Archive for the ‘
Weekly Tip ’ Category
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
Make your own Foaming Hand Soap from regular soap.
Why I recommend it:
It is an incredibly easy way to save money plus it literally takes a couple of minutes.
You might wonder, why use foaming soap instead of regular soap in the first place? I like it for a number of reasons. It lasts longer, so it saves money, I prefer the way it feels and washes and I have little kids. If you have kids you know that even when they try not too, they tend to use way too much soap. With foaming soap even if they get too much, it’s at least wasting less soap than if they were using regular hand soap.
How much will it save me?:
One small bottle of hand soap will usually make me 4 to 5 bottles of foaming hand soap. A small bottle of hand soap often costs around $1 for the generic brand. If you use one small bottle of hand soap a month, you’ll save at least $9 a year! That’s enough to get almost 3 gallons of gas, 3 small lattes, 2 1/2 gallons of milk….well, you get the picture. Obviously if you use more soap or use a more expensive brand of soap you’ll be saving even more money!
Making your own hand soap is so simple your child could probably do it. Here are the steps:
1. Pour 3/4 to 1 inch of hand soap into a foaming hand soap dispenser.
2. Slowly fill almost to the top with warm water. Filling it slowly is important so that you don’t get a bunch of suds.
3. Put on the soap dispenser top.
4. Gently shake from side to side until soap is mixed into water.
5. Use and enjoy saving money every time you wash your hands!
* Wondering where to get a foaming hand soap dispenser? I just bought some Foaming Hand Soap at the store and used that dispenser when it was empty. You easily remove the label on many of them to leave you with just a plain bottle. You can also buy fancier looking dispensers at places like Walmart or Target.
* Almost every kind of hand soap that I have used has worked for this, although I have discovered that some seem to mix up better than others. I typically use the Softsoap brand but have also used Melaluca, Mrs. Meyers and Bath and Body Works. The Melaluca and Mrs. Myers worked the best but I don’t usually feel like spending the extra money for that kind of soap.
I’ve linked up this post to Mostly Homemade Mom’s Show and Share Wednesday post.
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Thursday, April 25th, 2013
If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for ways to simplify your life and save you time. While this is no jaw dropping organizational tip, it should help you do both of those things without too much trouble.
The spices in my two spice drawers used to be in any old order. When I’d go to get an herb or spice I’d root round until I finally found the correct bottle- not horribly frustrating, but definitely mildly irritating! About 1 ½ years ago, I suddenly had this “ah-ha” moment. Why not alphabetize my spices and herb? Several minutes later and they were all in nice alphabetical order and I have loved it! No longer do I have to stand there trying to figure out which bottle is basil. Is it in the first row or the last, left side or right? I know it is at the beginning on the left hand side and can go right to it!
I use spice organizers similar to these in my drawers. They were here when we bought the house and I absolutely love them!
Other ideas I have seen are to use a turntable or a shelf organizer. Either way, you can still use the alphabetical tip to help you save time and keep your life a little simpler.
How do you keep your spices organized?
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Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Honestly, this idea is so simple I almost feel silly sharing it with you all. BUT it has totally been a lifesaver for me so I figured maybe it was worth telling you about.
First, let me give a little bit of background. Our 15 month old is busy. Yes, I know, all toddlers are busy- I remember how our son was at that age. But she’s very different than he was. She is crazy busy- as in can’t sit still for more than 2 seconds busy. Other than Duplos, she doesn’t play much with toys and so if I find something that can occupy her for more than a couple of minutes I feel like I’ve struck gold.
One day she was getting into everything while I was trying to make dinner. I was feeling rather frazzled, unsure of what to do with her when suddenly it was like God brought to mind an idea I had seen a long time ago (I can’t remember where!). In about 2 minutes I made this toy and it has become like gold to me. In the past month since I made it she has played and played and played with it and I have been able to actually have a few moments of peace now and then as a result. Well, other than when she comes squealing at me to take the lid off and empty it so she can start all over.
So how do you make this $1 Toddler Toy? It’s quite simple.
1. Get a clean, plastic container. (I used an old sour cream container because that was what I had on hand. It’s ugly but it works!)
2. Cut a nickel sized hole in the center of lid and put lid on container.
3. Get some smallish pom-poms. (should be able to find some at the Dollar Store- something like these).
4. Give child container and pom-poms. Show them how to put the pom-poms through the hole.
5. Enjoy some peace.
Caution: If your child is the type that sticks everything in their mouth you’ll want to only use the bigger pom-poms and exercise caution when they are playing with it.
