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10 Simple Ways to Save Money at Home

Guest post by Shannon at Frugal Mom of Two

I’m always looking at ways to save money. In addition to using coupons, here are some other ways I save money:

1. Hang clothes to dry.

I use a shower curtain rod wedged between two walls in my hallway to hang clothes straight from the washer.

2. Use cold water to wash your clothes.

Hot water is a big energy drainer. Use cold water as often as possible to do your laundry, this will really save on your electricity bill.

3. Open the door on your dishwasher during the dry cycle.

I use a dish towel and prop it open just a bit. The heat/steam that has accumulated while washing will dry your dishes.

4. Make your own cleaners.

Instead of purchasing cleaning supplies in the store, make them yourself. Not only is it a lot less expensive to purchase the ingredients needed, it’s a lot safer to use because you know what the ingredients are.

5. Make your own laundry detergent.

Laundry detergent can be pretty expensive. It’s a lot more cost effective to make it yourself and it’s easy and lasts a long time.

6. Use “junk mail” envelopes.

Most everyone receives junk mail and a lot of time’s this junk mail includes a return envelope. Keep these and use them the next time you have to mail something.

7. Use “scrap” paper for printing coupons.

It doesn’t matter what’s on the back of the coupon, so the next time you print something in error or you have some leftover paper, use the back to print your coupons on.

8. Don’t throw those veggies out!

Turn leftover veggies into soup. Keep a large bowl in your freezer and each night after dinner, dump any remaining veggies in the bowl. When the bowl is filled, you have a great base for soup. I also like to throw in any leftover ham as it adds a great flavor to soup.

9. Use a crock pot.

A crock pot uses a lot less electricity that the oven. Food tastes great after cooking all day too and it’s a huge time saver! (Not to mention the house smells great!)

10. Use plastic grocery bags in your small trash cans.

There’s really no sense in buying small trash can bags when you most likely get plastic bags for free at the store. They are the perfect size and work just fine.

What are some simple ways you save money at your home?

Shannon is the frugal mom of two great kids, one boy and one girl. She has been married for 15 years to Garit, who is truly the love of her life. She feels incredibly blessed to be a part of such a great family. She loves to organize, throw parties, clip coupons and bargain shop. To read more of her writings, visit her blog, Frugal Mom of Two.

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  • Tina says:

    I have a question about homemade laundry detergent. I had been making my own for several years til the our newest addition came along. She has sensitive skin including eczema. I now had to switch to using more expensive “free & clear” brands. Does anybody have any ideas on how to make this at home (frugal of course). Our other obstacle is we live in an apartment & don’t have a lot of space. Before, I’d make the powder form because the gel/liquid recipes I found usually called for a 5 gallon container. Any help or input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

    • Kris says:

      Perhaps a second rinse when you use the homemade detergent? Of course, you would have to factor the extra water usage and electricity, but I would think you would come out cheaper, if that works for her skin that is.

      • Tina says:

        That’s a good idea! Thank you =)

        • Jeanine C says:

          I wanted to recommend using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap if your daughter has sensitive skin. You can use it instaed of Fels Naptha or Ivory. It is very gentle and they ahve a bunch of fragrances, even a baby soap. They sell the bars at whole foods for about $2-3. If you don’t live close to that store, you can find it on Amazon or maybe at Target.
          Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      My son also has very sensitive skin (he has Autism so skin issues are quite common in children with this) and I have actually found the homemade detergent I make does not bother him. I don’t add any fragrance to mine and make the liquid batch…use the basic Ivory soap with a little Fels Naptha for stain remover. I was worried at first when I heard how strong Fels Naptha is, but I am so happy that he hasn’t been bothered so we can all use the same detergent now!

      • Tina says:

        When I made it before I always used the Fels Naptha, I never thought to add the Ivory. Grate one bar, add box of borax & box of washing soda. Would you say half of each bar?

        • Melissa says:

          I actually do 2/3 Ivory and 1/3 Fels Naptha and it works for us! Good luck!

        • Tonya says:

          you are putting a whole box of the borax and washing soda? The recipe I use only calls for like a cup or a 1/2 cup. That might be why your baby is so sensitive.

          • Joyce says:

            I believe Tina is making the powdered form of homemade laundry detergent. My husband loves the powdered form which calls for a box of borax and a box of washing soda. I like to make the liquid/gel form in the 5 gallon bucket which only needs the cup or 1/2 cup of each of the above.
            I do like using the Ivory soap versus the whole bar of fels naptha. Happy laundering 🙂

    • Homemade laundry soap is better for the eczema than “free and clear” those are only free of purfumes and dyes. But they have all kinds of chemicals that they leave on the clothing.

      I made my own laundry soap for abotut a year and one day just gave up. I dont have a food proccessor so i was grating the bar of fels naptha by hand. And no matter what I did just couldntget the pieces small enough.

      If you want to buy laundry soap, I have 2 boys with eczema and I use purex baby. Its only $2.97 at Walmart and Purex usually always has a $1 off coupon. So far so good. Good luck!

    • Here is my recipe…it works GREAT! It does call for a 5 gallon bucket, but I haven’t found that to be problem.

      (Please excuse the look of my site today…PhotoBucket’s server is down and therefore my site header is down).

      • Tina says:

        Jenae, that is the same recipe I used before minus the liquid. I was able to keep it in a container in my closet so I think I’m gonna give it another go. BTW, I follow you on FB so I know your site looks great! I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity =)

      • vickie says:

        when using the homemade laundry soap, does this clean really dirty clothes(sweaty, muddy clothes)

    • Candice says:

      Hmmm. . . maybe instead of a big bucket, you could mix it in your kitchen sink (if you have a tight fitting stopper). And then use a plastic cup and funnel to scoop it into some gallon jugs. . . That may be a dumb suggestion, but just a thought.

      • Rhonda says:

        I make my own liquid detergent in small batches. I just use an old laundry detergent bottle that I bought before I started making my own. It contains 100 oz when full. The recipe is: Enough water to fill the bottle. 4 TBSP grated Zote, Ivory, Fels Naptha or other bar soap. I use Zote. 4 TBSP Borax. 8 TBSP Washing Soda. Heat in a pan on the stove on high until the soap melts– right up to boiling. Cool partially and pour back into your detergent bottle. Shake the bottle once in a while as it cools. It will gel as it cools. The more you shake as it is cooling, the easier it is to pour later.

