DIY http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4801/all en-US 7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/20140304_125546.jpg" alt="dog" title="dog" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We love our pets. So much so that in 2013, Americans spent a whopping <a href="http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp">$55 billion</a> on their furry friends. Almost $14 billion of that went to pet supplies and over the counter (OTC) medicines. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things?ref=seealso">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make For Pennies</a>)</p> <p>But here's the thing: While recently browsing my local pet supply stores, I found that quite a few of the products contained ingredients that are less than healthy for my dog and the price tag was often pretty steep. I decided to do some price and quality comparisons and found I could make the following products healthier and cheaper than comparable products I could buy at retailers:</p> <h2>1. Toys</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-toy-453747615-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>There are dozens of DIY toy ideas online. My pup loves to solve puzzles, especially when treats are involved. These puzzle toys usually involve hiding a treat inside a compartment that my dog has to figure out how to open. <a href="http://www.shop.nina-ottosson.com/all-products/dogtornado-plastic-level-2.html">Nina Ottosson</a> has a great line of puzzle toys for dogs and I have a few of them that cost me about $40 each. But I could have made this <a href="http://www.babble.com/pets/10-brain-games-to-challenge-and-entertain-your-pet/">similar toy</a> for my pup using a muffin tin and tennis balls for $5, and he also would have had the tennis balls to bounce around the house!</p> <h2>2. Bedding</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-suitcase-506978391-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Have you seen the price of dog beds lately? I recently went to my local Target to get my little guy a new cozy nap space, and small dog beds (of rather boring design and fairly low quality) cost about $25. Instead, I picked up a small vintage suitcase at my local thrift store that is in great shape and lined it with a plush towel and squishy pillow for less than $10. Try these inspiring <a href="http://www.zippypaws.com/blog/?p=321">designs for suitcase pet bedding</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wet Wipes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-wipes-178831582-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In between his baths, I like to wipe down my pup with wet wipes, particularly after a long walk in the park or a stroll around the streets of New York. Most commercial wipes have chemicals in them that I'd rather not put on my pup's skin (particularly if he's likely to lick his paws!), so I looked into organic wipes that typically cost about $10. Instead, I followed Southern Wag's DIY recipe and made a better quality, healthier wipes for less than $3.</p> <h2>4. Shampoo</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-bath-178807773-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My dog has dry skin and it causes him to become very itchy and uncomfortable. My vet recommended a prescription shampoo that cost (brace yourself!) $21 for an 8 ounce bottle. However, I didn't want my little guy to be uncomfortable, so I bought it for him. Unfortunately it didn't do much good and it also had a medicine-like scent. I started poking around online and found this <a href="http://soapdelinews.com/2014/05/diy-natural-homemade-dog-shampoo-recipe-neem-oil.html">recipe for dog shampoo</a> by Rebecca Dillon. Total cost for the same 8 ounces was $12, it worked like a charm, and it smelled so much better!</p> <h2>5. Treats</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-treats-164932166-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Quite a few commercially-sold pet treat products are made in China and after <a href="http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm295445.htm">the contamination issues</a> earlier this year, I started to investigate other options I could make at home. I found a recipe for these <a href="http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2011/09/bacon-bark-sticks/">bacon bark sticks</a> that are a snap to make and cost only $3 for two dozen tasty treats.</p> <h2>6. Surface Cleaner</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-cleaner-464898385-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Just like humans, pets get sick from time to time. I wanted a cleaner to clean up after my pet that is non-toxic and safe on home surfaces. I could buy <a href="http://www.drugstore.com/method-all-purpose-surface-cleaner-pink-grapefruit/qxp83527?catid=184283">a cleaner by Method</a> for $4 per bottle. I found this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Pet-Stain-Cleaner-30885507">recipe for a petsafe surface cleaner</a> online that costs less than $1 to make from items I already have in my home and it did the trick!</p> <h2>7. Tummy Remedy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-sleeping-484404711-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dogs have very acidic digestive systems. It's a holdover from their wolf ancestors who needed to break down the food they caught in the wild. The build-up of acid overnight caused my pup's tummy to often be upset first thing in the morning. My vet wanted to put him on an antacid medicine that would cost $10 month. While I would have been happy to spend that, I wanted to check out natural remedies that might help. After a little investigation, I discovered that a teaspoon of mashed sweet potato once a day calmed his stomach and eliminated the problem for a grand total of $1.50 per month at my local grocery store. I buy the sweet potatoes, boil them, and mash them myself.</p> <p>While I love to make DIY items as much as possible, there are some pet Items that I do buy commercially, and you should too. For example, flea and tick medicine are essential to your pet's health and to your home's health as well. Once you have a flea or tick issue in your home, it is very difficult to remedy. While I've tried all-natural flea and tick medicines for my dog, they've never worked that well, so I stick with commercial brands. I also have a professional groomer do his nail clipping and teeth brushing to ensure that they're done properly.</p> <p>Because you can't put a price on pup beauty.</p> <p><em>(Please note that you should never give human medicine to your pet; always consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet.)</em></p> <p><em>Please share your favorite DIY pet products in the comments below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle animals cats DIY dogs Homemade pet food pet supplies pets Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1190936 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing%20vegetables-450798673-small.jpg" alt="growing vegetables" title="growing vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not everyone has a green thumb, and growing a garden can often be a tiring &mdash; and expensive &mdash; endeavor for anyone to tackle. While it can be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on seeds, plants, additives, and water, you can make gardening worth your investment by growing the fruits and veggies that cost the most in stores today.</p> <p>Starting a plant as a seed (for veggies) or a sapling (for a fruit tree) is the best way to realize savings, although it takes longer for your harvest to come, and there is more risk. Seed packets usually run no more than $2 a packet, even for heirloom varieties. (Heirloom is original, non-hybrid, non-GMO seed stock.) With between 20 and 100 seeds per packet, if even a handful of the seeds grow into fruit-producing adult plants, you've earned much of your investment back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=seealso">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a>)</p> <p>Most gardeners hope to go far beyond &quot;breaking even,&quot; however. Considering that the recent California drought, rising gas prices, and overall food inflation will make fresh fruits and veggies even more expensive this year, it may be easier than ever to earn back what you spend on even the most modest garden.</p> <p>Here are my favorites for reaping what you sow.</p> <h2>Artichokes</h2> <p>These delicious veggies are actually cousins to the thistle, and preparing them for eating is a process way more complicated than growing them. Since they are also one of the most expensive items to buy in the store, however, any success you have in growing them will be much appreciated! They can be started from seed, shoots, or the cuttings of other adult artichokes; they do well in most any climate, and can be replanted new each year in those areas that are too cold to survive the winters.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Many people aren't sure <a href="http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/4796/how-to-grow-artichokes/page/all">how to harvest them</a> once their artichokes are ready; by cutting them before they get too big, you can ensure energy is devoted to creating more &quot;fruits&quot; than flowers.</p> <h2>Brussels Sprouts</h2> <p>The hated Brussels sprout has become a popular choice of chefs across the country, and more people are creating delicious dishes with the veggie in their own kitchens. By growing your own, however, you can choose &mdash; among other things &mdash; how big, how tender, and how flavorful your sprout becomes. You can also grow hundreds for the price of a pound of store-bought. Starting from seed can be difficult, which is why many sprout lovers get plants from their nursery. Hot summers can kill these plants, so it is recommended to grow them for a &quot;fall garden&quot; when the chance of high temps has passed for the year.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Looking for the best flavor in your Brussels sprouts? Experts suggest is it a good idea to harvest <a href="http://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/brussels-sprouts-tips-from-seed-to-harvest">after the first mild frost</a> each fall. The cold weather give them a delicious note that you just can't buy in the store!</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>You really have to have some bad luck to get nothing from a tomato plant. While veteran gardeners can take a packet of seeds and get a dozen or more healthy plants, you can expect to get amazing results from even one adult plant ready to transplant to your own garden. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes?ref=seealso">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</a>)</p> <p>Tomatoes all offer varying degrees of yield, but the cherry or grape tomato plants seem to give and give and give. Varieties such as Romas are great for cooking and making sauce, and with more meaty pulp than water and seeds, you can expect to get gallons of sauce from just one plant. Hard-core canners with a dozen or more plants can put up hundreds of jars of sauce at the end of the season, giving you a great return on your initial investment.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you have too many green tomatoes at the end of a season, with no chance to ripen before frost, consider any one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">delicious green tomato recipes</a>!</p> <h2>Zucchini</h2> <p>This very productive plant is the butt of many garden jokes, and people go quickly from appreciating their bounty to wondering &quot;what the heck can I do with all this zucchini?&quot; Luckily, this makes it a sure-fire way to get a little back on the light maintenance zucchini plants require. Whether you eat them small, sliced thin for stir-fry, or let them grow large and bake with them, there is a zucchini recipe guaranteed to help you use up your surplus. Since zucchini actually start best as seeds planted directly in the garden, their cost to get started is minimal, too!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you grow tired of eating them yourself, here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gadzukes-10-ways-to-use-up-your-zucchini-bounty">unique ways to get rid of all that zucchini</a>.</p> <h2>Mint</h2> <p>While not exactly something to make much of a meal out of, the humble mint plant is a fantastic addition to any garden and one that will literally take over if you aren't careful.</p> <p>Mint comes in many varieties, including chocolate, pineapple, apple, and spearmint. Use it to make jellies, jams, teas, and salves. One small plant from your nursery usually runs no more than $4, and can quickly cover several square feet of raised bed within weeks of planting. (Plus, it comes back every year stronger than the previous year. You may find yourself digging much of it up to give away.)