3 Homemade Stain Removers You Can Make

3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers You Can Make

With kids you will have stains. It is a given. No sooner do you give birth than you find your nice shirts with stains on them. The amount of stain remover I went through when my children were young was insane, and very costly. Had I know about these 3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers back then, I could have saved my family a lot of money and likely had stains coming out of my clothing a lot better and easier.

Each of these recipes contains different ingredients that may already be in your pantry. I’ve used all of them at one point or another and believe they all work equally well. The biggest thing you have to determine is if you want to go completely natural or if you want to have a more simple and inexpensive version of what you buy in stores. Regardless of your preference, you should easily be able to whip up one of these stain removers in a few minutes to suit your families needs.

3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers

THE BASIC – this one is the least expensive. You can usually pick up 9 oz (just over a cup) of Dawn for just $0.99 at the by shopping the drug store deals and hydrogen peroxide is equally cheap!)

  • 1 Cup Original Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • 1 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide
  1. Mix together in spray bottle and spritz onto stain. Let soak for at least 15 minutes prior to wash.

THE NATURAL – if you want a more natural stain remover, this is the one for you. Liquid Castille soap and Vegetable Glycerin used to be hard to find, but now I see it in the natural aisles at my local grocery store and even at Target (although the best prices continue to be on Amazon)

  1. Mix together in spray bottle. May add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent. Spray on before washing.

THE HEAVY DUTY – this is for those heavy duty stains. Use as needed, but remember to never use bleach on loads that have been treated with this stain remover. Bleach and ammonia do not mix safely.

  • 1 Cup Original Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • 1 Cup Ammonia
  • 1/3 Cup Baking Soda
  • 3 Cups Water
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in spray bottle or container out of reach of children.
  2. Use as needed, but remember to never use bleach on loads that have been treated with this stain remover. Bleach and ammonia do not mix safely.

Whether you have simple stains from a spot of food landing on your shirt or a heavy duty pasta sauce or grass stain you have multiple choices here in these 3 simple homemade stain removers that will allow you to clean up anything you need to from your clothing.

Have you ever made your own homemade stain remover?

School Lunches The Frugal Way

frugal-school-lunches-back-to-school

School Lunches the Frugal Way

Back to school is right around the corner and it’s time to start preparing by getting school supplies and planning what your child will take for lunches. It’s much easier to plan lunches ahead of time instead of always feeling rushed in the mornings to get it done since you already have enough to worry about on busy school mornings.

Below you will find some great ideas for frugal lunch additions that you can pack this school year. Make sure to change it up every so once in a while so your kids won’t get bored of sack lunches and start begging for cafeteria food. These choices below are healthy and frugal so you don’t have to break the bank finding the best foods for your kids!

Sandwich Ideas: Bread is usually the cheapest option but these other options are also inexpensive and will make the sandwich feel like a whole new meal…even if it has the same filling.

Pita Pockets
Tortillas
English Muffins
French Bread
Buns

Sandwich Filling Ideas: Use one or more of these frugal fillings inside your sandwiches. Or you can always skip the sandwich altogether on some days and have a variety of crackers, cheeses, and meats!

Tuna
Eggs
Peanut Butter
Leftover Meats
Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato

Add Ins:  Lunch wouldn’t be complete if it’s just a sandwich!

Muffins
Apples/Bananas/In Season Fruits
Fruit and Homemade Dip
Cottage Cheese
Salads
Homemade Cookies
Dried Fruits
Pretzels
Homemade Granola Bars
Applesauce
String Cheese or Cheese Slices
Yogurt
Baby Carrots

Other Ideas:  Not into sandwiches every day? Here are some other inexpensive lunches you can pack.

Bagels with Cream Cheese (could also be topped with meats, fruit, ect)
Homemade Soup in a thermos
Pasta Salad
Spaghetti

What are some of your favorite frugal lunch ideas?

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | August 10, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 2 inserts this week: a SmartSource and a Redplum insert.

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Infusium 23 $2/1 shampoo, conditioner or leave-in treatment: this coupon can usually be used to get it for $1 or less

Lime-A-Way $.50/1 cleaner: they only release coupons about 2 times per year. If you have hard water, this is a nice coupon!