    • Rhonda says:

      I make my own liquid detergent in small batches. I just use an old laundry detergent bottle that I bought before I started making my own. It contains 100 oz when full. The recipe is: Enough water to fill the bottle. 4 TBSP grated Zote, Ivory, Fels Naptha or other bar soap. I use Zote. 4 TBSP Borax. 8 TBSP Washing Soda. Heat in a pan on the stove on high until the soap melts– right up to boiling. Cool partially and pour back into your detergent bottle. Shake the bottle once in a while as it cools. It will gel as it cools. The more you shake as it is cooling, the easier it is to pour later.

    • Tina,

      I have been allergic to most laundry detergents all of my life. I started making powdered homemade laundry soap when Arm & Hammer started adding scents to their powdered detergent (my husband is sensitive to scented items).

      I cannot even HOLD a Fels Naptha bar in my hand; my hand starts hurting. That is very strong stuff!

      Instead, I use an Oil of Olay bar in my soap (I buy them in bulk at Sam’s Club). It is one of the few soaps to which I am not allergic (I also have excema, as do a few of my children). I do not have any problems with this. I have not tried Ivory soap, though, as others have suggested, you may want to. Some grocery stores even sell Ivory flakes, just like they did years ago!

      I keep mine in mason jars in a shelf in my laundry room.

      I use spray Oxi Clean for stains. I have also used powdered oxi-clean in with my laundry soap (especially on white shirts). I wash most loads on cold (20 loads on cold, 2 on warm and 2 on hot in a week) and I have an HE washer.

    • Lorianne says:

      My daughter has eczema, and I used to make my detergent with Fels Naptha. My doctor told me “oh, you can’t make your own, you have to buy the Free & Clear detergent.” I thought, “oh, yeah? Just watch me!”
      I now make the same recipe of detergent, but I substitute the same amount of Dove unscented soap for the Fels Naptha, and it works great!

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      I second this. I’m not sure if your daughter can actually have any fragrance or not? But I can’t. I haven’t always been really sensitive to the scented detergents or scented body washes even. but now I am and I have to be careful what I buy. It would be amazing if I could make something that would help my sensitive skin. :] good luck for your daughter too.

  • LifeAsAMomma says:

    Those are all great tips! I actually do all of those except #8. My family is just not a soup eating family. : (

    • Maria says:

      You could also use them in a pot pie, or even a stir fry!

    • You can even save those vegetables for chicken or beef broth! So many non-soup recipes call for broth and it’s so expensive at the grocery store! I save all my unused vegetables and ends in a freezer bag, and then once a week while I’m separating my chicken breasts I pull out the veggies and just boil them with the bones for a few hours!

  • Lonetta says:

    How do you make your own laundry detergent?
    I think the two biggest things I do to save money after quitting work is to cook instead of eating out and making my leftovers into another meal. I know those two things are common sense but it amazes me how much we save just from doing that.

  • Melissa says:

    I have to agree with all of this! I do numbers 1-5, and 8-10 already…and want to work on number 6. My electric bill went down over $20 in one month just by only running my dishwasher 3 times per week instead of 5-6, and then only drying 1-2 loads of laundry each week instead of 5-6. I also save the dry pieces of a loaf of bread in the freezer to make bread crumbs or add to meatloaf when the bag is full!
    I love to see all the savings and am ready to tackle some more!

    • Julie says:

      I do the same with leftover dry pieces of bread, except it usually turns into egg bakes or bread pudding in our house! Once I have a gallon sized bag full of bread, I use it up and then put the bag right back in the freezer to start collecting again. Works really well for us!

      • Kim says:

        Any chance you’d share your bread pudding and egg bakes recipes? I don’t know what those are, but I REALLY need ways to use up bread ends. They usually get thrown out here 🙁 Thanks so much!

        • Anna says:

          We’re from an Italian background so we make fritata. A fritata is great for leftovers because it’s basically a mix-up of anything and everything you’ve got on hand. I usually have maybe a 1/2 cup of vegetables, a baked potato, leftover bread pieces… whatever is in the fridge. I take these and put them in a pan that can go into the oven. Saute with garlic or any other seasonings you’d like, then scramble 4-6 eggs with a bit of milk and pour evenly over sauteed ingredients. Place pan into 350 oven and cook until firm on top. We cut it like a pizza and serve it with leftover sauce and Parmesan cheese. YUM!

      • Jamie says:

        I like to make stuffed french toast and strata with old bread that I store in the freezer. Here is one recipe for Blueberry Stuffed French Toast and I will likely be adding a strata recipe soon to my blog. To get a printable version of the recipe without pics just click on the recipe title.

    • I have to admit that one of the ways I save money and time (believe it or not) is to not use my dishwasher. My dad commented one night that by the time I rinsed all my dishes to put them in the wash I could have just washed them myself. He was right. Now, we just handwash as we go. Uses lot less detergent and energy. And, I have found that air drying my dishes does a better job than the dry cycle ever did on my dishwasher. Maybe I just got a dud of a dishwasher.

      • Melissa says:

        Yea, I try to hand-wash as much as possible but it all depends on my son’s mood. He has special needs so if I can’t get the time in the evening to wash them because of something he is dealing with, then I end up loading the dishwasher so a few go in over a few days to get an entire load so I can devote that attention to him when he needs it. If I can find time to wash them otherwise, I much prefer hand-washing. I actually didn’t have a dishwasher the last 4 years so it’s a nice luxury once in awhile!
        I actually don’t use the dry cycle like this post mentioned…as soon as the rinse is over, I open it and let everything air dry! I’m sure that in itself saves a bunch of money even if you do run it every single day!

      • Mary Ann says:

        I used to have to thoroughly rinse all of my dishes when I had a dishwasher too and then still rewash a lot of them. When we moved to a house without a dishwasher, I thought I would spend a lot more time hand washing, but I think I actually save time because I’m not handling them so much! Pretty sure we save money on water and energy too!

      • Heather says:

        Yes, if a dishwasher works properly, you should NOT need to rinse them first! It kills me to see people practically washing their dishes first by hand, and then putting them in the machine.
        Just scrape them off well, and put them in. Certain things like a lasagna pan may need some scrubbing first, but most things don’t. I think this is an area where people keep doing it the way their mother/grandmother did it without realizing that machines and soap work a lot better than they used to. As I’ve told a certain person in my house, there is no virtue in doing extra unnecessary work!

