8 of My Favorite Money-Saving Life Hacks

Save lots of money with these 8 life hacks!

If there’s one thing I’ve gotten good at as a mom of many, it’s cutting corners. In order to allow me the privilege of being a  stay-at-home mother, we’ve had to learn to be as cheap frugal as possible.

Besides cutting costs, it’s also crucial that I’m able to find ways to save as much time as possible while doing day-to-day tasks, because a crew my size simply doesn’t allow me the luxury to take my good old time doing anything.

Today, I’m going to share with you my all-time favorite money-saving life hacks that have gotten us through the toughest and busiest times. After you’re finished reading, I would love if you’d let us in on any life hacks of your own you’d like to share. Anything to make our lives a little easier, right? 

So, without further ado, here are some tips that have helped us save money and my sanity!

paint brush life hacks
Image courtesy of YaiSirichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #1- Paint brushes aren’t just for painting. One of the handiest tools I keep around my house is a pack of dollar store kids’ paint brushes. I use them for so many things. They’re perfect for cleaning the crevices of toddler sippy cups and water bottles, Dr. Brown baby bottle straws, and behind the faucets of your kitchen and bathroom sinks.

bib life hack
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #2- Don’t throw those old bibs away. Have any baby bibs that you no longer plan on using? Don’t throw them in the trash! Unless they are the plastic-backed kind, they are perfect for washing dishes. I’m not even kidding. Most bibs are made of terry cloth, which is fabulous for cleaning, and if the bibs have velcro, it’s an added bonus. I often use the velcro to help scrub off those particularly stubborn food particles, and since the velcro isn’t very abrasive, I’ve never had a problem with my dishes getting scratched from it.

laundry life hack
Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #3- Get 2-3 extra loads out of that laundry detergent. Unless you always use a super cheap laundry detergent and fabric softener, you’ve probably noticed the thick coating left over on the inside of the bottle after it’s “empty.” Don’t let it go to waste! In all honesty, most people use way too much detergent in one load, so besides using less than the recommended amount (they do want to make money off of you, after all), I also add about one cup of water to the detergent and fabric softener bottle when it’s almost empty, shake it up, and get an additional 1-2 loads out of it. I see absolutely no difference from when I don’t dilute it.

homemade clay play dough
Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #4- Stop buying so much play dough and clay. These two materials are so easy to make at home that my kids are able to make them, unsupervised. Unless your child, is a budding Michelangelo, homemade clay and play dough is excellent for simple, fun crafts. My kids make them almost every week and even bake the clay and paint it afterwards. It’s easy to give a little color to these by adding a few drops of food coloring or even a pack of Kool-Aid!

melted crayons
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #5- Keep those broken crayons. If your kids are anything like mine, they have more broken crayons than intact ones. Don’t throw them in the trash! Your kids will have so much fun putting the little pieces into a lined mini-muffin tin and melting them to make their own little crayon muffins to color with. You can either put all crayons of a similar color into individual liners to make a solid color crayon muffin, or they can throw in an array of colors to make a rainbow colored one. My kids love these so much that they’ve actually started making them to give away as presents.

yogurt cup life hack
Image courtesy of Becris at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #6- Give new life to your empty yogurt and Italian ice cups. Some of the sturdier plastic yogurt cups and those used for Italian ices are the perfect size to reuse as kids’ drinking cups. If they break or get lost, it’s no big deal because they’re something that many families typically buy every week anyway.

bleach and vinegar clean
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #7- Stop buying so many cleaning supplies. Walk down the cleaning product aisle of any store, and you’ll be faced with shelf after shelf of different sorts of cleaning solutions that are, at least according to the companies that make them, a must-have. What they don’t want you to know is that it’s really not necessary to have a different product for every single area of your house. A little vinegar mixed with water is perfect for cleaning windows and mirrors, spray dusting, kitchen sinks, and counter tops. (In fact, I often use vinegar as my fabric softener. Believe it or not, you don’t smell it!) It’s cheap, lasts long since you’re only using a tiny bit at a time, and it’s safer for your kids and the environment. For those more bacteria-ridden places, such as bathrooms, simply dilute a small amount of bleach with water into a spray bottle, and you’ve got the perfect bathroom cleaner! (But make sure you use the vinegar water on your fixtures. )

card stock cookie template
Image courtesy of OZphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Hack #8- Card stock is a valuable baking tool. I don’t know how many times in the past I’ve had to tell my kids we couldn’t make some random baked good simply because we don’t have any cookie cutters. That was until I saw an extremely handy tip on a baking show on Netflix: using a card stock template! It’s so simple to either draw or print out your selected shape onto a piece of card stock or other heavy paper, cut it out, lay it on your dough, and cut around it with a butter knife. So easy!

Well, that about wraps up today’s post, but here’s the part I’m really looking forward to- what are your favorite life hacks?? Leave a comment and let us in on your secret!