</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Annoyed with how well your mint is doing? Consider pulling up all but a few plants each year and donating the surplus to the kitchen or garden of your favorite non-profit.</p> <h2>Kale</h2> <p>This salad must-have is nutritious and versatile. While it does best in cooler weather, once established, it can be kept in the shady part of a garden for almost the entire spring through fall time period. Cutting just the top leaves off when they are young can help keep the flavors mild and leaves tender, plus it will encourage growth. Started as seed, it's similar to lettuce or spinach, but is much more resistant to bugs, cold, and heat. Kale in the store can run $4 or more for a bag; having a single row in your garden can keep you in free salad for many months!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you see your kale plants starting to get tough or &quot;prickly,&quot; it's time to start anew. Sow new seeds in between older plants and pull up the old plants when the new ones are producing. Rotating fresher stock every few weeks ensures you will always have the most tender leaves possible!</p> <h2>Other Smart Choices</h2> <p>Depending on your soil and growing season, there are a few other plants that tend to do well in most climate zones; squash, peppers, and radishes all grow well most years and either cost very little to start (like the radishes) or produce many fruits per plant (like the peppers and squash).</p> <p>As with any endeavor, it's best to plant no more than what you can reasonably maintain, care for, and harvest. Wasted produce does not count on the plus side of your ROI formula! It's also fun to factor in just how much you are earning back with your garden. Homegrown isn't just valued higher because it's fresh and free from strange growing and handling procedures. Food you grow yourself is tax-free, too! It takes far less effort to grow a tomato than to work to earn the money to buy that same tomato &mdash; after you pay income taxes, that is!</p> <p><em>What fruits and vegetables in your garden have given you the best ROI? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Food and Drink Green Living fresh food gardens homegrown vegetables Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1149042 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn't Try) http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-painting-86495282-small.jpg" alt="couple painting" title="couple painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I bought our first home, I was glued to all those television DIY shows. There were so many things we wanted to do to our starter space, and the Internet hadn't yet exploded with tutorials and inspiration boards. Now? Any and every project you could ever want to do can be found with a quick search. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=related">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the best home and decor improvements even novices can tackle.</p> <h2>1. Leather Refinishing</h2> <p>Have an old, worn leather couch smelling up the place? You can totally revitalize it on the cheap with these <a href="http://knoxvilleflowerpot.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-dye-or-stain-leather-furniture.html">easy instructions</a>. You'll need leather cleaner, a good quality dye, and some type of finish coat &mdash; but all the supplies should come in less than $100, depending on the size of your sofa.</p> <h2>2. Blinds Revival</h2> <p>I dream of gorgeous plantation shutters in my home. Thing is, I'm on a plastic blinds sort of budget, so I love this idea to dress them up <a href="http://www.home-dzine.co.za/crafts/craft-sprayblinds.htm">using spray paint</a>. The possibilities are endless! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=related">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating</a>)</p> <h2>3. Fireplace Makeover</h2> <p>Neutralize the dated aspects of your home with &mdash; again &mdash; our friend, spray paint. Those brassy accents disappear with a nice coat of black or, in for a more refined color, &quot;oil-rubbed bronze.&quot; With the fireplace, you'll want to choose a formula specifically <a href="http://www.creationsbykara.com/2011/06/fireplace-makeover-spray-paint-magic.html/">designed for high heat</a>.</p> <h2>4. Like-New Appliances</h2> <p>Our new home has a great, spacious kitchen, but the appliances don't match. Since they're all in good working order, we're considering <a href="http://cozycrookedcottage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/diy-painted-refrigerator/">painting the refrigerator</a> versus buying a new one. You can use special appliance paint or kits, but the tutorial makes use of standard semi-gloss paint.</p> <h2>5. Light Fixture</h2> <p>Though I don't recommend doing your own electrical work, you can <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Change+a+Light+Fixture_279093251_">replace ceiling light fixtures</a> without much trouble. Just be sure to turn out the power to the room you're working in and connect the wires according to your new light's instruction pamphlet.</p> <h2>6. Board and Batten</h2> <p>Adding architectural detail to a room is simple with this detailed <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/07/home-improvement-diy-board-and-batten.html">board and batten tutorial</a>. You need boards, construction adhesive, nails, and a few other supplies. If you aren't handy with a saw, you might even consider asking the folks at your local lumber supply to do the cuts for you at an extra charge to speed up the process.</p> <h2>7. Television Hide-and-Seek</h2> <p>I drool over media cabinets from those expensive home decor stores. Then I found this <a href="http://dixiedelights.blogspot.com/2013/01/honey-does-diy-flat-screen-tv-cabinet.html">smart solution</a> online &mdash; and I can't wait to get my hands on some 2x4s. This project isn't well detailed, but if you have a somewhat experienced woodworker in the family, the concept is easy to follow. For my &quot;doors&quot; I might use (or create) a piece of artwork that comes in two pieces.</p> <h2>8. Tile Re-Grouting</h2> <p>If you have a section &mdash; or entire room &mdash; of tile that looks dingy and old, consider whether the tile itself really needs fixing, or if you can just fix the grout. You can pick up the supplies to add some new life to those dirty grout lines for very little money &mdash; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTddQ-4EVl8">here's how</a> you do it!</p> <h2>9. Rustic Accent Wall</h2> <p>When I came across this <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2010/02/nursery-news-accent-wall/">cozy pallet wall</a>, my jaw literally dropped. It takes some skill, but once you hang the underlayment, it's mostly a puzzle of what pieces look good and where. The author installed it in her son's nursery, but I'd love to put one in my basement recreation room!</p> <h2>10. Custom Built-Ins</h2> <p>When I first came across these <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2013/07/dining-room-pretty-organization.html">dining room built-ins</a>, I knew they'd be perfect for almost any room in the house. The author gives <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-build-built-ins.html">step-by-step instructions</a> for how to select the right cabinets, cut the wood, paint for more artistic flair, etc. &mdash; just note that this project isn't done in a day. However, the time involved is worth it!</p> <h2>11. Smart Shelving</h2> <p>If you're looking to add some unique flair to a room, look outside the home decor department. This <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/nesting-ladder-display-makeover.html">ladder turned shelf</a> could hold anything from plants to books, and it's a great way to turn something old into something treasured. All you need are some planks of wood and wood glue! Leave your ladder unpainted for a most rustic look or use a bright color for some cheer. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves?ref=related">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>12. Shaker Cabinets</h2> <p>I'm hoping to complete this next project by the end of the summer. Trim out your plain kitchen cabinets <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/02/diy-inexpensive-cabinet-updates/">using yard sticks</a> (or standard trim) for that Shaker look. A little grain filler and paint, and your kitchen will look entirely different for pennies on the dollar.</p> <h2>13. Revived Tub</h2> <p>You can shine up your bathtub without replacing or covering it. Just follow these <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/01/diy-bathtub-refinishing/">simple instructions</a> that explain how everyday products and a tub refinishing kit can take your soaking place from freaky to fab in no time at all.</p> <h2>14. Plywood Planks</h2> <p>Looking for an inexpensive wood flooring solution? These <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-wide-plank-floors-made-from-plywood.html">plywood plank floors</a> can be painted or stained and seem pretty darned easy to install. Just be sure to start with a solid, level subfloor and measure twice, cut once. This is another project where you can take advantage of low-cost cuts made at your hardware store.</p> <h2>15. Distressed Look</h2> <p>I'd file this one under <em>Proceed With Caution</em>, but if you like that distressed leather look, <a href="http://desertwillowlaneblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/distressing-new-leather-furniture-diy.html">this tutorial</a> is for you. Even a shiny, brand new piece can turn into that &quot;old favorite&quot; with some sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, a blow dryer, and a few rags.</p> <h2>16. Console Table</h2> <p>Sometimes the furniture you need can't be found at the store. Or maybe what you see in catalogs and online is outrageously expensive. Either way, this <a href="http://somethingisdone.com/diy-behind-the-sofa-table/">behind-the-sofa table</a> appears to be beginner-friendly. Just assemble a few 2x4s and 1x4s, and you're set to paint or stain it anyway you prefer.</p> <h2>17. Shutter Install</h2> <p>Plantation shutters are one of my favorite design elements because they are both beautiful and functional. They are also quite costly, so if you can order online at a discount and then <a href="http://foxhollowcottage.com/2014/04/easy-diy-plantation-shutter-installation.html">install them yourself</a>, it's worth your while.</p> <h2>And Three Things You Should Hire the Pros to Do</h2> <p>It's true that you can do a lot to improve your home and decor (and have a lot of fun doing it). However, it's also important to know and obey your limits, and we all have our limits. Here are a few projects you <em>shouldn't</em> tackle on your own.</p> <h3>Asbestos Removal</h3> <p>A lot of us have those 9x9 titles in our basements and kitchens, but if you suspect your flooring might contain asbestos, it's best to have it tested before doing any DIY demolition. When in good condition, asbestos tiles doesn't pose much threat. When damaged, the fibers become <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family">airborne and crumble easily</a>, so it's best to leave the work to experts or leave it alone entirely.</p> <h3>Amateur Handyman</h3> <p>If your local municipality requires a permit for something &mdash; like <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/tradesmen/diy-electrical-work-an-experts-opinion-8548135.html">electrical work</a>, plumbing, or knocking down walls, etc. &mdash; you might not have the skills to tackle it on your own. Rather than search around for a quick fix, you'll probably save more money (and your health and safety) in the long run by calling in a professional.</p> <h3>Roofing Repairs</h3> <p>My neighbor recently tore off and re-installed roofing on his garage. A project lower to the ground might be okay, but if you're going to go on a super tall ladder, you should leave it to the professionals. That goes for anything up high, as falls from ladders sent <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/articles/emergency/do-it-yourself-projects-that-lead-to-the-most-er-visits">246,733 Americans</a> to hospital ERs back in 2009. Don't become a statistic!</p> <p><em>Have you tackled any DIY home projects lately? How'd it come out? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="sharethis-link" title="17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try) " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home DIY home maintenance home projects Home repair Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1146613 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Your Computer Last (Almost) Forever With Some Simple Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-computer-last-almost-forever-with-some-simple-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-your-computer-last-almost-forever-with-some-simple-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer-repair-160940579-small.jpg" alt="computer repair" title="computer repair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is a piece of electronics in my house that I couldn't do without. I need it for communication, research, entertainment, work, basic household functioning, our homeschool lessons, and to occasionally keep my kids' occupied while I make an important phone call or get dinner on the table. There's a good chance it is equally as important to you, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-buy-a-desktop-computer?ref=seealso">Why You Should Buy a Desktop Computer</a>)</p> <p>The computer has become one of our most needed and essential items in our homes and when it breaks or &mdash; even worse &mdash; dies for good, we are lost without it and forced into an expenditure that we may not be ready to make. Keeping your computer up and running for many years is vital for your productivity, your sanity, and your wallet.</p> <p>To keep it lasting forever, it is important to practice diligence with the protection, cleaning, maintenance, and care of your computer. Read on to learn all the ways you can do just that.</p> <h2>Protection</h2> <p>A good defense is the game to play when it comes to computer maintenance. Prevent problems from occurring in the first place with these protections in place.</p> <h3>Block Viruses</h3> <p>The first order of business upon opening your brand new computer is to install virus protection. An adequately protected computer will keep you from the loss of important files and personal data and will give you a smoothly functioning operating system. While a virus, malware, or spyware will probably not cause you the loss of your hard drive, it is best to have what is internally stored on your computer as safe as possible. Free virus protection can be downloaded from <a href="http://www.avast.com/en-us/index">Avast</a>, <a href="http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage">AVG Free</a> or <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download">Microsoft</a>.</p> <h3>Clear Space</h3> <p>While viruses, spyware, and malware can slow down your computer's system, files saved to the hard-drive can do the same thing. To keep you computer running smoothly, it is best to save files on an external hard-drive. These hard drives plug into your computer and are perfect for storing data that is taking up space within your computer. The more space available on your hard drive, the better it runs.</p> <h3>Safeguard Electronics</h3> <p>A rush of electrical current to your computer can burn the components and cause you to lose data, as well as the computer, so always plug it into a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=761520&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AYHZC3PBOB73ZSM5">surge protector</a>.</p> <h2>Cleaning</h2> <p>Like your home, car, or anything else you value, computers should be cleaned regularly to keep them from working harder than they need to. This can be as simple as wiping down surfaces or as complicated as taking your PC tower apart to do some internal clean up.</p> <h3>Monitor</h3> <p>Cleaning the monitor is a quick task that should be done weekly or as needed to keep oils and debris from breaking down the components. Using a special monitor cleaning product is usually not necessary, and LifeHacker actually suggests that <a href="http://lifehacker.com/179659/how-to-clean-an-lcd-monitor">plain water is the best solution</a>. Be sure to use a scratch-free cloth made from microfiber or a clean T-shirt and have your monitor powered down before cleaning. Directly spraying the monitor is not recommended.</p> <h3>Keyboard</h3> <p>A dirty keyboard isn't just a health hazard, it can result in stuck keys or or completely dead keyboard. By unplugging the keyboard and turning it upside down, you can free any particularly loose materials right away. Blowing compressed air into the keyboard will clean out any debris that may be sticking to the keys. If you have a particularly sticky key (or when cleaning your trackpad), dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and clean the area gently.</p> <h3>Fan</h3> <p>It is also essential to clean dust that collects on the fan and any other small crevices. Dust collecting on the fan of your computer can cause it to overheat and burn up. Regular cleaning with compressed air will help keep your laptop or computer working for years to come. (Much of this can be done without opening anything, but if you live in a particularly dusty area, a <a href="http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/cleaning-the-inside-of-your-pc/">deep cleaning</a> may be necessary.)</p> <h2>Internal Maintenance</h2> <p>Keeping the internals operating efficiently does not require a lot of complicated hackery, just some basic maintenance, with software tools you probably already have.</p> <h3>Defragment</h3> <p>Much like regular cleaning, your computer needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Defragmenting should be done once a month to clean out your computer's temporary files. If you are running a newer version of Windows (7 or 8), defragmenting is done regularly by your computer. However, older versions of Windows and those people who have their computer turned off during the <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5976424/what-is-defragging-and-do-i-need-to-do-it-to-my-computer">scheduled defragmentation</a> (usually 2 a.m. on Wednesdays) will need to manually defragment their hard drives.</p> <h3>Clutter</h3> <p>Cleaning up a cluttered desk top can significantly increase PC speed, as well as dumping the Recycle Bin at least once a month. (Tools like <a href="http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner">CCleaner</a> are free and can assist with some of these processes.)</p> <h3>Battery</h3> <p>If you haven't thought about your computer's battery lately, you should! The battery should be completely drained at least once a month and then be allowed to fully charge before being used again. This draining and recharging cycle keeps your battery fully operational. If you are using a laptop, it is also good to unplug it regularly and rely on the battery to keep it working.</p> <h2>Care</h2> <p>More than anything you can do for your computer, taking care with how you handle and use it is the most important. Computers are damaged and ruined beyond repair due to careless and uneducated users.</p> <h3>Keep Liquids Away</h3> <p>Most of us are guilty of doing this; when you work at your desk, you want a drink handy, whether it is your morning cup of coffee, water throughout the day, or a glass of wine as you wind down in the evening. However, that beverage could easily spill and ruin your computer. It's best to keep it out of reach of your computer or, at the very least, in something with a lid.</p> <h3>Ensure Proper Ventilation</h3> <p>If you own a laptop, it's nice to take it to the couch or into bed with you while you surf the internet. However, this seemingly normal task could be destroying your computer and it's motor. They need space underneath for air to flow through and a soft surface from a blanket or cushion could cause it to overheat. If you are going to be laying in bed, place a book or a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=490924011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QUBZ2KBXPNH3QK35">lap desk</a> under your laptop while you work. The best place for it, is on a hard surface with a cooling pad or fan underneath. This will protect it from overheating at all times.</p> <h3>Safely Transport</h3> <p>Transporting your laptop can also be the cause for irreparable damage. Whether you are carrying your laptop in your hand or in a bag, something can go wrong if you are not doing it properly. Laptops should always be turned off and carried with two hands when walking around, and the monitor should be down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cool-uses-for-a-tablet-computer?ref=seealso">11 Cool Uses for a Tablet Computer</a>)</p> <p>When transporting it in a bag, it is important to have it inside a case. A neoprene case that slips snugly around the laptop will keep it from being broken if it bangs into something in your bag and prevent anything like food or sharp objects from getting into the ports on the side of the laptop.</p> <p>You should also consider unplugging the power cord from the unit when not charging or in use, the small hole (or &quot;jack&quot;) where the plug goes in can become loose over time, causing your laptop to be unable to be charged and resulting in a costly $75+ repair.</p> <h2>Upgrades</h2> <p>Most manufacturers will tell you that the average lifespan of a laptop is 2-3 years and a desktop computer 3-5 years, but this is typically due to newer technology being developed. If you keep your computer running smoothly and upgrade the operating system every few years, there is no reason it can not outlive what is &quot;average.&quot; In addition, it's possible to get more life for your gadget by upgrading the following:</p> <h3>RAM (memory)</h3> <p>One of the most effective ways to give new life to your computer, giving memory a boost can be a DIY project. <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/129177/article.html">This classic article from PCWorld</a> still applies, and most upgrades can run between $40 to $200 with the cost of the memory product and any tools you'll need to perform the task.</p> <h3>Hard Drive</h3> <p>If you have a drive crash, or just feel like you would like a better brand/model, switching out your hard drive may be something you can do at home. It's <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2086644/how-to-upgrade-to-a-larger-hard-drive.html">not a simple process</a>, but it definitely can be one of the best &quot;CPR&quot; procedures you can do for a PC or Mac.</p> <h3>Video Card</h3> <p>If you find your computer lagging a bit, or unable to play newer, faster games, you may simply find a new video card to be the fix you need. Cards range in price from $75 to $500, so do some research to buy the least costly solution for your PC or laptop.</p> <p>Proper protection, maintenance, cleaning, and care only take a few minutes each month to ensure a long lifespan for our most-essential of electronics.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your computer running smoothly? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-computer-last-almost-forever-with-some-simple-tricks" class="sharethis-link" title="Make Your Computer Last (Almost) Forever With Some Simple Tricks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Technology computer care computer maintenance computers laptops Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1145125 at http://www.wisebread.com The Manly Guide to Saving Money http://www.wisebread.com/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pushups-479139811-small.jpg" alt="pushups" title="pushups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gentlemen, it is well past time to reclaim the habits and skills that set us apart and define who we are. Put aside the smartphone and the take hold of your tool bag &mdash; there's work to do! (And ladies, feel free to ignore the bluster and pick up some tools, too. Anybody can do this stuff.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money?ref=seealso">10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>Fix Your Own Car</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TgtUDTFxOkQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Automobile repairs can be incredibly costly when you factor in parts and labor. Considering that many of us don't have a clue when looking under the hood, DIY repairs are not always practical or safe. However, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure your car is running optimally.</p> <p>By learning how to perform basic maintenance like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgtUDTFxOkQ">changing your oil</a>, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5830681/change-your-cars-air-filter">replacing the air filter</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3x6PxFYTK8">rotating your tires</a>, you can expect benefits like better gas mileage, increased engine life, reduced emissions, and an overall smoother ride.</p> <h2>Maintain Your Body</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ADxCldDwZbA" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Between drumming up the motivation to drag yourself to the gym, the time it takes to get there, and the cost of membership, pumping iron or taking a spin class adds up to quite a bit of cash.</p> <p>The basic equipment necessary to <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/power-tools-home-gym">build a versatile home gymnasium</a> is fairly inexpensive and very effective. Depending on your fitness goals, you may be able to get the body you want by simply <a href="http://greatist.com/fitness/50-bodyweight-exercises-you-can-do-anywhere">using your own bodyweight</a>.