        I never use the dry cycle either, unless a kid comes and pushes it.

        • Aryn says:

          This was true, until late last year. Dishwashing detergent manufacturers removed phosphates from the detergent because phosphates were massively polluting our water. The downside is that you do need to rinse because phosphates were what removed the gunk.

          • Lana says:

            I have used ‘green’ dishwasher detergent for 18 years because of my allergies. They have never contained phosphates and I have never rinsed my dishes.

          • Donna says:

            I was going to say the same thing. We thought our dishwasher was broken and had a repairman in, who replaced almost every part of it (almost all under warranty) until the manufacturer refused to replace anything else. We also added an under-the-sink water heater because they thought that maybe the water wasn’t hot enough. Turns out it was the dish soap, not the dishwasher.

        • Patty says:

          Heather is absolutely right! If you have a good dishwasher all you need to do is scrape the dishes. If you remove all debris off your dishes there is nothing for the soap to adhere to basically the soap will just eat at the enamel of your dishes.

        • Susie says:

          Speaking of rinsing off…I was talking to a dishwasher repairman and he said if your water heater is set below 140* that your dw won’t hot enough to get the food off or santitize. He also said to run your sink hot water to get it hot so your dw doesn’t start off with cold water. (You know how it takes a while for the water to get real hot) We can a lot and always thought running your dw santized the jars. He said higher end dwers might heat up but it took 20 minutes to raise the water each degree. Anyone heard of this before? I hadn’t.

          • Linda says:

            My fil was an a/c and small appliance repair man and he always said to run the faucet until the water got hot and then start the washer. I always do that.
            The only thing is I can’t stop myself from washing the dishes in the sink before washing the dishes in the dishwasher. = /
            When I try to just rinse and load, I always get food up inside the glasses. Not sure what to do about that.

          • LeAnne says:

            Yes, when we first moved into our house our dishwasher was not getting the dishes clean. We called a repair man and he said our water was not hot enough. We turned up the temperature on the water heater and now turn on the water before starting the dishwasher like you mentioned and it works great.

          • b says:

            Please be very careful with turning up your water heater though, even if you don’t have young children. A family friend just had a bad accident with a burn with a hot water heater turned up too high. This can happen sooner than you’d think. The plumber was the one who suggested the higher temperature too, I believe.

          • Jenny says:

            You must have a tankless water heater! They are nice because you never run out of hot water and you’re not paying to heat water that is just sitting in a giant drum. But the downside is that it does take a bit for the hot water to flow. We have one in our current unit, and while I appreciate the idea of it, water is our most expensive utility in the city we live in, so running the water to make it hot isn’t actually saving us anything!

        • Kristine says:

          We rent a townhome, so all of our large kitchen appliances are provided. However, they are all Hotpoint brand (because it’s cheap), and I am not a fan of Hotpoint. The quality of every Hotpoint appliance in our house is terrible. The dishwasher definitely doesn’t work as well as a dishwasher should. I have to practically wash everything before loading the dishwasher in order to get it clean, so I guess there’s really not much point in using it.

    • Rosy says:

      Ends of the bread is good to save for stuffing.

      • Dawn says:

        And meatballs!

        • Kim says:

          how do you use them in meatballs, please? 🙂 I really need ideas on this!

          • Dawn says:

            Here is a recipe for turkey meatballs that I like to use:

            * 2 lbs lean ground turkey
            * 8-10 slices white bread, broken into small 1/2 inch pieces (or you can use rolls or any stale bread you have and want to use up)
            * 2 eggs, slightly beaten
            * 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
            * 1 teaspoon italian seasoning (or to taste)
            * 2 teaspoons parsley flakes (or to taste)
            * 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or Locatelli)
            * 1-2 teaspoon salt
            * 1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper


            1. Mix all ingredients gently in a large bowl until well combined.
            2. Roll meatballs 1 1/2- 1 3/4″ in diameter.
            3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through. If you have a mini muffin tin, it’s helpful to cook them in there, so they stay separated, and it’s easy to turn them if you spray the tin beforehand.


      • Donna says:

        And for feeding chickens, like we do. 🙂

    • vickie says:

      also after clothes have washed mostly jeans and towels, turn back to spin cycle and removes even more water making for faster drying time whether you use clothesline or the dryer.

  • Such great ideas!! I love the idea about the dishwasher– I think I’m going to try that!

  • margaret says:

    I love all the money saving suggestions, My children are all away from home now and I have been doing all the money saving stuff for close to 40 years and it just gets better all the time, but I and my husband dont really eat soup alot either, so if we have left over vegtables I will puree them and put them in with scalloped potatoes or with mash potatoes, I add chives and onions and garlic and cheese if it has been on sale and no one is the wiser that I am trying to cover up vegtables.. you can cover up alot of vegtables in your food if your creative…

    • Jackie Jones says:

      I do this too! I add veggies to red sauce all the time! We don’t like to eat broccoli stalks so I will steam and puree them and add them to lasagna or spaghetti sauce. It adds so much flavor and picky eaters don’t know they are hiding in there! Have you ever seen/read Deceptively Delicious cookbook? There are TONS of ideas I would have never thought of!!

  • Swiffer Mops Savings!

    I use to buy the clothes. It was getting expensive especially sweeping everyday due to hardwood floors. Anyways at first I thought my husband was nuts when he suggested this, but it has worked out great!
    Take a rag and cut it to the size of the square swiffer head, and insert the corners in the slot (like you would their cloth) and sweep the dirt and dust as usual. I just throw the rags in a load of laundry each week, and resuse them.

    • Emily says:

      Used dryer sheets also work well as Swiffer dry cloths. I have to use 2 of them to fit properly in my Swiffer, but they are pretty good at picking up all my hair off my bathroom floor (my #1 use for my Swiffer).

