It doesn't necessarily take thousands of dollars and weeks of time to get your Winter heating bill in check. There are plenty of methods for pinching pennies this season.
If you're looking for easy ways to save money with small repairs around your house, try some common household items to help you with your repairs. The January 2010 issue of ShopSmart shares 11 essential items to keep in your fix-it kit to tackle all kinds of home repairs on your own. Check out the slideshow, and then pick up a copy of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports.
Source: Flickr User bradfordnoble
One of the simplest recipes for whipping up your own shower spray is this one: simply add one part rubbing alcohol to four parts water in a spray bottle, then spray this mixture onto your shower walls and curtain every day after you shower. No need to rinse, as it'll rinse off next time you take a shower.
Want some other homemade recipes for shower spray? See them when you read more
Yesterday, I stopped by my neighborhood dollar store, National Dollar, to see if I couldn't find any helpful (and naturally, affordable) items for the home, and was quite pleasantly surprised. From necessities for the garden to cleaning essentials for the whole house, my dollar store has me covered. To see my finds, advice on using these products, and what might be hiding in your local dollar store, check out this slideshow.
Last weekend, I received a beautiful mixed bouquet of flowers from a dinner party guest. The flowers lasted for almost a week, and as I was getting ready to compost them last night, I realized that not all of the flowers were drooping or dead. In fact, there were enough left in the bouquet to make a second, smaller arrangement.
Before I pulled the flower bouquet out of its large vase, I carefully clipped the few still-fresh flowers at an angle on the stem, and then deposited them in a smaller vase. I mixed the water in the new vase with a bit of sugar and citric acid (you can use lemon juice), which will help to keep them looking fresh even longer. This way, you can stretch any flower arrangement, even a grocery bouquet, to greater lengths of time inside your house.
I've offered you some inspirational small changes that involve switching out hardware or painting an accent wall, but you don't have to spend money to see some big results! Take a look at my list of ways you can improve your home without spending a dime.
- Start a collection. Choose a favorite color or theme, and then scour your home for items that fit. For instance, group white objects such as vases, small trinkets, statues, and bowls together for a surprisingly pretty collection.
- Start with your closet, and organize!
- Make your lingerie drawer smell lovely by assembling some no-sew sachets out of an old t-shirt or skirt.
- Try grouping objects in 3s and 5s.
- Take extra glasses or mugs out of your kitchen and use them as stash pots for your makeup, q-tips, and other bathroom necessities.
For other suggestions, read more
I'm still mourning the demise of Budget Living magazine, which — in case you missed it — was one of the most wonderful and short-lived magazines ever. Guided by a "spend smart, live rich" philosophy, the surprisingly stylish periodical covered all things thrifty: cheap and chic fashion, entertaining on a budget, investing for dummies, and home decorating. The homes they featured were some of the most creative I've ever seen, and the fact that they were done on a budget made it even more impressive.
Thankfully, the editors left behind a book to remember them by, called Budget Living Home Cheap Home. I think it may be out of print, but you can find tons of copies online. If you opened to any page, you wouldn't know that this was an "on-the-cheap" decorating book: It looks more like a mix of stunning, chic design and DIY ideas.
Offering quick fixes and long-term solutions, the guide is divided up by room and style and features the best of Budget Living's home galleries. There's a crave-worthy living room that measures just 290 square feet, a Victorian mansion in the Catskills with a playful Addams Family look, and a bedroom decorated with massive collections of sock monkeys and ladies' gloves (trust me, it's awesome). I've gotten tons of ideas from Home Cheap Home about decorating and rearranging rooms, and it's also full of fun craft and home-improvement projects.
Did you ever read Budget Living? If so, have you checked out this book?