Saving Money on Light Fixtures

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

Recently, we needed a new chandelier for our dining room.  Being frugal, we didn’t want to pay full price for a new light fixture, so we decided to shop in a few thrift stores to see what we would find.

Some thrift stores handle items like light fixtures and some don’t.  I guess it depends on their policies.  There are also home improvement stores that sell used items at greatly reduced prices.

We got lucky and found a fixture for $6.99!  All the wires seemed to be good, and there were no obvious flaws or damage, so we decided to take a chance on it.  If you’ve never done anything like this before, there are videos on the internet.  Otherwise, have someone with experience show you how.  SAFETY FIRST!!!  Be sure to turn off the breaker!!!

We have replaced fixtures many times, so we turned off the breaker and set about changing the light.  If anyone was watching, I’m sure they were laughing.  I was trying to hold the light while David was working on the wires.  Our arms were getting tired and at one point, I moved a bit and accidentally hit David in the head with the light.  Anyway, it all went well and we have a nice, new chandelier!

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

BENEFITS:

  • Saving lots of money
  • Satisfaction of doing it yourself
  • Learning a valuable skill
  • Feeling empowered

I found a similar light fixture online for $110.00.  We spent $7.00 🙂

MONEY SAVED:  $103.00!!!

🙂

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19 Frugal Tips to Make Life Easier and A Little Folk Lore

Everyone has those moments when you say “now why didn’t I think of that?”.  I love little tips that help make life easier and use every day items that I have on hand.  Hope these frugal tips will help you as well!

  1.  Mini chocolate chips go further, because you use fewer to impart that delicious flavor.
  2. Use stackable cooling racks in your fridge to add extra storage space.
  3. Cupcake pans can be used to make large ice cubes for punches or blanching
  4. Plastic grocery bags can be used to wrap around items going to the freezer, as extra layers of protection against freezer burn.
  5. Use hot water, Borax and a flannel cloth to clean greasy kitchen walls.
  6. A Mason jar, a funnel and a piece of fruit in the jar, make an excellent fly trap.
  7. Boil a piece of Ivory soap for 45 minutes, in calcium stained pans and tea kettles.
  8. Boil vinegar and water for 10 minutes in pans with burned on food.
  9. Use baking soda and cold water to soak pans with egg and milk.
  10. Use hot water to soak pans with sugar and grease.
  11. Clean mills, grinders and mortars, by grinding rice.
  12. Flour the bottom of a roasting pan for thicker drippings.
  13. Wet sand on concrete helps keep the dust down for sweeping.
  14. Use paint brushes to clean wicker.
  15. Lemon juice can clean rust stains.
  16. Quickly clean tarnish using aluminum foil, water and salt.   Lay foil on the bottom of the sink, fill sink about half full, add salt.  Place items in sink so they don’t touch each other, but come in contact with the foil.  Watch tarnish magically disappear.
  17. Use a pumice stone to clean hard water stains.
  18. Buttermilk removes mildew from cloth.  Soak, let dry in the sun, then wash.
  19. Use a screen window for drying sweaters.

How about a some folk lore?

  1. Watch birds and animals.  They will alert you to bad weather and danger.
  2. The first twelve days after Christmas will indicate what each of the months in the next year will be like.
  3. The age of the moon, (number of days past new moon) at the first snow, will tell you how many time it will snow that winter.

Hope you enjoyed these!

🙂

Cleaning a Vacuum

Keeping Your Vacuum Clean

We take for granted that our vacuums clean our homes, but every so often they need a little attention to keep them running well too.

If your vacuum is just not picking up the dirt like it used to, it probably needs a good cleaning.  Time to take care of your equipment.

About every 3 months, I take my vacuum apart and really thoroughly clean it.  By the time I’m done, it looks and works like it’s brand new!

How to Clean a Vacuum

  • Start by taking all the filters out.  Remove the screws that hold the bottom plate on and this will give you access to your beater brush and belt.
  • Wash all the parts, that are washable, with warm soap and water.  If you have paper filters, a dry brush toothbrush will help you get the worst of the dirt out of them.  You can also take them outside and tap them against the ground to knock some dirt out. Take the attachment hose and run water through it, then hang it up somewhere to dry.
  • Clean the outside and inside of the main body of the vacuum.
  • Let all of your parts dry for 2 or 3 days!  Making sure everything is nice and dry before putting it back together will help prevent mold.
  • Put everything back together.
  • Now you have a nice, clean vacuum that will work much better!

