I realize many of you in the frugal life community have no time. No time for making frozen dog treats, no time to pound saved chicken bones into bone meal, no time period. So, you want to find ways to save time as well as money.
Look no further, I have complied nine of the best time/money saving hacks below to help you with everyday tasks that usually take both time and money.
- Decadent dollar store dessert. Buy a dollar store brownie mix and a can of cherry pie filling, $2 total. This is a great shortcut to getting dessert on the table even if company is coming. Make the mix (you can doctor it up with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, walnuts, etc.) and once baked, allow to cool. Cut into squares and then cut in half lengthwise, like two layers of a cake. Fill the middle with cherry pie filling, top with the other half of the brownie and a dollop of whip cream. Takes only a few minutes but comes off as very fancy. Sprinkles and chocolate shavings optional and you did not have to spend a fortune at the bakery.
- Kill weed kill bill. Don’t have hours to spend pulling weeds or the funds to hire a gardener? Pour distilled white vinegar over the weeds and let them die naturally. Vinegar is cheap, quick and won’t harm the environment. A bottle costs just a $1 at the dollar store and the big box stores carry even larger options.
- Spray paint perfection. Spray paint covers a million different flaws and many more surfaces these days. It can be used for everything from adding a pop of color to cheap knickknacks to brightening up old baskets and containers of all kinds. A can costs just $4 these days and comes in an endless rainbow of colors. Try chalk paint spray for even better coverage.
- Toilet humor. Nobody likes cleaning the bathroom so unless you have the means to hire a house cleaner, try this no fuss method: Pour white vinegar into the toilet bowl and close the lid for at least an hour. Meanwhile, wipe down the counter and mirror, preferably the next time you wash your hands. Go back to the toilet, swish with a brush and flush. Spritz the tub/shower with a generic tile cleaner and leave it for an hour before rinsing. Voila, clean bathroom for pennies.
- Bagged flavor bomb. This is the one time you can use a plastic zip type bag and not feel too guilty though a reusable plastic container that sits in your fridge is obviously a better choice. Buy a dollar bottle of Italian salad dressing from the dollar store. Pour into the plastic bag or container. Add in chicken, pork or beef. Marinate and then prepare your favorite protein. Easy and very flavorful.
- Hot Potato. Quick and hot lunch for those days that you have no time or funds. Grab a potato and whatever cheese you have in the fridge. Top with salsa, beans, chili, whatever is leftover. Assemble at the microwave. You just spent basically nothing for lunch and you still have plenty of time to check your personal email.
- High low black magic dress. Buy a cheap black dress that has a flattering cut. I think mine came from Target, truly. Top with your most expensively tailored work jacket and a chic but cheap colorful scarf. Black pumps and your lucky bracelet. You are now ready for that career changing interview or special evening out and you didn’t spend a dime.
- Cherished holiday memento for pennies. Next time you vacation at the beach, take some sand back home with you in a container or plastic bag. When you return home, buy a cheap small shadow box from the craft store. You might even be able to find one gently used at the thrift store that you can spray paint with leftover paint found in your craft stash. Fill the shadow box with the sand about three quarter’s full and seal the edges with hot glue to keep the sand from leaking out. Label the outside of the shadow box with the date and/or location of your vacation. Nearly instant and dirt (sand?) cheap one-of-a-kind memento of your special memory. Too much work? Fill a pretty glass bottle from the thrift store with the sand and place in your guest bathroom with a label draped about the bottle’s neck. My guest bathroom is decorated with bottles filled with sands from all over the world and quite the conversation starter. You can also collect cheap postcards from your destination and do the same thing with an old picture frame.
- Repurpose first. Donating old furniture is great and nothing beats a fresh new donation slip for the tax man but think twice before you donate, is there something in that pile you plan on taking to the Goodwill that you can repurpose? I have repurposed an old metal tv stand in my backyard as a garden tool holder instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new potting stand. All it needed was a coat of protective spray paint to guard against the elements and it serves a new purpose very well, cost me nothing and looks very decorative.