Tips for Planning a Teen (or Tween) Birthday Party

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Planning a party for your teen or tween can be daunting.  Check out these party planning ideas - to help you have fun but still stay on budget!!\

There is a lot of information out there on how to save money when planning a child’s birthday party. In fact, there is a TON of it available.  But, what about your tweens and teens? If they want a party, you will handle things a bit differently.  Check out these ideas to plan your next party (and stay on budget).

VENUE:  As kids get older, they may not want a traditional party. That may mean you need to pay more to host it.  Why not opt for a larger party every other year?  That way, one year is smaller and you can save and afford something bigger the following year!

Here are some ideas you might consider for your next party:

  • Video Game Tournament.  Move TVs from other areas of the house into the family room.  Borrow additional game platforms and games from friends.  Then, create your own bracket and have a tourney at home – with a grand prize for the winner (maybe a gift card to the game store).
  • Go Bowling!  What is great about bowling is that you can usually get a package deal with food and drink all rolled into one price (which covers those costs and eliminates decorations all together).  It is a easy for parents to drop teens off at the alley and then pick them up a few hours later (keeping the mess out of your home).
  • Pamper party for the girls.  Pick up nail polish and supplies and have a pamper party.  They can all do get manicures and pedicures – and even facials!  If you have a bit more in your budget you might consider visiting a local beauty school for a pedicure (where you pay less than larger salons).
  • Roller Skating.  Have the kids meet at the local rink and pick up the tab for the rental of skates and even food.  Just a few hours of hanging with the friends is what most teens and tweens want anyhow!
  • Paint Ball.  If your kids are into this fun activity, it can be another way to get them together to celebrate.  Pay for a few sessions and call it a party!

Whatever you decide, make sure you know your budget and stick within it.  Don’t allow your kids desires for an incredible day cloud your judgment and result in overpaying.

If the event/venue is more costly, your teen may just want to invite one or two close friends, instead of a larger group.  Try to keep that number in check so you know how much it will cost before you get ready to pay.

 

INVITATIONS:  Ditch the paper and go for evites!  They are usually free and can save a lot of money.  Not on that, they are much easier for your guests to remember to respond, which can give you a better headcount when determining how many to count on attending.

If your child is much older and is on Facebook or another social media site, you could even use those to invite people to the party.

 

DECORATIONS:  Teens more than likely aren’t interested in balloons and streamers for decorations.  If you are hosting the party at home, you could pull out the christmas lights and set up a dance party layout.  Set up tables and chairs around the perimeter of the room and string lights from the ceiling.

Another idea is to ask your teen about his/her favorite colors and find items such as linens, vases or other items.  Dollar stores offer amazing deals on vases and dishes.  You could add some personalization with some spray paint.  Even with just a few splashes of color, you can turn a regular room into something amazing!

When it comes to paper goods, you can find deals on the colored items at Dollar Stores.  You might even skip the color and go with white or clear.  Stick with plain paper plates and cups — the colored items are the same.

 

MUSIC:  If you really can’t afford a DJ, why not download your teens’ favorite songs onto your phone or device and pipe it through your TV or speaker system?  That provides FREE music!  You might even flip your TV onto your teen’s favorite music TV station.

If you really want a DJ, but can’t afford one, see if you can’t find a friend to help. Now, if you must hire a professional DJ, just make sure you read the contract terms as you may pay less if they play for a shorter period of time (say 8 – 10 vs. 7 – 11).

 

FOOD  / DRINK:  Most teens seem to love pizza.  It is easy and can be quite affordable.  Sign up for all of your local pizza parlor’s emails and/or coupon mailings.  Ask family and friends to to do the same.  Then, as you get closer to the day of your event, you can collect the coupons you will need to save money.  If you can’t combine coupons on your purchase, ask friends to place orders too so you can save.

If you know someone who works at a bakery or grocery store, see if they can purchase items for you, utilizing their employee discount.  They might be able to help you stretch your food budget.

If you must go it alone, then start watching for sales a few weeks before your party and stock up when you can on items such as soda, chips and other party snacks.  Of course, make sure you pay close attention to expiration dates so that you don’t end up serving stale or flat items to your party guests.

You may want to go with cupcakes instead of a sheet cake as well.  These often cost less then a 1/2 sheet of cake at your baker.  If you on a very tight budget, you can even go with homemade options as well – such as cake pops, pie, cake and more!  Just ask your teen what he or she wants.

