, TV, etc, before you call the service person, you may just save yourself some serious dough!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I love the swiffer wet jet for many reasons, but two of those reasons are not the cost of the solution refills and the cost of the pad refills.  So I did some searching and this is what I have found to work

For the solution:  once the bottle is empty, bore a hole in the top big enough for a funnel to fit, then add your own solution and then just stick a cork in it.  If your cork is too big, just trim away on the cork or you can make your hole a little larger.  But I recommend manipulating the cork versus the bottle.  I personally like to use a white vinegar and water solution, but you can just use your favorite bottle cleanr and dilute to package directions.

For the pad:  You can go several ways with this, but something reusable seems to be the cheapest.  I use plain old bar mops for dishtowels, and after one gets too stained, it makes an excellent replacement pad, just clip the backside with clothespins, binder clips or whatever you have handy, and when you're done, toss it in the wash.  You can also use old washcloths, microfiber cloths, or even old cloth diapers.

Happy Swiffering the cheap way!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zote soap

Today I was in one of our little local grocery stores and noticed a soap I've never seen before.  It's called Zote laundry soap and it comes in both white and pink, and I found it down the Latino goods aisle.  After doing a little research, it is supposed to be a basic Mexican soap used for years for laundry done in rivers on washboards.  I'm going to try it in my laundry soap recipe and see how I like it.

By the way:

Fels Naptha is 1.39 for a 7ish ounce bar and Zote is 1.39 for a 14 oz bar.

I'll use it and review it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Great soil for gardening or flowers is hard to find, and when you do find it, it's expensive.  So make your own.  I know, the word compost conjures us memories of terrible odors and grossness.  But's here's the thing, you don't have to have a big smelly pile of rotting material in order to have compost.  And you don't have to buy a $200 dollar compost bin.

Did you know you can compost right in your flowerbed/garden.  I never knew this until a gentleman in my neighborhood did it.  The trick is that you spread it out instead of dumping it into one huge pile, and you use one of those 3 pronged fork things (looks like a small pitchfork) and you turn your soil frequently.  What I discovered is that doing this helps the material you are composting decompose faster, and at the same time, you are turning your soil often which helps aerate it, and because it's turning, water absorbs more quickly and weeds are easier to pull, plus there are fewer of them.  Now I don't turn all of my soil at once.  I have 3 distinct patches of garden, so if I turn one every day or 2, I can keep up with it.  I also don't have tons of stuff to compost.  Mostly peeling, eggshells and stems and seeds.  We don't generally have cooked veggie leftovers.  I did it with rotten tomatoes that fell off the vine last year and within a couple of weeks, the seeds had sprouted into new tomato plants!

If you are still a little fidgety about putting your compost all over your garden, then just pick a small corner and do it there, then you just have to turn that one small patch every couple of days.  It'll work the same without have a big ugly separate pile to have to maintain.  Just have little ones instead.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I love grilling in the summer because #1)the heat from cooking is outside not in; #2) the mess is outside not in, #3) the smell is awesome and #4) there is a lot you can do on a grill.

Take yesterday for instance,  I had a family pack of drumsticks I got on sale, and I decided to cook them all at once so I would have easy to reheat leftovers for lunches a couple of days.  In addition to those, I took a glass corning baker put a little oil in, chopped some zucchini that a neighbor gave me, added a tad of emeril's seasoning and put that on the grill (in the dish, uncovered), and I took 2 twice baked potatoes out of the freezer (from yesterday's post) allowed them to thaw a little while (maybe half hour), them put them in yet another small glass corning dish and pt that directly on the grill too and let them cook.  A word of caution on the corning dishes though, make sure you don't put them over high heat.  My grill is one of those where the left and right are separately adjustable, so I can turn down the side with the corning. 

