DIY http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4801/all en-US 37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74703775_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="upcycle your empty milk jugs with these craft ideas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I like to make stuff.</p> <p>Alas, I have a zero dollar budget for craft supplies. But who needs money when you've got a recycling bin full of possibilities? Before you throw out another plastic milk jug, consider the crafty potential. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>Toys and the Like</h2> <p>Like that old saying goes: If you chop your own wood, you warm yourself twice. Now apply that maxim to toys (and other stuff.)</p> <h3>1. Dutch treat</h3> <p>Can a Netherlander please explain why pink milk jugs exist for any reason other than as the raw material for these cute <a href="http://www.zelfmaakideetjes.nl/decoratie/laat-je-kinderen-sparen-de-12-leukste-spaarpotten-die-je-zelf-of-samen-kunt-maken/8118/5/">piggy banks</a>?</p> <h3>2. Button Spinners</h3> <p>These mesmerizing <a href="http://www.housingaforest.com/homemade-toys-button-spinner/">party favors</a> can be whipped up in a flash using supplies from the junk drawer.</p> <h3>3. Beach Shovel</h3> <p>Make a speedy vacation toy that you won't have to bring home. This is a great community <a href="http://tinkerlab.com/milk-jug-shovel/">sandbox tool</a>. It's no big deal if you forget it at the playground. When it breaks, you can recycle it without guilt.</p> <h3>4. Toy Scoop</h3> <p>As a beekeeper, I actually use this scoop design to pick up bees. The thin edge of the milk jug allows me to pick up piles of bees without squishing anyone. But this scoop is also a <a href="http://craftyjournal.com/milk-jug-toy-scoop/">great cleanup tool for Lego blocks</a>. Yeah, it's a <a href="http://www.gapphotos.com/imagedetails.asp?view=making-a-scoop-out-of-a-recycled-milk-carton-&amp;imageno=89487">glorified dustpan</a>. But crafters take note: The edge of the dustpan will let you clean up the finest of powders.</p> <h3>5. Word Whale</h3> <p>Cute-ify your toy scoop with a sharpie and some creative cutting to make this <a href="http://deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com/2012/07/word-eating-whale-nouns-verbs.html">super-functional tub toy</a>. Christian mommy bloggers use this DIY toy to tell the story of Jonah and the whale, but extra credit goes to the mom who figured out how to turn the milk jug caps into floating vocabulary cards for kids.</p> <h3>6. Water Balloon Jug Toss</h3> <p>Weaponize your Word Whale by turning it into a <a href="http://kidfriendlythingstodo.com/2015/07/diy-milk-jug-water-balloon-launch-outdoor-summer-game-for-kids/#_a5y_p=4086828">water balloon launcher</a>.</p> <h3>7. Snowflake Ornaments</h3> <p>All you need to make these <a href="http://eveofreduction.com/recycled-craft-how-to-make-milk-jug-snowflakes/">Martha Stewart-worthy winter decorations</a> is an X-ACTO knife, scissors, a cookie cutter, a hole punch, and a washable marker.</p> <h3>8. Butterflies</h3> <p>All the fun of the classic vintage toy without the toxic fumes! Milk jugs are translucent enough that you can trace pictures through it, so you can use clip art, comic books, or any small illustration as the basis for these art pieces. Use a thin black Sharpie pen to trace the outlines and color in the image with colored permanent markers. Although <a href="http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/milk-jug-decorative-window-crafts/">the instructions</a> for this project were written for small children, the <a href="http://alphamom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/milkjugbutterflytemplate2.pdf">butterflies</a> are so pretty that even teenagers and adults will want to get in on the coloring action. Warning: this is addictive.</p> <h3>9. Hanging Mobile</h3> <p>Wondering what to do with your growing squadron of no shrink Shrinky-Dink Butterflies? Turn them into a mobile for the newest baby you know.</p> <h3>10. Bunting</h3> <p>Do you want to hoard your handmade ornaments and butterflies all to yourself? Display your collected works as a <a href="http://remadesimpleblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/milk-jug-love.html">bunting</a>.</p> <h3>11. Stencils</h3> <p>Are you a ninja with scissors? Upcycle the leftovers from your upcycled project into another tool. Use the plastic outline leftovers from your snowflakes, butterflies, etc. to make your own <a href="http://adirondackgirlatheart.com/2015/01/recycled-milk-carton-stencils.html">stencils</a>.</p> <h3>12. Reading Igloo</h3> <p>Go big or go home! This <a href="http://blog.re-play.com/crafts/reading-igloo/">playhouse</a> is perfect for kids and <a href="http://rachfeed.com/video-tutorial-how-to-make-an-igloo-using-milk-jugs/">adults</a>.</p> <h3>13. Halloween Skeleton</h3> <p>Win the neighborhood pumpkin-carving contest without even touching squash. <a href="http://littlegenegreenbean.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/mr-bottle-bones.html?&amp;cuid=dbeefa0816fb06639c767cc736897188">Mr. Bottle Bones</a> is made entirely of recycled milk jugs.</p> <h3>14. El Esqueleto</h3> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvtdBrKN0h0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Since I live in a Latino neighborhood, instead of Mr. Bottle Bones, I am making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvtdBrKN0h0">Señor Botella de Huesos</a> for Dia de los Muertos.</p> <h3>15. Dinosaur Skull</h3> <p>Why limit yourself to human skeletons? <a href="http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/dinosaurs.html#milkjug">Faux dinosaur taxidermy</a> will improve any décor. Trust me on this.