Snack Pack $.45/3 pudding or gel 4pks: we will see these on sale for $1 or less through about the middle of September. If your store doubles coupons, this will make for some nice savings

:: RedPlum Coupons

nothing exciting

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 1 – 2

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 0 – 1

It’s a boring week!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

How To Save Money At Garage Sales

garage-sale-tips

All You Need to Know About Garage Sales

Head down a neighborhood road on any given Saturday in the summer and what will you find? Garage sales up and down the roads, people bringing their goods that they no longer have use for out for others to buy.

Ready to try out a morning of garage sales for yourself? Try out some of the tips below to make the most of your morning and score the best deals!

Get up EARLY!

Even though a few garage sales may start at 8, check for the sales that start at 6 or 7 and get up and get ready for them. There will be fewer people out earlier in the morning so you will have a better selection and get a better chance at some of the bigger items you might be wanting. (Those tend to go first at sales.) Don’t worry about how you look or how you are dressed, just throw in some comfortable clothes, grab a cup of coffee to go and head out for your adventure.

Plan your list out ahead of time.

Don’t wander around to whichever garage sales you can spot unless you aren’t looking for anything in particular. (And if you aren’t looking for anything, why are you out shopping in the first place? Sounds like an impulse buying trap!) Make sure to check the newspaper, Craigslist, and Facebook the night before to make a list of all the sales you want to hit. You will also want to have an idea of where these sales are so you aren’t going all over town looking for a street. A simple search on Google or Mapquest will help you there. Start at the sales closest to your home and go further out as the morning progresses so you have the least amount of driving.

Know what you need.

As I mention above, if you don’t need anything, don’t go out shopping! If you do need to look for some things, make a list ahead of time or at least memorize what you are looking for. If you are looking for clothing, it might be a good idea to write down the sizes and seasons you are shopping for so when you get to a sale you can ask the owners if they have any of those items and you know what to look for.

Know your prices.

Make sure you know or have an idea of what you are willing to pay for an item before you go out shopping for it.  Set a base guideline for what you are willing to pay for a shirt, a pair of jeans, or a certain toy before you go shopping and don’t go over that price. Unless it’s a one of a kind item, chances are you will find it at another garage sale later in the morning or on another day.

Some garage sales you will spend only a few minutes at before you realize that the owners have much too much sentimental value in their items because they are asking too high of a price. In my experience, these are the owners that will not negotiate with you. But for most other garage sales, if you don’t like the price, just ask! Unlike a retail store, garage sale owners don’t need to have a certain amount from an item to break even, they just want to get it sold and often are willing to let it go to a new home for a great deal.

Use the tips above and you should be well on your way to saving money at garage sales in no time!

What is the best deal you’ve ever gotten at a garage sale?

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | August 3, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be xx this week:

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Alberto V05 $.50/2 shampoo, conditioner or body wash: goes on sale for $1 all the time, making it as low as $0.50 each after doubled coupon

Five Star coupons: these will come in handy when you are shopping for school supplies!

Skippy coupons: it has been quite some time since we saw peanut butter coupons. Here is hoping that they start returning on a regular basis!

:: RedPlum Coupons

Brawny $.55/1 paper towels: If your store doubles coupons, this could make for some cheap paper towels (especially if your store sells the single rolls)

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 2 – 4

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 2 – 3

The Skippy coupons are pretty sweet, as are the Five Star coupons. Other than that, it is a little un-thrilling.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

What is On Sale The Month of August

What Is On Sale In August

August is the end of summer, so you will be able to find end-of-season clearance as well as fall sales throughout the month. While there aren’t any notable holidays in August, it is back-to-school season, so you can save big on school supplies, backpacks, dorm room essentials, and a host of other school needs.

Keep an eye out for clearance sales on bathing suits and summer apparel, and don’t forget about harvest produce sales.

Here is what is on sale the month of August:

:: Grocery & Drugstore Deals in August

In-season produce: beets, corn, cucumber, eggplant, figs, grapes, grapefruit, green beans, lettuce, melons, nectarines, okra passion fruit, peaches, peppers, plums, raspberries, summer squash, strawberries, tomatillos, tomatoes, zucchini.