    • Kellie says:

      I used to buy mine at the dollar store, but they stopped carrying them. 🙁 But fortunately, my father in law works at a paper service center and gets huge rolls of really nice paper towels for free (mess-ups from the factory). I just wet one of those and attach to the swiffer mop…works great! I’d like to use cloths (to reduce waste), but I have two black dogs that shed like CRAZY, and I just can’t see how I’d get enough hair off the cloths to wash them w/o clogging my front-loading washer. Oh well! For now, this works great…and is free for me! 🙂

      • Beth says:

        I have three dogs that shed a lot and I just use a small brush (the dollar store kind that comes with a dustpan) and quickly sweep the hairs off the cloth and into the garbage can. I have all wood floors so I use re-usable micro-fiber cloths to sweep most days 🙂

  • Valerie says:

    Can someone explain #3 to me please? Thank You!

    • Amy says:

      I took it to mean that she only runs the wash cycle and when it is done then she props it open so that the heat from washing them dries them….

    • Christina says:

      Recently I read an article written by a man that designs dishwashers. He said that opening the door as soon as the wash and rinse are finished creates “flash drying” because dishes are at their hottest point and the cool air comes in and voila!

  • LifeAsAMomma says:

    As I am doing laundry right now, I also wanted to add to use the smallest setting on your washing machine. One of my friends uses the large setting for everything!! Even if she’s just washing two pairs of jeans. She says it’s just easier to leave it on high than remembering to change the setting.
    Use the small water level for smaller loads of laundry and use larger only for when you have large loads!

  • Tammy says:

    I do most of the ideas.On the using the plastic bags I don’t use any anymore.When I bring my bags to go shopping which means no more bags.I don’t buy them either.

    Need to ry my own laundry soap.

  • gerri8564 says:

    We do everything but #6,but I love it and will do it from now on! 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Just be careful, when you use the envelopes that come in junk mail… if there is a “barcode” on it you must cover it up or your mail may get sent to the wrong place. We used an extra envelope from our insurance company to send a letter to a relative one time, and it ended up going to the insurance company, because the post office read the barcode and not the address we had written. Fortunately, the company sent it back to us and explained what happened and we were able to send it (in a new envelope!) to the correct person.

      • Emmy says:

        I was going to say the same thing because I used to work at a furniture store and we would get people’s electric bill and things like that in the mail. Be careful with this one!!

      • Ton says:

        I was going to mention about the barcode, too. Thanks! I reuse envelopes for my bank deposits, but am currently trying to “train” the new teller to return them to me so I can use them yet again. I guess she just doesn’t get it yet! 😉

      • K says:

        Yes! Be VERY careful about checking for those bar codes and fully covering them.

        I learned this the hard way when I sent one of our month’s rent checks in our car insurance company’s return envelope. Took 2 weeks before they finally got the check to the proper address. The PO employees explained my mistake and I convinced the PM company to excuse the fees, but wow what a fiasco!

      • the best way to use the return envelopes is by turning them inside out.I open up the envelopes slowly and carefully and glue it inside out.Its very simple and we don’t have to worry about bar codes. Some times security envelopes make interesting pattern envelopes

        • Mary says:

          As a postal employee, I don’t recommend marking the barcodes with black marker – it makes it difficult for our machines to spray the correct barcode on the envelope and then read it multiple times…better to use them for craft projects, etc. and buy a box of good quality envelopes for mailing important items.

          Another thing to mention – at Christmastime, 1000’s of Christmas cards when thru our building – most survived, but the ones from the “dollar stores”, in the thin, thin envelopes that you could see were cheaply made? They would just pulverize by the time they ran thru our barcode sorters three times. We had 100’s of undeliverable Christmas cards that never made it to their intended recipient because the envelopes disintegrated. Sometimes it pays to be frugal, but when it comes to mailing something, pay a few cents more – get a decent envelope, don’t overstuff it with pictures, keys, thumbdrives, gift cards, etc. If you need to send pics or something, pay for a padded envelope (they are often on sale at Walgreens for 39 cents) or send it in a box.

      • Stefanie says:

        I use the junk mail envelopes for storing/organizing my coupons – works pretty well!

      • Kristi says:

        You can also use a marker to make a heavy mark through the barcode.

        • Donna says:

          I was going to say something similar. Take a black permanent marker and black out the bar code, and the problem is solved.

        • Ashli says:

          I use the junk mail envelopes to send things like lunch money and notes to my son’s school, that way that bar codes aren’t a problem!

      • Good point! I give the one’s with bar codes on them to my kids. We have a mailbox directly in front of our house (we live way off the main road) that is the kids mailbox. They send their letters in it in their own envelopes. They love mailing things and their grandparents love receiving them (Santa too!).

    • Rosy says:

      If you go to stores that sell cards. After a holiday, a card rep. goes and picks up all the holiday cards but throw away the envelopes. I have asked if I could have them since they are throwing them away anyway, and that is what I use. You have to be there at the right time. I don’t use snail mail too much now, pay most bills online.

      • vicki says:

        very true. i worked at walgreens & they would throw away TWO trash bags FULL of envelopes after each holiday!!

    • Holly says:

      I use the extra envelopes for my coupons “to be filed”, coupons I’ve pulled to use at the store during my weekly visit, sending notes or money into school with my kids, or as scrap for the kids to play with.

  • Here are a few ways we cut costs:
    1. Unplug unused electronics ( coffee pot, lamps, cd players, toasters, etc) even when they arent in use they are still drawing power.
    2. Take advantage of the weather- when it’s breezy and beautiful outside open your windows and turn off your AC. In the summer close the blinds to keep the heat out and lower the cost of running the AC.
    3. Dont throw out kids torn jeans or jeans that are too short- cut them, add a ruffle or section of adorable material and you have capris!
    4. Cook from scratch when you can. Example. 1 Batch of Homemade Biscuits = .98 cents to make. 1 bag of Pillsbury frozen biscuits $2.50

    • Koree Fugate says:

      Yes. My mom saved jeans for years. She learned to quilt and then used the jeans to make a gorgeous quilt out of blue jean squares.

  • Ashlee says:

    We try to invest in reusable items where possible. Over the long run it makes a difference. We have a cloth coffee filter, we use cloth diapers when at home, we use washcloths 95% of the time instead of paper towels, we refill soap containets, etc.

    • Missi says:

      I’ve never heard of a cloth coffee filter. How cool! Is that something you can purchase?

      • Ashlee says:

        We bought it at a local green store for $3. Its basically stiff unbleached linen. I can’t sew but if you can it looks easy to do. I should mention I have a cone filter, not sure if thet make them in flat bottom kinds.