 

SUPERVISION:  Remember that these are teens and tweens and they do need to have adults on site.  While you don’t want to “crash” your child’s party, you do need to make sure you are there and that nothing happens you don’t want to — you know what I mean!  ;-)  You aren’t trying to ruin your child’s day, you just want to make sure everyone gets home safely and that nothing happens which could endager any kids.

Keep this in mind when hosting and when they are attending a party.  Ask those questions.  If they don’t know if an adult will be present, you may not want to allow them to attend and as a parent, that is absolutely your right.  I remind my kids all of the time that right now, I am their Mom and not their friend.

Remember that while you want your day to be perfect for your teenage, you certainly don’t want to still be paying for it at their next party!

Spring Cleaning Your Home (Includes FREE Printable Checklists)

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Spring is here!  Download these FREE checklists to help you tackle your spring cleaning project!It is finally here!  Spring has arrived!  Everything outside is new, clean and fresh.  We are all opening our windows to let the fresh air in so the house feels clean!  But, what about those cobwebs in the corner and the dust on the mopboards?  Now is the time of year when many of us would love to clean our house (as in a deep clean).

I actually LOVE it when I spring clean my house.  The house feels clean and fresh and I get a chance to get rid of those things I no longer need or use! For many of you, this may seem like a daunting task.  You may be thinking that it takes too much time and/or you don’t even know where to start.  I am here to help!

Below you will find several printable checklists.  Download the one(s) you need.  You can either just access them on your device or computer — or even print one to place in each room.  Then, give the time YOU have each day to take care of one task. If you only have 10 minutes, maybe you could wipe down the light fixtures and corners to get rid of the cobwebs.  If you have a couple of hours, you may be able to take care of everything on the list.  There is no rule that says you have to do everything all at once – just do it as YOU have the time!

Free Spring Cleaning Checklists

Free Spring Cleaning Checklists

Now, here are those checklists you can print and use to make your spring cleaning work easier.

 

Store Brand Infant Formula – – As Good as the Name Brand (But Less Expensive)

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Did you know that the store brand formula is as good as the big name brands?  The only difference at all is the cost!!

We all know that pediatricians recommend breastfeeding your baby. They also recommend formula, however, because it is the only safe alternative and there are reasons why many moms cannot (or choose not) to breast feed. In fact, according to Parents magazine, approximately 85 percent of moms use formula at some point during that critical first year.

Unfortunately, there is so much GUILT when it comes to infant feeding and formula, and really, there shouldn’t be. We all have to do what is best for our babies…..and a stressed out mom is not good for anything!

If you use infant formula, you probably have tried some of the big-name advertised brands. You may or may not) have tried a Store Brand Formula at your local store. There can be many reasons or misconceptions as to why you haven’t tried a Store Brand Formula:

“We stayed with the advertised brand because it is what we used in the hospital.”

“I get coupons for the advertised formula brand.”

“My doctor gave me a free sample of the big-name formula.”

“I want my baby to get the best formula out there, so higher cost must mean the name brand is better.”

While I can totally understand these reasons (heck, they were some of mine when my oldest was born), these reasons really don’t make much sense. There are some things that many people don’t realize about Store Brand Formula.

Infant formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so no matter who makes it, all infant formula brands must meet the same FDA standards. This means all formulas provide a complete source of nutrition for your baby’s first year, whether it is sold in a fancy container with a big-name label or a store-brand label.

The truth is you can save upwards of $600 a year just by using the store brand! Store Brand Infant Formulas cost up to 50 percent less than those advertised brands. Be sure to ask your doctor about switching to a Store Brand Formula.

I recently learned about the largest supplier of Store Brand Infant Formula in the world! Yes – the world! is The company is Perrigo Nutritionals, one of four companies recognized by the FDA for meeting the strict FDA requirements for safety, nutrition and quality for infant formula in the United States. Perrigo’s Vermont-based facility is inspected by FDA and adheres to numerous safety and quality assurance certifications. Perrigo believes it makes the most important products for the most important people…babies. This is why the company focuses on quality, affordable nutrition. This gives me peace of mind that FDA and Perrigo really have the best in mind for your baby.

Coming up, I will share a lot of great information that was passed along to me during an interview with Dr. Lisa Thornton, a pediatrician and a mom! I learned so much from her and can’t wait to share it with you. You’ll have to tune in soon to learn more!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Perrigo Nutritionals. All product details were provided to me, but all opinions are truly my own and were not influenced by any parties.

