10 Reusable Household Items that Will Save You Money

One of the ways I began to save extra money was by ditching some of the disposable products we used in our home and replacing them with reusable household items.  

In the beginning, this did cost us a few more dollars but quickly turned into big savings each month we weren’t purchasing the disposable versions!

Now, I know the appeal of disposable items. They can be so gosh darn convenient! But by simply switching out one disposable product for a reusable product, not only will it have a positive impact on our planet, it will also have a positive impact on your wallet! Before you know it, you’ll be trying to replace every household product with a reusable one!

By simply switching out one disposable product for a reusable product, not only will it have a positive impact on our planet, it will also have a positive impact on your wallet!

The Best Reusable Household Products

Below, I’ve listed the best reusable household items that we’ve been loving in our own home lately! 

Wool Dryer Balls

For years now I have been using wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets and fabric softener. In fact it’s been a while since I bought my wool dryer balls so they’re finally starting to fall apart!

If I ever feel like having a bit of a scent to the laundry, I’ll add a couple drops of essential oil to a couple of the balls.

When purchasing wool dryer balls, make sure they are 100% wool. This will ensure fluffiness, reduce static and reduce drying time.

Reusable Water bottles

Before we leave the house, I make sure all of our reusable water bottles are filled up so we can avoid buying a bottle of water when we’re out and about.

While any reusable water bottle will work, our favorites are the ones that are insulated. They keep water cold for much longer! My husband and I are using these bottles while I like the Thermos ones for our daughters.

Kitchen towels

Ditch the paper towels once and for all! I have one roll of paper towel on hand and that is to check the oil in our vehicles and for wiping up cooking grease. Other than that I use kitchen towels, cloths, and big bath towels for cleaning up spills, and wiping dirty fingers and faces. Basically reusable towels are used for everything paper towels are typically used for.

I also still use those baby wash cloths all. the. time for cleaning up messes, wrapping freezies and even wiping out their Wipe Clean activity books.

Reusable straws

It’s so easy to make the switch to reusable straws! We’ve got two different kinds that we use at home. Stainless steel and super fun silicone ones. I don’t have a preference, but my daughters like the silicone ones the best. Probably because they’re soft and fun colored.

Be sure to get a small straw brush to keep you straws clean!

Reusable K-Cup

We were gifted a Keurig coffee maker years ago and it’s still one of our favorite appliances and gets daily use. The one thing I don’t like about it is the k-cup waste. However, we recently switched to a reusable K-Cup and love it! It’s so easy to use and the coffee tastes just as good. Plus now we can get a big bag of ground coffee beans (cost effective) or use the locally roasted beans that we love.

Reusable shopping bags

Now that most grocery stores are charging for plastic grocery bags, I want to avoid that unnecessary expense as much as I can! I have reusable grocery bags stashed in the car and both of my bags in hopes that I won’t have to use a plastic bag.

The reusable shopping bags that I have are similar to these ones and fold up really small and are so easy to stash in my bags. I love that they are washing machine friendly so I can toss them in the wash once in while!

Silicone baking mats

With silicone baking mats, there’s no need to spray your cooking sheets or use parchment paper. That means you could possibly eliminate two grocery items from your list saving you a bundle in the long term.

Silicone baking mats are really easy to clean and hardly take up any space in your cupboards.

Mason jars

Open up the cupboards or even your fridge and you’re bound to find some sort of glass jar! Wash and reuse the glass jars that you find for so many things. I use mine for storing dried beans/lentils/rice, freezing broth, holding makeup brushes and so much more.

Mason jars are fairly inexpensive to buy if you want matching jars. Scour the garage sales too!

Reusable Sandwich Bags

This is a new purchase for us and I’m loving it! I used to wash our plastic sandwich a few times before tossing them, but I’m liking this alternative way better.

These reusable storage bags are freezer friendly, leak-proof, come in various sizes and clean easily.

Travel Mugs

These are a must-have in our family! Every morning, instead of hitting the drive thru, my husband makes a travel mug full of coffee for his morning at work. Saves a ton of coffee money over the long run! I’ll bring mine along when I’ve got a bunch of errands to do. But even if you do go to a coffee shop or something, many places offer a small discount if you bring your own mug. (Starbucks, for example.)

Using these reusable household items is such a great way to begin moving towards a more eco-conscious way of living plus you’ll be saving a lot of money over the long haul!

I’d love to know what you would add to my list!

