Category Archives: Saving those pennies

Doing what we can to save a few pennies here and there while not giving up our usual lifestyle.

Save Money by Composting

The Garden And House Plants

I’m going to write this section for those who have never composted and never even considered it.  This will be for those who wouldn’t know where to start even if they realized the benefits of composting. 

First Rule of Thumb is NEVER use orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime peelings, onion peeling, or garlic peelings in composting.  Those items could ruin any benefits you might gain from composting.  So just don’t even bother saving those items.   

Items You Do Want To Save includes potato peeling, eggshells, used coffee grounds, and all fruit peelings, carrot peelings, lettuce, leftover tomatoes, and most leftover food.

What To Do With This Stuff is a question that will depend on what kind of plants this composting will be used for.  Composting for houseplants can be done in small to medium amounts and will include basic potting soil.  Whereas composting for an outside garden is done in much larger amounts and can be done by directly burying some of these kitchen items right into the garden soil before and during the growing periods.  Making a pile of soil and these composting items along with grass clippings and leaves can be added to the garden instead of fertilizer.                      

It doesn’t matter whether you compost for a huge outside garden or just a few houseplants, or something in between, you still need to compost.   

Believe me when I say that the worst soil can be turned into rich growing soil in a matter of a year, or two at the very most, simply using the items mentioned above.  When you see worms working their way through the soil you will know you’ve changed the soil quality.  I don’t particularly like worms, BUT worms are a visible sign of good quality growing soil, so encourage worms to move in and set up housekeeping. 

USED COFFEE    If you have a vegetable or flower garden the coffee grounds and coffee filters can be used as compost and will certainly fertilize the garden.  Used coffee and used coffee filters will also fertilize individual flowers/plants in the house.  

In the end what you want is to change basic planting soil from a dark brown to absolute black, and the left over food items mentioned above will do exactly that.  So have fun planting and watching things grow inside the house as well as outside in the garden, and save the environment at the same time.

How to clean house on the cheap

HOW TO KILL GERMS AND SAVE MONEY

 The only cleaning solutions I’ve ever bought premixed are window cleaner and dish soap. 

 There is a cheap and very good cleaning solution that can be used throughout the house.  Simply use an empty spray bottle – first wash it out thoroughly and rinse it – now mix 1/8 drops of dish soap and ½ cup of liquid bleach – the generic stuff works just fine – and now add one quart of water.  Add this mixture to the spray bottle and now you are ready to clean – especially in the kitchen and bathroom.  Simply spray a small amount – as you would with any cleaning mixture – and wipe the item down with a rag or sponge that has been wet and wrung out in warm water.  Now rinse the item or area just as any other cleaning product calls for.  This mixture will even kill the flu virus while you are cleaning. 

This cleaning solution can be used on any washable surface such as white walls, light colored or white tile, sinks, wash basins, tubs, toilets, trash cans, the outside of the refrigerator, the inside and outside of the microwave, stove top, and much more.

 I use this cleaning solution on the inside of the refrigerator every so often as well.  I consider this just another important step when cleaning the kitchen, especially when I’m emptying out all those small amounts of leftover food I had forgotten about.  Just remember to rinse well and let dry.  I usually wash the meat drawer, egg holders, etc., just to make sure the important areas are truly clean.    

 BLEACH IN THE KITCHEN

It is extremely important to not only wash but also to sterilize dishes especially during the flu season and if anyone in the house is sick.  There is a much easier way of accomplishing this than you may have imagined.

 Some years ago a study was done to see which of three method of washing a cutting board actually killed the most germs.  One cutting board was washed in hot dishwater and rinsed in hot water.  The second cutting board was washed in a dishwasher using the sterilize rinse cycle.  The third cutting board wash washed in warm (not hot) dish soap with ¼ cup of bleach added and also rinsed in warm water.   

 All three cutting boards were then tested to see how many germs remained on each cutting board after being washed in their respective manner.  As it turned out, the first cutting board, washed in hot dish soap by hand had the most germs left on it.  The second cutting board, wash in the dishwasher using the sterilize cycle, as you can imagine, had many less germs.  The third cutting board washed in only warm dishwater with some bleach added had the fewest germs of all, with germs being almost non-existent.     

WASHING AND STERALIZING DISHES

Since hearing about this study that was done I have rarely done a load of dishes in a dishwasher or a load of dishes by hand without adding bleach.  Much to the dismay of my kids they were healthy and in school almost twice as often as other kids in our neighborhood.  Other kids had runny noses, colds, flu, and the list of ailments went on and on.  My poor kids had no such excuses for staying home from school or other activities.

 So if you’re doing dishes by hand, simply start the dishwater, add a slightly less amount of dish soap than you normally would and now add about ¼ cup of bleach to the dishwater.  Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would and let them AIR DRY.  You will now have clean sterilized dishes that will not spread germs and viruses.

 DID YOU KNOW

Adding bleach to the dishwater actually super activates the dish soap so it cuts grease and grime even better than without the bleach??

USING A DISHWASHER

Isn’t much different from doing dishes by hand when it comes to sterilizing them.  When the dishwasher is full and ready to be turned on, add whatever automatic dish soap you regularly use and also add a rinse additive if you prefer.  Now add 1 cup of bleach to the bottom of the dishwasher and turn the dishwasher on as you normally would. 