</p> <p>Now that you have the equipment needed to sculpt your dream physique, heed the advice of some personal trainers that are happy to make house calls for the low, low price of free. YouTube is the home of professional <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/ScottHermanFitness">bodybuilders</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeYogaVideos">yoga trainers</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates">pilates instructors</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/ToneItUpcom">fitness gurus</a>, all of whom want to help you get in the best shape of your life.</p> <h2>Extend the Life of Your Razor</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m4yaQqlvwQQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Everyone knows that disposable razor cartridges are expensive but necessary&hellip; right? By adopting some simple habits, you can extend the life of your cartridge razor exponentially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-classic-wet-shave?ref=seealso">Save Money With a Classic Wet Shave</a>)</p> <p>First, ensure that your blades are dry. Water corrodes and causes imperfections in the blades, which dulls them. Next, <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-easy-trick-to-drastically-increase-the-life-of-your-1574690193">hone your blades</a> to smooth out the imperfections that develop over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money on Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <p>Better yet, ditch your multi-blade razor altogether and <a href="http://sharpologist.com/2012/12/how-to-shave-with-a-straight-razor.html">spring for a quality straight razor</a>. Not only is it infinitely cooler, but also allows a closer shave. Granted, practice is necessary to master the craft and shaving will take a little more time and concentration, but you'll save a small fortune by avoiding disposable cartridges.</p> <p>If scraping something against your face that has been used as murder weapon in movies like &quot;The Godfather&quot; and &quot;Gangs of New York&quot; isn't appealing, consider an old-timey <a href="http://www.razorsbarbershop.com/shave-like-a-grownup/">safety razor</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-over-100-a-year-by-shaving-with-a-cutthroat-razor?ref=seealso">Shave With a 100 Year Old Cutthroat Razor and Save</a>)</p> <p>And in case you were wondering, ladies, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4WkiYgbYVQ">straight razors aren't just for men</a>.</p> <h2>Cut Your Own Hair</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FCkysZQg3hE" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Unless you plan to give yourself a buzz cut, cutting your own hair can seem like an arduous task for someone without formal training. The risk of botching the job and having to sport it in public may be a deterrent for some, but if you can muster the courage to start snipping, you'll find that it is actually quite easy to give yourself a trim.</p> <p>There are numerous how-to videos on YouTube for both <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCkysZQg3hE">men</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQrgRn_dsw4">women</a>, and the tutorials range from the very simple to salon-level complexity. With a little determination and patience, you could add weeks to your professional cut.</p> <h2>Ride a Bicycle</h2> <p><h2ride your="" h2=""> </h2ride></p> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ekq_uQKWijE" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>We all know that the more you drive your car, the more its value plummets. Unfortunately for most, owning a vehicle is a necessary evil. For those fortunate enough to live in close proximity to their place of employment and amenities, foregoing a car for a bicycle not only saves an incredible sum of money, but has numerous health and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/dec/12/cycle-like-danes-cut-emissions">environmental</a> benefits.</p> <p>You get all that without giving up your independence to slog it on public transport? Cycling is a no-brainer.</p> <p>These are just some of the many ways you can recover your autonomy and save in the process. As founding father Benjamin Franklin used to say, &quot;An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.&quot;</p> <p><em>How have you reclaimed your independence? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-manly-guide-to-saving-money" class="sharethis-link" title="The Manly Guide to Saving Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ryan-lynch">Ryan Lynch</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle DIY frugality saving Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Ryan Lynch 1144615 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Be Paying Someone Else to Do These 7 Common Chores? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-be-paying-someone-else-to-do-these-7-common-chores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-be-paying-someone-else-to-do-these-7-common-chores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-cleaning-462292599-small.jpg" alt="tired cleaning" title="tired cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>DIY has been getting a lot of good press lately as we all process the lessons of the Great Recession and get more in-touch with our self-reliant selves. But is DIY always the smartest way to go? Considering money saved versus potential money-earned and other cost-benefit analyses, when is DIY a smart saving strategy, and when is it a waste of time? Here are seven typical DIY projects and approximate associated savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-time-value-of-money-matters-and-10-ways-it-affects-you?ref=seealso">Why the Time-Value of Money Matters</a>)</p> <h2>1. Basic Auto Maintenance</h2> <p>You don't need to take a class in auto mechanics or invest in a pneumatic impact wrenches and a hydraulic car lift. But by checking fluids and tire pressure regularly, knowing how to replace an air filter or fuse, and learning a few other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">DIY auto maintenance</a> skills, you can save some serious cash in the short- and long-term. Though car repair and maintenance costs differ based on the state you live in and the task, hourly rates of mechanics in the US range from $115.00 to $150.00.</p> <h2>2. Tax Preparation</h2> <p>One of the wonderful things about the Information Age is the access each of us has to software once reserved for the pros. This access comes in particularly handy at tax time when, if your tax situation isn't too complicated, you can complete and file a simple return online all with the help of intuitive software and easy-to-use programs &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filing-your-taxes-for-free-online-how-to-do-it-and-what-to-expect">sometimes even for free</a>.</p> <p>Like most things in life, the key to stress-free tax preparation is keeping meticulous records and carving out enough time to do it and do it right. Next year, crunch the numbers yourself and see if it makes sense to prepare and file your taxes on your own &mdash; especially considering that according to the National Society of Accountants, the <a href="http://www.nsacct.org/life-and-taxes/life-and-taxes/2013/12/12/taxprepfees2013">average cost</a> to file a federal return in 2013 was $261.00. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-last-years-taxes-into-this-years-financial-spring-cleaning?ref=seealso">Turn Last Year's Taxes Into This Year's Financial Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>3. Yard Work</h2> <p>It's hard to convince most people of the joys and health benefits of yard work. Considering that the average cost of two hour's worth of lawn-mowing services in my part of the country can be as low as $11.85, I can see why many folks opt to skip this particular form of DIY in exchange for a little R&amp;R. This handy <a href="http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_mow_lawn.html">ZIP Code based rate calculator</a> from Homewyse can help you see what the high and low lawn care rates are in your neck of the woods.</p> <p>Still committed to the idea of DIY lawn care? Relieve some of the drudgery by involving the whole family and sharing the work for a few hours a couple of days each week, then reward everyone with a movie and pizza afterward. Not so skilled at the finer points of lawn care? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Try this recipe</a> to turn that brown lawn into a carpet of green.</p> <h2>4. House Cleaning</h2> <p>House cleaning is a lot like yard work &mdash; it's easy to lean toward a non-DIY approach because of the sheer drudgery and time commitment involved. According to Angie's List, average <a href="http://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-hire-house-cleaner.htm">hourly rates for house cleaners</a> fall between $25.00-$35.00, though those numbers seem a bit high for many parts of the country. In this category, a clear cost-benefit analysis has to include factors like how much stress a dirty or disorganized environment causes you, any gains in productivity you'd achieve with this particular to-do off your list, and &mdash; since housecleaning doesn't pair well with multitasking &mdash; the amount of leisure time or productive time that's sacrificed with this activity.</p> <h2>5. Car Washing</h2> <p>My local touchless car wash has four pricing options: The &quot;deluxe&quot; option is $8.00, and it includes a wash, spot-free rinse, the application of some sort of wax protectant, and a blow dry at the very end. Options decrease in price and features from there, going as low as $5.00. Granted, I could save a buck or two by washing my car myself (the old bucket, sponge, and shammy method), but honestly either option seems better than paying for a full-service hand wash. An express hand wash at the location nearest to me is $31.00. With tip, that's four times more than the most expensive touchless option.</p> <p>The lesson here is this: There are varying degrees of DIY. Even when we resolve not pay someone else to our grunt-work, there's a range of what I call &quot;semi-DIY&quot; options that are still convenient and relatively quick.</p> <h2>6. Dining Out</h2> <p>Though we may not think of this way, every time we pull up to the drive-through window or sit down to order in a restaurant, we're outsourcing cooking and meal prep. With dining out, however, the costs are a bit more difficult to pin down; prices vary based on region, type of meal, service level, food choices, gratuity, and other add-ons.</p> <p>Still, it's important to think of the costs of restaurant meals holistically. What are the health consequences of not being able to control portion size or ingredients? What comparable dish could you make at home with minimal effort, tools, time, and money?</p> <p>For example, if dinner at your favorite restaurant costs $17.00, how much would it cost to create a similar meal at home and how might that meal be healthier? How many more meals would the ingredients produce? Would cooking be time lost, or is it something you enjoy and could pair with another activity? What's specifically is gained in buying prepared food and are those gains impossible to maintain if you cooked at home?</p> <p>If you'd like to try more DIY meals, start a collection of quick and simple recipes that you can make without dozens of ingredients and a kitchen full of specialized wonder-gadgets. If you have the time, make more than you need or make a few meals ahead and freeze the rest for quick and healthy solutions that keep you miles away from McCuisine. (See also: 2 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-recipes-for-lazy-people?ref=seealso">5 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People</a>)</p> <h2>7. Dry Cleaning</h2> <p>A dear friend of mine works in an office where business professional attire is the standard. And, though I have no firm numbers to prove it, her monthly dry-cleaning expenses must exceed my monthly cell phone bill. Still, she continues to buy clothing that can only be dry cleaned. Suits and formal wear aside, with all the advances in microfibers and washable wool, why are we still stuffing our closets with items that need to be carted off to a specialist to be properly cleaned?</p> <p>Okay, now I'll step off my soapbox and suggest a few DIY options and alternatives for some of those dry-clean only items. Hand-washing in cold water and air-drying, using an at-home dry-cleaning kit, or freshening up clothes with a good steam ironing can keep you out of the dry-cleaners or at least make your visit far less frequent. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=home%20dry%20cleaning%20kit&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahome%20dry%20cleaning%20kit&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=TKFMPSEZT6TTEV5T">At-home dry cleaning kits</a> run about $10.00. Though the effectiveness and number of treatments vary by brand, success with these kits usually depends on thorough pre-treating with water or stain-remover.