    • Anna says:

      We have a Keurig machine (a gift from the in-laws). Thankfully my mother-in-law also bought the refillable my K-cup thingy. The K-cups are so expensive! We haven’t bought a K-cup, ever, and since it’s one cup at a time, there’s no more wasted coffee and no coffee filters needed. I buy coffee on sale or the bigguns w/ coupons at BJ’s and just fill up as needed. Also great for the kids hot chocolate, I just remove the filter and I have instant hot water.

      • Jessica says:

        We use the instant hot water too! Great for tea or oatmeal too. Also, if you live near a staples, they sometimes have 100% rewards on batteries. I buy those, and then use my 100% rewards towards K cups on! Sorry, love my Keurig, it’s how I stopped buying coffee from the coffee shop!

        • Anna says:

          Oh, I love my Keurig! We use it for tea as well but I never thought about the oatmeal… wow, I need to do that! What setting do you use for that? The biggest?

  • Gina says:

    Some great tips! Just be careful about #6 – reusing envelopes from junk mail. Often these have a “bar code” on them to route them back to the sender, no matter what address you write on the front. I did this once and my mail was misdirected. Fortunately, the recipient was kind enough to send it back to me with an explanations. Use a Sharpie to cover up the black lines (“bar code”) to ensure that your mail is sent where you want it to go!

  • We have always used our plastic bags in our garbage cans and for throwing away dirty diapers. Saves us lots of money. If I have company coming in, I will use store bought liners for the guest bathroom, but other wise it is Kroger bags and Walmart bags for us. I also change them more frequently because I don’t feel like I am losing any more money by changing them daily.

    • Donna says:

      I frequently take a plastic bag full of other plastic bags to our local thrift store. They’re happy to have them because then they don’t have to buy bags.

  • Kelly K says:

    I just wanted to comment on tip #7, if you have kids in K-4th or whatever they bring home tons and tons of papers, both informative and worksheets, a lot of which is only printed on one side, so i use the other side to print coupons, works great;p

    As far as the home-made laundry soap, I make my own and have for a couple years, I have super sensitive skin, and so does my youngest, my middle daughter has asthma to, and I have never had an issue with any reactions at all with the home-made stuff. Also I saw someone mentioned autism, and sensitive skin, my neice has this, and I have washed her laundry before, and no issues. I only use a cup of borax, a cup of washing soda, and one bar of fels, the rest is water. Makes a ton and lasts forever, because I mix mine with water when I add it to old bottles, half/half…cleans just as good as the stuff ya buy in my opinion.

    I also cut fabric softner sheets in half, havent tried making my own of that yet.

    • Melissa says:

      It was me that mentioned the Autism. Pretty much every parent/family member I know that has a child with Autism says sensitive skin is an issue so I’ve been sharing about the homemade detergent for awhile now with them! I actually do 2/3 Ivory with 1/3 Fels for my batches as I was scared to add more Fels with his skin, but good to know you didn’t have that issue with her. I’m thinking I need to increase the Fels for stain remover for this summer when he will have grass, sand, etc stains from playing outside more!

      • KellyK says:

        I actually keep a bottle of tide stain releaser on hand and just add that in with the soap if I have heavily stained stuff, the booster or whatever it is, I would have to go look. I got a big bottle of it for .99 cents with coupons and dont use it that much so lasts forever. I think I misunderstood you about the autism, I was trying to read thru everything and my 3 year old was wanting full attention;p My neice also has very sensitive skin.

    • Great idea on reusing the kids papers. I get so many of these from both of my kids and I think they would love to see me print coupons on them. They love helping mommy cut coupons!

      • KellyK says:

        Yeah I only have one in grade school, one is in high school and the other not in school yet, but just one brings home tons of paper a week;p Its not all useable but 3/4 of it is, great money saver on paper!

  • What a great reminder and a great post! I honestly don’t think I knew they make small trash can bags. I guess the thought of buying them when you get so many sacks at the store for free never crossed my mind. 🙂

    We use cloth diapers, and we noticed an instant savings when we started hang drying them! However, I don’t think we’ll give up washing the diapers in hot water. 😉

  • Taylor says:

    I use the Duggar laundry soap recipe and I also use this fabric softener idea:
    Take a jug of fabric softener and pour into a larger bucket or container.
    Fill jug twice with water and add to container.
    Take an inexpensive sponge-cut it into halves or fourths and add to container.
    When you put your clothes into the dryer-take out a sponge, squeeze out excess liquid and toss it in the dryer.
    Works great-lasts a long time. I used an old animal crackers container I got from Costco-large and has a lid. I store it right by the dryer so it doesn’t make a mess. 🙂

  • Julie M says:

    I use the return envelopes that come in bills and junk mail for my grocery lists. I write the list on the back and put the coupons for that shopping trip inside the envelope.

  • Rosy says:

    Also instead of buying “doggie bags” to pick up dog waste, use the plastic bags that newspapers come in to keep them dry. Just be sure they haven’t gotten torn.

  • Michelle says:

    We save our scraps of bread and freeze them for feeding the ducks. Keeps my little ones happy for at least an hour and that is worth it.

  • I use my junk mail envelopes to make my grocery list and hold my coupons. I have 1 for CVS, 1 for Walgreens (I keep my ECBs / RRs in them) and then 1 each week for the grocery store(s). My daughter likes to be my little helper and loves coupons so I plan to start giving her her own envelope with a few coupons when we go to the store 🙂

    • I do this too! My daughter loves helping me so about a year ago I started giving her her own list and coupons. I think it’s great!! She get’s to do her own shopping, of course within my sight, and she gets to figure out the best deal. Sometimes she also gets some money to shop with and if she figures out the best deals and has some leftover it’s hers to keep.

  • Courtney says:

    On our dishwasher, you can just choose not to push the “Heat Dry” button – thank goodness, so I don’t have to remember to prop the door open 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    We do most of these, but I must say I think #10 is bad for the environment. Why do you need a bag in the small cans? We just dump the small cans (from the bathroom, etc.) into the one big kitchen bag when it’s time to take it out. We keep a recycling basket in the bathroom too for all the recyclables that end up in there, like toilet paper rolls, boxes and bottles from medications, plastic wrap off of packs of toilet paper, etc.

