Jay Costantino's Blog
There are more cleaning supplies on the market than ever before. If you walk down the cleaning section of Target you'll find an array of brooms, scrubbers, and solutions that are all variations on the same simple ideas. Furthermore, these products have begun capitalizing on single-use components like a sweeper with throwaway pads or disposable dusters. All of these expenses add up and before you know it you're spending up to $70 each month just on cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many frugal consumers have noticed this trend and have come up with creative ways to save money on cleaning. In this article, we'll cover some frugal cleaning products and solutions that will save you a ton of money at the checkout line.
Sweeping, dusting, and moppingLet's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with your sweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your used dryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.
Go paperlessPaper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.
Cleaning solutionsMaking your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.
The bedroom is the room of your home you'll probably spend the most time in. You sleep there, get dressed there, and it's where you go to unwind before bed. It also houses some large furniture items: your bed, your clothing storage, and maybe even a desk or television. However, there are ways to declutter your bedroom to make it feel more minimal, open, and spacious.In this article, we'll go over some of the ways you can arrange, paint, and decorate your bedroom to create space and build a more open and comfortable environment.
1. Colors are importantInterior decorators will tell you all about the need for light colors to make a room feel spacious. We naturally associate darkness with closed spaces--a shady patch of wood, a dark cave--whereas bright spaces tend to be much more spacious--a sprawling field or open body of water. To emulate this openness indoors, decorate your home like you would find in a field. Keep the darker colors lower to the ground like the dirt and grass in a field, and the lighter colors up higher on the walls and ceiling, like the sky above.
2. Mirrors make a differenceMost people know about the mirror trick to adding space in a room. However, the location and size of the mirror also matter. One tiny mirror in the corner of a room won't make much of a difference. However, grouping mirrors together, especially vertically from floor to ceiling, will make the bed room appear much larger, plus you'll be able to use the mirrors while getting dressed in the morning.
3. Use storage furnitureA bed frame, desk, or ottoman with storage space will allow you to keep objects out of sight and help declutter the room. For best results, use furniture items that are light in color or paint them a slightly different shade of the color of your walls.
4. Modular furnitureModular furniture is minimal and can be built to fit your needs. With modular furniture you won't ever have more drawers in your dresser than you need. If you want a desk in your bedroom, you can buy a fold-up wall mounted desk that helps clear up room when not in use.
5. Store inside, not on topBedrooms tend to accumulate a lot of clutter. Before I got rid of my bedside table it was usually covered with any range of items--keys, water bottle, opened mail, pens, etc. However, now that I store everything in a bedroom drawer, I don't have to worry about those items being visible and making the room feel cluttered.
6. Ditch the big bedMattresses and bed frames have come a long way in recent years when it comes to minimalism. Since your bed is probably the largest item in your bedroom, it is the most important item to change if you really want to make the room more spacious. The obvious solution is to buy a smaller sized bed. However, if that isn't an option there are also many slim mattresses and bed frames with a sleek, minimalist look.
It's no surprise that buying in bulk is cheaper. Manufacturers can offer you the same items with less packaging and fewer processing steps. Then, at the store, less time is required for employees to stock these items onto the shelves. Basically, bulk buying is a win-win for everybody. Knowing which items to buy in bulk, however, is a bit trickier. We would all buy everything in bulk if we had the storage space in our homes or a cart big enough at Walmart. There are certain home goods you can count on for always being smarter to buy in bulk. In this list, we'll cover the top bulk items that are worth the space in your closet and where to find them. 1. Toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins The trinity of paper items. These three purchases are always worth buying in bulk. Running out of them can range from an inconvenience to an emergency, so it's good to have plenty stocked up. The undisputed champion when it comes to buying toilet paper is Costco. However, most warehouse clubs also have good deals. If you'd rather spend a bit more and not have to carry a huge box to your car, Amazon also has some good deals on these three paper goods. 2. Liquid hand soap and body wash Those tiny bottles of liquid hand soap won't get you very far and can be quite pricey. If you have a favorite, odds are you can find a large jug of it on Amazon to refill your smaller bottles as needed. 3. Tupperware One good set of tupperware will outlast 5 cheap plastic sets. That said, you can still get a good deal on a large set of tupperware and it's worth it if you pack lunches in advance or have a large family. Amazon is also the price to beat when it comes to plasticware. 4. Batteries One item that typically isn't cheaper online is batteries. Walmart is the place to buy large packs of batteries. If you really need to have a lot of them on hand, however, it will probably save you much more money in the long run to buy some good rechargeable batteries, especially AAs. 5. Diapers If you're a parent, you've most likely noticed the magical disappearing properties of diapers. A full box of diapers seems to vanish into thin air within a couple days time. Frugal parents have found that off-brand diapers, such as Target's Up & Up diapers, are high quality and much more affordable than name brand options. Alternatively, Amazon Mom will help you save on gas and on diapers, and offers many other baby-related goods as well. 6. Over the counter medications First, go generic--it will save you a ton of money on non-prescription meds. As to where the best place to buy medications, consumer reports show that Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest, whereas drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid are the most expensive.
Moving is stressful. You have to worry about cleaning out your old home, preparing your new one and all of the logistical headaches that come with it. If that weren't enough, you still have to balance your work and family life with the demands of moving into a new home. With all of those factors taken into account, it's easy to make mistakes on moving day. Today, we'll cover five of the most common mistakes people make while moving to a new home and how to avoid them.
1. Thinking you don't need helpNone of us want to burden our friends or our wallets for moving. But unless all of your belongings fit in a suitcase and you're moving to a furnished apartment you're going to need some help. Whether it's friends, family, or professional movers, make sure you have enough people to help you with the moving process. Don't worry, you can repay them with free food or a good tip accordingly.
2. Assuming your help is reliableIf you're counting on friends and family to help you move, check in with them a few days in advance to make sure they're still available. Give them details for the exact time and place they're needed. As a courtesy, order everyone pizza at the new house in exchange for their help. If you're hiring a mover, do some research before you commit to one. Read customer reviews and testimonials, make sure they have all required licensing, and so on. Call to confirm on the day before the move to make sure no mix-ups have been made.
3. Not taking traffic into accountIf you and your movers are on a deadline, take traffic into account for your move. Do a test run along the moving route during the hours you'll be traveling to find out how long it will take. This will also help you plan out stops for gas if needed. Another good practice is to print out directions to the new home and give them to everyone who will be driving. This way you and your moving van know exactly which route to take.
4. Forgetting overnight necessitiesNecessities like a tooth brush, deodorant, soap, and cell phone charger should be packed in a separate bag that stays with you. This way it won't get lost among your boxes and regardless of where you're sleeping that night you'll know where to find the important items you need.
5. Not planning for their petMoving your belongings is easy, but moving your pet will require extra planning. You'll have to ready your crate, pet food, toys, litter box or dog bags, and anything else your pet needs. You'll also need to look out for your pet during the move since doors will be opening and closing and they'll be in a new (potentially frightening) environment. If you can, have someone pet sit for you on moving day. If that isn't possible, keep the pet in an empty room with everything they need until you've settled in, checking up on them periodically.
Behind your doors and windows lies everything you hold dear. Your family, pets, important documents, expensive laptops and televisions rely on the hope that no one will break into your home. In spite of this, many people choose not to take the best safety precautions available, whether it is because they feel safe in their neighborhood or they think they can't afford a security system. As home security technologies advance, homeowners and renters get a growing selection of security systems. Finding a security system that works with your budget while still keeping you safe is possible. However, learning about the various systems and choosing one that works best for your needs is the hard part. In this article, we'll cover the basic types of security systems and what they offer so you can make the best decision for your home and family.