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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. )
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!