    I took over the budget in our house about 8 months ago. Shortly after was our anniversary, and when I saw the amount my husband paid for some cut flowers I said NO MORE!! They are very pretty for about a week, then they are just a reminder of how much money was wasted. For Valentines Day this year he made me a bouquet of origami flowers. They are beautiful AND will be around for a long time! He made me a bouquet for our first anniversary as well (almost 10 years ago) and I still have that in our bedroom.

    • Star says:

      We use bags in our small trash cans and I wouldn’t do it any other way. With a large family, our trash cans would be a terrible mess without a bag! We do use bags from wal mart or wherever though, so they are being re-used.

      • Rae says:

        I don’t have a big family and feel the same way. There are a lot of things I do to be green but not having a liner in the bathroom trash is not one I’m willing to do lol. Too many gross things go in the bathroom trash and I have no interest in cleaning trash cans every week 😛

        • Kristine says:

          I agree. I use Wal-Mart bags for trash liners in the bathroom. Not using any liner would be too disgusting.

    • Donna says:

      My favorite bouquet of flowers from my husband was a bud vase filled with wild flowers that he picked in the field behind our pond. 🙂

    • Heather says:

      I don’t use liners in the bathroom trash cans either. I never noticed my trash cans getting icky either. I recently bought a wicker can with a cloth liner. It gets dirty occasionally (lint, hair, etc.) but it’s easily washed in the washing machine.

      • Ton says:

        I’m thinking things like feminine items or wet wipes are what would get it gross/unsanitary.

      • Sarah says:

        All I can say is, you don’t have my kids. If we don’t put liners in then we wind up with a lot of yuck in the trash cans. I was happy for them to get potty trained so I didn’t have to deal with their poo anymore so I certainly don’t want to have to clean it out of the trashcans each week simply because I’m trying to save a penny or two 🙂

    • lee says:

      Wow, I am envious of your recycling center that you can take plastic product-packaging and toilet paper rolls. Ours is only corrugated cardboard and newspapers/magazines and the plastics are only #1 and #2.

  • the best way to use the return envelopes is by turning them inside out.I open up the envelopes slowly and carefully and glue it inside out.Its very simple and we don’t have to worry about bar codes. Some times security envelopes have interesting designs on them

  • Lindsey says:

    My washer has a quick wash cycle that I use instead if the regular cycle. It is about half the length of time and my clothes are never very dirty as I work in an office so it cleans them just fine. I also dilute my detergent and fabric softner so even if my husband does laundry he’s using less soap without even knowing!

  • Jennifer says:

    Great tips. However, just a cautionary note about washing clothes in cold water. Some experts feel that the increase in cases of head lice in children is due to washing in cold water. Cold water doesn’t kill lice, it just gets them clean!

    • Emily says:

      Im sure the dryer will kill the lice.

    • TatersMama says:

      Personally, I always wash my towels and undergarments in hot. For my family, sanitary needs outweigh saving a few cents here and there to use cold water.

      • Wendi S says:

        I read online that the hot water in the wash cycle isn’t hot enough to sanitize anything; it just makes us feel better. I cannot remember the site but you might want to research it.

    • Julie says:

      My mom taught me to wash my undergarments in hot water. I used to have a problem with yeast infections, but have never had another one since using the hot water!

  • Sarah says:

    I just tried #3 and it worked great! Actually, I think my dishes were drier because all of the steam could escape more easily! Thanks!

  • Becky says:

    I recently got a reusable furnace filter. We just wash it every 4-6 weeks. It was under $20 and will pay for itself many times over. I was skeptical about how well it would work, especially with my husband’s allergies, but it seems to work wonderfully so far!

  • Donna says:

    Since spring is coming, I thought I’d throw in a plant-related, money-saving comment.

    I used to think that it was normal to spend $50 or more every summer on flowers for the yard. That’s what my mom and sister always did, and the only perennials that they had were rose bushes. However, I discovered that it was much better to plant a variety of perennials instead of annuals. Every year, I’m able to rework and expand my flower beds without spending any money at all, if I don’t want to. My sister told me once that she wishes that she had known about perennials a lot sooner because it would have saved her a lot of money over the years. The few annuals that I like to buy (like marigolds because they help deter deer) I also let go to seed so I can replant them the next year. I have a large tin full of sandwich bags full of seeds from my flowers.

    My mother-in-law and I give each other starts off of new perennials that we buy. Sometimes you have to wait a year for part the new plant, but it’s worth it to get it for free. I watch for clearance sales at Walmart or Home Depot near the end of the summer and almost never pay full price for a perennial (unless it’s something that I *really* want and haven’t found on sale). Two summers ago, I hit the jackpot at a Home Depot and got about ten different kinds of perennials on clearance for around $1.69 each (regularly $5-10 each). I bought one of everything! I can’t wait to see how many offshoots of those plants that I will have to work with this summer.

    I also pay $2 for some perennials at a plant stand where a lady divides up her plants and offers starts of them. Lord willing, I’m thinking of making a stand myself this year where I sell some perennials as well as any extra vegetables.

  • TatersMama says:

    Along the same lines as the soup….I used to always be appalled at how much fruit we toss. Now, one night a week we do Smoothie Night with smoothies from all the fruit that’s about to turn. I usually serve it with some whole grain bread or homemade muffins, and putting some wheat germ and flax seed adds some extra protein (to fill us up) as well as extra nutrition. My family loves smoothie night, and I don’t have to toss any fruit!

  • Sandra Lee says:

    Using a prepaid postage envelope for mailing to an address other than the intended recipient is illegal.

    • Absolutely correct! I would never reuse these except for what they were meant for originally. These, if I’m not planning on using them, get tossed in the recycle bin.

    • Anna says:

      I don’t believe they were saying the prepaid envelopes. I get these all the time, they are the envelopes with nothing printed on them but they come in your junk mail. Hey, free envelope.

    • Donna says:

      You can cover up any prepaid postage mark with a stamp. It’s only illegal if you make the company pay for your postage to send something somewhere else.

      • Candy says:

        I agree with Donna. When the company I used to work for started using pre-paid envelopes I was shocked at how much postage they cost for the company. I think it was 1.10 for something that normally would have only cost 1 stamp! What a waste! If I ever needed something returned from a client, I would send a normal S.A.S.E. to them. When I reuse envelopes, I use sharpie, black crayon or grease pen, to mark off the barcode.