The Ultimate Frugal Okanagan Summer Activity Guide

This was such a big hit in past years, that I took the time to update it with this year’s dates!  Hope you enjoy 🙂

Are you living in the Okanagan or planning on taking a trip there this summer?  The Okanagan happens to be the place I call home, so I thought I’d create a guide full of fun, frugal activities that take place in the land of sun.  The goal is for this to be The Ultimate Frugal Okanagan Summer Activity Guide.  If you have an event or know of a really cool place to visit, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Farmer’s Markets:

Food & Wine:

The Okanagan is well know for its award winning wines and wineries.  Many of them offer free tours and wine tastings. See a huge list of Okanagan wineries, here.

Canada Day:

Arts:

Beaches:

U-Pick Fruit & Fruit Stands:

Sports:

Golf Courses

The Okanagan has many amazing golf courses to play!  Enjoy one round or make a vacation out of it!  See this list of Okanagan Golf Courses.

Hiking Trails:

Festivals, Fairs & Community Events:

Father’s Day Events:

Places of interest:

Vernon & Area:

Kelowna & Area:

Penticton & Area:

Okanagan Tourism Websites:

Looking for deals?

Groupon has a ton of local discounted restaurants, spas, things to do and more! Check it out for great savings on the things you want to do in the Okanagan.

Reader Question – What are Your Must-Haves in your Pantry?

Simply Frugal reader question

Here’s a question from Christine:

Here is what I would like to know: a friend of mine is trying to start a pantry or a stockpile so that she is not constantly out of everything and so that she can maybe save a bit of money.

What would you consider your must-haves in your pantry?  What staples do you always have on hand?

Do you have a question you would like to ask the readers of Simply Frugal?  Send your question along to us here.

How to Build a Kid’s Wardrobe Cheaply

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about building my daughters’ wardrobes cheaply. (I just have to be careful I don’t overbuy because girls clothing can be so cute!) But as you know, kids outgrow their clothing very quickly so buying clothes can become quite expensive. But, by planning ahead and taking these tips into consideration, you’ll be sure to build your children’s wardrobes cheaply.

Fantastic tips on how to build a kid's wardrobe cheaply.

Accept Hand-Me Downs

Nothing is as cheap as free!  I took full advantage of the clothes my sister-in-law offered to lend us for the first six months or so of Sienna’s life.  I know hand-me downs are normally meant to be kept, but our borrowing situation was ideal since we didn’t have to store any of the clothes once we were finished with them. We just gave them back!

Buy off the Clearance Racks

Buying off the clearance racks is especially handy if you’re stocking up for next season.  Last Fall/Winter, I stocked up on quite a few items that will work for Sienna this coming winter, including a snow suit for only $10!  Had I waited until she needed the snow suit, I’m sure I would have been paying close to full price.  Currently my favourite store to shop at for clearance prices is the Joe Fresh section in our local Superstore.

Shop online

Similar to shopping the clearance racks in a brick and mortar store, shopping the sale sections online can save you a bundle.  Last Summer I stocked up on quite a few outfits when Old Navy had one of their better coupon codes.  I think I averaged about $3.00 a piece! I also enjoy shopping online at The Children’s Place and Joe Fresh.

Buy used

Garage sales and thrift stores can be a great place to look for gently used clothing.  Although I haven’t had much opportunity to shop at garage sales myself, I know that the clothes I was selling in our recent garage sale were hot sellers!  I’m sure most cities offer this, but our town also holds a twice annual kids garage sale at our Recreation Centre.  I picked up some cute sweaters, jeans and PJ’s for about $0.50 a piece.  I find buying used clothing an excellent way to build a kid’s wardrobe cheaply because the items are usually only worn a few times before they’re outgrown.

What are your tips for building a kid’s wardrobe on a budget? 

7 Ways to Earn More Money

While spending less is often the best thing to do financially, sometimes it’s good to earn more money if it means it will push you closer to your financial dreams faster.

But before you get excited about the idea of earning more money, it’s important to make sure you manage the money you already have well.  If you’re financially strapped, there’s no point in earning extra cash if you’re just going to spend more money for short term satisfaction.  Focus on getting a monthly budget figured out and learn how to maximize the money you already have before you go out and try to make more money.

