Organize the Little Things

This blog is all about the little expenses that add up.   Do you ever come home from a grocery trip and realize you bought something you already have? Have you ever forgotten about the left-overs until they were no longer edible?  I’ve done the aforementioned actions HUNDREDS of times.  After I bought my 100th bottle of crushed red pepper (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration) I decided I needed to come up with a system.  Thus, I’ve started making lists. Here’s your quick how-to:

1) Make a Spice List

Pull every type of spice you have and write them in alphabetical order, or type the list up on your computer.  Put an “H” by all the your items.  The “H” stands for “Have.”  Tape this list on the inside of the cupboard you keep your spices in.  When you use the last of a spice, cross out the “H” and write “N” for “Need.”

2) Make a Medicine Cabinet List

Cold season is upon us.  Do you have what you need?  Mark “H” by each product you do own.  Mark “N” for “Need” on items you are running short on!  Make sure the medicine is NOT expired.  Tape the list to the inside of your medicine cabinet for quick viewing.  Here is a link to help you anticipate your medicine cabinet needs.

3) Organize the Pantry

I organize this cupboard a little differently.  I keep a list of items I don’t use frequently (baking powder, cornstarch, vanilla, etc) attached to my cupboard door.  I mark those items with an “H” or “N” just like I do with the spices.  For items that I am constantly using, (rice, pasta, beans) I mark on a whiteboard in my kitchen ONLY when I run out.  This definitely helps with meal planning, too.

4) Organize the Fridge

1) Attach a piece of paper to the fridge weekly.  Whenever you have left-overs, make a notation.  This will remind you that you have food that needs to be consumed!

2) Clean your fridge as you write your grocery list.  Not only will your fridge remain squeaky clean, you won’t have to store 3 bottles of ketchup and Italian dressing.  Keeping tabs on your food will help you eliminate buying unnecessary items.

How do you organize the little things?

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


How To Hang A Sweater

I abhor ironing (click HERE for wrinkle releaser recipe).  I also do not like donning a sweater with funny bumps on the shoulders formed from plastic clothes hangers.  I needed a sweater storage solution. My sister came to the rescue and taught me how to hang my sweater correctly.   My fall fashion apparel is no longer wrinkly or sporting a shoulder goiter (my junior high friends always referred to the bump as a goiter…it stuck with me).  Hanging my sweaters correctly has increased their longevity which therefore decreases my clothing bills.  It’s a win-win situation.

1) Start by folding sweater in half

2) Place hanger under the arm as pictured

2) Place clothes hanger under the arm as pictured

3) Fold bottom half of sweater over the hanger

3) Fold bottom half of sweater over hanger

4) Do the same with the sleeves

5) Tuck sleeve under bottom portion of hanger

6) Hang and enjoy a wrinkle/goiter free sweater!

*My sister learned this technique from Rachel Coleman


How Much Are You Spending on Soda?

I’ve been drinking Diet Coke since I turned 20.  I LOVE it.  I know it is not nutritious.  I also know it is a money-waster.  Therefore, I’m proud to say that I have not bought a 12 pack of Diet Coke for 2 weeks.  Our grocery bill is really going to decrease.

If you or your family drinks one 12-pack of soda a week (name-brand), you are spending approximately $259.48/year .

Here’s the math

$4.99 (cost of 12 pack) x 52 (number of weeks in a year)=$259.48

If you drink one bottle of soda from a vending machine 5 times per week, you are spending approximately $325/year. 

Here’s the math

$1.25 (cost of bottle from vending machine) x 5 (number of work days/week)=$6.25 x 52(number of weeks in a year)=)=$325

It’s the little things that add up, folks!  No wonder Coco-Cola is such a profitable company.  People are spending hundreds of dollars on their product every year without even realizing it.


Cheap Gift

Here is an easy, cheap gift that is great for teachers, office workers, and those who have recently moved.  A plant.  You can often propagate  plants you already own  (Think ivy or Philodendron! Always look up what type of plant you have before cutting the stems!)  I have done this with a Philodendron (pictured below).  Here’s some easy, no-fail instructions on how to propagate a Philodendron.

This is a philodendron. Make sure you look up what type of plant you have before cutting the stems!

2) Choose Portion of Stem to Cut. Make sure you are cutting the stem and not the base of one leaf.

3) Use scissors to cut stem

4) Place stem in glass of water. Change water every couple of days

5) After a week or two, roots will appear.  Pick out a cute pot (I like to go to TJ MAX) and plant.

6) Present your gift!

Philodendron are amazing because they are impossible to kill!  I put mine in my trunk for two days while we were moving mid-summer.  It still looks great!

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Repurpose Your Furniture and Save

I have a love-hate relationship with this piece of furniture.  I discovered this tower of drawers tucked away in our guest bedroom after my hubby and I had been married a couple of months (he owned a home before we were even dating.)  I decided I wanted to paint these drawers red.  I did.  They turned out pink.  I coated the pink with more paint to make it RED.  It didn’t work.  See picture below.

Due to the salmon/pink color I decided to sand the whole piece.  It took a million hours.  Okay, It probably took me about 15 hours of hard labor, but it felt like a million.  Now, I have this wonderful set of drawers that we keep small objects in.  I’m pretty sure it is supposed be a cd holder.  Who keeps boxes of cd’s anymore?  Look around your house.  I’m sure there are items you could spruce up and repurpose.