20 Items You Should Always Buy at The Dollar Store

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Your local Dollar Store can be a hidden treasure trove of deals (as well as lots and lots of misses).  There are the twenty items I would always recommend you pick up at your local store -- and not pay more than $1 for anywhere else!

When it comes to shopping, I am a believer in getting my money’s worth.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get those quality items you need at the Dollar Store — where you can find them priced at just $1 (or around that price).

I’ve shopped Dollar Stores for years and there are always items I buy there, which I usually don’t pick up elsewhere.  These are items which brand may not matter and/or those items which are disposable.  I mean, if you are going to throw it away, why pay more than you need to!

Here is my TOP 20 LIST of the items you should always try to buy at the Dollar Store.

Birthday Party Supplies - Buy the these at the Dollar Store at a FRACTION of the cost!

 

PARTY SUPPLIES

These are one of the items I always grab at the Dollar Store.  Of course, I usually stock up on tissue paper at the end of Christmas as that is usually even less than $1, but all other items?  I head to my local dollar store!

1. Gift Bags.  If you are giving gifts, you know that the person will probably open the item and toss the bag.  Why pay $4 (and more) at other stores, when you can find them for just $1 at your Dollar Store!

2. Gift Wrap.  This is usually a better deal – just always check the square footage.  Know what you pay per square foot at larger stores, so you can make sure that it is a bargain.  I usually find that it is a better bargain, but there have been a few rare times when I found a good deal at a larger store, which did cost less them my dollar store.

3. Cards.  These are always $1.  I know that when I give a card to someone (even sympathy, anniversary, thank you, etc), they will read it and then, it usually goes into the trash can.  I pay no more than $1 for my cards just for that reason.  If you price cards at other stores, they can be very expensive ($4 and more)!!

4. Decorations.  You can find balloons, table cloths, party hats, party favors and more — all priced at just $1!  These vary in price at other stores.  By the time you complete your decor, you could easily spend $30 and more at a larger store – compared to just $7 – $10 at your Dollar store!

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GROCERIES

I do not buy too many of these items at our Dollar store, as I usually find great deals at ALDI.  However, there are a few things I do pick up there – always!

5.  Movie Theatre Candy.  When my kids are on any type of break, we make stop there for them to each pick up one box of their favorite candy.  It is around $1.25 and more at other stores, so it is not a huge savings there.  However, if you pick it up and put it into your bag before you go to actual theater, you will notice HUGE savings.  Theaters charge upwards of $5 and more for the same box!!!

6.  Spices.  You can find all sorts of spices priced at around $1 at your Dollar store.  These same ones can cost much more at your grocery store – realizing instant savings.

Personal Care Products at the Dollar Store

PERSONAL CARE

Once again, you need to know the prices of the items you purchase at your regular store, to compare the prices.  These are the items I have found are less than other stores.

7.  Band-aids.  I don’t know about you, but my kids think they need a band-aid the minute that they hurt themselves (blood or no blood).  Needless to say, we go through a lot of them.  I pick them up for just $1 a box and keep them handy for those incidents.

8.  Pregnancy Tests.  While I do not need these personally now (whew!), I did many years ago.  It was so much more costly to pick up dollar store tests rather than pay $10 at other locations.  You may be surprised to know that they are pretty accurate too (at least mine always were).

9.  Reading glasses.  This is one I haven’t needed yet, but my mom sure has!  Rather than have just one pair that she has to take with her everywhere, she has multiples.  She keeps on her desk at work, another in her home office, another in her purse – and even one at my house!

10.  Hair accessories.  With two girls, we go through a LOT of hair bands.  (Seriously, where do those little things disappear to at night??).  We have picked up new combs and brushes for them too – and paid much less than at other stores.

11.  Q-Tips.  I’ve tried our dollar brand of q-tips and you know what – they work as well as the name brand!  I’ve even picked up cotton balls which work just the same too (at a fraction of the cost).

12.  Bar soap.  You can sometimes find 2 bar packages of soap for just $1  — much less expensive than elsewhere (and, if you are lucky enough to have a coupon that doesn’t exclude that size, you can save even more).

Home Decor at the Dollar Store

HOME DECOR

This may be surprising, but you really can find some great items!  The great thing is that when you pay less, you can afford to change it out with the seasons (or even as your mood strikes).

13. Seasonal decorations.  From Easter to Halloween to Christmas, you can find some great decor items at your Dollar store — for much less than you will pay elsewhere.  The only thing I would not purchase is anything that is electrical.  It is not worth the risk to pay less.

