Fresh Advice, Ways to Save Money Shopping for Household Items

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Shopping
<div class=\"postavatar\">Fresh Advice, Ways to Save Money Shopping for Household Items</div>

Post Written by Tanya Doyle

Fresh Advice, Ways to Save Money Shopping for Household Items

With the ever worsening economy I am always looking for simple ways to save money and still stick to a budget without feeling the pinch.  I’ve put together some of the ways I manage our household expenses that alleviate some of the pressure from tightening our domestic belt.

Buy In Bulk.  Once a month we make a trip to Costco for household items that we can store and use as needed and food items that we can use them before they expire. If some of the larger items are too much for your household, consider shopping with a friend or family member and splitting perishables such as meat, cereal and dairy products.

Flavored Water.  We could all do our bodies a favor by drinking more water and less sodas and sugary drinks.  Instead of buying pricy flavored bottled drinks try adding a touch of flavor to filtered water by infusing it with slices of fruit such as lemon, lime, orange, cucumber or even some raspberries or fresh mint leaves. Set a pitcher of your flavored water on your desk since you’ll drink more if you see it all day.  Your skin and your metabolism will thank you as will your wallet!

Make Your Clothes Last Longer.  All it takes is a few extra minutes preparing your clothes for the washer by closing zippers, fastening hooks or velcro and turning items inside out. Wash darks together in cold water so they don’t bleed onto lighter clothes and cold water also lowers your water-heating costs. Line-drying items also help maintain their original appearance with the added bonus of saving on dryer heating costs.

Stop Buying Paper Towels.  Instead of spending money on all those rolls of paper towels, buy reusable microfiber towels which grab onto dirt and dust like a magnet and won’t let go, even when they get wet. When they get dirty toss them in the wash and reuse.

A Well-Kept Pantry.  Transfer your dry goods such as flour and sugar to wide-mouth, airtight containers. This makes them easier to scoop with measuring tools and will also help keep them fresh. Note the purchase date on the containers and keep in a low-humidity environment. Humidity will make solid sugars lumpy, so be sure to leave brown sugar in its original bag and then zip it into a ziplock bag to keep it soft.

Low Cost Wrapping Paper.  The most unique and beautiful wrapping paper is most likely lying around your house.  Try using vintage scarves, newspaper, colorful cloth even leftover wallpaper scraps to make quirky, unusual and elegant gift wrappings.

Maximize Air Flow.  When it’s hot outside, position a fan to blow air out a window. If you have a strong crosswind, set the fan to blow in the same direction to maximize air flow. Close nearby windows to keep exhausted air from flowing back in, and open those on the other side of the house especially in cool, shaded areas. In a multilevel home, place the fan in a top-floor window and open windows on lower floors, where air is cooler. For windows that catch direct sun, use heavy drapes or shades to minimize the solar heat.

Use Rainwater Runoff.  Use rainwater that runs off your roof with barrels made from trash cans and position them under your home’s downspout.  You can purchase a pump to help deliver the water through your hose or a tap to fill your watering can.  You can use that water for the garden or lawn. If you prefer, you can find a variety of premade rain barrels online, just look for ones that have a spigot for a hose attachment.

Save Money on Wine.  Wines often cost more when they come from a renowned wine-making region or are made from a popular grape. So instead of buying your usual wine  try something different.  Instead of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, try Albarino, Malbec, or Sangiovese.  Chile, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa are the latest wine-producing countries and make good-quality wines at bargain prices. You can also ask the store manager about any specials.

Teacup Candles.  Give a second life to all those partially burned candles and antique teacups that have lost their saucers. Just melt down your leftover candles in a double boiler and fill the teacups about three fourths full.  Add a wick, let cool and you have sweet new candles that also make charming gifts.

Adjust Your Water Heater.  Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees to restrict heat loss. Dishwashers are the exception to this rule so check to see if yours has a booster heater for sanitizing 140-degree rinsing. With this one adjustment you could save up to $450 a year!

Buy a New Shower Head.  To reduce hot-water energy consumption, federal legislation mandated improved showerhead efficiency for models made after 1994. Replace those older models with ones that spray no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. You could save up to $145 a year!