Once you have that out of the way, you can read these ideas to help you earn extra money:

While spending less is often the best thing to do financially, sometimes it's good to earn more money if it means it will push you closer to your financial dreams faster. Here are 7 Ways to Earn More Money. #earnmoney #incomeideas

Earn money from your hobbies

I’m sure many of you have a hobby that you enjoy and are quite good at!  Why not turn that hobby into extra income?  Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Teach coupon classes
  • Do surveys through Survey Junkie or MaruVoice.ca
  • Sell your photos if you’re into photography
  • Teach art classes, either privately or at a local craft store
  • Sell your work at craft shows or on etsy
  • Design pieces on commission
  • Sell your baking during coffee breaks to local businesses
  • Enter your work in contests with cash prizes
  • Paint business windows for the holidays

Bonus idea: If you love visiting websites or blogs, sign up for UserTesting. You’ll be paid $10 for each website or app that you complete a set of tasks on while speaking your thoughts out loud.

Sell things you no longer need

Clear up some space in your home by selling things you no longer need or care for.  Have a garage sale or try selling items on Kijiji, Craigslist, or eBay.  Or give a Buy & Sell group on Facebook a try.

Rent out your space

If your home has an extra bedroom or empty space, you could become a landlord. Students and recent graduates are often especially eager for affordable and small spaces to call “home”. Your extra garage space might also be perfect for someone needing to store their collector car, for example.

Try a paper route

Earn a bit of extra money by doing a paper route.  Get some fresh air and exercise while you’re at it!

Offer to babysit

Give some friends or even neighbourhood families some time away from the kids so they can go on a date or get errands done by offering your services as a babysitter.

Start a part-time business

If you have a bit of time to devote to money making, why not consider starting a part-time business from home?  You could try these ideas on for size:

  • Start a blog
  • Dog walking
  • Tutoring
  • Baking/Meal provider
  • Music lessons
  • Errand runner
  • Personal shopper
  • Cleaning
  • Graphic design work
  • Mow neighborhood lawns/shovel snow
  • Life/Business Coaching – are people always asking your advice on a particular subject?  Consider charging a fee for your advice.

Teach English at Home with VIPKID

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a US or Canadian University as well as experience with children (such as: teaching, mentoring, coaching, tutoring, babysitting, etc.) you could possibly earn up to $22/hour (USD) teaching online with VIPKID. VIPKID needs thousands of work-from-home teacher’s to teach English online to kids in China. This is an amazing work-from-home opportunity – and don’t worry, you do not need to know any foreign language or have formal teaching experience. Find all the details here.

All in all, get creative or meet a need you see around you to earn a bit of extra money you can put towards reaching your financial goals!

What are your ideas for earning extra money?  Do you have any stories to share about how you’re currently earning extra cash?  Please share in the comments!

How to Make the Most of Christmas when You Can’t Afford Much

When you can’t afford much for Christmas it is easy to feel down and let it get in the way of having a great holiday with your family. This year, if you find that you just don’t have the money in your budget to do everything you wish you could, take time to appreciate what you do have and make the most of Christmas anyway.

How to make the most of Christmas when you can't afford much

Focus on the Meaning

The most important part of coping with a tight budget during the holidays is to really focus on the meaning of the holiday.  Christmas is a time of celebration for all and a time to turn our focus from our busy lifestyles to our friends and family that mean so much to us. Focus more on how you are spending your time than how you are spending your money and find the joy in the little things.

Find Fun Freebies

Find fun free things to do that will build lasting memories. Many libraries will offer great free Christmas story times, activities, and parties. The local schools will all have performances going on that you can visit and support loved ones. Going and viewing Christmas light displays, singing carols, and building snowmen are all great ways to spend time together making Christmas memories without spending money.

Get Crafty

Save money and make your holiday decorations at home with salt dough ornaments, paper snowflakes, and fresh cut evergreen branches. This is a charming way to decorate for the holidays while building great family memories that will last a lifetime.

You could even try your hand at making homemade gifts! I’ve got a whole series of fantastic Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas, here.

Create Traditions

Create family-centered traditions like watching Christmas Movies while sipping homemade cocoa or reading Christmas books before slipping off to bed on a cold winter night. Your traditions can be anything you already have the supplies to make happen without spending any money.

Wrap Everything!

For children when unwrapping gifts is the most exciting part of the holiday try wrapping everything even the smallest stocking stuffer. This will draw out the fun part for children even when you don’t have a lot under the tree.

Focus on Others

Turn your focus on helping others. So often it is hard to see past our own struggles and misfortunes. By taking time to help others in some way you are helping your family learn to look at your holidays with thankfulness for all the things you do have while helping make Christmas a little brighter for others at the same time. Even if volunteering with the needy at your local soup kitchen or food pantry is not an option you can perform random acts of kindness for others.

I’d love to know your ideas for frugal holiday memory making. Let us know in the comments below!