The average annual cost of household expenses in America adds up to $60,006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and finding ways to hack household spending will make it easier to spend less and save more. Since most USA residents end up spending a whopping 82 percent of their annual income on household expenses, this is an area where trimming costs really pays off. Follow these tips to hack your household spending, and then use the money you save to make your dreams come true in the future.
Switch to a cheaper home energy plan
No matter which state you live in, you’ve probably got a lot of options when it comes to home energy providers. You may not know that it’s possible to switch energy providers without experiencing service interruptions or cutting through red tape. It’s actually very simple to make a switch, and you may save big bucks by comparing energy plans from different companies and then choosing the one that is most affordable. Quake asserts that homeowners and renters can switch energy providers without hassles and headaches, and then enjoy saving money on electric or natural gas bills.
Shop with cash instead of plastic
If you want to spend less on household items, bring cash along on your shopping trips and use it to pay for smaller purchases, such as cleaning supplies and groceries. Save the plastic for big buys like electronics or large appliances. When you skip the plastic and use cash, you won’t need to pay interest on the cost of your purchases. Some people pay off their credit cards each month so they don’t get hit with much (or any) interest charges, but most people find that interest charges creep up over time and cost them money.
Plant a garden in your backyard
When you plant and maintain a garden in your own backyard, if that garden measures 600 feet square, you can anticipate saving 600 bucks per year on the cost of food. The cost of maintaining the garden should be only 70 dollars annually. A garden of this size should yield hundreds of pounds of healthy produce every year. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. Anyone can learn how to take care of a garden, and you may find that the time you spend working in it really zaps stress.
When you spend less on household expenses, you’ll free up cash, enabling you to build security for your family. Down the line, this saved cash may give you the means to plan a special family vacation or select investments that become valuable nest eggs. So, why not start trimming household expenses today?
This month we hosted an 80th. Birthday Party for my Mom in her Texas home. Guest seating was outdoors and mosquitoes were a concern. To keep these nasty bugs away my mother had her yard man spray mosquito repellent and we incorporated these Citronella Jars in our centerpieces, it worked out well, no one got any mosquito bites that night.
These jars are so simple and inexpensive to make and will fit any party theme or decor. I’ve used them for outdoor barbecues, birthday parties, and pretty much any outdoor event. I find them much prettier than store bought citronella candles and torches, cheaper too! You can use ribbons to match your color scheme or for a more rustic look use burlap ribbon or twine.
I fill the jars with fresh herbs that are have natural mosquito repellent and citronella essential oil. I try to use herbs from my garden when possible making these jars even more economical. Mosquito repelling herbs include Lavender, Mint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Catnip, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, and Lemon Verbena. There are other plants and herbs that have natural mosquito repellent qualities, but I like to use the ones I listed as I have them in my garden. I like to use 2-3 different herbs and choose herbs with leaves that look good together. I add lemon and lime slices for color and a floating candle at the top to keep the herbs from floating over the jar rim.
If you use homegrown herbs each jar cost about $2 or less to make. I got the Citronella Essential Oil from HEB for just a bit over $5. I made a dozen jars and still have more than half the bottle of essential oil leftover. I got the Mason Jars (about $1 each) and floating candles (6 for $4) from Walmart. If you need to buy fresh herbs you can buy small amounts for about $2 – 3 a package in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you need to make a lot of jars you will probably get a better deal at your local farmer’s market. If you can’t find a farmer’s market nearby consider buying pots of herbs from the garden department of Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, or your local garden shop; it’s less expensive than buying sprigs from the grocery store and you can plant leftover herbs to use next time.
Here are directions for making your own Citronella Jars, the best part it you can reuse the jars for other events, just change the ribbon to fit your decor!
Quart Sized Mason Jar
Sprigs of Fresh Herbs – Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, or any other mosquito repelling herbs
5 drops Citronella Essential Oil
1 Lemon – sliced in circles (optional)
1 Lime – sliced in circles (optional)
Ribbon or Twine
1 Floating Candle
1. Snip sprigs of herbs to size you want; rinse off any soil.
2. Place herbs in mason jar and fill jar half way with water (herbs will float).
3. Add Citronella Essential Oil to water and shake gently to evenly distribute the oil.
4. Add more water to fill the jar.
5. Add lemon and lime slices.
6. Gently push herbs and fruit slices into the water and place floating candle on top.
7. Tie ribbon or twine on the jar.
8. Light candle when needed.
When it’s very hot outside store jars indoors or in a cool area to keep the candle from melting.
Herbs will last in the jar for several days depending on the temperature. When the herbs wilt just toss them out, wash the jar in warm soapy water to remove oil residue, and make another batch when you need them.
Make these jars in a well ventilated area and avoid inhaling the Citronella Essential Oil, it’s unsafe and has been reported to cause lung problems.
Wear gloves when handling this oil as it can cause allergies in some people.