</p> <h2>16. Space Cadet</h2> <p><a href="http://chefhades.blogspot.com/2012/02/space-cadets.html?m=1">Milk jug astronaut helmet</a>? $0. Hilarious photographs of your children looking ridiculous? Priceless.</p> <h3>17. Roman Helmet</h3> <p>&quot;I'm Spartacus!&quot; &quot;No, <em>I'm</em> Spartacus!&quot; Fortunately, there are enough milk jugs in the recycling bin that you can all be <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fd/d6/df/fdd6df52f6e7193c1bd916ada8efe26d.jpg">Spartacus</a>.</p> <h3>18. Lion Mask</h3> <p>Mix and match your new <a href="https://existenciando.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/mascaras-de-papel/">lion mask</a> with your roman helmet for gladiator larping.</p> <h3>19. Cone of Shame</h3> <p>My vet charges $10 for those stupid, plastic <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/Alternative-To-Elizabethan-Pet-Collar-1.html">Elizabethan collars</a> aka lampshades. Make your own shaming tool for your pet out of a plastic jug for free.</p> <h3>20. Carnival Masks</h3> <p>Carnivale, Mardi Gras, Halloween. <a href="http://diytag.com/carnival-masks-with-recycled-milk-jug/">This classic mask</a> design also works for Stanley Kubrick-themed costume parties.</p> <h3>21. Easter Gear</h3> <p>Skip buying plastic boxes at the dime store, and upcycle your own <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/97/90/97/979097dc070fde756d76787fceefdddf.jpg">Easter accessories</a>. I mean, how cute are these <a href="http://larajanetownsend.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/make-me-milk-bottle-easter-bunny.html">Easter bunny</a> egg holders?</p> <h3>22. Gift Box</h3> <p>Although this design is billed as a sandwich keeper, this <a href="http://www.cremedelacraft.com/2013/07/DIY-Milk-Jug-Lunch-Box.html">simple folded box</a> would make a cute and reusable alternative to a gift bag.</p> <h2>Lighting Design</h2> <p>The Internet is full of shockingly beautiful and elegant lamp shades made from recycled milk jugs.</p> <h3>23. Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier</h3> <p>Hide the ugly lighting in your rental apartment with this <a href="http://shoestringpavilion.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/faux-capiz-shell-chandelier.html">chic and cheap</a> hack.</p> <h3>24. Jellyfish Chandelier</h3> <p>Use this artist's <a href="http://www.beautifullife.info/industrial-design/medusae-pendant-lamps-by-roxy-towry-russell/">seriously gorgeous work</a> as inspiration.</p> <h3>25. IQ Lamp</h3> <p>Don't worry. You don't need brains, just good hand-eye coordination, to make this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Contruct-IQ-LAMP-Using-Milk-Carton/">incredible fixture</a>.</p> <h3>26. Flower Party Lights</h3> <p>If you can make a bunting, you can make these <a href="https://recreationsproject.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/tutorial-milk-jug-flower-lights/">glamorous mini shades</a> for your twinkle lights.</p> <h3>27. Ambient Lamp</h3> <p>It's not cute, just incredibly clever. Turn a headlamp and a milk jug full of water into a <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5896796/make-an-ambient-lamp-out-of-a-milk-jug">camping lantern</a>.</p> <h3>28. Lotus Votive Holders</h3> <p>Everyone looks more attractive in the dark. Unplug yourself from modern life for one weekend and enjoy the <a href="http://www.blissbloomblog.com/2013/04/make-milk-jug-votives.html#.V61NoJMrIk5">candlelight</a>.</p> <h2>House and Garden Tools</h2> <p>Although plastic milk jugs are great for arts and crafts, I personally prefer to hack milk jugs to create lightweight, recyclable tools.</p> <h3>29. Watering Can</h3> <p>Yeah, I know. <a href="http://ajourneytoadream.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/helpful-yet-simple-diy-for-spring.html?showComment=1332868588728">This is so obvious</a>. I use my old milk jugs to collect, store, and dispense <a href="http://www.wormcompostinghq.com/how-to-use-worm-compost/how-to-make-compost-tea-with-worm-castings">worm tea</a> with no spillage.</p> <h3>30. Ollas</h3> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pCkeB2l3ODQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Ollas are an ancient <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCkeB2l3ODQ">below-ground watering system</a>. Traditional Ollas are made from clay, but modern life gives me no time and milk jugs. I use what I've got.</p> <h3>31. Garden Cloches</h3> <p><a href="http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/546/">Cloches</a> are miniature greenhouses, traditionally made from glass. But a plastic milk jug cloche works just the same.</p> <h3>32. Plant Labels</h3> <p>Why pay for plastic plant stakes or garden tags when you can make your own? I use a box cutter and a metal ruler to cut the flat sides of the jugs into thin strips. Pro tip: it's easier to write with a permanent marker on the textured side of the plastic.</p> <h3>33. Measuring Scoops</h3> <p>Yes, this is the practical version of the Word Whale. Avoid cross-contamination by using these home made <a href="http://www.nwedible.com/garbage-made-useful-milk-jug-garden/">measuring cups</a> to measure out stinky stuff like fertilizer or paint.</p> <h3>34. Portable Storage for the Garage</h3> <p>A variation on those measuring scoops also make <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/garage/storage/reclaim-your-garage-organize-it#21">handy organizers</a> for hardware and other small things that get lost in the garage.