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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Money Saving Uses for Common Household Items

In today's struggling economy many people are looking for ways to save money. Discount sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial are very popular offering daily discounted specials. There are several blogs such as DealSeekingMom and InGoodCents.com that send daily coupons and thrifty ideas to Facebook subscribers. Take your savings a step further by using common household products in non-traditional ways.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The other day I purchased a twin pack of toothbrushes and was shocked they were $7. If you don't change yours regularly that probably isn't a big deal. I change mine every 2 or 3 months so the cost does begin to add up. Instead of throwing away a brush that isn't completely destroyed, I save them. No this isn't some weird collection fetish I have, I reuse them around the house. Toothbrushes are perfect for cleaning small spaces around the house. The smallest nooks and cracks are always the dirtiest and a toothbrush fits perfectly. I use them to clean the grout in the bathroom. When the inside of the window frames need cleaning from condensation and mold growth, toothbrushes are perfect.
Have you ever pulled out a piece of jewelry to wear and discovered it is tarnished? Don't worry if you're out of jewelry cleaner. A toothbrush and a little dab of toothpaste will remove the tarnish and have it looking like new in minutes.

Baby Powder

As a busy stay at home dad these days,  I don't dedicate much time to a beauty routine. A pair of jeans or short pants, a t-shirt do the trick on most days. When I have to leave the house I'll quickly shave the short stubby hairs on the face, brush the teeth' get dressed and out the door. Some days I'll notice the front of my hair looks a little oily. In those instances where throwing on a hat is inappropriate I use baby powder to soak up the oil. Yes, they make dry shampoo, but I think this works just as well. My hair is a black so I feared creating a white spot on top of my head. However, it didn't. I sprinkle a little powder in my hand, rub my hands together, and then run my fingers through my hair.

Hair Conditioner

They say the best hair conditioner are the oils produced by the scalp. With long hair my wive don't shampoo everyday and only condition once a week. Since she don't condition her hair every time she washs it, She tend to accumulate bottles of conditioner. Luckily it can also be used to shave. Squirt a dab of conditioner on your palm and rub it all over your leg. It has a much better glide than ordinary soap and it saves on buying shaving gel. Plus I get to use some of her great smelling products too.

Pumice Stone
While we're still in the bathroom let's talk about the pumice stone. I'm sure this stone could be used until it were the size of a dime, but I think it's best to replace the stone once or twice a year. The pores of the stone become filled with dead skin, it gets wet, I really rather not think about what grows in there. Instead of tossing the stone way there is another place it can be used. If you've ever had a hard water ring in your toilet that a simple toilet brush doesn't take care of, the pumice stone will remove the ring. Wearing a rubber glove, simply use the stone to scrub the stained area in the toilet.

Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn dish soap has a variety of uses. I remember a few practical jokes when I lived in Ohio. Many of us have seen fountains full of bubbles because someone added soap. High school kids would pour a bottle on someone's driveway. During the next downpour the driveway would be covered in bubbles. Besides cleaning dirty dishes with ease it can also be used to clean wildlife exposed to an oil spill. Another special attribute this powerful soap carries is sheeting action. Dishes that are hand washed will dry without spots. A few drops of Dawn dish soap, a squeegee, and a few hours later the windows on your house will be clean and spotless.

Cooking Water

Typically when people boil potatoes or make pasta a generous amount of salt is added to the cooking liquid. A stockpot with a strainer insert is ideal for removing the food and leaving the cooking water behind. Instead of dumping this valuable water down the drain take it outside while it's still hot and pour it over some weeds. Just be sure you don't pour it too close to plants you actually like.



Newspaper is excellent because it is easy to find even if you don't have a subscription. We all know newspaper works great with window cleaner on glass. Here are a few other uses you can try. Stuffing it into your shoes helps draw out odors. Books and gifts can be wrapped with newspaper. I recently saw a show where they made a holiday wreath with wadded up sections attached to a metal frame and then spray painted. In the garden newspaper is a double duty friend. Surround your plants with 2 or 3 layers of newspaper to act as a weed barrier. Cover the newsprint with mulch and as the paper decomposes it also fertilizes the soil.

These are just a few, let me know what kinds of things you are using.

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