</p> <p>Of course, the response I often hear against the idea of DIY goes something like this: &quot;If I earn $45.00 an hour, I actually <em>save</em> money by hiring a lower-wage worker to take care of certain tasks and using the spare time to earn more money or recharge.&quot; And that's a completely fair conclusion. The key is understanding what the real savings are when we choose to complete a task ourselves or hire it done.</p> <p><em>Are you a committed DIYer? What tasks would you gladly pay someone else to do if the costs and benefits supported it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-be-paying-someone-else-to-do-these-7-common-chores" class="sharethis-link" title="Should You Be Paying Someone Else to Do These 7 Common Chores?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle car maintenance cost cutting house cleaning yard work Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:00:33 +0000 Kentin Waits 1141612 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Reasons Why I'm in Love With Thrift Shopping (and You Should Be Too) http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-5269089-small.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I realize I'm a strange animal. My palms tingle a little bit when I approach a thrift store. All my senses sharpen. The rest of the world fades into watercolor tones and muffled sounds. I can park, grab my wallet, hop out, and lock my car in a single fluid Matrix-inspired movement. Once inside, I can size up a thrift store in seconds: Who's the serious competition and who's just browsing? Is the store too organized or wonderfully chaotic? What's newly-stocked, and what's stale? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</a>)</p> <p>I've been a die-hard thrifter since I was 13 years old, and now, as I approach the midpoint of my 40's, my love affair with thrifting has only deepened. If you're a serious second-hand shopper, you may recognize many of your own motivations in the list that follows. And if you've never tried thrifting, consider all these reasons to fall madly in love with it.</p> <p>1. Where else can the average person go on a <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-03-23-rare-document_N.htm">real-life treasure hunt</a>? (I'll save you the click: Man finds copy of an 1823 print of the Declaration of Independence, worth almost $500k, in a thrift store!)</p> <p>2. Saving 75% on retail is just like getting a 75% return on your money.</p> <p>3. Used items are tried and true and (usually) come without surprises.</p> <p>4. Those second-hand jeans are already broken-in.</p> <p>5. Shop for good! Your purchases often help fund charitable causes.</p> <p>6. Thrifting is recycling at its most basic and beneficial level.</p> <p>7. There are all different <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">kinds of thrift stores</a>, and they tend to have the widest, wildest, most unpredictable inventory in the business.</p> <p>8. Because retail prices hurt!</p> <p>9. If older means made better, thrift stores have all the good stuff!</p> <p>10. Thrift stores are the perfect places to find an expensive weekend project.</p> <p>11. You can furnish a dorm room or college apartment on a shoestring.</p> <p>12. Thrift stores are windows into our culture &mdash; mix shopping with sociology.</p> <p>13. Thrifting keeps your kids out of the mall (and that's always a good thing).</p> <p>14. You can never have too many copies of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060724277/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0060724277&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDNXEFPAVT543SRT">I'm OK, You're OK</a>.&quot;</p> <p>15. Sometimes, thrifting <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/north-carolina-woman-find_n_1690850.html">pays off big</a>. (Again, saving you a click: North Carolina woman buys abstract painting worth $20k for $9.99.)</p> <p>16. Missing an obscure piece of your grandmother's china? Be patient; you'll eventually find it at a thrift store.</p> <p>17. Retail emporiums are homogenous. Thrifting lets you find something that no one else has.</p> <p>18. When you're thrifting, you're not directly increasing the industrial demand for more.</p> <p>19. You can brag about how much you saved.</p> <p>20. Because new books cost at least $14.99.</p> <p>21. Thrift stores are a picker's paradise. Vintage clothes and other items can be flipped for profit.</p> <p>22. Shopping second hand sets a great example for your kids. The value of thrift, creative reuse, and community support are noble lessons!</p> <p>23. Everything is prewashed and preshrunk. When a piece of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-criteria-for-thrift-store-clothes-shopping">thrift store clothing</a> fits you in the dressing room, you know it'll fit when you get it home.</p> <p>24. Thrifting can be just a little competitive (in a good way). The friendly rivalry between serious thrifters produces more admiration than envy.</p> <p>25. Every day is new. Inventory turns over so quickly in some markets that you seldom see the same stuff twice.</p> <p>26. Thrift stores are time capsules into pop culture history. Teach your kids about <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DB5N6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002DB5N6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=R352XG4BCCHR6Q2O">ALF</a>, Rubik's Cube, Etch A Sketch, lava lamps, and Milli Vanilli.</p> <p>27. You can find items that have long since gone out of production. From out-of-print books to jeans with the perfect cut, thrift stores let us rediscover some of our favorite things.</p> <p>28. Because thrifting isn't just about finding old stuff; there are new items too!</p> <p>29. Because your depression-era parents or grandparents would be proud.</p> <p>30. Thrifting is arguably the most local and sustainable form of commerce.</p> <p>31. Thrift stores are the perfect places to find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-should-always-shop-for-at-the-thrift-store">back-to-school bargains</a>.</p> <p>There you have it, my belated valentine to thrift-shopping. Of course there are many more reasons to love this half-sport half-science. What are some of yours?</p> <p><em>Are you an avid thrift shopper? Why do you love it? What's been your best find to date? Please share a comment below (even a recycled one)!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too" class="sharethis-link" title="31 Reasons Why I&#039;m in Love With Thrift Shopping (and You Should Be Too)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle Shopping bargains thrift stores thrifting Tue, 03 Jun 2014 18:01:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1141160 at http://www.wisebread.com WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-462144225.jpg" alt="demolition" title="demolition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What makes a project a good Do-it-yourself candidate? Low-risk, for one: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">making a collage</a> isn&rsquo;t going to implode your roof, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">cutting up your old denim</a> to make a quilt isn&rsquo;t going to result in a trip to the emergency room. (Unless of course you forget to take the jeans off before starting&hellip;)</p> <p>But some home projects just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">shouldn&rsquo;t be attempted</a> by anyone other than a professional. Don&rsquo;t believe it? Just watch these crazy DIY fails.</p> <p>1. Starting with the most obvious potential no-no: demolition. If it involves knocking out support beams, call a contractor and avoid demolishing yourself.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lOoD-KWNREM"></iframe></p> <p>2. If a tree falls on an ill-advised DIY project, does 911 hear it?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UXjjqEX80Q4" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>3. And for exhibit B that massive trees (especially those next to your lovely house) should be cut down by an expert:</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JteV8r8YnN0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>4. Think interior construction is safe? Then check out the results of poor bathroom design in possibly the scariest video yet.</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jEBp5cUJi20" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>5. What&rsquo;s worse, not being able to reach the toilet paper, or this painful home improvement fail?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ww3ZxHMwG7Q" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>6. Contractors aren&rsquo;t the only pros you should consider calling for home jobs. Furniture movers can be a solid call too, just ask the guy in this video, as soon as he digs himself out&hellip;</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCRPphWMREc" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>7. And finally, a fail for possibly the simplest task in home maintenance as a reminder that anything can be risky when done carelessly. How many dumb DIYers does it take to screw in a lightbulb anyway?</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Xl-SajEV14M" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert" class="sharethis-link" title="WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY General Tips Real Estate and Housing DIY Home repair Mon, 19 May 2014 15:04:32 +0000 Joe Epstein 1139271 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/haircut-178723170.jpg" alt="haircut" title="haircut" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That Double Mocha Coconut Latte Colossus sprinkled with chocolate &mdash; and you don't think you can make this at home yourself? And save yourself a few bucks in the process?</p> <p>Probably you can, but let's start with something that doesn't require an espresso machine. Here are some skills you can learn quickly that will help you save some big bucks in the long run.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Car's Oil</h2> <p>Cars have become increasingly complicated in the past 20 years. What's under the hood now resembles a small nuclear power plant. But <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nng2Ey3z8to">changing the oil</a> has not changed one iota. Usually the lowest component of the engine has a threaded plug you remove to let the oil out. You need a pan to catch the oil and a cheap specialty wrench to remove the oil filter. Refilling takes knowing the car's oil capacity and the ability to pour liquid into a funnel. That costs $15 to $40 around most of the country and takes less than a half hour. Three or more oil changes a year times 10 years, you save up to $1,200 in a decade at the cost of 15 hours of work.</p> <h2>2. Sew a Button</h2> <p>Button-down shirts cost $30 to $100 and up. Pants cost roughly the same. To <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu3F8GSK8DQ">sew a button</a> and save an unnecessary throw-away, you need to learn how to thread a needle, tie a knot in the thread, and stick the needle through cloth. A button might take a total klutz 15 minutes or so, and it's a skill that almost teaches itself. If all else fails, trial and error costs nothing more than a little thread, 15 minutes and a few of those small, round bandaids. Piece of cake.</p> <h2>3. Give a Haircut</h2> <p>What does a trip to the hair stylist cost these days? Scissors, some forgiveness, practice or even just knowing how to change the depth setting on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XFvG1xg6Wc">some electric clippers</a>, and you can pretty much <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RTu3yGWv_Q">cut your hair yourself</a>. (Just watch the ears, please.) That will save you an average of $25 per trim or $75 to $100 per year.</p> <h2>4. Make a Sandwich (Or Learn to Cook)</h2> <p>Americans spend an average of $936 per year or $18 per week on lunches bought in restaurants, a survey released in September 2013 by Visa said. So imagine what you could save just learning how to make one new interesting sandwich that would prompt you to cut that expenditure in half? Need some ideas? How about <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/a_sandwich_a_day/">a different sandwich every day</a>?</p> <p>In addition, a consumer survey by AlixPartners, released in March said that 57% of American eat dinner in restaurants once a week, spending an average of $13.55 per meal or $704.60 per year. It's not free to eat at home, but you could still save plenty if you do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies?ref=seealso">Cooking for Beginners</a>)</p> <h2>5. Dog Grooming</h2> <p>You pay what to have someone shampoo your dog and give it a fluffy brushing? Anyone with bored kids at home and a dog that needs a bath is blowing an opportunity and money, too, by taking the dog to the mall to see a canine stylist. (And while we're on the subject, learning to clean a dog's teeth is not beyond the realm of possibilities, either.)