Cleaning a Vacuum

Once a year, during my routine maintenance, I will replace all the filters and the belt with new ones.  For my model, this costs about $20.00.

This little bit of maintenance really helps a vacuum last longer and you will notice the difference in how much better it works.

BENEFITS:

  • Extending the life of your machine
  • Satisfaction of doing it yourself
  • Money saved in the long run, by buying fewer replacements

No money saved right now, but extending the life of your vacuum will reward you down the road.  Fewer vacuums bought, and fewer vacuums ending up in the landfills!

🙂

Sewing and Crafting Items

Cheap Sewing and Crafting Supplies

If you enjoy making things yourself, you know the value of developing good sources for your materials.

Two words: THRIFT.  STORES.

While you may not find exactly what you’re looking for every time, you can certainly pick up items you know you’ll use at some point and develop a nice sized stash!

I’m always on the lookout for yarn, buttons, material and sewing notions.  My hubby looks for them, too! 🙂  Over time, I have amassed a very nice “inventory” of items that are ready to use for whatever project I may want to undertake.  From time to time, I divide my stash and share it with my daughter!

Sewing and Crafting Items

Buttons and fun things

Sewing and Crafting Items

Rickrack, bias tape, ribbons, lace, etc.

Sewing and Crafting Items

Threads

Sewing and Crafting Items

Fabrics

Sewing and Crafting Items

Embroidery floss

Sewing and Crafting Items

Yarn

Sewing and Crafting Items

Yarn

Sewing and Crafting Items

More yarn 😉

I probably have more than I can use, but darn it, I’m gonna try my best to work my way through it!

Looking at the photos above, my mind boggles at the amount of money I would have had to spend, buying these items new.  The truth is, I couldn’t have afforded it.

By buying a little at a time, in thrift stores, I have accumulated a nice variety of supplies that are on hand and ready to use, at a small fraction of the cost of new.

BENEFITS:

  • Low cost crafting supplies
  • Unique, vintage and hard to find supplies
  • Supplies for gifts at your fingertips
  • Enough extra to share

I have to give my best educated guess at the cost and savings, since this was an accumulation over time.  I didn’t take pictures of everything, but an estimate of my available supplies is around $900.00 and an estimate of my actual cost is around $250.00.

MONEY SAVED: $650.00!!

🙂

 

 

Sewing Clothes

Sewing Your Own Clothes

Sewing your own clothes can be an economical way of adding to your wardrobe.

It’s also a very good skill to have.  Not many people sew clothing, so knowing how to sew can be a money making skill, as well.

This winter, I was trying to find a nice pair of pajama pants for my hubby.  By nice, I mean not the usual plaid flannel that you find everywhere.  He likes something a little more unusual.  Try as I might, I could not find anything, so instead, I bought a standard pattern for pajamas that included a variety of sizes.  I wrapped the pattern as a gift and included the promise of making jammies for him if he picked out the material.  He had the fun of finding some material he really liked and now I’ll have the fun of sewing!

Sewing Clothes

I like buying patterns that have many pieces included, plus a variety of sizes.  With this pattern, I can sew pajama pants, shorts, shirts, robes and nightshirts!  With the variety of sizes, this pattern will fit me, too.

There are many videos and websites that teach sewing, so I’ll skip that.  However,  patterns really walk you through the process, so even if you don’t sew, you can be pretty confident that you’ll have success by following the directions.

Sewing Clothes

The biggest investment in sewing, is the machine.  I still have my mom’s old sewing machine, but you can find machines in thrift stores or at garage sales.  Even new, a standard machine isn’t too much, considering how long it was last and how much sewing your own clothes can save you.  If you can sell some of your sewn items, the machine will pay for itself in no time!

Sewing Clothes

I hope you try sewing something!  I find it fun and it’s very satisfying to make what I need.

BENEFITS:

  • Making what you need
  • Having unique items
  • Saving money
  • Having a valuable skill

We found the material on sale for $2.99 per yard and we needed 3 yards.  These pajama pants cost $9.00 instead of $24.00!