14.  Vases and bowls.  You can find adorable glass vases to hold your flowers or even bowls for potpourri, floating candles and more!  This is a great way to give flowers to someone and save.  Just pick up an inexpensive bouquet at your grocery store, grab a vase at your local dollar store and you’ve got a beautiful arrangement at a fraction of the cost!

15.  Picture frames.  I’ve found some really pretty frames at our local store.  It is a great way to give a photo of our kids to grandparents — or even spruce up the home with different looks!  I’ve even purchased the cheap wooden frames, sprayed them with silver paint, and turned the cheap one into something fabulous for a gift for my mom!!

Household Items at the Dollar Store -- pay MUCH less!!!!

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

I’ve also had pretty good luck with many different household items.  Again, watch the quality so that you don’t get anything TOO cheap.

16.  Dishware.  What I love is that you can find open stock dishware to purchase to spruce up your table for that special dinner.  Keep in mind that it is not the best quality, but it can be a fun way to bring in unique decor or colors to your table,

17.  Glassware.  These seem to chip and break all of the time.  You can find all sorts of glassware (and even coffee mugs) at your local dollar store.  These are also sold individually so that you only need to purchase the number you need, instead of an entire box.

18.  Dish cloths and Dish Towels.  No matter how well you launder your dish clothes and/or towels, they tend to wear out.  Don’t spend more than you need to — just pick up a package at the dollar store.  Then, when they wear out or you need to throw them away, you have a new supply of cleaning rags!

19.  Envelopes.  Have you priced envelopes at your local store?  You can pick up a box for much less — just around $1 when other stores may charge $3 and more!

20. Gloves.  I don’t wear gloves that often, but there are times when I need to.  These are around $1 at your dollar store.  Compare these to $3 and more at other stores and you’ve got a bargain!

Daylight Savings Begins on Sunday (Don’t Forget to Change Your Batteries Too)

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Don't forget to change your clocks on March 7th!  You should also use this as your reminder to check and/or replace the batteries in your smoke detector.

Just a friendly reminder that Daylight Savings Time begins this coming Sunday, March 7th, at 2 am (your local time).  While some of you may not change time, you will change the time zone at this time too!

In order to make sure you protect your family and home, this is also the perfect time of the year to change out those batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

How To Keep Your House Clean (Three Daily Routines Anyone Can Follow)

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Keeping your house clean when you are busy can be tough.  I've got the secret to helping you do that -- THREE simple routines can help you keep your own home clean (enough).

 

We all have been there.  Life is so busy that you just have to focus on the tasks at hand, which sometimes means the housework suffers.  There is no rule that says you have to spend hours cleaning your home each week.  In fact, by spending just a few minutes each day, your house will stay clean and organized.

But how do you know what you should do and how long it should take?  If you set up three simple routines to follow every day, your house will stay tidy (enough) in between those times when you do your bigger cleaning. Here’s what works for me:

1.  Morning routine.  This should be the simplest routine.  We are busy getting ready for school and/or work, so we don’t have extra time to really focus on cleaning.

Have each person in the family make his or her bed.  Each person should pick up his or her bedroom, including putting toys and books away and dirty clothes into the hamper.  The bedrooms are instantly picked up – and it is not falling onto the shoulders of just one person!

Then, load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, or, if you do not have one, place them into the sink.  Make sure you rinse them off before setting them into the sink (to avoid that stuck on food).  Then, wipe down the counters.  Now – your kitchen is tidy!

Finally, if you have time, toss a load of clothes into the washing machine.  Then, head out to start your day.  Even if you don’t put those into the dryer until you get home, they should still say fresh enough and not need to be laundered again.

There you’ve got it!  A few simple things you can do each morning to start your day off right and have a clean home!

 

2.  Evening cleaning frenzy. This can be fun and even a game for your younger kids.  Set the time for a specified time, be it 10, 20 or even 30 minutes.  Tell everyone to run around the house and pick up all of their items and put them away and try to “beat the clock.”  When the timer goes off, you can all then continue with your regular evening rituals – as you are done.  You might not get it all taken care of, but I am sure you will get a lot done!

You can easily change this up as you want to.  For instance, one night, you can focus on just one room and try to get it picked up, dusted and even vacuumed (or swept) in that 30 minute time frame.  Another evening, you might all take on a toilet and wipe it down.  The ideas are endless!