</p> <h3>35. Vertical Garden</h3> <p>If you have a thin balcony or porch railing, you won't even need to build the trellis to use this sleek, space-saving garden hack. For safety and picking ease, just face these <a href="http://www.1001gardens.org/2013/10/vertical-garden-with-reused-plastic-milk-bottles/">hanging planters</a> toward the inside of your balcony, please.</p> <h3>36. Upside Down Tomato Planters</h3> <p>As seen on TV&hellip; but a lot cheaper. Grow tomatoes upside down inside <a href="http://www.dreamgarden101.com/milk-jug-upside-down-planter/">hanging milk jug planters</a>.</p> <h3>37. Beaded Curtain</h3> <p>Don't forget to save those milk jug lids to upcycle into that <a href="http://fvue.nl/wiki/Wave">beaded curtain</a> your yard always needed.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite milk jug hack? Please share your DIY genius.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY arts and crafts milk jug plastic milk jug recycle reuse upcycle Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Max Wong 1779111 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_white_crib_97471605.jpg" alt="Learning creative ways to upcycle used baby furniture" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every parent knows just how costly it can be to set up a nursery. From cribs and changing tables, to dressers and chairs, you can spend many thousands creating the perfect room. And then, after a few years, it's time to get rid of most of it. With safety regulations constantly changing, it may not be possible to <em>sell </em>used baby furniture on the secondhand market. But with a little creative thinking, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes" target="_blank">repurpose these items</a>. Here are eight ideas to get you started.</p> <h2>1. Turn a Crib Into a Kids' Workstation</h2> <p>Cribs can be an expensive purchase, and yet they don't serve much of a purpose beyond a few years. However, with a little creativity and ingenuity, you can turn that crib into a wonderful desk/workstation that is the perfect height for you children. This <a href="http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html">instruction guide</a> gives you all the tips you need to create a workstation that's both attractive and functional, and reuses almost all of the crib. All you really need to purchase for the conversion is a piece of MDF or particleboard, and some blackboard paint.</p> <h2>2. Use the Crib Spring as a Drying Rack/Pot Rack</h2> <p>If you dismantle the crib and are wondering what to do with the crib spring, don't throw it out. With some chain, a few hooks, and a little paint, you can turn that boring crib spring into a drying rack for the laundry room, or a <a href="http://adiamondinthestuff.com/2013/10/crib-spring-drying-rack-wash-room-decor.html">pot rack for the kitchen</a>. Just make sure the ceiling hooks you use go into something substantial, you don't want the whole thing coming down on you.</p> <h2>3. That Old Changing Table Makes a Great Potting Station</h2> <p>The basic changing table &mdash; three shelves, the top one being used to hold a changing pad &mdash; is a functional piece of furniture for any baby room. Of course, once the toddler is out of wearing diapers, there's not much call for it. Well, the way it is set up makes it an ideal potting table. You really don't need to do much to it, other than painting it a color that matches your new set up. If you have a little more time and materials, you can add a handy hutch to the top, making the changing table into a <a href="http://www.shelstring.com/2011/06/baby-to-potter.html">fully functional potting station</a>.</p> <h2>4. An Old Dresser Can Become a Kitchen Island</h2> <p>This doesn't just apply to the baby dresser, but any old dresser you have that has outlived its usefulness in the bedroom. <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/painted-dresser-as-kitchen-isl-97355">Take an old dresser</a>, apply a new coat of paint, and add some hooks, a paper towel holder, a stone top, and some new hardware. The result is a kitchen island that completely transforms the look and feel of the room. If you don't like stone, you could make the top of the island a butcher block. Add wheels, and it could move from kitchen to dining room, making a handy serving station.</p> <h2>5. Crib Sides Make Great Magazine Racks</h2> <p>Turn a crib on its side 90 degrees, and you suddenly have a whole lot of real estate that will hold dozens of magazines comfortably. The best part is, this is as simple as remove the side and propping it at a slight angle against the wall. Voilà, <a href="http://nodimedesign.blogspot.com/2012/04/reduce-recycle-reuse-and-renew.html">instant magazine rack</a>. If you want something a bit more permanent, you can mount it to the wall, either at an angle, or flush (leaving enough room to let the magazines easily slide over the rails). A touch of paint can really make this one stand out as a feature on a wall.</p> <h2>6. Turn That Crib Mattress Into Outdoor Seating</h2> <p>While you're busy turning the crib into something cool, don't ignore the mattress. With a little ingenuity, you can quickly turn it into a fun and <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8c/34/85/8c3485907e9c997e1704c0ac41983288.jpg">functional outdoor seating station</a>. It can be as simple as a crib mattress cover, some old palettes, and some throw pillows. Many crib mattresses are designed to be waterproof, for obvious reasons, so they hold up well outdoors. You can also <a href="http://fabrehabcreations.blogspot.com/2012/01/repurposing-crib-mattress-into-kids.html">turn it into a daybed</a> for use indoors.