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

84 thoughts on “8 of My Favorite Money-Saving Life Hacks”

  1. I use and stand by number 3, in fact I used to make my own laundry detergent (many ages ago) and the first thing you learn is that you don’t need that much laundry detergent. The key is to add the liquid before the water, then the clothes. I love the card stock with cookies! Now if you can share a easy cookie cutter recipe that never fails…..hint hint.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The card stock one is a new one for me. I mean, I hate rolling out cookie dough so it’s rare that we make anything that needs cookie cutters. But we do them once in awhile. So awesome that I could make a shape we don’t own without having to go buy a new cutter. (visiting from Tuesday Talk)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love these life hacks that save money. So many I never thought of before. I like to keep cardboard boxes to use to store/wrap gifts instead of throwing them away because some items are just too obvious even with wrapping paper such as headphones or clothing.


  4. This post shows me that we’re alike in another way – saving money! I love the bib idea- we never used bibs so much, but if we had them, I would definitely use them in this way! What we use is old washcloths, so it’s pretty much the same idea. And we completely reuse plastic cups for kiddie drinking glasses, as well. When friends come over, we can easily write their names on them with sharpie and then just recycle them when they go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Something I’ve just learned is to take a damp cleaning rag (aka old facecloth or ratty piece of a towel) and put a few drops of tea tree oil (or lemon, or orange, or…) and use it for cleaning. It did an amazing job on an old table (some kind of laminate top), and smelled good too. And cheap. Time will tell how well it masked the smell of the barn boots… lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness! The bib as dish cloths = ingenious!! Gonna have to share that with my other mama friends! (Mines 20 so no leftover bibs there…!) Happy to be your neighbor at #freshmarketfriday today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These are all great tips! I have to say that my favorite is the last one about card stock. I never would have thought of that! It’s such a smart way to get around lack of cookie cutters. I’m sure I’ll be trying it out soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some really awesome ideas here I would have never thought of! I especially like the cookie cutter and paintbrush ideas! I’ve actually started making our own laundry and dish soaps, so that’s incredibly helpful. And Monkey Boy can help with those tasks some, so it’s also something to keep him busy and occupied! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the crayon muffin idea – that’s genius! I definitely have lots of broken crayons around the place. Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are fabulous cleaning supplies – just as good as so many branded products. My best tip is passed on from my mum’s frugal nature – we keep all our Christmas cards, and then cut out the best bit of the front to use as a gift tag for next Christmas! I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great tips! I especially like the crayons tip as I would have never thought to do that! I also use about half the amount of laundry detergent than I used to and, like you say, it makes no difference other than the detergent lasts twice as long! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  11. These are great tips!
    I used up my bibs and burp rags for cleaning purposes.
    I totally add water to the end of the detergent bottle.
    And we are some serious crafters here, so yes, we make our own dough and we recycle our crayons.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips with us at #MMBH!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great list Shelly. I already do a few of those but I hear you on the cleaning products and laundry powder. I use about 1/3 of what the manufacturers say to use and still get a clean wash. As for fabric softener, I don’t use it at all. Too many dangerous chemicals in the fragrances they use and recent studies here in Australia proved that it has no more effect on the fabric than water. I love that one about the cookie cutter. I don’t like cluttering up the kitchen with every single shape of cookie cutter so don’t buy them but often you’re looking for that particular shape. Thanks so much for linking up to Thriving on Thursdays. I’m featuring this post at tomorrow’s party.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great list! I love the idea of adding water to laundry detergent. I also use vinegar for just about everything. Sometimes I mix it with dawn soap and baking soda for tough jobs. Thanks for sharing these hacks! #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

  14. These are all such awesome hacks! We actually save some of our yogurt cups and use them to hold small snacks like Cheerios and Goldfish. I never would have thought of the paper stock hack…that’s one I’ll definitely remember! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the Share The Wealth Sunday blog hop!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I always use the detergent trick and I love the vinegar one too but I have to do it while hubby is at work on days and the smell is out of the house before he gets home. I also cut up old raggedy towels to use as cleaning rags instead of buying new ones. I love the crayon muffin tin idea which I will have to try with my kids. Thanks so much for linking up with #momsterslink!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for Sharing! Love these types of posts. I am a wife and stay-at-home mom of three. Saving has become a huge role in ours lives since we live on one (not so big) income. It has become my passion to help others learn to save as well. I coupon and am always looking for new ways to save. My one helpful tip for anyone who has kids that can find a Sharpie marker (from any hiding spot) is : If you child writes on the doors, or table or other smooth surfaces with the sharpie you can grab a dry erase marker and color all over the sharpie. It will wipe RIGHT off! I sadly have had to do this several times! Hope you will come share tips and tricks with me! More4LessWithTess.com

    Liked by 1 person

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