Saturday, July 21, 2012

Don't buy Oxiclean! This Works Better!

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  I'll admit, I was skeptical that this DIY creation would actually work.  It does work and I had to share!  Just mix some hydrogen peroxide, water, and baking soda in a bottle and use on the stain.  Then wash. Voila!  Stain gone!  I used it on a pasta sauce stain and it took it right out.  No multiple washes and pretreats to get it out.  And this is a cheaper concoction than buying some bottled Oxiclean anyway.   It's a win-win!

Monday, July 16, 2012


My husband and I were discussing finances and how we spend money the other day.  I realized during our discussion just how fortunate we are to have found each other and the fact that we have such similar views on finances.  Not everyone is so fortunate.  Conversations with friends and acquaintances have brought to light that not everyone is great with money and moreover, they aren't effectively spending it (or saving it).   So it got me thinking that maybe I would lay out what we as a family deem worthy to spend money on or, perhaps, what we don't spend money on:

I will never buy a brand new car again.  Crazy, right?  The usual rationale behind buying a new car is reliability and the fact that it is covered by a warranty.  While this is great, we find that the depreciation we end up paying for in the car is not worth it.  We recently purchased a 2000 Honda Odyssey EX from a not so close family member.  It was in near perfect condition inside and out and only had 68,000 miles on it.  We paid $7000.  It came with all the records and has been maintained with all milestone maintenance performed and my husband knows enough about cars to know that the car was in amazing condition.  It was a no-brainer.  We're not worried about needing a warranty.   My husband can fix just about anything that would go wrong with it.  Honda engines last forever and even if small things like windows stop going down or whatever eventually stop working, it doesn't affect the driveability of the car.  Why pay for all that depreciation when we'll get several years use out of it at a much smaller price tag?  It definitely serves the same purpose as a new car.  If you can knowingly spot a quality, well-maintained vehicle, and you can do your own maintenance, then buy a used car and save some money.

I don't buy much that isn't around the perimeter of the grocery store (all the major food groups).  As a result, we avoid the high priced processed stuff in the middle of the store.  I only buy pasta sauce and pasta on sale (less than $1 with or without coupons).  I only buy crackers and cereal on sale or with coupons.  I make most of my own baked goods so I only require some flour and a few things down the baking aisle every once in a while and they are all less than $2 a bag.  Stocking up is a must when stuff is on sale.

Red meat is almost always expensive so I don't buy any of that.  I only buy ground beef on sale or when they offer it for reduced for quick sale.  I buy chicken breast only when it's less than $2 a pound.  As a result, I save money on meat and we still eat very healthy at home.

I definitely shop the bread thrift store and I buy reduced items at the grocery store and the farmer's market.  The bread I throw in the freezer and pull it out when I need it.  The reduced produce I use in meals for the week or freeze what I can't use in time (if possible).

I don't have to have the latest and greatest fashions.  I'm a mom so I wear what's comfortable and classic so I don't have to keep up with trends.  I haven't bought myself new clothes since last Fall.  (Sorry if this is sacrilege to some, but everything in my closet fits and I can't justify new stuff).  My husband only gets new stuff when what he has is so faded that I can't take it anymore.

For the kids, I shop the off-season and guesstimate what size they'll be.  I'm currently done shopping through next spring.  And I never buy my children anything on the full price rack.  I also don't buy designer because let's face it, they're boys and they tend to ruin clothes quickly.  Why spend more money on clothes that I will feel terrible about them ruining?

I'm all about spending money for memberships to museums!  My kids love them!  They're educational! I'm giving to a non-profit that uses the money to upkeep their collections.  A lot of times you get access to special events (many at no extra cost to you).  You can't go wrong!

I don't typically see movies in a theatre.  Only on Moms Night Out (and we hit up the $5 wednesdays) or if there is something I have to see (Dark Knight Rising...yes, please).  I never get refreshments while I'm there.  I eat before or after I go (no sneaking in snacks for me...healthier to boot!)

We don't rent movies.  I get anything I want to see at the library.  Or there is an array of stuff on Amazon Prime (which we have at a discount because my husband's a student).  I don't have to see the latest and greatest movie to be entertained.

I don't have cable.  We used to before we had kids and found ourselves not watching most of the channels.  Frankly, I like that we don't watch tv that much since most of it tends to be mindless anyway.  Anything I want to watch on cable I can usually watch online anyway.

We get outside as much as we can.  And guess what?  That's almost always free.  Stroll around the park trails, hit up a state park (nominal fee), or hit up an arboretum or conservatory and you get to enjoy nature at its finest.

Vacations are great but you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a break from your routine.  I don't have to fly to Tahiti to hang out at the beach.  There are great vacation options that don't require you buy airfare or spend a ton of money on hotels.

If you are going to travel farther away, research and find your best deal.  It's possible to do a big trip on a budget.  Research restaurants and food before you go.  You can find stuff that's in your price range and already know where it is so you aren't starving and just grabbing food at the closest place.  Cutting costs is easy when you don't need to bring home really expensive gifts or souvenirs.

Other Stuff
I research, research, research before I buy any big ticket items.  I want to ensure that I get the best quality for the price and something that will last for a long time.  If you have to replace something of lesser quality that is cheaper, then you almost always end up dishing out more money than if you have spent your money on the quality piece in the first place.

I'm a big believer in DIY.  If you can make it yourself, exactly the way you want it, for less money--it's a no brainer!  Yes, there is a time investment you have to consider but if you were going to spend that time watching YouTube or the television, then aren't you spending your time more wisely anyway?

Well, that's it.  That's how we spend our money for the most part.  In the past it's served us well because my husband's salary was more than enough for us to live on with extra left over each month which I squirreled away in a small savings account or our retirement accounts.  Now that we make much less than my husband did in the military, there's just less money to put in savings accounts and retirement.  Our way of living really didn't change much.  Hope this was helpful.