</p> <h2>6. Read a Contract</h2> <p>True story: When I bought a house, I went to a seminar on &quot;How To Buy A House,&quot; at a local bank and for a half an hour listened to a realtor tell the audience that it was seven steps past impossible to think about buying a home without a realtor. What do they do that is that hard? First, they are more impartial than the buyer or the seller, so they are useful as cool, calm, and collected brokers, but beyond that, here is their biggest skill: They know how to read. Well, it turns out the contract was in English, go figure, and I saved $6,000 by reading it myself, showing, in the end, one small paragraph that I didn't understand to a lawyer, and he gave me some advice on that, for free, because he was a friend and he owed me one.</p> <h2>7. Learn a Little Plumbing</h2> <p>Open the back of a toilet and a wondrous world of simple tinkering awaits you. Most of them have those float-arm things or one of those trip lever things &mdash; it really isn't rocket science to figure this out. Fixing a toilet is kind of like playing the game &quot;Mousetrap,&quot; but partly submerged in water. Meanwhile, your local hardware store sells a trip lever for under $12, while &quot;I've never seen a plumber under $80 per hour,&quot; a response on Yahoo! Answers says.</p> <p>The situation gets more absurd when you call a plumber to fix a leaky sink, which requires replacing a rubber gasket that used to cost pennies. Yes, you usually need one of those wrenchy-thingies, but that doesn't sound too difficult to operate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber?ref=seealso">Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don't Require a Plumber</a>)</p> <h2>8. Design a Website</h2> <p>A plausible online story says that a small business in New York gave three Web development companies the same set of criteria and came up with bids of<a href="http://www.executionists.com/blog/website-design/cost-to-build-websites-2013/"> $2,800, $5,500 and $13,000</a> from the companies to do the work. And the same work can be done for free with one of the simpler web design programs, like <a href="http://www.pagebreeze.com/">PageBreeze</a>, <a href="http://kompozer.net/">KompoZer</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a>, and the like. Yes, not long ago it took a pro to code a website together, but nowadays if you can use Microsoft Office it is likely you can learn to create a website.</p> <h2>9. Negotiate</h2> <p>&quot;How to negotiate&quot; tapes and tutorials are easy to find and the outcome may be securing a bigger raise then you might have otherwise gotten or getting a better starting salary. Negotiating well can also save you hundreds of dollars on your next car and thousands of dollars on your next house. Some people have fair luck negotiating lower fees from doctors or for services around the house. When you learn a specific approach to negotiating, you might also try to negotiate in situations you might not have done so in the past, because you have a system that could boost your confidence. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal?ref=seealso">How to Negotiate With Confidence</a>)</p> <h2>10. Tax Preparation</h2> <p>The National Society of Accountants did a survey in 2013 and found the average <a href="http://www.nsacct.org/life-and-taxes/life-and-taxes/2013/12/12/taxprepfees2013">cost for tax preparation was just under $200</a> and the average return for taxpayers was about $260. Do you see the problem here? Of course, complicated business taxes are generally best handled by professionals, but it is possible to learn how to fill out your income tax return if it fairly straight forward, rather than giving most of your return to the a tax service &mdash; especially when there is so much help online for getting it done yourself.</p> <p><em>Any easy to learn, money saving skills I've overlooked? Please share in comments &mdash; it's easy!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anthony-hall">Anthony Hall</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY DIY money saving skills Wed, 14 May 2014 09:00:27 +0000 Anthony Hall 1139225 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lamp-471232235.jpg" alt="lamp" title="lamp" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A good lamp does more than just shed light. With the right size, shape, color, and texture a lamp can compliment your furnishings and demonstrate your sense of style. To paraphrase the immortal words of The Dude, it really ties the room together. But new lamps can be expensive, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">thrift store</a> lamps, while affordable, can be hit or miss. Why not take matters into your own hands? We've rounded up nine amazing DIY lamps that can be made with simple materials, and customized to complement (or contrast!) your existing decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do?ref=seealso">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stacked Cookie Tin Lamp</h2> <p>Have you been the recipient of homemade treats in reusable tins? You could save them up for re-gifting during the holidays, or you could make this clever lamp. The creators of this <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-make-a-floor-lamp-out-of-snack-tins/index.html">floor lamp</a> suggest painting the tins or covering them in a textured fabric for an even more unique look. Use a short stack to make it a table lamp! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=seealso">40 Ways to Decorate With Spray Paint</a>)</p> <h2>2. Paper Gift Bow Pendant Lamp</h2> <p>Are the bows your favorite part of a wrapped gift? Then this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Giant-Decorative-Bow-Paper-Pendant-Lamp/">bow lamp</a> might be the project for you. Fold your favorite colored paper into a unique shade for a pendant lamp.</p> <h2>3. Recycled CD Case Lamp</h2> <p>If you've long since switched to digital music, but aren't sure what to do with all of those plastic jewel cases, this is the perfect upcycling project. Turn them into a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/fathers-day-diy-gift-how-to-make-your-dad-a-recycled-cd-case-lamp/">one-of-a-kind desk lamp</a> that makes a perfect Father's Day gift. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-celebrate-father-s-day?ref=seealso">Free Ways to Celebrate Father's Day</a>)</p> <h2>4. Designer Paper Yarn Lamp</h2> <p>Paper yarn? Yep it's a thing. Even better, it's a thing you can use to make <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Designer-Paper-Lamp/">pendant light shades</a> or regular lampshades. This version uses a 2-liter soda bottle as the form, but you could use anything &mdash; maybe even the lampshade you're replacing?</p> <h2>5. Enameled Colander Lamp</h2> <p>The perfect lamp for foodies, this idea turns an <a href="http://www.shelterness.com/diy-pendant-lamp-of-enameled-colander/">old colander</a> into a beautiful pendant light fixture. It also works with a large salad bowl! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose</a>)</p> <h2>6. Skyscraper Lamp</h2> <p>If you're looking for unique &quot;mood&quot; lighting, the geometric patterns created by this lamp made from <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Skyscraper-Lamp/">stacked wooden dowels</a> is quite pleasing.</p> <h2>7. Tin Can Lantern</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-things-to-do-before-the-summer-is-gone">Summer</a> will soon be here, and that means lots of outdoor meals and relaxing on the patio. Add a magical flare to your next summer party with this lantern made from a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/how-to-recycle-a-tin-can-into-a-gorgeous-outdoor-lantern-for-summer-parties/">recycled tin can</a>.</p> <h2>8. Hanging Paper Orb Lamp</h2> <p>Made using decorative paper cupcake liners, these <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/diy-project-sculptural-paper-orb-lights.html">paper orbs</a> is a textured twist on the classic paper globe lamp.</p> <h2>9. Stacked Book Table Lamp</h2> <p>This is the perfect project for someone who hates seeing old books end up in the wastebasket. Turn them into a delightful <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/accessories/stacked-books-table-lamp/index.html">vintage-looking table lamp</a> instead!</p> <p><em>Have you made any awesome DIY lamps we want in our house? Please share them in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home crafts DIY lamps lighting upcycle Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:24:21 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1135882 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/denim-467362711.jpg" alt="jeans" title="jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Denim fabric is one of the few things in life that actually looks and feels better as it ages. And, unlike other textiles, denim never falls out of fashion. As a result of its timeless style, used denim, in the form of old jeans, is an inexpensive and easily available craft supply for just about everyone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>If you don't already have an old pair of jeans languishing in the back of your closet, collect a few pairs from your friends and family for free, or buy a stack of them at a charity shop or garage sale for less than $10. With a little planning and creativity, one pair of jeans can be cannibalized into more than one project. Even the grungiest jeans can be turned into something lovely, as spots and holes can be cut out.</p> <p>Whether you are a novice crafter or a advanced sewist, old jeans are a great starting point for a huge number of DIY projects, that range from charmingly primitive to sophisticated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties?ref=seealso">Great Uses for Old Ties</a>)</p> <h2>Quilts</h2> <p>There are tons of great examples of <a href="http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/budget-friendly-denim-quilt-project/">denim quilts</a> (with free patterns) available on the Internet.</p> <h2>Rugs and Floor Mats</h2> <p>By the way, denim quilts are very heavy and can also be easily used as area rugs.</p> <p>In addition to quilted floor mats (AKA the quilt you put on the floor), denim can also be used to create <a href="http://lieslmade.com/2013/07/16/woven-denim-rug-or-trivet-diy/">woven rugs</a>, <a href="http://proverbs31living.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/fluffy-denim-rag-rug-tutorial.html">rag rugs</a>, or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_H5JOGi5lA">braided rugs</a>.</p> <h2>Place Mats and Table Runners</h2> <p>Smaller strips of fabric left over from other project can be used to make mini quilts as place mats or table runners.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-180857677-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Pillows</h2> <p>Although denim patchwork has long been a staple of country style, it can look surprisingly modern. I like the idea of making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2013/03/old-jeans-recycled-into-ampersand.html">denim pillows</a> appliqued with punctuation marks rather than a traditional monogram.</p> <p>Jeans have long been associated with the American West. However, a <a href="http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/free-pattern-day-union-jack.html">Union Jack pillow</a>, made from vintage denim can inject a little English Punk Rock into any decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5?ref=seealso">Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>Floor Cushions, Poufs, and Pet Beds</h2> <p>Because denim is so tough, it's also a good fabric choice for <a href="http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/diy-eco-geometric-deni-cushion/">floor cushions</a>, <a href="http://www.michelemademe.com/2011/09/drop-dead-denim-one-tough-pouf.html">poufs</a>, and <a href="http://krydasu.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/denim-jeans-dog-bed.html">pet beds</a>.</p> <h2>Coasters</h2> <p>You really don't even have to know how to sew to make <a href="http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2010/05/16/recycled-denim-coaster/">denim coasters</a>. Use fabric glue or hot glue to make spiral-shaped coasters from the seams of old jeans. Pro tip: put a thick rubber band around the outer edge of the coaster while the glue cures. It will keep the spiral tightly rolled, and preserve the round edge.