Friday, February 2, 2007

on my mind

Rusty just called and he is working late, Amber is at work and then she is going over to Sams, and Nikki is going to a friend house. So I have some time to write this entry since it has been on my mind.

Over the years I have done whatever it took to save money so that I could be at home with the children. My girlfriend Jen tells everyone that you do know cheap until you have met me! So here is a list of some of things I do. Not only do they help me save money, but I know that by doing some of these things I am also saving the environment.

1. Sale flyers: I use them to wash windows and mirrors, and then they are put into the recycling bin.

2. Grocery sacks: I use these to line trash cans, yes even the kitchen trash can. Once you start recycling you will only use about 1 grocery sack in your kitchen. I do not know how much money this saves, but I do know that I have not bought trash bags in years!

3. Cloth diapers: All of my children wore cloth diapers. I would like to know how much money I have saved over the years, but I have no idea. Think about this. If you use cloth diapers only four times a week, then you have just saved yourself 16 diapers a month! Once I was done with the cloth diapers there was no shortage of guys who wanted them. We use them to wash cars and dust.

4. Old socks: I take two old sock and stick my hand down in them and that is how I scrub tubs, toilets, and sinks.

5.Old towels: old bath towels are cut in half and then I sew them in half to make dish towels. Old dish towels are either folded in half and then sewn together to make a smaller dish towel or I cut them up to make dish rags.

6: Paper: any paper that only has writing on one side is cut up and placed in a small box on the desk. We use them for notes, to work a math problem or to make a shopping list. Then that piece of paper is placed in the recycling bin.

7.Coffee cans: There are so many uses for them! I have stored items such a crayons and colored pencils in them. I use them to store those little green army guys. I take all of my coffee grounds, tea bags, and uncooked fruit and vegi pieces in them. I keep this in the fridge, and then when it is full I go dig ahole in my garden or flower bed and dump the mixture in. It make great fertilizer!

8. Boxes: I try to keep boxes on hand so that I never have to buy one if I need to mail something. I use boxes as my laundry baskets. When the box gets broken then I throw it in the recycling.

9. Food: I only buy what is on sale and when it is a good sale, I stock up. I am on a food budget, so I buy all of my fruits and vegis first. I throw nothing away. If have left overs that are going to go bad, I will feed them to the animals.

10. packing peanuts: I have a bag of packing peanuts that I have saved from when I have ordered something. If the bag is full then I take the packing peanuts down to our local packing place so that they can reuse them.

11. pet items: We bought two metal pans, second hand, for the dogs to eat out of. One of our dogs loves to play with stuffed animals. So I will go to yard sales are around their closing time and I can usually get them for nothing. For the cats I use old restaurant bus boy plastic tubs as litter boxes. I use plastic bags to clean up after the dogs. I do not skimp and buy cheap litter.

12. Glass, cans, and bottles: I have two separate big trash cans set up in the garage. One is right under the can crusher, and the other one I use for glass.  If you really pay attention you will discover that you throw away a lot of glass that you could be getting money back on. ( baby food jars, jelly jars, beer bottles etc) I keep a big box in the garage to save items like water bottles in. Last year we made almost $100 just off stuff that we saved from the trash.

13.milk jugs: I will reuse a milk jug to put lemonade in or maybe a pitcher of tea. I use them at home and if we go somewhere. This way I do not have to worry if I left a pitcher some place.

14. Laundry: I often hang dry our laundry even in winter. Jeans can be thrown over a shower curtain rod. Also blankets up to a queen size will fir on a shower curtain rod. If you put them up after everyone has showered for the night and close the bathroom door then the jeans and blankets will be dry by morning. I have a couple different drying racks that I hang towels and rugs on. I even had hubby hang a pole in the garage that I hang shirts up on. I do not skimp on laundry soap and fabric softener. I can only use organic and fragrance free.

15. old car mats: I use the rubber car mats in the garage. I place them by the door coming into the house and they work so well at getting dirt off peoples feet before they come into the house.

I hope that some of these ideas might help everyone. I do not know how much money I have saved over the years but I would bet that it is millions. I must admit that when we were dirt poor I use to drive by the good will drop of locations and take stuff from there to use!

Be creative! I have used old curtains as table cloth, and in door rugs in the car! Before you run to wal crap to buy something think about what you already have around the house, and also ask yourself if you really need the item and if you could the item used for a fraction of the price. garage sales and thrift stores are a great place to find bargain!

I should mention that I have been called cheap and crazy to my face, but it does not bother me. I have been told that my house look tacky sometimes, but then I tell that person that if they think it looks so bad that they can buy me all new stuff. That shuts people right up!


cgtperkins said...

Thanks for sharing your tips!! When I lived in MS we didnt have any "thrift" stores, but here in Nashville there are tons and I often find the best things!! I love it. Matter of fact I may run by there tomorrow!!

lisa41076 said...

Kelli, love your tips, I do the same thing with the grocery bags and one thing I do about paper is I have my page a day calender on top of my computer and I tear the pages off every night and put them in my desk drawer for notes, Have a good weekend, Hugs Lisa

springangel235 said...

What great tips, I plan to use many!!!
Thanks for sharing, hugs,

bethjunebug said...

I'm thrifty too, we are not cheap, just thrifty, don't you know. We are smart cookies! I've learned it from my mom, she raised 5 kids pratically all by herself. So she had too. And her mom raised her that way too. I love thrift stores! Ours here on Mondays, lets you come in and fill a bag up of anything clothing wise, for only $5 bucks!! I've got nice clothes, some that had tags still on them, for my family and others that are needed at our church. I love the feeling I get when I save, and on top of that, extra bonus to be able to give to others, on such a fixed income. God blesses in all kinds of ways. Loved your ideas. I will use some of them.
Talk at cha' later,
Liz in Va.

lurkynat said...

wow Kelli! I can see why thye call you among the "top five"!
(means youare really exceptional in this area my friend!)
I do some of these things, but hey wiht the amount of rubbish here I don't think those little bags would work! lol!
Did your mom teach you some of these?
Impressive Kelli! have a great day!

lifes2odd said...

Yep, I do some of the things you mention. I've very frugal too. When you don't have a lot to work with you learn how to be that way and I actually feel lucky and thankful because of it! We really don't need a lot in life, a lot less than most people think, so many are so wasteful!
You are an inspiration!
Martha :-)

beckerb6 said...

I do some of the things you mentioned. We also use milk jugs to store beans and rice in.
Thanks for sharing.

seraphoflove9001 said...

Cool Kelli! Thats the way to be! :o) Yes, I do alot of those things as have to now days. We save and use grocery bags as trash can liners, we have different trash bins for recycling, when my son was a baby, I was only 18 and I couldn't afford disposables so I use old hand towels that I got at the good will for diapers and hand washed them. I washed our clothes in the tub, and hang dried them in the bathroom. There's so many things you can do to save money on. You just need to be creative. I've used table clothes for curtains, and if we had left overs, I'd make tv dinners with them. Just pop them in the oven/microwave. Thanks for all the other ideas. ;o)