</p> <h2>7. A Changing Table Can Be Transformed Into a Bar Cart</h2> <p>Or a dessert trolley, if you feel the need to wheel out your impressive confections on a regular basis. However, <a href="http://www.rusticrediscovered.com/2013/08/my-new-bar-cart.html">the bar cart</a> is a fantastic use for that old changing table, and with some wheels and a new paint job, few people will recognize it as a piece of old baby furniture. Adding a cheap accordion-style wine rack is a great finishing touch, especially if you paint it the same color as the cart.</p> <h2>8. Use Crib Ends to Create a Cool Chalkboard Easel</h2> <p>If you happen to have a crib with a solid headboard and footboard, you can quickly and easily turn them into a <a href="http://www.the-red-kitchen.com/2010/02/crib-to-easel.html">very cool easel for signage</a>. Use chalkboard paint (or whiteboard material), and you can make it customizable on a daily basis, which is great for small businesses. But it's also a very handy thing to have to announce birthday parties, anniversaries, play dates, and so on.</p> <p><em>What have you done with furniture the kids have outgrown?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Home baby furniture changing tables crafts cribs decorating repurposing upcycling Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Paul Michael 1757120 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/backyard_party_78624345.jpg" alt="Family creating a dream backyard on a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer has arrived, and your number one priority might be giving your backyard or other outdoor space a party-perfect makeover.&nbsp;We chatted with DIY and design experts Ben and Erin Napier, who are currently working with <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/">Bank of America</a> to provide brilliant tips on how to make a dreamy outdoor space on the cheap. Ben and Erin approach their projects with a realistic and relatable point of view, because they want you to succeed without having to sacrifice. All of their projects are attainable &mdash; even by the newbiest of newbies. And what's better than that?</p> <p>Here are some of their best pearls of outdoor DIY wisdom.</p> <h2>Start With Seating and Lighting</h2> <p>If you're planning on hosting a summer soiree, you need the right seating and the right ambience to make it memorable. Erin Napier told us that she and Ben prefer to entertain at night, since it gets so hot during the day where they live. She also suggested stringing party lights around the yard to create a magical setting. For additional seating and decor, &quot;pull things from inside the house into the backyard. Bring rugs and lamps and the dinner table outside, and it makes great décor. Just make sure to bring them back inside before it rains!&quot; Erin said.</p> <p>Unfortunately, since mosquitoes and summer typically go hand in hand, do what you can to keep those pests away. Erin suggests going with citronella plants over the typical candles and sprays.&quot; If you can find citronella plants, buy all they have! Put them in pots and they keep away mosquitoes and bugs. Plants do an awesome job keeping bugs away naturally, and they are just as good as candles. You just need to have them strategically placed around your yard,&quot; she said. You can find these at Home Depot, or any major garden center.</p> <p>Just be careful if you're a dog owner, as they can be <a href="https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-mosquito-plants/">toxic to dogs</a>.</p> <h2>3 Yard Decor Choices Even the Pros Worry About</h2> <p>When it comes to DIYing, mistakes are part of the journey. But to avoid any missteps that can easily destroy your budget, Ben and Erin recommend being cautious in three areas: Lawn furniture, paint for your porch, and flowers.</p> <p>When asked what people typically overspend on, Ben told us, &quot;Lawn furniture that&rsquo;s not going to hold up and be durable. Be sure to look for metal that can be used year after year with a metal-bonding paint.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of paint, don't waste your money on latex paint for your porch. Erin said, &quot;Painting a porch with latex paint is a bad idea. You'll need to redo it because it doesn't hide scratches. Only use old-ace enamel paint because will hold up for a few years.&quot;</p> <p>As for flowers, Erin is all about perennials. &quot;They bloom all year long, even in colder months, whereas annuals need to be replanted.&quot;</p> <p>When it comes to lawn care, Ben reminds us that timing is everything. &quot;It gets so hot in Mississippi, people water and mow their yards in brutal heat during the afternoon, which does more harm than good. Do the mowing and watering in the early morning, and cut your yard a little taller in order to create shade for the roots and allow for more water to be absorbed.&quot;</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WaYqp0rHhBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So in terms of staying on budget, Ben says you need to set a budget, choose priorities, and make a plan. Once you're ready to shop, you can earn cash back with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-cash-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_campaign=napier" target="_blank">BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card</a>. Or really, anytime you shop, this card should be in your wallet. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. Knowing what to buy for the backyard, you can get cash back on your DIY buys, which can help extend your budget.</p> <h2>Must-Have Tools</h2> <p>Not all tools are created equal, so make sure you have the right ones in your toolbox before you start redecorating. Ben's three must-haves are a drill, a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Erin added, &quot;And a caulk gun. That's worth spending money on. Tape measures are a must, too. We seem to have thousands of them.