 

3.  Nightly kitchen and family room pickup.  Each evening, before we go to bed, we make sure the dishes are done and counters are clean.  That means if there is school work on the table, it is completed and put back into the backpack before bed.  The bills and mail are put where they belong.  The counters are always completely cleared off and wiped down.

The kids all make sure that their clothes, blankets, etc are all picked up and put away.  They may not actually be in their rooms, but they are at least in the basket at the bottom of our steps, to be taken up later and put away.  The entire main living area of hour home is always picked up before we go to sleep each night.

Why is that important?  When you wake to a clean house, it really can make you start your day off on the right foot and make it feel much less overwhelming.

 

My house is always picked up, as these are the routines I follow.  It doesn’t mean it is perfect and that is fine by me.  It is clean enough on a daily basis and gets me through until I do a more thorough weekly cleaning.

Prosado.com: Find the Right Tax Person For Your Situation!

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Use Prosado to help track down a tax professional or accountant for YOUR own situation!When it comes to doing taxes, for many, it is pretty straight forward and they can prepare them themselves.  However, for others, it is more complex.  Perhaps you had a large investment sale, or you moved across the country.  Perhaps you started a business or (sadly) had a business fold.  Whatever your situation, you know that it can be outside of your own realm of thinking to do your own taxes.  After all, you certainly do not want to end up with the IRS knocking on your front door!

So, how do you go about finding the right person?  For some, you can ask friends who can give referrals, but is that person really the right man or or woman for the job?  Do they really understand the complexities of your situation?  Perhaps they do, but they may not. It is important that you use the right person for your tax position.  Enter Prosado.com.  The solution to help you find the right tax or accounting services professional.

How does this site work? You simple enter your zip code into the space provided on the home page:

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Prosado.com will return a list of professionals, which include ratings and reviews.  These ratings are from not only customers, but even outside resources as well – helping you know as much as you can about the person’s professional work.  You can also review the location and profile, which can share details about work history, experience and even areas of expertise.

If you review the list and do not see anyone you think will work for you, then you do nothing more.  You can try another zip code or just click on out.  However, if you see people you might want to connect with for your work, you can proceed to the next step – -making contact!

You can contact up to four (4) professionals from your search results to help you decide who you would like to invite to bid on preparing your tax return. Once the invites have been sent, you can monitor the bids via your own personal dashboard. Your RFB (Request for a Bid) will remain active for 7 days. All bids will remain valid for another 7 days after the bidding phase ends so you can take your time making your decision.

So, what if you are looking for someone to do work other than just tax preparation?  Not a problem!  Once you’ve discussed your needs with the professionals you’ve reached out, you can then ask the person you wish to submit their fee through Prosado’s payment portal & you will have the protection of Prosado’s safe pay policy.  You can choose a tax and accounting professional with confidence since there is a 2 day money back cancellation policy (less a $15 cancellation fee).

Once you have chosen the tax and accounting professional you would like to work with, Prosado will email both you and your chosen professional all contact information. With the comfort of a private transaction, you make all arrangements with your professional to complete your tax return or other accounting needs.  Prosado has no involvement with any of your confidential papers or the actual preparation of your tax return or other accounting service, keeping the transaction safe & secure.  If after you have been in contact with the professional you chose, you are not comfortable and you’ve changed your mind, you can cancel your job. You will receive your money back minus a $15 cancellation fee.

Finally, when the work has been completed, Prosado.com will handle the payment.  You submit your payment to them and when the work is done, they will finalize the transaction and send payment to the professional for you.

With so many people  out there, Prosado.com can help you weed through the list and find the person who is right for YOU!

An Easy Way For More Absorbent, Better Smelling Towels

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If your towels are not smelling nearly as fresh as they once did, you might have build up!  Find out how to strip them clean and get those pesky odors out of them once and for all!!!

When you are drying off with your towel, you might catch a whiff from your towel, which is, shall we say “less than fresh.”  You know you just washed it so why in the world would it still smell?  Towels and washcloths tend get a build up of detergent and fabric softener.  This actually attracts smelly mildew and can even waterproof your towels.  That not only makes them smelly, but also can reduce the absorbency.

Rather than toss them away and purchase new ones, you can bring new life back to your towels with a simple solution — Vinegar and Baking Soda.  These two will work together:  The vinegar strips the detergent and softener build up.  Then, the baking soda will help remove the odors.   Before you know it, they will not only smell much better, but actually become more absorbent.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • Washing Machine with HOT water (do not use any other temperature setting)

 

TOP LOADING MACHINE INSTRUCTIONS

Place your towels into the washing machine and fill with hot water.  To make it extra hot, you can even boil a large pot of water and pour it into the machine to ensure it is extra hot.