The cost of the pattern is negligible, because it will be used many times and each time the cost of the pattern will go down.  I think of patterns as investments in tools.

We will get many pieces of clothing from this pattern and each time we will save money, but for the 1st piece we saved $13.00!!

MONEY SAVED: $13.00 +

🙂

Re-using Glass and Plastic

Re-Using Glass and Plastic

Many of us understand the importance of recycling, re-purposing and re-using.  In fact, for some of us, it’s a lifestyle!

When I was growing up, we did a lot of re-purposing and re-using, mostly out of necessity.  Out on the homestead, we didn’t have any garbage collection, so we composted food scraps, re-used as much glass as we could and burned paper products in the “burning barrel”.  I remember being pretty excited when I was old enough to be trusted with that chore! 🙂

Now, of course, I do the Three-Rs out of concern for mother nature and to save money.  Plus, it’s a fun adventure to balance the practical side of re-using without crossing the line into being a hoarder. LOL

There used to be a time when food would come in decorative glass jars.  Of course, the intent was for the consumer to re-use the jar and have something of value besides the original contents.   Although most jars aren’t decorative any more, there is no reason not to re-use them and make the most of what you have.

Re-using Glass and Plastic

Some fun finds from thrift stores!  LOVE those old jars!

For food items, I like to keep a good supply of glass jars on hand.  I save jars that tea or other drinks come in and any jars that have interesting shapes or are just a “good size” for storing food in the fridge.  For instance, I brew Kombucha, so drink jars come in handy for that.  When I open a can of olives, I prefer to store the remainder in the fridge, in a glass container, etc.  If I can’t find a use for a jar, I recycle it.

Re-using Glass and Plastic

Another thrift store find.  An old glass sugar canister without the lid.  Works well for brewing Kombucha.

I do not re-use glass jars as canning jars.  I prefer to err on the side of caution and only use canning jars for canning.  I do, however, use canning jars for all sorts of things.  Can’t find the right jar?  Grab a canning jar!  I store dried herbs, buttons, dog treats, screws, nails, food, seeds, and you name it, in canning jars.   FYI…the uses for canning jars are infinite, therefore, the quantity of jars one should have, is also immeasurable.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently 😉

Plastic containers have a plethora of uses as well, and this is where the money savings comes into play.

Re-using Glass and Plastic

My favorite plastics that I save are large coffee and yogurt containers.   I do a lot of gardening, so these containers are like gold to me!  I can start seeds, propagate plants or sell plants using these containers.  I re-use them year after year by washing them out well after each plant.    Best part is, when they’ve out-lived their usefulness, I recycle them!  I used to recycle the lids too, until it dawned on me that the lids work great as planter saucers.

Re-using Glass and Plastic

According to your needs and hobbies, you can save a lot of money by re-using glass and plastic.

BENEFITS:

  • Keeping items out of the landfill
  • Using items until they need to be replaced
  • Saving money
  • Re-using what you already have

Here is a quick tally of my savings:

Plastic pots the size of yogurt containers are about $1.50 each.  I get a large container of yogurt every week, so,  52 weeks x $1.50 = $78.00.  Pots the size of coffee containers are $2.10 each x 12 = $25.20.

MONEY SAVED: $103.20!!

🙂

How to Stock a Pantry

21 Pantry Staples To Always Have On Hand

How well is your pantry and fridge stocked?  Do you have enough basic ingredients to come up with a meal?

My daughter and I have fun with what we call “Pantry Mystery Meals”.  We look in our pantries and come up with a meal using whatever we have on hand.

In order to play this game, you need to keep your pantry and fridge stocked with some simple, basic ingredients that can be used in a variety of ways.

Everyone’s list will vary according to taste, but here is my “Staple Foods” list:

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Nuts
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tortillas
  • Bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Chocolate Chips

With this list of ingredients, I can usually whip up a meal, plus a dessert.

Hope you try the Pantry Mystery Meal game!

BENEFITS:

  • Using what you have on hand
  • Saving money and gas by not running to the store as much
  • Homemade food is better than fast food or boxed food
  • Cooking from scratch is healthier

It depends on your store, the distance to your store, your taste, etc., but I know this saves me, on average, $200.00 per month!

MONEY SAVED:  $200.00!

🙂