6 Tips for Economizing on a Limited Budget

Published: 18th June 2007
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Being a single mother and the sole breadwinner of my household there were small tasks I learned to do that would stretch the dollar and afford my children and I more enjoyment from my earnings. By so doing we were able to eke out a little extra for entertainment.

Here are 6 household tips that can save you money. These small concerns with economizing will afford you some money left in the budget for pleasure in spite of the economic pressures of single parenthood, divorce and other economic hardships.

1. Buy Generic and Reuse Vacuum Cleaner Bags

Brand names vacuum bags are way over priced and not necessary for efficient cleaning. Generic bags are just as efficient and can be purchased as inexpensively as 2 or 3 bags for $1.00 thereby saving you money in the purchase.

When the bag is full, place a few sheets of newspaper on the floor to collect the dirt. Wear a pair of rubber gloves (surgical gloves work great) for sanitary purposes. Remove the bag from vacuum. Hold the bag with opening close to the newspaper and proceed to pull the dust out. The dust will pull out in clumps until you get closer to empty when all that remains will be loose dirt. Don't bother with the loose dirt as it will make too much dust.

Place the bag back in the vacuum and discard of the dirt. You can do this repeatedly until the bag seems to get weak or tears. Generally, vacuum bags can be reused at least 3 or 4 times. Your use of vacuum cleaner bags will go down considerably saving you even more change to put in a fund for fun.

2. Use White Vinegar To Cut Costs On Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies can be very costly. An efficient way to save money is to use white vinegar for your household cleaning. With a 50/50 solution of white vinegar in a spray bottle you can clean almost everything in your home. Toilets, tubs and sinks will not only be cleaned but sanitized as well.

This same solution will help to minimize food bacteria on kitchen counters and leave the kitchen shiny clean and aid in eliminating odors.

If you prefer a sudsy cleaner you can add a drop or two of dishwashing liquid but no more. If you add suds you will need to keep a separate bottle for cleaning glass and mirrors. Suds will tend to smear on the glass and leave a film.

White vinegar and water will also remove stains from carpets and clothes. Do not use on bright colors without testing an inconspicous area first. Weaken the solution to 25 vinegar /75 water for colored items as white vinegar has a mild bleaching effect.

3. Save Money By Washing Ironing Board Covers

If you do quite of bit of ironing you know how spray starch can build up on your ironing board cover. Instead of replacing them often, you can wash them to get longer use. Do not buy the cheapest covers, cheap covers never have enough elastic to keep them from slipping and/or enough padding which aids in the ironing process.

Buy a 'middle of the ground' priced cover. These covers are durable and stay in place. Avoid covers where the padding is attached. They would be hard to launder. Purchase ones that have the padding as a separate piece from the cover.

You can extend the life of the cover by first turning it inside out and using the other side when the starch builds up and cover becomes tacky.

In turn, when the starch builds up on the inside of the cover take it off and throw it in the laundry. Once washed you can replace the cover on ironing board and use again. Repeat this until the cover is too worn. In this way the cover will last a long time. You will save money by not replacing the covers for a long time.

4. Darn Runners In Nylon Stockings For Longer Wear

If you hold a job that requires you to wear nylon stockings this can get costly. Nylons are notorious for getting runners easily. A trick is to sew the runners. It takes only a few moments. Most runners seem to start close to the top.

If you are at work or out, stop the runner with clear nail polish. If you are at home, take the nylons off and put aside until you have a few minutes for the repair. Even if you have done the quick nail polish save, a good idea would be to repair these also by sewing to prevent further running.

Nylon stockings are easy to sew up. Just use a needle and thread and a darning mushroom. If you do not have a darning tool a light bulb works just fine. Slip the light bulb or darning mushroom into the stocking and wrap material around, hold tightly and sew. You do not have to get fancy with the stitches. Just overlap the stitch and it will hold. If the runner is below the skirt line, repair them as well and wear these particular stockings under your slacks. Your work stockings will last longer and once again you will save money.

5. Less Laundry Soap For Less Fading

When doing laundry there are always those items that are not very soiled. If you are like many you do not want to wear your clothing more than a time or two in order to always have that clean feeling. Yet the clothes are not laden with dirt. You are just washing out the sweat, refreshing the items, and bringing shape back into clothes that tend to stretch out from the wear.

While you would not want to do this with heavily soiled kids clothes, with clothes that are not really dirty you can cut back on some of the soap use. This will save you money in two ways. It will cut down on fading of your darker items and save on the cost of laundry detergent. Experiment with how much to cut back. If the clothes are not very soiled you can cut back as much as half and still have fresh, clean clothes without the added expense.

6. Freshen Faded Clothes with Tintex or Ritz

You buy a costly pair of black slacks for work and a few months of washing and the deep black is beginning to look faded. Pretty soon you decide they are too dingy to wear to work. It does seem that clothes fade quickly once you start laundering them, especially your bright colors.

It is important for your job success that you look the part. You do not want to have to continually replace your clothes so rapidly. For a few bucks you can dye those clothes with clothing dye.

Dyeing is relatively easy to do and can be done in the washing machine, bathtub, or in a large pot. With the price you pay for a new skirt, blouse, dress or pair of slacks it is well worth your time and couple of bucks to dye some of those faded items to renew the color and get longer wear.

The two popular clothing dye brands are Tintex and Ritz. Both can be gotten at your discount department stores such as Wal-Mart. Both are equally good and bring satisfactory results. Dyeing results may not be as good if you have extreme wear in certain spots or bleach stains. Be sure to read the directions. By dyeing some of the more expensive clothing items you will save on the expense of replacing these items so quickly.

A Little Thriftiness Adds Up To Savings

Think about how many times in a month you had to buy nylon stockings for work. How often do you replace your vacuum bags? Pay attention to how much laundry detergent costs and how often you replace clothing items because they look faded.

You will find these ideas, though seeming small will add up to significant savings. So apply, put aside the money saved and take the family out to dinner or a movie and enjoy. With a little extra effort you do not have to feel uncomfortably crunched when it comes to yuor finances.

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