The month seems to be speeding by! I just realized it has been two weeks since I posted about the WNWN challenge. I have been at it for a little over three weeks now. I have been amazed at the differences even small changes make! I realize that I have become much more conscience about food waste, recycling our garbage, and reusing what we already own versus running out to buy something new. Most household items really are multipurpose. For the last two weeks I have been cooking out of my pantry and freezer. I have only gone to the grocery store for milk. It is very gratifying to know that I can actually feed my family with our food storage. You never know when the unexpected will happen (a.k.a. a fractured kneecap), and you will have to rely on your resources. So, in a nutshell, here is a list of some of the cost cutting measures I have implemented lately:
1. I have cut out most store bought cleaners. I have made my own with basic household items (vinegar, baking soda, borax, ammonia, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol). Amazingly they work just as well as commercial cleaners.
2. I washed out empty bread sacks, ziploc bags, and sturdy plastic bags that food items come in with soapy dishwater. When they are dry I have been storing them in an empty Kleenex box (which stack perfectly in my pantry) to reuse again (and again).
3. I have experimented with the amount of laundry detergent that I use. I have discovered that if I fill the measuring cup to just under the bottom line it cleans just as well (or better than when I use more soap). I also realized that if I fill my liquid fabric softener cup with half the amount it calls for and fill it the rest of the way up with vinegar, it softens and reduces static just as well.
4. I visited my local library to check out my favorite magazines rather than subscribe to them.
5. I now save all paper that still has a blank side in a file folder by our printer. We use it for the kid's to color on, scratch paper, or if it's a full 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet I print out my Internet coupons on the blank side.
6. I borrowed a Springform pan from the neighbor rather than buying a new one (she borrowed my 8 inch round cake pans; so it was an even trade).
7. My Aunt Vickey (who is a domestic genius) shared a great idea for stretching ground beef with me. She recommended mixing cooked brown lentils in with your cooked ground beef when you make sloppy joes, or tacos. It is the same color as the cooked beef, and it takes on the flavor of the hamburger. I gave it a try a nobody was the wiser (unless they read this post!). I also mixed some of the leftovers in chili the next day and it was delicious!
8. I patched and mended the kid's clothes to (hopefully) stretch their wardrobes until the end of school.
9. If you turn old clean white athletic socks inside out and spritz with a little window cleaner they make fabulous dust rags. Just slip your hand inside the sock, and dust away. These work especially well for kids.
10. I used duct tap to repair the broken handles on two plastic laundry baskets ( I hate it when the broken handles pinch you while you carry the laundry upstairs!).
11. I stretched the Easter ham for four meals ( first night - ham and mashed potatoes, second night - ham fried rice, third night - grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, fourth night - ham and bean soup).
12. I wrapped child #3's birthday gift in a brown paper grocery sack (that I had his younger brother decorate). I also saved the tissue paper and gift bags that his other gifts came in to reuse later.
Hang in there everyone! One more week to go! What amazing frugal ideas have you come up with?