      • Sandra Lee says:

        There is a difference between pre-paid and postage due. Most companies send out postage due envelopes. The expense of postage for the company occurs only when the envelope is processed through the U.S. Postal Service. Pre-paid envelopes are those which already have postage stamps or run through a machine which inks the postage on it. Those envelopes are legally owned by the company who sent them out. If you use them for any purpose other than it’s intended use of returning them to whomever the envelope is originally addressed to, then it is illegal.

  • jkcmom says:

    I love these ideas they are really great and easy to follow. Thanks Frugalmomoftwo!

  • jkcmom says:

    I had my hubby put a clothes line up outside! I only run the dryer about 1-2 hours a week now instead of 6-7, if the clothes feel stiff I just put them in the dryer for a couple of minutes to fluff them. It saves a lot of money!!

  • Elena says:

    For those who think their dishwasher isn’t getting their dishes clean I would recommend looking up a DIY cleaning for your dishwasher. Mine wasn’t cleaning very good recently so I looked it up and did a little cleaning myself, I was a liitle surprised how gunky it was under the filter. Now it works soooo much better. Best thing, it was something I could do myself and didn’t have to pay a plumber!

  • LaToya says:

    I switched to a Diva Cup about a year ago and cloth diapers! I also have started couponing and cutting out the fast food.

  • Wow those are some awesome tips! Several of them I honestly hadn’t thought of before. Specifically the return envelope one. That’s super smart, and I’m not sure why that never occurred to me!

  • Tonya says:

    I’ve just gotten into making my own dishwasher soap. Also with my own deodorant and lip balm. We don’t turn lights on for most of the day and use the natural light in our house! We also just got dawn to dust lights for outside so that they aren’t on longer than they need to be if we are away or forget 🙂 I have 4 kids and stay home so I am always looking for ways to save! And I already do all the ones mentioned so now I am going to check the comments for others 😉

  • cheryl says:

    For cleaning carpets which I do often, I use Totally Awesome from Dollar Tree. It’s a dollar for a bottle and it works great. I used to buy steam cleaner shampoo for $12-15 a bottle.
    I reuse freezer bags. I also save used coffee grinds for my flowers and vegetable garden. Outdoor plants love the richness of the grounds in the soil, I also crumble egg shells into the soil. For the laundry I use less soap than recommended, I pay little to nothing for laundry soap. I stock up on clearance sales & use a coupon for more savings or I stock up when someone has a money making deal for it.
    We drink iced tea and lemonade versus colas. We eat leftovers or freeze them for later if we’re tired of the same dish. I just froze bbq shredded pork… after 3 days we were needing something different.
    Also my fridge uses a filter & I found a compatible filter through Amazon. Google filters, there are several sites that sell the cheap. I was paying $55 for my filters from Sears and now I get two packs from Amazon for about $50.
    One other thing we use compact flourscent bulbs, they save up to 80% energy. Our electric company gave lots of these away a few years ago
    & this weekend we got lots of 3 packs for .99 at Menards. Funny others were buying 3 paks for $8 right next to them. Just newer packaging for $5 more!

  • Julie says:

    A while back I did a series on my blog about saving money on laundry. You can see it here I have recently started to use cloth diapers and make my own baby food. It saves a ton and is simple and easy as well.

  • cheryl says:

    We turn the thermostat down to 67, and 65 when we’re gone for the day. For company & sometimes on weekends we bump it to 70.
    I order my fridge filters from Amazon, saves me 50%. Sears charged $55 for one filter & the compatible ones on Amazon are half that. Google filters, they’re are several sites that sell them.
    I freeze leftovers when we’re tired of them, I just froze bbq pork after eating it for 3 days. It’ll be so nice to pull out that pork one evening and heat it up. I also reuse freezer bags.
    We drink iced tea instead of colas. Huge savings there.
    We use compact flourescent bulbs. Menards had them this weekend for .99 a 3 pack. They save up to 80% energy.
    I save used coffee grounds & egg shells in my soil when I plant flowers and vegetables. It’s way cheaper than expensive additives. The plants thrive on these products.
    Finally I use way less than the recommended amounts of laundry soap. No need to make my own, I stock up when I can get it free like CVS had
    a while back. I do many of the things mentioned here, this is great thread.

    • Andrea Q says:

      We turn our thermostat down to 60 or 62 when we leave and 64 at night. I never turn it up when company comes, because it seems that the extra bodies heat up the room!

  • Kimberly says:

    I’m a big fan of using paper until it is unusable…. if I could only convince my daughter…. She likes “clean” paper for her doodling…

  • Julie says:

    In the summertime I collect running water while I’m waiting for it to get hot. I use it to water my outdoor plants. I suppose you could also use it to flush toilets (just pour into a toilet and it will instantly flush from the force of the water).

    I also make my own glass cleaner, which I LOVE.
    1/4 c. white vinegar
    1/4 c. clear ammonia
    2 T. rubbing alcohol
    2 drops dish soap
    1/2 gallon water
    Mix well. No streaks! 🙂

  • I get my laundry detergent for free so I don’t have to deal with the hassle of making my own. If you match up the coupons with the deals you can get if for free. I don’t have skin issues either. Also don’t use the dry cycle and let your dishes dry naturally will save a bundle on your electric bill.

  • chelsea says:

    I don’t know what we would do without plastic bags! They have so many uses in our home. There’s a drawer in our kitchen just for them. We use them to double-wrap poopy diapers, line small trash cans in the bathrooms, throw one in the picnic basket for leftover trash…the list goes on and on. Very useful!

  • Letty Gorecki says:

    In regards to utilizing “junk mail” envelopes: be sure to black out any barcodes along the bottom of the envelope prior to mailing. Some of these envelopes come coded with the return address. These envelopes go through sorting machines and will not be delivered to the address you intended. In the end, it may cost you a lot more if it’s a payment you are making and it never arrives at your destination.

  • Candy says:

    If you have one of those halogen lights that come on at dark, and turn off at light, you might want to get rid of it. We got rid of ours 10 years ago, and saved 30.00/month off our electric bill. Mine you, this was 10 years ago. I don’t know what it would save now with the way electric prices have gone up.
    We also saved a bunch on electric by switching over to CLF light bulbs a few years ago, and we are now slowly replacing those with LED lights which save even more.
    We saved at least 20.00/month (10 years ago) on our gas bill when we switched over to a tankless water heater. And we did it when our old tank water heater was on it’s last leg.