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>And in terms of splurging on the right tools, if you have a little wiggle room in your budget, and plan to do more DIY projects in the future, Ben recommends getting a skill saw, a miter saw, and a table saw.</p> <p>For more of Ben and Erin's home improvement tips, and some brilliant how-to videos, head over to <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/" target="_blank">Bank of America</a>. Also, be sure to check out their blog at <a href="https://erinandben.co/">https://erinandben.co/</a>. They update it every day with more fun and creative ideas.</p> <p><em>Do you have any additional outdoor DIY tips you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting DIY Home credit cards decor design DIY diy projects gardening home improvement interview lifestyle outdoor decor party tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1737243 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_5549801_LARGE.jpg" alt="reusing plastic shopping bags" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plastic shopping bags, once a staple at every store you could think of, are under attack. In August 2014, California imposed a <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/plastic-bag-legislation.aspx">statewide ban on plastic bags</a>. The same bags are also banned in Hawaii, and the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. And on May 5th, New York City Council approved a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/nyregion/new-york-city-council-backs-5-cent-fee-on-plastic-bags.html?_r=0">$0.05 fee on plastic grocery bags</a>. Make no mistake, plastic bags are either going to disappear from your state, or start costing you. So, when you do get a bunch, what are you going to do with them? They can be <a href="http://ecowatch.com/2013/08/06/the-danger-of-plastic-bags-to-marine-life/">hazardous to marine life</a>, and the environment, so you don't want to throw them in the trash. Instead, you can get crafty. Here are 18 ways you can reuse those plastic shopping bags.</p> <h2>1. Use Them as Packing Material</h2> <p>Forget packing peanuts and bubble wrap. That stuff is expensive, and as you usually never see it again, you're throwing your money away. Instead, pack your fragile items in a thick and cushioned cocoon of old plastic bags. If you have bags that are free from holes, you can even blow air into them and create an air pillow. But even just using them scrunched up, you can keep items safe and sound without having to buy pricey packing supplies.</p> <h2>2. Cover Paint Trays</h2> <p>When you're painting a room in your home, you will find out quickly that paint trays are a pain to wash out. You can buy paint tray liners, but at over $1 a pop, that's a lot of money to throw away. Instead, grab a plastic shopping bag and put the paint tray inside it. Flatten it down, pour the paint as usual, and you have a paint tray liner that cost almost nothing. When you're done, let it dry, remove it, and turn it inside out. Then, use it again. You can also use plastic bags to wrap your paintbrushes in. Do this for the duration of the job, instead of washing each time.</p> <h2>3. Scoop the Poop</h2> <p>When you walk the dog, take plastic grocery bags with you. You can't count on the local park having a well-stocked supply of poop bags, and you don't want to be that dog owner that just walks away from the mess. The bags are perfect for scooping, tying, and disposing. A word of caution though; make sure the bags don't have those safety holes in the bottom. Scoop with one of those and you'll be scrubbing your hands with bleach for a while. Ugh.</p> <h2>4. Line Bathroom Trashcans</h2> <p>Plastic grocery bags are the perfect size for the little trash cans you have in the bathroom or office. Sometimes you'll need to stretch out the top a little to make it fit snug, but it works. You should also keep a few extra bags at the bottom of the can, so you can quickly take out the old one and replace it with a fresh one. Stock up once a month.</p> <h2>5. Dispose of Cat Litter</h2> <p>Keep a big supply of plastic bags next to the cat litter boxes. When it comes time to scoop and sift, the plastic grocery bags are perfect for holding the clumps. Then, tie a couple of knots and throw away as usual. If you have an old diaper genie, you can store them in there until it gets full, saving you a few trips to the garbage can. If your plastic bag is big enough, you can also use it as a liner to the cat tray.</p> <h2>6. Separate Wet Clothes From Dry</h2> <p>If you go swimming, take plastic bags with you in your gym bag. When you're done, put the wet clothes in the bag and tie it up, then pop it in the gym bag and you'll avoid getting your other clothes wet. You can use the same trick if you're traveling. Put your used clothes and underwear in plastic bags if you don't have access to laundry, and wash when you get home.</p> <h2>7. Make an Emergency Rain Hat</h2> <p>You. Will. Look. Ridiculous. But, do you care about looking silly, or keeping your head dry? You can easily turn a plastic bag into a makeshift rain hat and it will protect your hair and head from a downpour. Who knows, maybe it will become the next big fashion trend. You can also use the same hack as a shower cap.</p> <h2>8. Create Bags, Rope, and More!</h2> <p>If you're very crafty, patient, and have a <em>lot</em> of plastic bags at home, you can make some incredible things from them. For instance, <a href="http://allwomenstalk.com/8-clever-uses-for-plastic-bags/2">here is a crocheted bag</a> made entirely from old plastic shopping bags. It will last hundreds of trips to the store, and looks cool. You can also make a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KiZXRK5h44">very sturdy rope</a>, friendship bracelets, sandals, and whatever else you can imagine.