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Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Reader Abby recently asked:
When is the right time to invest in a chest freezer? I’m assuming you must have one just based on your purchases and how much you say you’re freezing.
I *finally* got a great deal on 80/20 ground beef at $1.99/lb, so I stocked up and bought almost 20 lbs. I also found cheese at Gordon Food Service. Mozzarella was $2/lb and cheddar was just a little more, so I stocked up there too. Now my teeny fridge freezer is completely full. I probably would have bought even more beef if I’d had more room, since it was the best deal I’ve seen in the 6 months that I’ve been watching.
A. Yes, we do have a chest freezer. Two of them actually!
If you are finding that your fridge’s freezer is constantly overflowing and you can afford it, I highly recommend getting one. We’ve found that ours take very little electricity (less than $10/mo. from what we can tell and they are both OLD) but they have saved us a bundle. We got both of ours used and have had good success with them.
Two things to note: chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers. Full freezers take less energy than empty so try to get a size that you think you will meet your needs but not be too big.
Here are 4 ways that our freezers have saved us money.
1. Helps us eat healthier
I buy large quantities of fruits and veggies in season when they are generally at their cheapest price and then I freeze them. This allows us to enjoy the delicious, nutritious benefits of these foods throughout the rest of the year. (Frozen produce has been shown to have pretty much the same nutritional value as fresh.)
I also freeze lots of homemade things like bread, cookies and chicken stock too.
2. Allows me to stock up during sales
One of my biggest ways to save is by stockpiling. When an item that we use regularly is at rock bottom price I’ll buy a bunch of it. If it is something that can be frozen I simply throw it in my chest freezer and use it as needed. Obviously if you eat lots of freezer dinners or frozen pizzas this would save you money as well, although I don’t recommend eating that way!
Some of the things that I have stockpiled and frozen:
Flour, butter, ice-cream (yes, it’s my weakness), shredded cheese, bacon, chicken, sausage, ground beef, ham and orange juice.
Tip: Most things can be frozen for months without any freezer burn. I’ve discovered that pork products, especially chopped ham, don’t fare quite as well. You can freeze them but I would try to use chopped pork or open packages within a couple of month’s time.
3. Keeps us from eating out as often
Because we always have our freezer stocked with lots of meat, fruits and vegetables and a variety of other foods, the temptation to eat out happens less often. I always have something in the freezer that we can eat even if it is just the occasional frozen pizza.
4. Allows me to cook in bulk and save time
I often make a double recipe of a dish and freeze half it. This gives me an easy dinner at a later date (and helps with not eating out as mentioned above!). This is especially helpful when you are preparing for a new baby.
When I make bread, I make 6 loaves at one time and freeze all but one to eat later. It’s not uncommon for me to make up some homemade burritos, wrap them individually, and toss them in the freezer to have for an easy lunch on busy days. When I make cookies, muffins, rolls, or cake I keep out what I think we’ll eat in several days time and freeze the rest. This keeps us from eating more than we need and keeps our food fresh.
I frequently buy 10 lbs. of chicken (buying in large quantities often gets you bigger savings) and cook it up, separate it into smaller 2-4 c. portions and then freeze it. If I make a soup, casserole or wrap that calls for chicken, I can skip the step of cooking it which saves me time and helps my meal prep go that much faster. You can do the same thing with hamburger or sausage.
Do you think purchasing a freezer is worth it? Why or why not?
Have a question that you’d like to see featured here? Leave me a comment or email me. (Email link is found on the right hand side of my blog under “Follow Lydia Beiler”.)
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Saturday, March 9th, 2013
Are you like me and struggle getting leftover food used up before it spoils? Or maybe you put it in containers that aren’t see through and then you forget what it is- it’s in a sour cream container and so you assume it is sour cream not leftover peas. This used to be a regular problem around here until one day I got tired of it and got smart.
I grabbed a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie and labeled the leftover food by tearing a piece of masking tape off and putting it on the lid of the food container. Then I wrote a description of the item inside along with the date. It was such a simple idea and yet it has revolutionized how much food we waste. Seeing the label every time I look at the container reminds me that “Hey, this food needs to be used!” And by dating it I know which food to make a priority to use. The masking tape even holds up well in the freezer if you want to use it to label food that you’re freezing.
So, how do you label food? Or what method you use to make sure your leftover food gets used?
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