The Frugal Family
By Susan Rykiss
Here are this timely tips to help you and your family save time, money and energy!
Consignment Shops - Check Them Out!
Twice a year (fall & spring), clean out your closet and your children's closets. If your clothes are in good condition, take them to a nearby consignment shop. They'll price and sell your clothes and whatever is sold, you get half or more of the money. Also, they'll donate whatever is left over to a charity. It sure beats time and money trying to sell them at yard sales.
Zap Static Cling With Hand Lotion
Use a dab of hand lotion right over your panty hose to eliminate static cling! When you get out of your car in the winter, you are stuck to your pants! Carry a travel size hand lotion just for this!
Alternative to Dryer Sheets
Instead of spending money on dryer sheets you can make your own. In a spray bottle mix one part fabric softener and one part water, then shake to mix. Spray a clean, old washcloth about five or six times and use in your dryer to prevent static cling. You may use the same cloth over and over again.
Start a 'Craft Time Box'
Kids absolutely love using their creativity. Find a large box (or a couple of smaller ones if you are more of the organizing type) and start tossing in items you'd normally throw away. Things like shiny christmas paper, toilet paper rolls, concentrated orange juice cans and tops, elastics, buttons, tin foil, styrofoam etc... We might think it's trash but to kids it's materials to make the next great masterpiece. You may wish to top it up with other things like pipe cleaners, pom pom balls, sparkles etc... which you can buy in bulk in the sewing section of you neighborhood Walmart etc... This collection of goodies beats any toys you could buy in a store. Plus you'll find yourself recycling a lot more than you used to do.
Fun Way to Save on Toothpaste
If your kids squeeze too much toothpaste on their toothbrush leaving residual toothpaste blotches on the basin, here's a fun tip: attach a cake decorating tool where the cap goes. Pick a slender gapped hole, and kids will love the design it makes when squirting. You will love not buying toothpaste so often!
Many people find that the boxes to their kids puzzles always get cracked and broken and then all the pieces fall out. Solve the problem by using large size(gallon) Ziploc or Slidelock bags. Cut out the top of the puzzle box and it slides right into the bag. Add all the pieces and even the kids can put them away when they are done. No more missing puzzle pieces !
Save on Kids Gifts
Buy multiples of a gift that is suitable for girls or boys (blocks, puppets, bath toys, books, etc.) of your child's age. Buy them all at once and ask the manager for a discount. Wrap them at once and you will be ready for the parties! Some stores wrap free! Make cards on the computer to save even more. We have had a standard gift for one, two, and three year olds that saves us shopping time and stops the gimmies when your child goes to toy stores.
Rainy Day Sandbox
Kids miss their sandbox on rainy days and winter time why not bring the 'sand' box inside? I purchased a storage type container (like the 'underbed' kind) with a lid. You can find these for about 3.00 or less at the dollar stores. Purchase a large bag of uncooked rice and pour it the storage container along with funnels, measuring cups, gloves (for filling) or any 'sandbox' toys and watch the fun begin! This is great for when you are trying to cook dinner and your child wants to be in the kitchen with you. Easy cleanup too, any 'sand' gets on the floor, just sweep it up.
No More Drippy Popsicles
Don't you hate when yor kids eat popsicles and their hands get cold and sticky. Take yogurt lids, Pringles lids or small margarine lids, cut a small slit in the middle and place them upside down on the stick so any juice can collect and stay within the rims of the lid.
Rainy or Snowy Day Project
Don't throw out all your old magazines. Any kind will work. Go to your local craft store and buy some magnet sheets. They have magnet on one side and sticky stuff on the other. You and the kids cut out various pictures that the kids like. Anything from Barney to Sesame Street to cool cute pics. You can even do family members too that live away from you so they will know who they are. Arrange the pics on the magnet sheet and cut. Voila! You have cheap, magnets that are safe for your kids to play with on any magnetic surface. And..it's a great way to learn.
For each holiday you celebrate with your family members, get a nice, fairly large size tablecloth. Purchase a permanent marker. Place the day and year on the tablecloth and let each family member write/draw or give a praise report of something they want to remember on that day. As the tablecloth gets filled, start a new one. These bring back great memories, they are great heirlooms to pass on to the kids as they get older and their great times to reflect on our many blessings!
Keep a binder filled with about 20 looseleaf sheet protectors, a pen, and some of your good stationery (for notes to teachers) near your family calendar and phone. Then, when your kids get a permission slip for a school trip, sign it, note the activity on the calendar and place a "B" next to it for Binder, and put the information part of the slip (do they need a lunch, special clothing, etc?) into a looseleaf protector. Put their sports schedules and the list of when you need to take treats in as well. Likewise any tickets to sporting events, plays, and concerts. The "B" on your calendar is the tip-off that more information is available for this activity. This saves tons of routing around for stuff and allows my kids to double-check things independently as well.
Instruction Manuals, Warranties And Receipts
To keep track of these papers try using a three ring notebook and top loading page protectors. When purchasing a new appliance, camera equipment, etc., take the instruction manual and staple the receipt and your part of the warranty card inside. Place everything in the page protector. You can separate them into catagories, ie: appliances, audio-video equipment, lawn and garden, or have a separate notebook for each grouping. That way if you need proof of purchase to get something fixed or to determine if your warranty is still valid, everything is in one location. This also makes it easy to determine what things are worth when deciding how much homeowners insurance you need or if something is stolen as you will have the serial numbers and value easily accessable.
No More Tangled Neckchains
Slip each of your fine chained necklaces into individual drinking straws. Close the clasp and viola! No more tangled necklaces. You can pile then in your jewelry box. You also can cut the straws shorter for chain bracelets. No more kinks or tangles...hooray!!!
Keeping Track of What You Own
Find a way to keep track of what you own. Take pictures of all expensive items and store it in a safe place. It may seem tedious, but it is absolutely vital. If you should ever lose your house to fire or flood it will be easier to 'recreate' your belongings. Check your coverage amounts, and ask for Replacement Value on your policy.
Dry Erase Markers to Amuse Children
Children really enjoy using dry eraser markers. There are a variety of ways to use these in the car and for 'homework' for preschoolers. Laminate various games or activity sheets like Bingo cards or 'connect the dots'. These can easily be wiped off and reused. No wasted paper mess kids like to use the 'special' markers. If you cannot laminate, sheet protectors work well too. All items can be placed into a small container or binder with a pocket and be kept in the car for use anytime boredom strikes without a lot of messy pieces. Use a lined and blank sheet of paper laminated for little ones to use while older children work on homework. This allows them to practice 'homework,' like alphabet or numbers, draw pictures or even play tic tac toe.
Re-useable Cold Packs
This is a great way to have ice packs readily available for little booboos and not have to buy them. Purchase a cheap pack of Sponges and a bottle of Distilled water (Does not contain bacteria). Soak the sponges in the water and then insert into a Zip lock bag. Freeze and use when needed. Also works for lunch container for things that need to be cooled.
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