</p> <h2>9. Use as Furniture Stuffing</h2> <p>Plastic bags are soft, and when you put a bunch of them together, you can fill out pillows and cushions without spending a dime on polyester padding. One quick idea&hellip; get an old pillowcase or cushion cover, stuff it with old plastic bags, and sew it shut. You now have a cheap pet pillow for a dog or cat that you won't mind throwing away once it's well used.</p> <h2>10. Store Food in the Fridge</h2> <p>Before reaching for the cling wrap or foil, see if a plastic grocery bag will do the job first. They are a handy size for storing watermelons that have been cut in half, and also cover whole plates of food. Just make sure the bag you're using is clean and dry, and has not been used to hold anything hazardous to anyone's health.</p> <h2>11. Sick Bag!</h2> <p>How many times have you been driving along when a young kid says, &quot;I'm gonna be sick!&quot; Well, you have a few options. After you panic, you can try and find a place to pull over. That isn't always possible though. The kid could roll down the window and try throwing up but really, that's a mess just waiting to happen &mdash; and other drivers will not be happy. Instead, just keep a few grocery bags (without safety holes) in the glove compartment. They make excellent sick bags that can be tied and thrown away at the next rest stop.</p> <h2>12. Protect Plants From Frost</h2> <p>If you live in a place where the climate cannot make up its mind (psst&hellip; looking at you, Colorado) then you may have plants out ready for summer that could be at risk of a frost attack. You can protect them by wrapping a plastic grocery bag around them overnight, and removing it in the morning.</p> <h2>13. Go Fly a Kite</h2> <p>The lightweight plastic is perfect for catching and holding the wind, and can easily be made into a simple kite to keep the kids entertained at the park. All you need is a plastic grocery bag (or more, depending on how big you want to go), some plastic or wooden sticks, tape, and kite string. Make a cross shape with the sticks, tape it together, wrap the bag(s) around it, secure with more tape, and finally, securely attach the kite string. You can also use a few bags for a tail. Get creative. It's a fun project with a fun outcome.</p> <h2>14. Emergency Gloves</h2> <p>Keep plastic grocery bags handy in the car and the garage. When you have to do something a little messy, especially where oil is concerned, you can pop a bag on each hand before you get to work. They're thin enough to allow you to feel what's going on, but durable enough to keep the oil and grease off your hands. This can also work for those nasty jobs like toilet cleaning, drain cleaning, and anything else that leaves your hands messy.</p> <h2>15. Drop Cloths</h2> <p>You can buy plastic drop cloths from hardware stores, but sometimes, you really don't need one that's 12-ft square. If you're doing some light touch-up work, maybe on a door, baseboard, or end table, cut open a grocery bag and place that down. Secure it with tape if need be.</p> <h2>16. Keep Feet Dry</h2> <p>When you're planning to head out into wintry weather, pop a plastic bag on each foot before you put your foot inside your boot or shoe. No matter what you encounter, your feet will be keep clean and bone dry while you get to work. The bags also add an extra layer of warmth.</p> <h2>17. Boil Water</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xV2gsWHhDhY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Seriously. If you're out in the wilderness, camping, or hiking, and need access to clean drinking water, a plastic grocery bag can be a lifesaver. This YouTube video shows you just how to make <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV2gsWHhDhY">fresh water with a plastic shopping bag</a>.</p> <h2>18. Make a Sling or Tourniquet</h2> <p>Another great survival tip; keep a few plastic bags handy when you go out into the wild, or off on another adventure. If the worst should happen, and you do get a wound, break, or other injury, a plastic bag can be used to tie off the circulation and/or make a handy sling.</p> <p><em>What are some other clever uses for plastic shopping bags? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture">8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Home grocery bags plastic bags recycle reduce waste reuse shopping bags upcycle Wed, 15 Jun 2016 09:30:48 +0000 Paul Michael 1731144 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/empty_glass_bottles_000056169688.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways t reuse empty glass bottles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was in a secondhand store recently and saw a beautiful corked bottle on the shelf for sale. It wasn't until I had it in my hand, reading the $3 price tag, that I recognized it as identical to the empty tequila bottle I'd tossed into the recycling earlier.</p> <p>Maybe you're embarrassed (like me) by the loud jingling sound when you push your bins to the curb, or you'd rather spend your money on a fine vintage than on home decor (like me); either way, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash" target="_blank">turning empty bottles into art</a>, light fixtures, and useful household objects is a smart move. Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Without a Glass Cutter</h2> <p>If you don't own a glass cutter or any other fancy tools, you can still get artsy with intact empties. For all these ideas, start by soaking the bottle in warm soapy water to get the label off. If there is any residue left after the soak, a solvent such as lighter fluid can get it off.</p> <h3>1. Bird Feeder</h3> <p>All you need to make an inverted <a href="https://thechickenstreet.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/wine-bottle-bird-feeder/">wine bottle into a bird feeder</a> is one plank of wood and some basic woodworking tools.</p> <h3>2. Candy Jar</h3> <p>Fill a clean, dry bottle with candy as an alternative to a treat bowl on your desk &mdash; or use mini bottles for candy-filled adult party favors. To dress it up, add a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Chalkboard-Painted-Wine-Bottle/step3/Actually-Painting-the-Bottle/">stripe of chalkboard paint</a>, where you can write the name of the gift recipient or party guest, or the type of candy.</p> <h3>3. Yard Torch</h3> <p>Anyone can stick a candle in an empty wine bottle, but with a few dollars' worth of supplies from the hardware store, you can <a href="http://helloglow.co/diy-wine-bottle-citronella-candles/">turn your empties into torches</a> that could stylishly illuminate your whole backyard. Just fill the bottle with marbles and fuel, stick a tiki wick through a metal coupler, and light it up.</p> <h3>4. Table Card Holder</h3> <p>At a rustic-style wedding, a wine bottle with a cork in the top could handily <a href="http://www.weddingchicks.com/2013/09/24/natural-chic-wedding/">hold a table number</a>. Slice the cork halfway down from the top, and place the card in the resulting slot.</p> <h3>5. Vase</h3> <p>While an unadorned empty bottle can hold flowers as is, you can also dress it up by painting the surface, swirling paint inside for a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/craft-of-the-day-paint-swirl-vase_n_1466328.html">Venetian glass effect</a>, or spraying it with adhesive and wrapping with a pretty ribbon.</p> <h3>6. Candelabra</h3> <p>Line up half a dozen identical empties (hello, six-pack discount) and put candles in the tops to make a casual candelabra. For more polish, spray the bottles with metallic paint. Or spring for one of these <a href="http://www.beveragefactory.com/wine/wine-gifts/fleur_wine_bottle_candelabra_42-232.html?CAWELAID=1372128416&amp;CAGPSPN=pla&amp;CAAGID=28020747258&amp;CATCI=pla-93389998458&amp;catargetid=320012430000341573&amp;cadevice=c&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw6sC5BRCogcaY_dKZ2nESJABsZihxgCrTjzNzhxPcnCAvSK_Iox2dRDGStb08-ayllmuLmBoCqunw_wcB">candelabra bottle toppers</a> to hold all your candles in a single bottle. You could <a href="http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2015/03/diy-wine-bottle-wall-sconce.html">attach your bottle candelabras to a sconce</a> to make them into permanent wall decor.</p> <h3>7. Rolling Pin</h3> <p>Keep a clean empty in the kitchen for this purpose.</p> <h3>8. Boot Holder</h3> <p>Have tall leather or vinyl boots that flop over on the closet floor and get unsightly creases? Put some pebbles in the bottom of empty bottles, and stand them up inside the boots to make them stand at attention.</p> <h3>9. Vessel for a Gift</h3> <p>A pretty, very clean bottle can be repurposed to hold so many homemade goodies: infused oils, homemade infused vodka, bubble bath &mdash; the options are endless. If the gift will take a long time to use, securely attach a fancy drawer pull to the cork to make the bottle easy to unstop.</p> <h3>10. Garden Edger</h3> <p>Bury your bottles upside down to demarcate the borders of your garden. This idea is probably best used in a yard not frequented by children who could break a bottle and get hurt.</p> <h3>11. Slow-Drip Irrigator</h3> <p>Drill a small hole through the cork, fill the bottle with water, replace cork, and place upside down in the planter.</p> <h3>12. Leveling Tool</h3> <p>When hanging framed pictures on the wall, use a bottle to make sure it's exactly straight. Fill the bottle with water even with the top of the label and hold it so that it's bottom is perfectly aligned with the frame's top. Adjust until the water in the bottle is level.</p> <h3>13. Bottle Tree</h3> <p>Popular in the <a href="http://ritamonette.blogspot.com/2010/12/legend-of-bottle-tree.html">American South</a> and linked to folk beliefs about trapping bad spirits in the glass, trees festooned with colored bottles can be a beautiful landscaping feature, especially in winter. There are many <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/2309jrw/bottle-trees/">spectacular ways to arrange bottles</a> on real trees or frames specially built for the purpose. Blue is the most popular color for these, so bring on the Bombay Sapphire gin, Skyy vodka, and Blue Nun wine.</p> <h2>With a Glass Cutter</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2210p40">Glass cutting tools</a> run from about $5 to $30 (not as fancy as I thought!). They can come in the form of a simple hand tool, or in the form of a drill bit. What they do is score the glass so that you can break it off along the score line. To break it, you need to alternately heat and cool the glass a few times. Or, you can knock the portion of the bottle below the score line off using a hammer. Then you need to sand the sharp edge. Using this technique, you can remove the bottom or top from a bottle, opening up more ways to reuse it.</p> <h3>14. Hanging Planter</h3> <p>Remove the bottom, then <a href="http://diyready.com/wine-bottle-crafts-how-to-make-wine-bottle-planters/">fill with plants</a> wrapped in moss for a cool upside-down, sun-catching planter.