Once filled with water, pour in a cup of vinegar and run the machine through a cycle.  When done, refill the basin again with HOT water.  This time, add 1/2 cup of baking soda once the tub is filled.  Run through another cycle.

Dry as usual and your towels should be as good as new!  If you find they are not, just repeat the process and it should work.

 

FRONT LOADING MACHINE INSTRUCTIONS

Place your towels into the washing machine.  Add one up of vinegar to the laundry detergent dispenser.  Run a cycle using HOT water and HOT rinse cycle.

When done, repeat the process, but use 1/2 cup – 1 cup of baking soda in the dispenser. Run again using hot water.

Dry as usual and your towels should be as good as new!  If you find they are not, just repeat the process and it should work.

 

TIPS TO KEEP TOWELS FROM SMELLING

1.  Don’t allow odors to build up in your machine.  When done with the laundry, keep the door open, if possible.  The heat and moisture in the machine can cause mildew to build up, which will transfer the odors into your towels.

2.  Do not use too much detergent.  Believe it or not, you do not need to use the amount of detergent as listed on the product label.  In fact, you can use 1/3 of the amount they recommend and your clothes will still get clean.  Not only will this tip prevent build up, but it will also help save you money as you won’t go through detergent nearly as quickly!

3. Make sure the towels are completely dry before folding and putting them away.  If they are slightly damp at all, it will create odors.

4.  Hang your towels up after each use.  Don’t just hook it on the wall, or even fold it and place it on a towel bar.  Keep it open across the bar until dried.

5.  Clean your machine.  Take the time to wash your machine to kill odors.  You can do this easily by adding one cup of vinegar to an empty machine and running hot water through it.  Then, repeat the process with 1 cup of baking soda.

If your towels are not smelling nearly as fresh as they once did, you might have build up!  Find out how to strip them clean and get those pesky odors out of them once and for all!!!

 

25 Uses For Household Vinegar

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We've got a list of 25 GREAT ways to use vinegar!  From cleaning to pest control -- this list covers it!

Most of us have vinegar in our kitchen cupboards.  It is often used in cooking and for making colors for dying Easter eggs.  However, you can use it for SO much more than that!  While there are HUNDREDS of ideas out there, I’ve got 25 of the best ways to use this (very inexpensive) product in ways you may not have thought about before!

 

1.  Make your own buttermilk.  Many recipes may call for buttermilk, but who wants to purchase a quart to use less than a cup?  You can actually make it yourself by using vinegar!

Simply check the recipe and use a bit less. For example, if you need one cup of buttermilk, simply measure it out.  Then, remove one teaspoon of milk and replace it with a teaspoon of vinegar.  Viola!  Instant buttermilk!!!!  You might want to check out all of these great baking substitutions.

 

2.  Clean your computer and mouse.  These get pretty dirty (and are germ magnets.  Before you being, turn off your components.  Then, mix equal parts water and vinegar.  Dampen a cloth and then use your fingertip to lightly wipe and scrub your screen and keyboard.  You can dip a Q-Tip into the solution to get into those hard to reach places.  Make sure you to NOT spray the solution onto your devices – always use a dampened cloth.

 

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3.  Remove ball-point pen and crayon.  If you find an ink mark across your table, or your little Picasso’s masterpiece is on her bedroom wall, you can use vinegar to easily remove it.  Just dab some vinegar onto the spot and scrub lightly with a cloth and it should buff right on out!

 

4.  Remove water rings.  There is nothing more frustrating seeing those annoying water rings on your wooden furniture.  You can remove them by mixing equal parts vinegar and olive oil together.  Use a cloth, dampened in the solution to rub out the spot.  Make sure you always scrub along the grain of the furniture.  When the spot has been scrubbed, use a dry cloth and buff it dry and to make it shine!

 

5.  Keep the cats away.  If you have an area of your home where you do not want your cat to perch or hang out, you can spray some vinegar and your kitty will not approach.  You can spray a door way to keep it out of room or even the back of furniture you may not want them to climb on.

 

6.  Remove urine.  If you have a pet, you have probably dealt with an accident or two on your floor.  You can clean it up, but the smell may still remain.  You can use vinegar to help remove the smell completely (and keep your pet from wanting to mark the same spot again in the future).