    • Jamie says:

      My husband is in the sustainable energy field and replaces every bulb with a CFL or LED and always talks to the energy company about our bill – we usually have the lowest bill on the block! It’s always good to look for energy star appliances too. Don’t forget those vampire lights on DVD players, coffee makers, etc. – they suck out a lot of energy, they make power strips that can cut down on that by turning off appliances for you.

      And if you don’t make your own cleaning products yet, here are the recipes that I use most often.

  • Before using the “junk mail” envelopes, make sure that any barcodes are completely marked through with a sharpie. I have had mail returned to me because it went to the company who sent the junk mail because of the barcode.

    • Sara says:

      That’s exactly what I came down here to comment! I had mixed up a couple of envelopes that came with my bills and my checks got sent to the wrong company regardless of me having the right address on it!

  • Carla Sorensen says:

    I realize I probably “waste” a lot of paper. I get so much junk mail that usually goes right into the recycle barrel in the kitchen. I usually write my lists on notebook paper in a book I keep all my “important” things to do. I have no children at home any more. I think if I did I would save all the extra paper for them to write and doodle on. I think it is great!
    I love posts like this because it always gets me thinking on how I can be even more frugal. This time I decided to do all my dishes by hand, unless we have company. I know we will save on electricity. Also, I am going to hang a lot of our clothes on my curtain rod to dry. Why not? 🙂 We are not allowed to hang a clothesline in our neighborhood, or else would. I do however hang rugs on my deck to dry and sometimes other things such as dish towels and cloths. I use plastic hangers and hang them on our plastic chairs.
    One more thing I do is use newspapers to put under my cats litter bon and food bowls and sometimes inside the box itself. I may not be saving money with this, it just makes life a little easier!
    I also plan to try making my own “Swiffer things” because they do add up!

    • lee says:

      Those wooden dry racks are great at saving space when drying naturally. I use it year round- basement in the winter ( i also have a couple clotheslines there in a back corner) and on the deck in the summer.

  • Kara says:

    The last one, “10. Use plastic grocery bags in your small trash cans.” amused me to no end. My mom doesnt do any of the other suggestions, but has done this one as long as I can remember. I was 24 before I knew you could even buy small trash can bags. I thought everyone used their grocery bags.

  • Rachael says:

    Great tips! I already do most of these, but never thought about opening my dishwasher door.

    About 2 years ago I read a great tip that has helped us save on soap. I wrapped a rubber band around the pump of the liquid soap. This makes it pump about 1/2 as much which is still enough for my kids to get their hands clean. We use a lot less soap this way!

    I also read somewhere that you can make your own fabric refresher spray by putting 2 or 3 dryer sheets in a spray bottle and filling it up with water.

  • Meg says:

    Good tips! Just as a reminder, though, if you are reusing the back side of paper for things like printing coupons, make sure you are only using the things you are willing to share. I used to work retail and we’d get coupons with sensitive medical test results, full bank or credit account numbers, and assorted other information on the reverse. I always marked it out when it turned up, but not everyone did. A little extra caution before printing can save problems down the line!

  • Erin says:

    My daughter’s eczema is so sensitive that she can only tolerate baking soda for her clothes and linens – just pennies per load! Apple cider vinegar can be used in the “fabric softener”area. It helps remove the odor – clothes come out of the washer with a vinegar smell but not the dryer!

  • Alaine says:

    Love that all these tips are also environmentally friendly! Except the last one! For small trash cans, why use a liner at all? I don’t know about you, but I don’t throw wet garbage into my trash cans in the office, bathroom, etc. I just dump the trash into the big bag each week. Save some plastic bags too! AND, if you are using reusable bags at the store, many will give you a refund for bringing your own – another (small) way to save some money!

  • Great post Shannon! Thanks for the tips! These are things you don’t always think of to save some money!

  • Stefanie says:

    There are some great ideas here I am gonna try this weekend. Yay!

  • Sarah says:

    When our kids started taking showers by themselves, it seemed like we were going through shampoo & body wash VERY quickly. Most of this was because of the flip-top bottle design. It was too easy for them to squirt out a huge blob, way more than they needed. I started saving my Softsoap pump bottles, cleaning them out and putting shampoo & body wash in them for the kids to use. Now they know they are only allowed one squirt. It is making our bottles of shampoo & body wash last AT LEAST 10 times longer.

  • Ssss says:

    Best natural approach we have found to eczema issues is using homemade goat bar soap in the recipe.

  • Kate says:

    I like the ideas in this post they are truly a money saver for any home. Will definately try some of these ideas.

  • vickie says:

    Several tips…. I use the plastic bags for small cans, but i also use for regular trash bags. I just hang the bag on kitchen cabinet knob, when full makes for more trips to outside trash can which in turn I get more exercise and I save by not purchasing bags.
    We are BLESSED to get lots of hand me downs from friends for the grandchildren and most of the time they are given to us in large trash bags(resue the bag)
    Cereal liners, are like wax paper save and reuse for leftovers, or put the open pack of cheese in and will not dry out (FYI kids open cheese put back in frig half wrappped). Cut bag open to make square, use to cut cookie dough or biscuits.
    Newspaper…I use this when peeling potaoes and carrots, no clean up mess and toss in compost.
    Bathroom….I reach under the sink and turn hot water off, at my house this is the knob kids reach for first, saves burned hands and powerbill.
    Repurpose….Spray paint can make anything look like you went out and bought something new. I spray painted a picture frame, took the matte out and spray painted different color made the picture “pop”, looks like I purchased a new picture. I have also spray painted brass what nots satin nickel finish, looks awesome. Use your imagination and most likely you can paint it a new color.
    Artwork…use calender pictures, spray paint old frames same color,
    group together beautiful artwork and inexpensive.
    One more and I will quit…I buy cake mixes, flour, cornmeal, hamburger helper on sale and put in freezer. I also keep coffee in the frig. A full freezer saves energy.

  • irma says:

    I have tried some if these but will try the others.

  • Florida mom says:

    I do most of these and save a lot of money. However, many of the modern appliances including dishwasher get ruined if you open while in cycle. My dishwasher locks when turned on. FYI

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