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Brew your own fancy coffee

October 30, 2009 • Paige

In one year, at an average of $4 per cup, you spend $850 to have specialty coffee at work. If you make an initial $15 investment for a good thermos and then brew a small amount of your favorite coffee at home, you can save over $700 a year.

You can add cinnamon and vanilla, condensed milk and other flavorings at a very small extra cost. You’re still going to save close to $700 each year.

Categories: Being Frugal
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Old Socks: Don’t Throw Them Away!

October 25, 2009 • Paige

Old socks are one of the best money saving tools a thrifty person can have. Socks make great cleaning rags, polishing cloths, bleaching cloths, dusters, or just about anything else, and you can toss them in your washing machine. If you have a particularly nasty mess to clean up, just throw the sock away.

Give your kids a few old socks and some craft supplies and let them make hand puppets. They might find old socks handy for carrying and storing marbles or other small toys.

Fill the toe of a sock with dry beans, tie a knot and cut off the extra to make “crazy hackey sack” that doesn’t fly normally. Alternately, fill about half way with dry beans and sew shut to make bean bags that younger kids can toss into empty coffee cans.

You can fill an old sock with potpouri, cedar chips, or anything else you like, then tie it shut and toss it in the back of one of your clothes drawers as a sachet.

Where do you store all of these old socks? Everywhere! Tuck them in with your bath towels, kitchen towels, out in the garage.

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Free Halloween Costumes

October 16, 2009 • Paige

If you have any clothes in your closet at all, you have Halloween costumes in there too. You can also go look at thrift stores for ideas and pieces of your costume. The point is to have fun, not to spend a lot of money!

The Pugilist: Bruised / Black Eye – use red and blue or blue and yellow eyeshadow over cheekbones and jaw, and red and blue in the depressions around the eyes. Homemade Fake Blood – Mix 2/3 cup white corn syrup with 1 teaspoon red food coloring, 2-3 drops blue food coloring to darken and 1 small squirt of dish soap to make the blood a little bit runny before it dries.

Scrapes or Road-Rash – rub on some black, brown or red eyeshadow, then apply some home-made blood. Allow some dirt or brown powder to stick, then gently scrape in one direction with a plastic comb. Draw tire-marks across an old tshirt.

Concrete Shoes – Cover tissue boxes with grey paper or paint, then stick your feet inside them.

Old Man / Woman – Draw lines on your face with any makeup pencil, then dust with baby powder or face powder. Dust your hair with baby powder to make it look grey. Wear old wire-frame glasses, but push the lenses out first! Any out of style or old fashioned clothes, hats or shoes are great. For old women – wear long nylon stockings rolled down to the ankles, old fashioned flowered dress, a lace or knit shawl, or a scarf around the head. Carry stuffed cat or a very small stuffed dog. For old men – old fishing hat, slacks pulled up to armpits, bowling or saddle shoes, argyle sweater vest, bow-tie.

Rise and Shine – Rub shampoo into dry hair to create that wild just-woke-up look, or skip the shampoo and put your hair very messily into curlers. Dab some dark eyeshadow under your eyes to create “black circles”. Wear a bathrobe and slippers. Carry a teddy bear, if you like. Wear a sleeping mask on your head, like you just took it off.

Miss Universe – Wear any old formal dress from any era. Use a strip of an old sheet or some paper to create a sash on which you can write or paint Miss America, Miss New York or whatever you like. Create a silly tiara out of tinfoil and a paper plate.

Game Show Host – Wear any suit, preferably something colorful. Slick your hair back, make sure to practice your game show host smile! Have a handful of index cards in your pocket and randomly pull them out and ask people trivia questions. Say: “I’m sorry, the answer must be in the form of a question!”

Categories: Being Frugal
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Home Made Cleaners

October 2, 2009 • Paige

Home made cleaners: safe, effective, and extremely cheap!!

Most household cleaners are harsh and toxic. They can become extremely poisonous when mixed together. There is a much better way! Commercial cleaners average about $3 per bottle, but you can make your own safe cleaners for $.03 to $.30 per bottle. You can get as fancy as you like with your home made cleaners, but “keep it simple” really does work!
Most of these ingredients are things you probably already have:

scouring powder – all you need is a sprinkle of salt or baking soda and an old sock or sponge. An empty spice bottles are good for air-tight storage and for dispensing the powder. I keep mine in an empty peanut butter jar and scoop it out with a little plastic spoon in the jar.
glass cleaner – Fill a spray bottle with water and add a half-teaspoon of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
disinfectant spray – Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant and when it dries, there is no vinegar smell. Honest! We use vinegar and water to clean everything.
floor cleaner – Mop with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water
wood floor cleaner – Mix freshly brewed black tea into warm water and mop. This leaves a nice shine on wood floors.
If you have vinegar and baking soda in your pantry, you are already set to refill your household cleaner containers at one-tenth the cost!

One great side-effect of using simple home made cleaners, is that you only need a fraction of the space to store them. No more cabinets crammed with cleaning supplies!

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