If it is on carpet or a rug, simply blot the area  until it is dry.  Then, pour a little bit of vinegar on the spot.  Blot that with a towel. Pour a bit more vinegar on the spot again and allow to air dry.  As it evaporates, the odor will evaporate with it.

If the spot is on any other floor, you will first need to test the area to make sure the vinegar will not stain.  Just find a place that is out of regular sight to do this.  Then, mop the floor with equal parts water and vinegar and then dry with a towel.

 

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7.  Removing vomit smell.  It seems that the minute your child says that his or her tummy hurts they throw up.  Of course, before you have a chance to get them to the bathroom or even a bowl to catch it.

First, clean up any pieces (I know, that is such a disgusting thought).  Then, mix a solution of 2 parts water to one part vinegar.  You might want to add a drop or two of dish or laundry soap to your solution as well, which can give it a boost.  Spray the affected area with vinegar and allow to sit (it needs to saturate).  If, in 24 hours, you still smell some of the odor, you can spray again.

You can also try the urine removal method above, which will result in pouring water onto the carpet instead of just spraying it.

 

8.  Clean your paintbrushes.  No matter how well you scrub them after painting, you might still have a few bristles which have paint on them (or you may have forgotten to clean your brush after your last project).  Use vinegar to clean it up!

Just boil 2 cups of vinegar and then place the brush in the pan and allow to “cook” for 10 minutes.  Then, wash in soapy water and it should be clean.  The hot vinegar loosens the paint allowing the brush to come clean!

 

9.  Eliminate pests.  If you have a garden of fresh fruits and or veggies, you want to keep the bugs from eating them. However, since you will be eating them, you do not want to use dangerous chemicals.  You can use a natural version instead!  You will need to fill an empty 2 liter soda bottle with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of sugar.  Then, slice up a banana into pieces and place it inside.  Finally, fill the bottle with cold water and put on the lid and shake it.  Then, remove the lid and hang from a low branch near your garden and that will attract the pests and keep them out of your garden!

 

10.  Keep animals out of your garden.  We took care of the six legged pests above, but what about those on 4 legs?  To keep out deer, rabbits and other little critters from eating your fresh foods, you can use vinegar.  Soak some old rags in vinegar and place them around the garden.  You will want to soak them weekly, to ensure the vinegar smell is fresh (which is why they do not like them).

 

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11.  Get rid of weeds.  If you have weeds growing in unwanted areas of your lawn or in the cracks of your sidewalk and driveway, you can eliminate them with vinegar!  This time, you need to use the apple cider variety and just spray the cracks and other areas first thing in the season, which can kill the weeks before they start to grow.  If you find one that has already taken root, spray a stream as close to the root as you can get and it will soak down and then kill the weed.

 

12.  Get rid of ants.  If you’ve ever had ants invade, you know how difficult it is to get them to leave. Ants are another pest which does not like the smell of vinegar.  You can use a spray bottle to cover the areas where you see them and where they may be entering your home.  If you see ant hills around the outside of your home, you can spray it on there as well – so that they do not come into your house.

 

13.  Clean your washing machine.  I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but sometimes, your washing machine will start to smell musty.  You can clean your washer by using 2 cups of vinegar.  Do not include any soap or clothes in the cycle.  The vinegar will run through the pipes and drains, cleaning them out and making it smell fresher!

Note:  If you are in doubt if you can do this on your machine, make sure you do proper research as some people have reported that the manufacturer does not recommend this method of cleaning.

 

14.  Make dishcloths new again.  If you use kitchen dishcloths (which you can’t wash using bleach), they might start to smell after many uses.  You can strip the smells and make them new again!  Simply boil water in a large pan and add 1 – 2 cups of vinegar.  Add the dishcloths and allow to boil for 10 – 15 minutes.  When done, rinse in hot water and then wash as usual.  For an added level of odor removal, allow them to dry in the sun (which can also help odors to evaporate).

 

15.  Clean your iron.  I know many people do not iron their own clothes.  However, if you are like me, it is an easy way to save money if you or your spouse needs to have pressed clothes (or like the way they look).  Mineral deposits can develop inside of your iron and steam vents.  A way to help eliminate these is to clean your iron with vinegar.

Switch on your iron and make sure it is on the steam setting.  Pour vinegar into the spout (where you normally place water) an let it steam for 5 – 10 minutes.  Then, fill the chamber back up with clean water and repeat the process.  You can also hit the steam flash button and it can help to shoot out the deposits and build up.  Just make sure you have a cloth on beneath it to catch the small particles which will come out.