</p> <h2>Outdoor Furniture</h2> <p>The woven denim straps on this <a href="http://www.ecouterre.com/recycleddenimchallenge/wove-denim-charpai-cot-ready/">charpai</a> (Indian string cot) gave me a great idea for refurbishing old-school, fold-up lawn chairs that have lost their uncomfortable nylon webbing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks?ref=seealso">Simple Tricks to Make Old Furniture Shine</a>)</p> <h2>Director Chair Covers</h2> <p>Instead of buying new canvas, create <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9-or5bqk6w">padded seats and backs</a> from salvaged fabric.</p> <h2>Handbags</h2> <p>The Internet is full of patterns for <a href="http://verypurpleperson.com/2010/04/making-reversible-bag/">denim handbags</a> that range from chic to hideous. Use good judgment.</p> <h2>Firewood Totes</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/chirina/post143260512">firewood tote</a> would also make a great picnic basket. (Yes, they re-use and recycle in Russia, too.)</p> <h2>Storage Bins</h2> <p>Although craft maven Betz White originally designed the <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/denim_do-it-all_bins/">upcycled Do-It-All bins</a> to hold craft supplies, they would also be great for storing toys. Make these as gift baskets for food gifts. They would also be the perfect wine or water tote.</p> <h2>Sewing Machine Pad/Organizer</h2> <p>Keep all your <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluecottage/6176216490/">tools handy</a> for your next crafting binge.</p> <h2>Baby Bibs</h2> <p>Because used denim is soft and washable, it's a perfect material for making <a href="http://www.craftstylish.com/item/45454/how-to-make-a-recycled-bib">baby bibs</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>Aprons</h2> <p>Adult bibs, AKA aprons are a good way to use up random pockets. This apron tutorial is in Korean, but the photos show the step-by-step process of turning denim fabric and a washcloth into a cute <a href="http://blog.naver.com/hohuk212/20197089599">wrap-around apron</a>.</p> <h2>House Slippers</h2> <p>There are a number of free patterns for house slippers floating around on the Internet, but I thought <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/18/how-to-make-slippers-from-jeans">these were the cutest</a>. Pro tip: To make your own pattern, trace around the soles of a pair of flip-flop sandals for a more custom fit.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-120289526-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Softie Toys For Dogs and Babies</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/112018612/left-pocket-elephant-stuffed-toy-for%20">softie</a> would make the perfect tooth fairy pillow because of the pocket.</p> <p>FYI, when making toys for babies and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-Denim-Dog-Toy/">pets</a>, make sure to not use buttons, loose strings, or anything else that could be a choking hazard.</p> <h2>Cat Toys and Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>Although these were intended to be <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12967142@N05/3561993269/in/faves-lottakind/">cat toys</a>, these would also make very cute holiday decorations.</p> <h2>Christmas Wreaths</h2> <p>Speaking of holidays, a <a href="http://afishwholikesflowers.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/from-rags-to-wreath.html">denim Christmas wreath</a> is an easy, no-sew project that even kids could make.</p> <h2>Masks</h2> <p>Carnival is just around the corner! If you have a pair of embellished jeans that have seen better days, repurpose the denim and the doodads into a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/halloween_fantasy_mask/#more">fabulous mask</a>.</p> <p><em>What's the best repurposed denim item that you've seen or made?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans" class="sharethis-link" title="20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/diy">DIY articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY denim fabric uses recycle repurpose Fri, 21 Feb 2014 23:29:47 +0000 Max Wong 1198 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You Can Use Towel Rods for Efficient Storage and Display http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kitchen-147283717.jpg" alt="hanging kitchen tools" title="hanging kitchen tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you bought a couple extra towel rods from Ikea or if you have some lying around after home remodeling, towel racks can be an innovative way to save space and add some convenience to your life. Here are few amazing ways you can put these little helpful fellows to use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Use Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>1. For Closet Space</h2> <p>Attach a towel rack to the side of your closet, and you&#39;ll have the potential to store a lot of things! You can use &quot;S&quot; hooks to hook a shoe or jewelry organizer to the door. You can also use the &quot;S&quot; hooks alone for jackets and such. Finally, you may want to put extra sheets and linens on the towel rack so that they don&#39;t get wrinkled or jammed too far down into the closet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet?ref=seealso">How to Organize a Messy Closet</a>)</p> <h2>2. As a Coat Rack</h2> <p>Use those valuable &quot;S&quot; hooks with your towel rack and you&#39;ll have a handy coat rack that won&#39;t take up any floor space! Simply put the towel rack up in a public area, higher than eye level. Then, affix the &quot;S&quot; hooks. You&#39;ll have a bunch of hooks for visitors to put coats, umbrellas, hats&hellip;you name it!</p> <h2>3. To Hang Art or Tapestries</h2> <p>If you have art, pretty fabric, or tapestries that are begging to be seen, you may want to display them using towel racks. It&#39;s important that the rack is helpful in display (remember, you do have to fold them over the rack if you are going to use this method). Once this is done you&#39;ll have some lovely art on the walls that won&#39;t easily be knocked down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art?ref=seealso">12 Inexpensive DIY Art</a>)</p> <h2>4. To Create Storage Space</h2> <p>Use towel racks in living spaces and your kitchen for things like coffee mugs, towels, knick-knacks, and more! This tip is really handy if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">live in a small space</a> and lack a lot of storage space.</p> <h2>5. As a Magazine Rack</h2> <p>A low-hanging towel rack can double as a place to hold magazines. Either affix a trough at the bottom of the rack to stow the magazines, or simply drape them over the rack (bonus points: you won&#39;t lose your place in the magazine!).</p> <h2>6. As a Fisherman&#39;s Friend</h2> <p>Attaching a towel rack to the side of a garage or storage shed can easily organize tools or, in this case, fishing rods, and supplies. Keeping the rods tucked behind the towel bar will make it easy to not get the rods tangled or damaged when they aren&#39;t in use. It will also keep other garage or storage items away from the rods themselves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garage-triage-organize-your-garage-for-maximum-chore-and-storage-efficiency?ref=seealso">Tips to Organize Your Garage</a>)</p> <h2>7. As Pot Racks</h2> <p>First, look for a rack that doesn&#39;t look like it belongs in the bathroom. Next, simply affix the rack to your ceiling or wall in a location that aligns with your things. If you want, you can attach several racks in your kitchen to create a row above your stove or on a wall. The final step? Attach &quot;S&quot; hooks so you can put those kitchen utensils and pans in a convenient location!</p> <h2>8. To Hang Family Photos</h2> <p>Towel racks can be great for art or photos. Photos are a little more delicate, but there are <a href="http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1097232/list/hang-photos-on-wire-with-clothes-pins">clips and wires</a> that will make the photos seem like they&#39;re floating or hanging mid-air. It&#39;s a really cool effect!</p> <p><em>Have you found any alternative uses for towel rods? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways You Can Use Towel Rods for Efficient Storage and Display" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebecca-leib">Rebecca Leib</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home DIY towel racks towel rods Thu, 30 Jan 2014 21:55:18 +0000 Rebecca Leib 977185 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laundry-86515386.jpg" alt="doing laundry" title="doing laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. I&#39;m relatively confident when picking and choosing my whole and packaged foods. I can evaluate freshness, scan labels, and quickly figure nutritional contents through much practice and passion. When it comes to buying household cleaning products, though, I become rather paralyzed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>In those final grocery store aisles, I can spend what seems like hours scrutinizing items like dish soap, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent. I choose based on brightly packaged promises and then play an exchange game based on which one has the best unit price. Seems like no matter how hard I&#39;ve tried, I&#39;ve never developed tried-and-true mainstays that meet all my criteria.</p> <p>Eventually, I grew tired of these shenanigans. I favor a simplified routine anyway, but a lot of natural cleaning products are pricey. So, I decided that making my own is not only easier and less toxic, but it also saves my family money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house?ref=seealso">8 Green Cleaners You Already Have</a>)</p> <p>In fact, my mom &mdash; a DIY detergent goddess &mdash; has always told me there&#39;s no better place to start than with laundry detergent. She&#39;s been making her own soaps for years and, through trial and error, helped me discover these five great DIY &quot;recipes&quot; to try.</p> <h2>Basic Powder</h2> <ul> <li>1 bar laundry soap (like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B32NVO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001B32NVO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Fels-Naptha</a>)</li> <li>1 cup borax</li> <li>1 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Grate the soap bar either by hand or in a food processor. Then combine all ingredients in an airtight container and mix to evenly distribute.</p> <p>Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.</p> <h2>Basic Liquid</h2> <ul> <li>1 cup hot water</li> <li>1 cup liquid castile soap (like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AOZ78A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001AOZ78A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Dr. Bronner&#39;s</a>)</li> <li>1/2 cup borax</li> <li>1/2 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Combine the borax and washing soda in a bowl or tub. Pour in the hot water and stir until everything is combined/dissolved. Then pour into a gallon container and slowly pour in the castile soap. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate (without agitating too many bubbles). Allow to cool, then add cold water to container until full.</p> <p>Use 1/4 cup per load.</p> <h2>Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent (Liquid)</h2> <ul> <li>1/4 cup borax</li> <li>1/4 cup washing soda</li> <li>3 tablespoons <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002W3EEO6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002W3EEO6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Dawn Dish Soap</a> (must be &quot;original&quot; kind)</li> <li>5 cups hot water</li> </ul> <p>Combine the borax and washing soda in a bowl or tub. Pour in the hot water and stir until everything is combined/dissolved. Then pour into a gallon container and slowly pour in the Dawn Dish Soap &mdash; which cuts grease, meaning it won&#39;t build up in cloth diapers. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate, then allow to cool. Fill container with cold water until full. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <p>Use 1/4 cup per load</p> <p><em>Note: While stripping my cloth diapers one afternoon, I learned that original Dawn is a powerful weapon. So, I searched around and found a <a href="http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-made-laundry-detergent-again-easy.html">great laundry soap recipe</a> which includes this key ingredient. Over time, I adapted it to the one you see above by adding in more of the active ingredients.</em></p> <h2>Borax-Free Detergent (Powder)</h2> <ul> <li>1 bar laundry soap (like Fels-Naptha)</li> <li>1 cup baking soda</li> <li>1 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Grate the soap bar either by hand or in a food processor. Then combine all ingredients in an airtight container and mix to evenly distribute.</p> <p>Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.