Fall canning and food storage deals: food storage items, freezer bags, canning supplies, seasonings.

Labor Day Sales: steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, potato salad, macaroni salad, baking potatoes, drink mixes, soda, watermelon, beer, frozen French fries, condiments.

Back to school lunch sales: deli meat, boxed juices, individually packaged snacks, pudding cups, cookies, potato chips, peanut butter, jelly, bread.

:: Other August Sales

Back to school supply sales: pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, glue sticks, crayons, backpacks, folders, lunch boxes, book covers, locker organizers.

Apparel sales: school uniforms, jeans, jackets, socks, t-shirts, underwear, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts.

Electronics: PCs and laptops, cell phones and tablets are on sale for back-to-school. Cell phone providers often introduce new family savings plans just before school goes back. All electronics aimed at or use for educational purposes is on sale at this time.

Summer clearance: Just before Labor Day you’ll find all kinds of end of summer blowout sales. Clothing, outdoor items, sports equipment and several things for in and around the home will be on sale.

Gardening supply sales: August is harvest time so any leftover gardening supplies will be on clearance while stores make canning and food storage and preparation items more affordable. Dehydrators, vacuum sealers, freezing containers, jars and lids and pressure cookers are great deals in August.

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | July 27, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 5 inserts this week: 2 SmartSource inserts, 2 Redplum inserts and a Proctor & Gamble insert.

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Speed Stick B1G1 free gear antiperspirant/deodorant or body spray up to $4.29: there are always good deals on Speed Stick at the drug stores. This coupon should make the deals even better!

Purell $1/1 8oz+ advanced hand sanitizer bottle: We will see plenty of good deals on this as we get closer to Back To School time

Mitchum $2/1 coupon: this is not on the national lists, but is supposed to be in the inserts in many regions.

:: RedPlum Coupons

Axe B1G1 coupons: if you have someone that likes Axe (yuck!), at least you can save some money on it!

Ragu $.60/2 products: use this coupon to get 3 for $0.47 each at CVS next week!

:: Proctor & Gamble Coupons

the standard coupons but there is a nice $2/1 Tide coupon that should come in handy

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 2 – 4

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 2 – 3

We are starting to see the return of some good coupons!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | No Coupons on July 20, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be NO INSERTS this week (July 20, 2014). Enjoy the week off from clipping!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

How To Get Started With Meal Planning

Getting started with meal planning

How to Get Started on Meal-Planning

Meal Planning is one of the biggest ways you can save money in your family’s food budget. The problem is, for  someone who has never made out a meal plan, the idea can be overwhelming. You may not know where to start or how to do it effectively. Here are some tips to get you started on meal-planning

How to Get Started on Meal Planning

Get the right tools together. You will need a weekly planner, either one that is on paper in a book or one that is on a dry erase board and a notebook to jot down ideas and shopping lists. You will need this to be able to effectively organize and make sure you plan meals and snacks for all days.

Sit down and make a list of all meals your family loves and that fit within your budget. Ask them for input if you need ideas. This is not for scheduling, but more so you have a group of recipes to choose from for your planning. Make sure you include snacks, desserts, breakfast, lunches and dinner. Don’t worry if you don’t make it very often, this is more for brain-storming.

Now that you have those two things in order, these are the steps you should take each week you meal plan:

  1. Check local ads for what is on sale so you can build your meals around that. Make sure to include any coupon deals as well.
  2. Make sure to take into account any leftovers you could have from these meals and make plans for them either this week or the next (stick them in the freezer if you can to save them for when you need them).
  3. Note days that will be especially busy. Make sure to plan for fast meals these days.
  4. Make a list for what you will need from the store. Note amounts you will need so you don’t buy too much or too little.
  5. Make out your weekly plan. You may want to display it where others can see so you won’t have to hear the, “What’s for dinner?’ question every night.
  6. When you get home from the store, do some of the prep work for meals (you might want to check out my Freezer to Crockpot series!). This will save you time in the evenings and for meals like breakfast as well.