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16.  Clean your bathroom.  Rather than use the harsh chemicals, you can use vinegar to clean your bathroom!  You can spray vinegar onto mildew stains and use it to scrub them clean.  Scrub your sinks and bathtubs with full strength vinegar and then follow by rinsing with water.

You can clean your glass shower doors by making a solution of 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia and 1/4 cup of baking soda and warm water.  Then, use the solution to wipe down your doors (including those horrid water spots).

You can mix a solution of 50/50 water and vinegar to clean your mirrors.  Use one cloth to scrub and then another to polish it clean.  It works best to polish with a microfiber cloth (as it reduces streaks).

Finally, pour 2 cups of vinegar in your toilet before you go to bed.  In the morning, flush it down and it can naturally clean the toilet for you!!

 

17.   Keep your car windows from frosting over.  If you do not have a carport or garage, you can keep the frost from building up on your windows.  Spray the outside of your windows with a vinegar solution (3 parts vinegar to 1 part water).  Unfortunately, this won’t stop the snow from piling up!

 

18.  Clean your wiper blades.  If you notice streaks, but your wipers are not yet needing to be replaced, it may mean that they are just dirty.  Use vinegar to wipe down the blades, keeping them from streaking your windshield.

 

19.  Deodorize your disposal and drains.  This is a fun one that my kids love to help me with – because it is science!!  Place around 1/2 cup of baking soda into your drain.  Then, add around a cup of vinegar.  You will see it bubble and fizz back up out of the drain!  Once the bubbling stops, just run hot water for a minute.  Then, allow it to sit for at least another 10 minutes and then run cold water and it should be fresh again!

 

20.  Clean your stainless steel appliances.  These always get the worst finger prints and smudges on them.  Spray with full strength vinegar and wipe them clean!

 

21.  Naturally freshen the air.  If you find last night’s dinner or the trash you forgot to take outside is still lingering, you can use vinegar to naturally freshen the air.  Mix a pot filled with 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Allow to boil until the mixture is nearly gone and the smell should disappear too!

 

22.  Get rid of fruit flies.  It always amazes me that we can be fruit fly free one minute and then have several of them fluttering around our kitchen a few minutes later!  You can actually make a trap for these pests.  Just fill a bowl with apple cider vinger.  Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it.  The flies will go in and can’t get back out.

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23.  Clean your produce.  When you get home from the store, you want to make sure you clean those fruits and vegetables before you consume them.  Just mix 1 part vinegar to one part water and put into a spray bottle.  Douse the produce with the solution and then rinse with water.

 

24.  Freshen your laundry.  By adding a capful of vinegar to your laundry (along with the regular detergent) you can freshen the clothes and even brighten the colors!

 

25. Flea control.  Believe it or not, you can even use vinegar to keep fleas away!  Mix a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and spray onto your dog’s coat.  Work it in with your hands and allow it to dry.  This will not only repel those fleas, but also help treat and heal the bites they might already have.

 

What other tips do you have to add to our list?  We know there are SO many more – so we’d love to hear from you!!!

 

 

 

How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

An easy way to save money is to make your own Laundry Detergent!  This is a simple recipe anyone can follow!

 

We all have to do laundry.  It’s a fact of life.  We all also know how expensive this must have item can be!  A simple way to save is to actually make your own detergent.  It is much easier than you may realize and costs just pennies a load.

There is a lot of information available and several recipes you can try.  I always like to make sure that these are proven before I pass them along to you.  Reader Mary found (and uses) one that works for her and she was kind enough to pass it along to me to share with all of you!

POWDER DETERGENT

1 bar Ivory soap shredded
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda

Mix well until the soap is well combined into the dry ingredients. Store in airtight container.  Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Works well in both regular and HE washers.

Helpful Hint:  Cut up the soap into chunks and throw all of the ingredients into a food processor.  You can also triple the recipe so you have to make it less often.  You can substitute Ivory Soap with Fels Naptha soap, but if you have sensitive skin, you might stick with Ivory.   Thanks for sharing with us Mary!!!

LIQUID DETERGENT

1 fles napa bar
1 cup of arm & hammer washing soda
1 cup of borax

Shred the bar into a gallon of water and heat until the soap is dissolved.  Then, add in the borax and washing soda.  Let that all come to a boil and then add in another gallon of cold water and mix.  Allow to sit overnight and it will gel.  Add a little more water and mix until smooth!  Thanks to Phyllis for sharing THIS one with us too!