Purify the Air with Houseplants.  Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on an air purifier simply add a few houseplants.   NASA scientists discovered about 25 years ago that houseplants have the ability to remove toxins from the air.  In addition to the following plants aloe, orchids, tulips, azaleas, cyclamen, and gerbera daisies are also good options.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) This insect-resistant vine bears green heart-shaped leaves with gold or cream highlights and is easy to grow. A quick grower that can be grown in hanging baskets or trained to climb it tolerates most environments and doesn’t lose its color when placed in dark settings.

Dracaena Deremensis  This plant has green leaves with white stripes that measure about 2 feet long and 2 inches wide. The plant can grow to 10 feet tall, is tolerant of low light and dry air, and is especially effective in removing benzene.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Sp.) This plant produces beautiful white spathes that unfold to reveal its flowers, is a reliable indoor bloomer and is effective in removing alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Vittatum’) The first plant proven to remove indoor air pollutants and is the most common form of spider plant. It bears green leaves with a broad cream or yellow stripe down their centers, as well as small white flowers that bloom all year.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum) With its silvery, light-green, lance-shaped leaves, this slow-growing plant has the ability to increase its toxin-removal rate with exposure. Extremely tolerant of low light conditions (but not temperatures below 55 degrees), it blooms in late summer and early fall and can reach 3 feet.

Clean Your House With Baking Soda and Vinegar.  A one-to-one solution of vinegar and water makes an effective multipurpose cleaner. Distilled white vinegar deodorizes, disinfects, breaks up dirt, grease, mineral deposits, mold, and soap scum and doesn’t leave streaks on mirrors or windows. The nontoxic mixture disinfects floors and bathrooms and cleans glass without leaving streaks. And rest assured, its distinctive odor disappears as soon as the liquid dries.  Baking soda deodorizes and can be used to scrub and polish shiny surfaces like stainless steel without scratching.  Also softens hard water and removes acidic stains.

Dry-Clean at Home.  When a clothing tag reads “dry-clean only” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the item can’t be hand-washed, especially if it’s made of natural fibers. Garments that are unlined, simply constructed, and made of cotton, silk, linen or synthetic polyester can probably be washed by hand or in cold water in a machine. Washing them in a lingerie bag also helps reduce wear. However, if you have items with bright colors, clothing made of traditional silk, or anything with delicate stitching or beading let the pros handle them.

Start Saving Automatically.  Ask your benefits manager at work to deduct a specific amount from each paycheck and add it to your retirement or savings account. If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan or automatic transfers, ask your bank to routinely transfer money from checking into savings on a certain date each month.

Freeze and Dry Leftover Herbs.  Nothing can outdo the taste and aroma of fresh herbs but whether you’ve bought an expensive bunch from the grocery or you grow your own there’s usually more than you can use at once.  Just tie together your leftover sprigs with twine or a rubber band and hang them upside down from a rack or shelf in your kitchen to dry. Once they’ve dried you can store them in airtight containers and keep them in your spice rack.  Parsley, basil and other mild herbs can be blanched, pureed with olive oil and frozen into ice cube trays to give soups and stews a bright punch of flavor.  Pack frozen cubes in a ziplock bag.

Turn Wrapping Paper Into Pretty Packing Material.  Don’t throw away all the torn wrapping paper from birthday, wedding or holiday presents.  Instead, run it through a shredder and use it for lining gift boxes, baskets or protecting breakables to be shipped.

Organize a Book Swap.  Have you accumulated more books than your house can hold?  Organizing a book swap at your home, work, or community group and trade your excess books with fellow bookworms.  You can also recommend other books to each other and pass around the latest literature without having to spend a dime.

Run Appliances at Night.  Run appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers at night to avoid peak energy rates and the humid heat they generate. Excess humidity equals more expense, since air conditioners use extra energy to process the moisture.

Shop Locally and Seasonally.  Farmers’ markets usually offer seasonal produce at lower prices than most grocery stores.  Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season for the lowest prices and best flavor. Check out localharvest.org for markets in your area. When the farmers’ close for the season buy frozen fruits and vegetables.  They’re just as nutritious as the fresh kind.

Please share some of your favorite budget tips and money-saving ideas.

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37 Responses to “Fresh Advice, Ways to Save Money Shopping for Household Items”

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    July 24th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

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  6. duncanjacob63 says:

    July 22nd, 2010 at 11:47 pm

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  7. Leonila says:

    July 12th, 2010 at 10:10 am

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