To make it easier to plan meals, try doing daily themes. You could do Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesday. This just means you will be rotating something into that slot for that day each week and it will cut down on the time spent figuring things out. If you are making family favorites on those days, your family might even look forward to those days!

If you are stumped on meal ideas, try searching online. There are so many recipes to make that fit a budget-minded meal planner. Just follow me on Pinterest for so many meal ideas!

Don’t make too much work for yourself to start. Coming up with a whole month of meals can be daunting. Instead, pick a day each week to plan the meals your family will be enjoying for the following week. Once you have that mastered, if you still want to, move onto monthly planning.

What are your best tips for meal planning?

Ways To Save Money On Your Cell Phone Bill

save-money-on-cellphones

Save Money on Cellphones

Want to find a way to cut your expenses in your budget but you aren’t sure which part to look at? Maybe it’s time to take a good look at that cell phone bill.

Don’t just look at the amount, look at what you are spending money on; the breakdown of the bill. Do you pay for a data package? Do you pay for texting? Do you pay for extras like games and other apps?

Did you know that if you pay $30 per month in “extras” on your smartphone or cellphone including a data package or any of the above, that’s costing you an extra $360 per year! Do you really use that data package that much to be needing to spend that much per year on it?

Consider Your Extras

Take a good hard look at those extras on your bill. Do you need to download 3 new games a month? Are you really using that data package? Let’s look at the numbers…if you download 3 apps a month for $3 each, spend $30 a month on a data package, and spend $15 a month on a texting package, that adds up to $648 a year! Look over all of these things and decide what you could possibly cut out.

Look at a Different Plan

You may have a commitment to your cell phone provider until your contract is up but after that, all other plans are free game. Straight Talk offers a monthly plan as low as $30 (including texting and data!), Verizon offers a pay as you go plan that starts at $45 per month and also includes data and texting. Would something like that be something you could get by on?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are getting the best deal for your dollar and you are getting all the things you actually need!

Which cell phone provider do you use? How much do you spend on your cell phone bill in a month?

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | July 6, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 1 insert this week: a Proctor & Gamble insert

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: Proctor & Gamble Coupons

Pantene coupons: 3 nice high-value coupons!

Tide coupons: there are some nice high-value coupons that we haven’t seen for a while, including a B1G1 Tide Oxi coupon with a maximum value of $12.99!

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 4 – 5

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 3 – 4

If you use Tide, you are going to want to pick up extra copies of the paper. The B1G1 Tide Oxi coupon can make for for SERIOUS savings!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

Simple Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

Simple Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

Have you ever left home for work only to find a sock clinging to your pant leg, or perhaps your skirt clinging to your slip so you couldn’t pull it down? We have all suffered at one point or another from static cling, but we have also suffered from scratchy stiff clothing as well. Fabric softener is a staple item in most pantries, but it can become a costly thing to have.

This simple homemade fabric softener recipe is a great cost effective solution that allows you to save money while continuing to provide your family with soft and pleasant smelling clothing fresh from the dryer.

This recipe is widely popular and has been found all over the Internet and Pinterest over the past few years, and we have tested it out and adapted it to suit our preferences. Using Hair Conditioner as a base in this solution gives you the opportunity to choose a different scent with every batch you make, and to use up those bottles you had picked up for free using coupons. {We prefer Suave or VO5 for this as they are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of scents.}

SIMPLE HOMEMADE FABRIC SOFTENER

INGREDIENTS
6 Cups Water
3 Cups Vinegar
2 Cups Hair Conditioner

DIRECTIONS
Mix all ingredients together well in air tight container or empty bottle.
Use 1/4-1/2 Cup per load of laundry.

We tend to stay with a little less at 1/4-1/3 cup at most in our laundry but some prefer using the larger amount of ½ cup per load. If you have a fabric softener ball from past purchases, you can pour it into that and toss directly into laundry. Otherwise pour into the fabric softener slot on your washing machine. The clean or rain scents are the most popular in our home to make this with, but we have also used the strawberry and peach scents of hair conditioner and loved the fresh smell it added to our clothing as it washed.

Have you ever made your own fabric softener?