I have even baked bread on the grill on a very low setting when the power went out after I had proofed it one day.  Took about the same amount of time, and it somehow even browned some - I don't know how on earth that happened.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Premade Convenience Reviews

Okay, so here's what I've been up to.  I have been forcing myself to make double batches of different types of foods and them freeze them and use them later.  For instance I have done this with chuck roast, ground beef, rice, pasta, meatballs, twice baked potatoes, muffins and waffles.  Then of course there is the cheese.

So far, everything I have made, frozen, thawed and used has been just fine.  Even the twice baked potatoes, and I wasn't too sure about how that one was going to turn out, but it was fine.  I just made them up, then instead of going into the oven for the second baking, I wrapped them individually nice and tightly and popped them into the freezer.  When I wanted them, I took them out, let them thaw for maybe 30 minutes, then put them in the oven with whatever else I was cooking (last time was the toaster oven).  I have also done the second baking of these on the grill too, and they were still fabulous.

The cheese has also done well.  The only difference I can tell is that pre-frozen cheese crumbles a little easier (it doesn't fall apart in your hands, but when you're shredding it, it crumbles a little, but not in a bothersome way, I just happened to notice it).  The preshred I put in the freezer is great too, no complaints there.  It all melts just fine.

So there, cook once, eat 2,3,4 times because the extra is frozen and ready when you are.  Dinner in a snap.  This also helps ward off last minute take out because of planning issues.

Pasta and rice look a little strange frozen, but when they thaw, they look normal again, I dont' really understand why, but I'm also not going to waste brain cells on it, I need all I got!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My dear Lord cheese is expensive.  The best I can find at regular price is about $4 per pound.

So, on my way back from homeschool convention (which was awesome as expected), my sister and I stopped at Sam's, and I purchased more chese then ever before in my life.

  • 5lb loaf of sharp cheddar $10.50
  • 5lb loaf of mozzarella $11.25
I have a deli slicer, so some was sliced and packaged for freezing, some was frozen in small blocks and I shredded some and put it in the freezer in gallon sized freezer bags. 

I really hope this experiment works.  My family loves cheese and this way it was half price!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Share the Road....trip

Tomorrow morning around 8am I'll be leaving my home and heading on a 5 hour trip to Winston-Salem NC to the North Carolinians for Home Education annual Convention and Bookfair.  I am excited, and this year, instead of going it alone, I'm taking someone with me.  And it's not even a homeschooler, it's someone who has just been looking for an opportunity to get out of dodge for a few days.  She's not going to the conferences with me at all, she got a copy of the city bus schedule online and she's plotted out routes and times to different places she wants to go around town.  So, I only have to pay half the room and fuel price of last year because I have someone to share it with, she gets out of town on the cheap, and we're both happy - and we're not even doing the same thing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I am new to sewing.  I have had a sewing machine now for about 3 years, but just never got into it.  However, this year is different.  I have already created 2 skirts and 1 hanbag completely lined, padded and has inner pockets and zips shut.  I'm so proud of myself.  I even took a few minutes this after noon to go to the Cotton Gin and scope out the latest Vera Bradley's to see if I can  duplicate something like it for myself -  Hmmmmm, if I can get that one done, I may even post pics!

Sewing can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.  I would suggest that when you are beginning, get some old fabric from your grandma's closet or a thrift shop so that you're not wasting 10.99 per yard fabric on a skirt that is not done well.  I personally have used some of my husband's pants that he wore only once then they shrunk on him - he could't wear them, so they became fodder for my play.  The skirts were made from new material, but the leftover bits became parts for bags, hair wraps, etc.  A small cosmetics bag can be made from just a few small bits of fabric.  These are good practice pieces!  Old T shirts can have a new life as reuseable shopping bags is torn apart just a bit and resewn.Sewing is also a practice of independance.  I no longer NEED a Vera, I can make my own duplicate to the dimensions and level of organization that work for me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Re-use Egg Cartons

There are several uses for leftover egg cartons, one I used today, one I use all the time, and there are others:

  • Use the indvidual craters for different paint colors
  • Jewelry sorting
  • sorting other small items like beads

any other good uses?