Growing up, there were many financial ups and downs that I experienced. When I was young, my parents both worked professional jobs and earned a good living. When my brother was born, we experienced many changes: my mother stopped working to care for us full time. As a result, we had to tighten our family budget. It was during this time that I learned how to live frugally. This served us well later on, when my father retired unexpectedly in his fifties. Later on, when we were new immigrants in America, these frugal household hacks help us save money when our finances were tight.
With three young kids, a spouse who works full time and working more than full-time myself, our focus now are on time-saving household hacks. Some days, we call it a big win as long as everyone is fed and have clean-clothes on.
Being Frugal or Being Cheap?
Over the years, I have definitely driven my husband crazy sometimes with some of my ways. On the other hand, I have also learned how to balance living a good life while watching my expenses. Instead of cringing at every dollar or quarter I spend, I now look at the bigger picture. I look at the value of things instead of picking the cheapest option. Here are some time-saving and frugal household tips and tricks that may help make your life more efficient.
Cutting/tearing laundry dryer sheets in half.
I lived in the tropics as a child, so we have always hung our laundry out in the sun to dry. I used to be a big proponent of line-drying. Well, not anymore! With a family of 5, including 3 children, 2 working parents (and coming home to wet or frozen laundry more than once), this is a small luxury I allow myself. With how our busy our lives are, this allows me to spend more time with my family. I have found that using half a laundry dryer sheet works just as well as using the entire sheet. It also reduces the film that laundry dryer sheet leaves in the lint trap. Win-win.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap
Here is a great one to save more than 80% on regular liquid soap. By adding a small amount of liquid soap into a foaming soap dispenser, and then filling the rest of the space up with water and shaking, you get your own foaming soap. I normally stock on on foaming soap dispenser when Bed, Bath and Beyond has their twice a year lowest price of the year sale. I normally pay around 2 dollars for the foaming soap and reuse the dispenser the rest of the year. With each pump, there is enough soap to keep your hands clean and needing less water to wash off the soap. An industrial study shows that, on average, people use 16 per cent less water when washing their hands with foaming soap. I won my husband over on this one. He goes around transforming and refilling all our foaming soap dispensers when it runs out.
Saving on printer ink.
Printer ink is pricey and most things that are printed do not need high quality print that uses a lot of ink. By using the ‘draft’ or ‘fast’ print settings on your printer, you can save quite a bit of money on ink. Before purchasing your printer, find out the cost per page before committing to a specific printer. This is often available on the product specification details. PC Magazine also has a list of cost per page information in their printer reviews.
Tearing a paper towel in half.
I have never seen the point in using an entire paper towel most of the time, unless it is to clean a big surface area. I normally tear it in half or even quarters especially when we are using it at the dining table. If you are cleaning with a paper towel, fold it in half. The shake and fold trick mentioned here helps ‘conserve’ paper towels – by flicking away water on your hands before getting the paper towel. By folding the paper in half, you create a “interstitial suspension” space for the droplets of water to cling onto the towel as well as to each other. This makes the paper towel more absorbent.
Weigh Your Pre Bagged Produce
This may already be obvious to some of you, but I never thought of it until recently. When purchasing bags of pre-bagged produce – i.e. 3,5,10 pound bags of onions, apples, oranges, consider weighing the bags. The minimum weight of the produce has to be the stated weight, but some bags of produce weigh more. When I weighed my oranges at the store last week, some bags were almost a pound more than others!
Caught a cold and need a humidifier in a hurry? You can turn your crock pot into one. Fill the crock pot with water and set it on low. Let it run with the lid off – viola! Instant humidifier.
Iron Clothes with a Dryer
When we moved to a new house several years ago, I accidentally donated my iron. Almost a year later, It was picture day at school, and my oldest needed his formal shirt and pants neatly pressed. I read about the ice cubes and dryer trick and decided to put it to test. It really was quite simple: put the shirt and pants into the dryer, along with 3-4 ice cubes. I ran the dryer on high, for 10 minutes. As the ice cubes melt to water, the steam produced, along with the hot temperature, got rid of the wrinkles in the clothes. I am pretty sure it was not economical to run the dryer for this purpose, but in a pinch, it works. I did get a new replacement iron after that!
Keep Bananas Fresh Longer
With my somewhat erratic work schedule, I sometimes overbuy fresh produce. After throwing out more than my fair share of bananas, I learned a nifty trick. By wrapping banana stems in cling wrap or foil, it slows the ripening process for up to 5 days.
Care to Share?
Do you have any time saving or money saving household tips to share? Please share your ideas below.
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