Vinegar

Last night I fell in love with vinegar.  I have had a spotty dish problem since August.  Dried dish washer detergent and hard water stains have been plaguing my glasses, plates and silverware.  After switching soap, rinse aid and water heater settings, I succumbed to the fact that I was doomed to hand-washing my dishes.  Then, a wise soul suggested  adding a  cup of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher mid-cycle.  I tried it.  My glasses came out spotless for the first time in three months!  Because of this success, I have decided I’m never going to buy rinse aid again.  What’s the point?  It never saved my dishes from spottiness anyway.  Plus, it’s more expensive then white vinegar.  Go HERE, for more tips regarding the use of vinegar.  I plan to try few of the suggestions out.  I’m sure my new-found love for white vinegar will only increase.

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Cheap Dates

My hubby and I have an entertainment budget.  This has forced us to get creative.  Here’s some tips!

a) Have an Appetizer Night–  Plan the menu and make it together.  This is entertaining and costs a lot less than going out to eat.

b) Play Board Games-We like to play Ticket to Ride, Scrabble, Scategories and others.  Find a game you both like!  This is KEY when planning a FUN cheap date.

c) Hike –Explore your area of the country.  I bet you will be surprised what you’ve been missing by not hiking all of these years.

d) Bake- My hubby and I made cookies on our second date together.  We still enjoy baking after three years of marriage.

e) Go to an Ice Cream Shop– Find a local ice cream shop and give them your business.  It’s fun, cheap and tastes good.

f) Bike

g) Coach- Are one of you good at a particular sport?  Teach your significant other.

h) Walk the Dog- My husband and I have found some great parks while walking our dog.

i) Play Outdoor GamesLadder toss, frisbee golf, Kubb,  and Cornhole are a few good ones.

j) Go to Barnes and Noble- Grab a coffee and find books you both want to read.  Discuss with one another…or just sit and read together.  I don’t think this date ever gets old!

Anyone have any ideas to add to the list?  Comment away!

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Swiffer Product Cost

What are these handy products REALLY costing you?!  Here’s the scoop.

a) If you use 1 dry swiffer wipe per week you will spend $16.12/year

Here’s the math.

I looked up swiffer wipes, as I don’t know their price at the top of my head.  I found this. $5 for 16 count.  $5 (the price of the box) / 16 (the number of swiffer wipes)=$.31 (approximately.  I rounded down).  Each wipe is therefore $.31 x 52 (the number of weeks in a year)= $16.12. Not too bad.  But I usually used 2-3 wipes a pop.

b) If you use 1 wet swiffer pad per week you will spend $17.16 /year.

Here’s the math

7.97 (the cost of a 24 ct. box from Wal-mart)/24 (the number of wipes in the box)=.33/wipe.  .33 x 52 (weeks in a year)=17.16

c) If you use 1 swiffer duster per week you will spend $45.24/year.

Here’s the math

I found that swiffer dusters cost $13.99 for a package of 16, here

$13.99 (cost of package)/16 (number of dusters)=.87/duster x52 (number of weeks in a year)= $45.24

d) If you use one wet swiffer pad, swiffer duster and swiffer wipe per week you will spend $78.50/year.

I use microfiber cloths I received as wedding gifts.  They work just as well. See the pictures below if you don’t believe me.  (Yes, I clean my floors often.  This picture was taken after I had not swiffered for two days). I did see some microfiber cloths at Wal-Mart for approximately $4.  Consider switching your cleaning products.  It could save you a lot of money!

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Entertainment Budget

Do you know how much you spend on entertainment?  I was not able to answer this question until August of this year.  After analyzing our bills, we noticed we were spending a lot of cash on unnecessary items (Diet Coke here, glass of wine there, dinner out ect).  We needed to change this.  My husband suggested we withdraw a certain amount of cash each month.  We use this money when we buy a soda, rent a movie, go out to eat, buy a bottle of wine and etc.  When the money is gone we stop purchasing  anything we consider to be entertaining.  This small change has helped us in a variety of ways:

1) We save hundreds of dollars each month.  Yes.  I wrote the word “hundreds.”  Go through your bills, the $10 there and $3 here really add up!

2) We are more creative!  We have to think of ways to make our entertainment money stretch, especially if we are invited to go out to dinner with friends.  So, we started hiking, playing games, biking, cooking for each other and walking our dog more.

3) We are probably healthier.  We go out to eat less and hike/bike and walk more.  We already exercise, but active entertainment is an added bonus!  My hubby has even lost a couple of pounds.

What do you think about an entertainment budget?

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Thrift Store!

I used to turn my nose at thrift stores.  I only shopped at them when  I needed an “ugly sweater” for an upcoming party.  These last few purchases may have changed my mind

1) BCBG Dress-Price $1.

2) Anne Taylor Camisoles-$1 each

I remember eyeing these EXACT same camisoles at Anne Taylor Loft.  They were approximately $28 each.  I bought both of these for $2.  I do not think the BCBG dress or camisoles were ever worn!  $3 for name-brand, never worn clothing? Heck, yeah!  Look for upscale consignment shops in your area! You may be surprised!  Just don’t spend your money on items you DO NOT need.  That would be a waste.