Keep the jars and citronella oil away from children and pets. It is safe to use around children and pets but ingesting large amounts of the oil is very harmful.
Cleaning the toilet bowl is probably one of life’s most unpleasant tasks. I know I hate cleaning my toilet bowl and am always looking for ways to make the task easier, faster, or at the very least a bit more pleasant.
That’s why I decided to try this DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets. They’re pretty easy to make and doesn’t really need a bunch of costly ingredients. In fact most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen or can be purchased inexpensively at Walmart or other discount store.
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After trying these toilet bowl cleaning tablets I can safely say that they aren’t really going to leave your toilet bowl spotless without any effort (elbow grease) on your part. They will however leave the toilet bowl and the bathroom smelling very nice.
These toilet bowl cleaning tablets work best if your toilet bowl isn’t super dirty and have rings around it. Trust me if you have built on rings inside the toilet bowl no tablet, spray, or cleaner will magically remove them. The only way to get rid of those rings in my experience is a good old fashioned scouring with a pumice stone! I prefer using a Pumie, that’s a pumice stone attached to a handle so you can scrub without getting your hands too close to the toilet bowl surface. So before you toss in one of your DIY fizzing toilet bowl cleaning tablet don a pair of disposable gloves , grab a Pumie and scrub!
Once you’ve got the rings out of your toilet bowls these DIY Fizzing cleaning tablets will easily keep the bowl clean and fresh when used weekly. In short they’re a great way to maintain the freshness of your toilet bowl and bathroom! I keep a jar in each bathroom and toss them into the toilet every few days just because I love the smell! I used Neroli essential oil to scent my tablets because I love the citrusy scent of Neroli, but you can scent your tablets with your favorite oils!
Other essential oil scents that would give your bathroom and toilet bowl a fresh scent would be: bergamot, lemon, and orange blossom for a citrusy scent; eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint for a minty pine scent; or lavender, ylang ylang, or rosemary for that calming scent like you find at the spas. Or you can mix and match these and other oils to get the scent that you love!
To make these fresh smelling Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets here’s what you’ll need:
2 Glass bowls – 1 large and 1 small
2 Cups Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Citric Acid powder (you can find this in the canning section of most markets or order it from Amazon)
1 Tsp White Vinegar
2 Tbs Hydrogen Peroxide
30 drops of essential oil – your choice – I love Neroli Essential Oil
Candy or soap molds – I prefer silicone molds that come in various shapes and sizes like hearts and roses. (I usually use the baking or candy molds but keep a set to be used just for making non-food items and one set I use strictly for food like the wine gummy bears I love! – I guess you can use a set to make everything just be sure you thoroughly wash them between uses.)
Once you’ve gathered your supplies it’s time to make your fizzy tablets! Here’s how!
- Place baking soda in the large glass bowl and using a fork or whisk break up any clumps. You want the powder to be fine and powdery not hard and clumpy.
- Stir in the citric acid powder and set the bowl aside for n ow.
- In the small glass bowl mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
- Slowly, and I mean slowly like one drop at a time, add the vinegar mixture to the baking soda mixture. Again do this very slowly, just a little liquid at a time. If you add too much of the liquid mixture you the baking soda and citric acid will react and you will have a big mess on your hands and no cleaning tablets. That situation is not salvagable!
- Add the essential oil of your choice and mix gently. Again add oil drop by drop.
- Scoop powder into your molds. Don’t overfill the mold as the powder will expand as it dries. So fill it about 3/4 full and gently press the powder into the mold with your finger.
- Let dry overnight.
- Gently pop out each tablet and store in a sealed glass jar. Be sure you label them and keep them out of children’s reach! Keep the jar in your bathroom and pop one in your toilet whenever you want to freshen it up!
I’m so excited about the beautiful weather we are having lately. I want to get outside and do fun educational things with the kids. Here are 6 Outdoor Crafts for kids!
Warmer weather is coming, and with all the awesomeness of vacation come the inevitable whines. Create endless spring and summer fun with these 6 outdoor craft you can do with the kids.
1. Nature Collage
To start, we squirted a few colours of paint onto a piece of white cardboard. We then placed the cardboard into a plastic bag and smooshed the paint to create a colourful “canvas.” As the paint dried, The Hooligans collected plants, seed pods, leaves and flowers from around the yard and garden. They then glued their garden treasures onto the canvas to create a beautiful work of art.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to get outside and discover the joys of nature-play with your little ones. If you’d like more ideas for good, old-fashioned crafts and activities, pop over and visit us at Happy Hooligans!
2. Shaving Cream Twister
Twister is already a hit, but add shaving cream to the mix and this feels like an instant party – good clean, messy fun.
3. Fairy Garden
Fill a plant pot with gardening soil, and encourage kids to add pebbles, moss, small figurines, twigs and greens from the garden to create a miniature “fairy garden.” Succulent plants like hens and chicks and sedums work well, as they require very little maintenance, and will survive for quite some time in your small fairy garden.