 DID YOU KNOW

 With the bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher you can now turn OFF the “sterilize cycle” on the dishwasher, which will save plenty of money (possibly $100 or more over the period of a year) in water heating costs, just by using the bleach. 

DON’T WASTE MONEY 

Don’t waste money-drying dishes using the automatic drying cycle.  Just before closing the door on the dishwasher simply make sure the dry cycle is turned off.  When the dishes have finished washing and rinsing simply open the door and let the air start drying the dishes naturally.

More advice from the kitchen

As discussed in my last article there are uses for items most people may not think are multi-useful.   

PAPER LINER FROM CEREAL BOXES can be used for crafts and art projects.  Simply save the wax paper type lining from cereal boxes.  Carefully take the side and bottom seams apart so the paper lays flat.  Quite a few of these flat paper liners can be stored inside an empty cereal box and saved for messy projects.  Child finger painting, watercolor painting, hot gluing, and any other project that you don’t want to stick to the work surface.  I’ve even used a couple of these cereal box liner papers to set snow boots on before I installed plastic runners by the door.      

COFFEE POT    Save money on that coffee pot with all the bells and whistles like clock and auto off feature, unless you specifically need one of those extra features.  It’s understandable that some people may find the auto-off feature helpful when they have to leave for work at an early hour.  In most cases those extra features are just another example of outdoing your neighbor and dollars can be saved doing without them. 

If a person likes having coffee first thing in the morning, like I do, simply buy a basic drip coffee pot, without the clock or other features.  Every night, after dinner, and before bed set the coffee pot up, by rinsing out the coffee pot and filling it with clean water that is then poured into the water reservoir.  Now get rid of the coffee grounds (DON”T throw them in the trash) and rinse the coffee basket out.  Rinse it out and fill it with a new coffee filter and coffee grounds as you normally would. 

Now leave the coffee pot alone, do NOT turn it on or do anything else until morning.  Your first activity in the morning will be to go flip the switch to turn the coffee pot on and then simply go about your normal early morning routine.  By the time you are ready for that first cup of caffeine it will be ready for you.

DID YOU KNOW that coffee filters are great to use in the bottom of houseplanters?  Coffee filters are obviously made to allow water to flow through them.  So, if you don’t have rocks or broken pieces of old flowers pots to use in the bottom of houseplants simply grab a coffee filter.  Lay this out in the bottom of the flower pot and then fill the flower pot with soil as you normally would and plant the flower or plant.

Saving a few pennies in the kitchen

If you are going to start cutting costs around the house your going to need a plan and a new attitude.  Let me say up front that I am not a financial advisor so there won’t be much financial advice from me.  What I will provide is advice on how to save a few pennies here and there throughout the house.  Those few pennies may not seem like much at the time but added up and over the months they indeed add up to a few dollars.  Those dollars can be used for other things.

 First thing everyone needs is a new attitude.  Items that seem destined for the trash are NOT trash until you have explored all the things that item can be recycled into.  Here are just a few of the items I regularly recycle

 NETTING:    From onions, oranges, apples, etc.  This netting can be washed and sterilized in some Lysol or bleach and then bunched together in a ball, tied with yarn, string, or whatever you have on hand.  Now you have a scrubbie to do the dishes with, scrub spots off counters, or used to clean the bathroom.  To clean floors this netting can be sewn at one or both ends and then used for the mops that require the disposable cleaning pads.  The netting can help clean stubborn spots from the floor and then thrown away or washed and used again.  I save all the different colors of netting and then use one color for different cleaning, and that way germs are not spread around the house.  Believe it or not, over a period of time these ideas actually save a few dollars.   

This netting can also be tied together in a ball and used to exfoliate the skin while showering.  You won’t have to use any elbow grease to truly exfoliate the skin either.  This netting can also be cut to size and turned into a small bag to slip a bar of soap into that will also exfoliate the skin very nicely. 

 The next use I’ve turned this netting into is a small shopping bag for a doll as a play item for a small girl.  Using the same color of netting, it can also be sewn together and used as a slip to fluff out a dress for a doll, as a gift for a girl. 

 This is just one item that we normally throw out that can be turned into very useful items around the house and save some money doing it.   

 COFFEE POT    Save money on that coffee pot with all the bells and whistles like clock and auto off feature, unless you specifically need one of those extra features.  It’s understandable that some people may find the auto-off feature helpful when they have to leave for work at an early hour.  In most cases those extra features are just another example of outdoing your neighbor and dollars can be saved doing without them. 

 If a person likes having coffee first thing in the morning, like I do, simply buy a basic drip coffee pot, without the clock or other features.  Every night, after dinner, and before bed set the coffee pot up, by rinsing out the coffee pot and filling it with clean water that is then poured into the water reservoir.  Now get rid of the coffee grounds (DON”T throw them in the trash) and rinse the coffee basket out.  Rinse it out and fill it with a new coffee filter and coffee grounds as you normally would. 

 Now leave the coffee pot alone, do NOT turn it on or do anything else until morning.  Your first activity in the morning will be to go turn the coffee pot on and then simply go about your normal early morning routine.  By the time you are ready for that first cup of caffeine it will be ready for you.

 USED COFFEE    If you have a vegetable or flower garden the coffee grounds and coffee filters can be used as compost and will certainly fertilize the garden.  Used coffee and used coffee filters will also fertilize individual flowers/plants in the house.