</p> <h2>Borax-Free Detergent (Liquid)</h2> <ul> <li>1 cup liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner&#39;s)</li> <li>1/2 cup baking soda</li> <li>1/2 cup washing soda</li> <li>5 cups hot water</li> </ul> <p>In a large container, combine the hot water and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Then add in the baking soda and, again, stir until dissolved. Pour into a gallon container and fill container with additional cold water until almost full. Then slowly add the castile soap. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate.</p> <p>Use 1/3 cup per load.</p> <h2>Making It Smell Good and Other Extras</h2> <p>You can jazz up the liquid recipes by adding drops of different essential oils. My favorite scents include lavender, eucalyptus, and even peppermint. In addition, you may choose to add sea salt as an extra water softener if needed (though washing soda alone usually does the trick). For a boost in whitening and brightening, add some vinegar to your rinse cycle. It&#39;s all about experimentation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-and-wonderful-ways-to-use-vinegar?ref=seealso">Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Vinegar</a>)</p> <p>As far as how these laundry soaps work on HE machines versus standard, it&#39;s a bit of an experiment. My mom says liquid is best for her HE machine, which accords with most <a href="http://laundry.about.com/od/HomemadeLaundryProducts/f/Can-Homemade-Detergent-Be-Used-In-He-Washers.htm">HE detergent advice</a> I&#39;ve found. I use mostly powders in my standard washer. A little testing should help you discover what&#39;s best in your situation.</p> <p><em>What&#39;s your favorite homemade laundry soap recipe?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes" class="sharethis-link" title="5 DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home diy detergent diy soap laundry detergent soap recipes Thu, 30 Jan 2014 11:36:20 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1119567 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-90087167.jpg" alt="cash gift" title="cash gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cash in a card for Christmas is acceptable, but, let&#39;s be honest, it&#39;s not very creative. This year, make your loved ones work hard for their money by presenting their cash gifts in exciting and intricate ways. Take a look at these fun ways to wrap the gift of cash that are sure to bring a smile to everyone&#39;s face. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-give-cash-as-a-gift?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Gift Cash</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stuff the Cash in Balloons</h2> <p>The occasion of<a href="http://www.shescraftycrafty.com/2012/01/birthday-balloons.html"> this post from She&#39;s Crafty</a> was a birthday, but it transfers to the holidays just as well. Grab a few balloons &mdash; preferably red, green, and white to make it more festive &mdash; stuff a dollar bill (or a high dollar amount if you&#39;re a big spender) into each balloon, and blow them up. Stuff the balloons in a box, wrap it, and enjoy the merriment of watching the recipient pop his or her way to riches.</p> <h2>2. Craft a Festive Money Tree</h2> <p>We can all agree that life would be much better if money grew on trees, but since that&#39;s not likely, the next best thing might be <a href="http://www.thenshemade.com/2010/12/week-of-gifts-day-5.html">this money tree made from actual money</a>. And unlike the dying spruce in your living room, this tree is truly evergreen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-clever-and-attractive-ways-to-save-on-gift-wrapping-paper?ref=seealso">15 Cheap and Clever Ways to Save on Gift Wrapping</a>)</p> <h2>3. Weave a Tropical-Inspired Money Lei</h2> <p>Can&#39;t afford to send your favorite nephew on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii? At least you can help him get into the tropical spirit and facilitate saving for the trip with this<a href="http://lilluna.com/how-to-make-money-leis/"> money lei</a>. It only takes a few supplies to put this together &mdash; about 30 to 35 bills (printing paper in the color of your choice), glue spots, a hot glue gun and sticks, and ribbon &mdash; and the post includes instructions on how to fold the bills into lei-like &quot;flowers.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Attach a Money Rosette to a Wrapped Package</h2> <p>Thinking of giving a cash gift in addition to a packaged gift to a recipient this year? Make the present really pop by attaching a <a href="http://justsomethingimade.com/2013/03/amy-powers-inspired-ideas-spring-issue-and-the-money-rosette/">money rosette</a>. This project may take a bit of dedication &mdash; there&#39;s lots of precision folding involved &mdash; but there are step-by-step instructions available that will walk your through the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-holiday-gifts-that-you-yes-you-can-make-with-paper?ref=seealso">10 Gifts You Can Make With Paper</a>)</p> <h2>5. Slip a Money Ring on His Finger</h2> <p>If diamonds are a girl&#39;s best friend, bling made out of a Benjamin might just be a guy&#39;s.<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-an-Easy-Dollar-Bill-Origami-Ring-for-Y/"> Instructables has easy directions</a> on how to turn money into a fashion-forward accessory using an origami technique. To present it, place it in a nice ring box and wrap.</p> <h2>6. Design a Money Book</h2> <p>The recipient won&#39;t have to work as hard to get the money out of this gift presentation as they do with the previous suggestions on this list, but it&#39;s a cute idea nonetheless. While there aren&#39;t any detailed instructions <a href="http://emmersideas.blogspot.com/2008/03/gift-idea.html">how to create this money book</a>, it seems fairly simple. Find a money-sized photo album at a craft store, remove the insides and replace with bills. The crafter hot glued the bills together so they stayed put but also so they can be torn off one by one like pages from a notebook.</p> <h2>7. Deliver a Bucket O&#39; Bucks</h2> <p>I like this<a href="http://janie-mac.blogspot.com/"> bucket o&#39; bucks idea</a> because it can serve as two gifts in one for an outdoorsy person in your life, and it&#39;s super easy to put together. First, find an appropriate vessel in which to put the money &mdash; it could be a bucket, a cooler, a lunch box, whatever container is useful and that you think the recipient would like. When you have the container, fill it with rolled-up dollar bills held together by ribbon, string, or even rubber bands. This gift also makes for a nice surprise because the recipient will probably expect to open an empty container, but then, whoop, there it is! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving?ref=seealso">Stress-Free Holiday Gift Giving</a>)</p> <h2>8. Hang a Money-Filled Ornament From the Tree</h2> <p>For this idea, you&#39;ll need a clear glass globe ornament, ribbon, bills, and decorating pens/paint. First, decorate the outside of the ornament with decorating pens or paint; you&#39;ll want to do this first so you can start with a new ornament if you mess up. You can write the recipient&#39;s name and add other festive features. Next, remove the aluminum cover from the top of the ornament and stuff in rolled dollar bills tied with ribbon. Replace the aluminum cap and attach a ribbon at the top of the ornament for decoration and string a thin ribbon through the hanging hole so you can hang the ornament on the tree.</p> <p>Unfortunately this is not a keepsake ornament as the recipient will have to break the ornament unless they plan to spend most of the day fishing out the bills with a pair of tweezers, but the thoughtfulness of the presentation will go a long way.</p> <h2>9. Freeze Cold Hard Cash in a Jar</h2> <p>I saw this idea on Pinterest, and it&#39;s really cool. In a large jar, add a layer of coins and add just enough water to cover the coins. Freeze the jar. While the previous layer is still frozen, repeat these steps with different colored water until the jar is full. It&#39;s a tedious process, and it will make the recipient work a bit harder than they may want to, but it&#39;s at least a little bit funny &mdash; so long as the recipient has a good sense of humor, of course.</p> <h2>10. Replace a Few Chocolates in a Box With Money</h2> <p>This money-gift presentation couldn&#39;t be easier. Pick up a nice box of chocolates &mdash; there are plenty available this time of year &mdash; and remove a few piece of chocolate from inside. In their place, put folded bills in the paper wrappers. Voila, instant double gift! This also is a pleasant surprise for you, too, since you get to eat the pieces of chocolate that you remove. Just don&#39;t go overboard!</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to present a money gift in a fun, fresh way? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY cash DIY gift wrap gifts Wed, 18 Dec 2013 10:48:46 +0000 Mikey Rox 1100563 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 DIYs For a Sparkling Clean Bathroom http://www.wisebread.com/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning-153187215.jpg" alt="cleaning" title="cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Transform your bathroom into the best room in the house with DIYs that save you money and keep things nice and clean. And all of these cleaners are so easy to put together, which makes having them on hand a big plus. Here are a few of our favorites:</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Cleaning-Products-28901279">Make These 24 DIY Cleaning Products For Pennies</a></p> <h2>Toilet Bomb Fizzies</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-fizzles-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 549px;" /></p> <p>Make these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Toilet-Bomb-Fizzies-31734698">toilet bomb fizzies</a> to flush away the bad smells &mdash; it works much better than lighting a match.</p> <h2>Counter Wipes</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-wipes-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Not only do these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Make-Cleaning-Wipes-29438958/">counter wipes</a> do a great job of quickly cleaning your space, they look pretty nice, too. Don&#39;t have a coffee can hanging around? Use a 64-ounce yogurt tub instead.</p> <h2>Tub, Tile, and Grout Help</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-tub-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Stash a container of this easy and <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Bathroom-Cleaner-27898727/">eco-friendly tub, tile, and grout scrub</a> under your bathroom sink to keep your bath sparkling.</p> <h2>Commode Cleaner</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-toilet-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Keep things spotless with the help of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Toilet-Bowl-Cleaner-28855947/">DIY toilet bowl cleaner</a> that helps you scrub away stains and unwanted smells.</p> <h2>Bye-Bye, Hard Water Stains</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-hardwater-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>If you&#39;ve got glass shower doors, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Clean-Hard-Water-Stains-31408262/">this DIY</a> does an amazing job of busting through hard water stains.</p> <h2>Happy Drains</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-drains-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Keep your drains flowing with the help of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Drain-Cleaner-30796532/">all-natural drain cleaner</a>.</p> <h2>Toilet Roll Trick</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-roll-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>You&#39;ll wonder why you didn&#39;t think of <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Scent-Toilet-Paper-Roll-Essential-Oil-32376451/">this smart idea earlier</a>.</p> <h2>Air Freshener</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-airfresh-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Sometimes you need a little extra help making things smell better in the bathroom, which makes tucking a bottle of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Air-Freshener-26680750/">eco-friendly air freshener</a> in your medicine cabinet a smart idea.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> From air to toilet to tub, keep your bathroom nice and clean with these easy (and effective!) DIY cleaners. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Organize-Bathroom-22525237">8 Smart Ideas for Bathroom Organization</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Bathroom-Cleaning-Checklist-28307560">Scrub-a-Dub: The Ultimate Bathroom Cleaning Checklist</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Shorten-Cleaning-Time-22498197">11 Ways to Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Green Living bathroom DIY household cleaners Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:48:09 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1098646 at http://www.wisebread.com