4. Yard Yahtzee
Just like Yahtzee – only bigger, more colorful and suitable for your yard. Also, this project only costs $5.
5. Activity Stones
Activity stones can provide hours of open-ended play opportunities for your children. Take a stroll along the beach or lake or in the park and collect smooth rocks. Back home, decorate them with acrylic paints to create dominoes, letter and number stones, X’s and O’s or story stones. For a bit of shine, polish with bees wax or add a coat of craft varnish.
6. Gutter Canal
You don’t need a fancy water table to make a splash with your kids. Try this trick using a piece of gutter and create an awesome water way for toy boats. Just be sure to protect wee ones from any sharp edges.
Gardens are an excellent resource for families that can be used for many things, from providing food to bringing the family itself together. However, when you’re planning the design of the garden and what you’ll plant in it, you’ll want to pay special attention to including every family member in the functionality of the final design. In this article, we’ll teach you how to do just that.
If you’re designing your garden from scratch, you’ll probably want to consider adding some kinds of structures to it in the process, whether this structure ends up being a shed, a swing-set for the kids, or a deck of some sort. However, keep in mind that, if you plan to live in the home for many years, these buildings need to do double-duty. If you want to install a swing-set or jungle-gym, what will you put there when the kids grow too big for it? Can you add a slide to the side of the deck to help the kids enjoy it more? Maybe you can even add a water feature to the yard that an elderly parent or relative might enjoy.
When planting your garden, you’ll want to be extra careful about what you plant in it if you plan to share it with the family. Certain types of plants (even common garden flowers!) can be toxic to children or pets. You should do some research into these plants before you plant anything, or you can request the help of an expert who knows more about them. Common picks like foxglove, morning glory and wild black cherry are all toxic to children and pets. These plants and others should be avoided in family gardens, and if you have some growing there already, you should think about disposing of them. You’ll also want to make sure that the plants you opt for don’t obstruct or clog up your gutters. In other words, to avoid water damage, regularly check that your gutters are well-maintained and clean.
Include All Ages
When you’re planting your garden, make sure to ask the opinions of all family members on what should be planted in different areas of the garden. If you plan to have a vegetable area in the garden, for example, let kids and other family members pick one or more vegetables to plant there that will be their responsibility to take care of. Not only does this include them, but it also teaches them responsibility and takes some of the weight of maintenance off your shoulders. You can apply this to flowers, fruit trees, and herbs, too.
Most homes embrace the use of carpets on the floor as a way to improve the appearance of a house by giving it a softer feel. These floor coverings also enhance safety because one can slip and fall on hard floors but not on a carpet. They act as a cushion and minimize breakage of items such as remotes, phones, and cups when they fall. Dust and allergens are trapped on a carpet until they can be removed properly which makes the home healthier as such contaminants do not spread around the house. It is therefore important to clean your carpet regularly by vacuuming it and having it cleaned professionally. Here are six benefits of clean carpets:
1) Prevents Growth of Mould
Humid conditions make the mold to thrive on carpets. Mold particles are usually found in the air, and they flourish once they land on moisture. When they start growing, it becomes difficult to get rid of them by yourself even by using antibacterial spray. Therefore, you should be careful not to spill any water on the carpet. It is also important to get professional carpet cleaners to eliminate any harmful microorganisms it might be hiding. Caution should be taken when removing the carpet to avoid the germs spreading into other places. For instance, when you are moving houses, carpets should not be placed haphazardly on items such as utensils and bedding. If you are in Australia, you should seek the assistance of responsible and experienced Perth removalists who will help take out your carpet safely.
2) Improves Appearance
A well-cleaned carpet makes your home look neat, which is appealing for your family and visitors. A dirty carpet is a turn off which will make your house not comfortable to be in. For your home to be conducive for your family and guests, you should make it a habit to vacuum clean your carpet at least once a week and an annual professional carpet cleaning service.
3) Improves Productivity
A well-cleaned carpet provides a friendly environment that motivates kids or workers to go about their tasks smoothly since it smells fresh and beautiful.
4) Extends the Carpets Life
Cleaning your carpet regularly by use of vacuum cleaners or getting it cleaned by professionals help to prolong the life of your carpet. A dirty carpet that is full of spots and stains will easily get old and become tattered. Cleaning your carpet regularly gets rid of stains, which gives a new look to your house. Cleanliness acts as a maintenance measure as it helps you to go for many years with the carpet.
5) Improves Air Quality
Contaminants that accumulate on the carpet decreases air quality and makes it hard to breathe. Vacuum cleaning will help a lot in improving air quality so that those who have allergies like asthma can breathe well. Cleaning will also help in reducing diseases induced by allergens.
6) Helps Remove Pet Hair
Cats and Dogs can leave their fur on the carpet as they lie or play on it. Pet hair can be dangerous if left there as it can cause breathing problems. It is difficult to remove such hairs, which necessitates professional carpet cleaning services.