Your local dollar store can be a great resource for budget-friendly purchases. Keep in mind that even though each item is only $1, not every item is a good deal! Many items come in smaller containers so the per unit price is actually higher than at a typical store.
Here are some items that can be purchased at dollar stores that are truly a great value.
1) Greeting Cards. Many dollar stores often have 2/$1 deals on greeting cards, and they offer quite an assortment too!
2) Toothpaste. Make sure you are getting a full-size container or the per ounce price is probably higher than a traditional store. You may have to go to a less popular brand (AIM) to get a full size tube. Many of the popular brands are available at dollar stores, albeit in a smaller tube.
3) Toothbrushes. If you want name-brand, you can easily find an individual toothbrush for $1. Often times you can get double-packs of the name-brand as well. If you’re willing to go with an off-brand, don’t be surprised if you can get 3 or 4 for a buck! Avoid the “8 packs” as they will be so cheaply made it will not be worth it in the long-run.
4) Mailing Supplies. Many dollar stores sell bubblepack envelopes 2/$1. This is less than half of what you would pay at a big-box store.
5) Coloring Books. You may be surprised at the selection of popular character coloring books at your local dollar store. The price will easily be half of what you would pay at most traditional stores.
What great dollar store finds have you found?
Your credit score impacts numerous facets of your life, from where you live, what you drive, to how much it costs to get your electricity turned on. Despite the hold that credit has on all of us, few of us know how it is calculated.
Check out this great article by wofin.
Wofin’s blog is filled with financial information and budget-saving ideas!
Do you like to stock up on meat when it’s on sale but don’t have the space in your freezer? Or run out of time to defrost it? Try this quick tip:
I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for years. I’ll share with you the recipe. Give it a try, it’s amazingly simple & one batch lasts a long time!
What you need: Borax, Washing Soda, bar soap, a cheese grater, a storage container, and a spare scoop. I’ve been able to find these products easily in stores. Smaller grocery stores may not have the washing soda-it tends to be the more difficult to find.
Use the cheese grater to grate the bar soap. My grater does not have a “fine” option, although I’ve never had a problem with larger slivers of soap. Add in two parts soap, one part borax, and one part washing soda. Use two tablespoons per load.
This is what the final product looks like:
I found all of the ingredients at Wal-Mart. But here are some links to where the items can be purchased online.
Borax: Found at Wal-Mart for $2.98 for a 76 oz. box ($.32 per cup)
Washing Soda: Found at Wal-Mart for $2.98 for a 55 oz. box ($.43 per cup). Below is a link to the least expensive online option I could find.
Bar Soap: I prefer Dial which can be found at Wal-Mart for $3.98 for 8 bars. ($.50 per cup)
How do the costs stack up?
The above recipe costs FIVE AND A HALF CENTS per load (assuming you use two tablespoons).
I found a large box of Tide Powder on Amazon.com for $33 including shipping. This was enough detergent for 80 loads of laundry. This equates to $.41 per load.
If you do ten loads a week, your savings is $3.55 per week!
I especially like this detergent because besides cleaning well, it does not contain any dyes or perfumes (unless you add in scented soap). The only downside I have found is the box of Borax is larger than the box of Washing Soda so I run out of them at different times. I’ve also added a little OxyClean to a load if I’m concerned about colors.
Give it a try–I’d love to hear your opinions!
In an effort to decrease my monthly grocery bill and to stretch my budget even further, I’ve been experimenting with making various foods from scratch. Here is a great recipe I found for fresh wheat bread:
Mix into a bowl:
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Into a saucepan on the stove mix:
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons butter
Add “wet’ ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients.
Add one egg and beat all until smooth. When ingredients have formed a large ball, turn onto a floured surface and knead. Cover for about an hour to allow it to rise. Punch the dough down and allow it to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Divide into thirds and base at 350 for around 40 minutes or until golden brown.
The dough freezes very well so you can keep some in the freezer for use later on.
In my household, we eat a lot of homemade pizza. Rather than drop $1 each on pizza crust mixes, I set out to find a homemade version of my own. My mother had a recipe she’s been using for years (I’m not sure of the original source).
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2 tsp. quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup warm water
Simply mix the flour, yeast, and salt together. I used a handheld mixer with bread beaters. Gradually add in the warm water and mix until the dough becomes a large ball.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute. Shape into a large ball, cover, and leave for 10-15 minutes to allow it to rise.
Divide this into 3-4 smaller balls. If you are using a 12 inch round pan, this will yield 4 doughs. Slightly flatten the doughs and place in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use them, remove the dough from the freezer and allow to thaw before rolling into a flat crust. Spread onto a greased sheet and bake at 450 degrees.
Having just moved from an apartment to a house, I was in the market for a lawn mower. I headed down to Lowe’s to see what they had to offer. (As a side note, my address change packet from the US Post Office included a 10% off coupon. Lowe’s also has a 10% Military discount, although you cannot use both on the same purchase).
I knew I wanted a motor-less mower, which apparently has a technical name of “reel mower.” It has revolving blades that move in a circle, propelled by nothing but good ‘ole muscle power. They are slightly less than the cheapest push mower, but don’t require any gasoline or oil. They are also less noise-polluting than your typical mower.
This is the model I settled on, a Troy-Bilt 18 inch reel mower. The least expensive model was $99. But this model has rear wheels (which I interpret to be a smoother push), a wider footprint (which means fewer laps around the yard), and a bag to collect the clippings (this is great for the compost bin).
It was $30 less than the least expensive push mower. In southern Florida where we have to mow pretty much year-round, I’m estimating roughly 40 clips per year. My yard is tiny, so I think 3 gallons a year will cover it, so that is roughly $10 a year in gas. Add in an oil change and the yearly operating cost of a gas mower is $20. (I would have to do blade sharpening on both types, so I’m not including that).
My savings on this project is $30 initially, plus $20 per year. Not exactly a lottery-winning amount, but I am also pleased that I’m not consuming unnecessary gasoline. My only other recurring costs are some sore arms:)
If you’ve read as many personal finance/budgeting articles as I have, you are probably sick of all of the “revolutionary” ideas that people come up with. Move to a cheaper place, refinance your mortgage, ditch your car, drop your cable. Undoubtedly, all of these things can save you a LOT of money. But who can make such drastic changes overnight?
This blog is full of money-saving ideas that I have discovered. It is about making small changes to save incremental amounts of money. Some of my ideas are unorthodox, but you won’t hear me advising dumpster diving for extra coupons or stealing sugar packets from restaurants. All of the ideas are easy to implement and include products that are easy to find. Best of all, the majority of the ideas are not only good for your pocketbook, but also the environment!
I would love to hear everyone else’s frugal & fun ideas!