A day in the life of frugal (part 2): home goods and tasks

AJ & KJ: A day in the life of frugal is a four part series. If you missed our other posts of our series “A day in the life of frugal” check out: Part One: Food, Part Three: Shopping, and Part Four: Travel.

Part two focuses on home goods and tasks we do around the house.

A/C up, heat down
KJ: We keep our A/C temperature turned up in the summer and our heater down in the winter. Our preference is to bundle up and snuggle in the winter, so we often don’t turn our heater on until the temperature in the house is below 63. Great way to save money on our heating in the winter!
AJ: Even if you don’t go quite as cool or quite as warm as we prefer, adjusting even one or two degrees can make a difference. Maybe you’ll hate it, maybe you’ll love it, worth a shot either way!

Save on dry cleaning
KJ: We hand wash work clothes and ‘dry clean only’ items in our sinks, and then we hang them to dry in our bathroom. This is a little tip Angela taught me, and it has literally saved us hundreds or even thousands of dollars. We don’t completely cut out the dry cleaning (as sometimes a suit jacket with a smoke smell needs to be dry cleaned or anything cashmere), but we have certainly prevented this from becoming a regular monthly expense.
AJ: This is better on your clothes for a number of reasons. I hand wash with OxiClean, as opposed to detergent, so it’s more gentle than the harsh products used at the dry cleaner and keeps our better items looking new for longer. If we didn’t do this at home our dry cleaning bill would be outrageous between our suits, cashmere, and silk items. We’re not fancy people, but we buy higher quality clothing that can last a long time.

Maximize your soap
KJ: Although this isn’t something we really do, you can add water to liquid soaps (hand and body) to stretch that soap just a little bit longer. This can also work on some general house cleaning products. I’ve read about some people that make their own soap. We don’t spend much money on soaps, so we haven’t found it necessary to make our own, but if push comes to shove, the methods are out there and they’re pretty cheap and easy!

DIY: Do your research
KJ: There are so many housing projects that we have done ourselves by using online videos (mostly through YouTube) to figure out how to fix things. Whether it’s a simple solution or something complex like removing rust from a shingle (THAT was a fun project), you can find lots of resources online for DIY. One of the most expensive costs of paying a contractor for basic work is the cost of labor. Even if the project seems unapproachable (car repair for example), do your research and see if it is easily fixable. We had an issue with a cigarette charger in our car (a.k.a. that slot we use for our car phone charger), and it turned out to be a simple fuse issue. A little bit of research and less than a $5 part later, we fixed it ourselves!

Tie a Swiffer to your pet
KJ: This one saves us a lot of TIME and MONEY. Who knew cleaning your floors and removing dust could be so easy? Okay, just kidding. We don’t do this, but I wonder if we should try?…There’s not a place our cats or dog don’t go, so why not!

Invest in pieces that will move with you
AJ: When considering solutions for maximizing your home, purchase items that you can take with you to your next home. Built in shelving is beautiful, but is there a permanent look that you can achieve with a free standing piece? Can you do something to make an aesthetically unpleasing kitchen more appealing without gutting it entirely? Reface cabinets, paint when you can, learn to tile, but spend sparingly if you plan to leave it behind.

Use the Magic Eraser & OxiClean
KJ: Mr. Clean has saved us many a pair of shoes. You can use the Magic Erasers to touch up lots of other items and remove spots including blemishes on wall paint, stovetops, and stains on counters. OxiClean can be used on clothing, carpet, tile, and grout stains. Both of these products have saved us tons of money on other cleaning products, and they have prevented us from replacing something as quickly – thus extending the useable life and saving a little dough.

We hope you’ve found these suggestions useful! Again, if you missed our other posts of our series “a day in the life of frugal” then check out part one, three, and four:
Part One: Food, Part Three: Shopping, and Part Four: Travel.

    What methods do you use to pinch pennies on household items?
    Do any of these seem absurd to you?
    Do you have anything unique of your own to add?

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6 thoughts on “A day in the life of frugal (part 2): home goods and tasks

  1. I DO add water to my hand soap! I’ve found my Bounty paper towels in the kitchen can be wet and used like a dish cloth or sponge to scrub and clean everything with, rinsed and dried and used again…or pitched. In olden times one saved by not buying disposable anything…no paper towels, napkins, foil, wraps, because why would you pay for anything you would throw away? but we do pay for convenience, so see how that recycling mind can serve with our disposables. Clean Press and Seal, foil…reused many times. The foam trays from meats you purchase can be washed well and reused when you divide and the “family discount packages” you will be dividing into many meals for the freezer.
    DIY videos are great and self-empowering! Saved an expensive refrigerator repair call recently when I noticed water on my fridge shelves. Googled “water on refrigerator shelves” and found all kinds of advice and videos. Fixed it by learning a little drain was blocked with frozen water, so it was an easy and free fix.
    My Toyota sun visor broke. Bob watched a YouTube video and with a lot of time and effort, fixed it. Free. But now Toyota has recalled and will replace permanently!

    • Great shares! In a culture of excess it’s so easy to just throw things away when we’re done when instead there are lots of options to reuse the items. As you said, items like Press & Seal, foil, and paper towels don’t have to be thrown away immediately. DIY for your refrigerator and Toyota are great examples of how you can take some projects on yourself!

  2. Another great post in this series! I could probably learn something from you two in regards to the dry cleaning. That expense can add up quickly. My wife and I (mainly my wife) work hard to keep the heat low, at 60. So I wear a lot of hoodies to keep warm! It adds up. We also work hard to take one car as much as possible. We only fill her car up with gas once per month most times. It cuts down on auto expenses. We are close to going completely to one vehicle but having jumped in yet.

    Thanks again for this series! Great stuff!

    • The dry cleaning has definitely saved us tons of money. We just fill the sink with some water, put in an article of clothing, add some OxiClean, then rinse the clothing with our hands. Then, once we’re done, we just hang them in the shower or over the tub to drip dry. The only thing to be aware of is if it’s a new piece of clothing, then some color will come out in the sink (usually have to drain the small sink with each article) and potentially drip down in the shower/tub. Very easy though!

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