</p> <h3>15. Drinking Glasses</h3> <p>You'll see a lot of online tutorials on turning empty wine bottles into drinking glasses. While this is possible, keep in mind that the freshly cut edge of a bottle will be extremely sharp, and <a href="http://thespacebetweenblog.net/cut-bottle-string-trick-really-work/">may not cut cleanly</a>, depending on your method and skill. You'll need to do a lot of <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Drinking-Glasses-from-Wine-Bottles/">grinding and sanding</a> to get the edge smooth enough to raise to your lips.</p> <h3>16. Bottle Chandelier</h3> <p>There are many, many possible designs for chandeliers made of wine bottles online. What most designs have in common is that you cut your bottle open, <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/make-and-decorate/decorating/how-to-make-a-chandelier-from-old-wine-bottles">string a light inside it</a>, and attach it to a wood or metal holder to suspend from the ceiling. What with the glass cutting, the wood or metal working, and some minor electrical work, it's a bit of a project. But the results can be stunning, and would be great decor for a rec room, man cave, or deck.</p> <h2>With a Drill</h2> <p>Using a tile and glass bit, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/drills/how-to-drill-a-hole-in-glass/view-all#step2">drill a hole in a glass bottle</a> with a little practice and care.</p> <h3>17. Lantern</h3> <p>Drill a hole into the back of a wine bottle and thread through a string of small LED lights to make a beautiful lantern. This technique could also be used when making a chandelier.</p> <h3>18. Party Lights</h3> <p>Drill a hole in the bottom or side of a bottle, then <a href="http://witandwhistle.com/2009/11/03/diy-wine-bottle-light/">shove in a string of holiday lights</a>. You could also push the lights in the top of the bottle, but it wouldn't look as elegant.</p> <p><em>Any clever re-uses for glass bottles we've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">5 Pretty Projects for Pine Cones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living crafts decorating eco friendly empty bottles glass bottles lighting projects recycling Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1721636 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Things You Can Do Yourself Instead of Paying a Pro http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-you-can-do-yourself-instead-of-paying-a-pro <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-things-you-can-do-yourself-instead-of-paying-a-pro" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_painting_wall_000089121429.jpg" alt="Couple doing things themselves instead of hiring a pro" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on things you can do yourself instead of hiring a pro, ways to save at Disney World, and common mistakes you make when washing your face.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/6-things-you-can-yourself-instead-paying-professional/">6 Things You Can Do Yourself Instead of Paying a Professional</a> &mdash; Painting your house can be time-consuming, but it isn't hard to do and it's pretty cheap, considering you can reuse most of the supplies. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Save-Disney-World-40807372#photo-40807372">19 Ways to Save Big at Walt Disney World</a> &mdash; Staying at a Disney-owned resort? Skip the rental car and use the shuttle Disney's Magical Express to get around. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="https://www.lupgrade.com/common-mistakes-make-washing-face/">Common Mistakes You Make When Washing Your Face</a> &mdash; Using a Clearsonic tool or wash cloth to clean your skin is fine, but make sure you don't use it too often or press too hard. [Life Upgrade]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0521/Five-affordable-ideas-for-a-once-in-a-lifetime-vacation">Five affordable ideas for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation</a> &mdash; Abercrombie &amp; Kent's Kenya and Tanzania Wildlife Safari Package takes you to the Ngorongoro crater, home to about 25,000 large animals. This tour also includes other socially responsible excursions. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/05/24/summer-style-how-to-dress-for-an-outdoor-social-event/">Summer Style: How to Dress for an Outdoor Social Event</a> &mdash; Look sharp and stay cool at every outdoor event this summer with these style tips! [The Art of Manliness]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.financiallypoor.com/money-management/3-ways-to-get-over-your-financial-demons/">3 Ways To Get Over Your Financial Demons</a> &mdash; A great way to get your spending under control is to start carrying cash &mdash; and to use only cash to make purchases. [Financially Poor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneysoldiers.com/4-effective-ways-to-impress-your-boss/">4 Effective Ways to Impress Your Boss</a> &mdash; Be willing to pivot your priorities around those of your boss and the organization. [Money Soldiers]</p> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/17559/earn-extra-money-without-overtime.html">5 Ways to Earn Extra Money Without Taking Overtime</a> &mdash; Overtime isn't a reliable source of extra income. Earn more for the work you're already doing by asking for a raise. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theorderexpert.com/creative-ways-save-time/">5 Creative Ways to Save Time</a> &mdash; Consolidate similar tasks and work on them in bulk during a single session. [The Order Expert]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-easy-ways-to-make-learning-fun-for-your-child">4 Easy Ways to Make Learning Fun for Your Child</a> &mdash; Do you have your toddler with you when you&rsquo;re folding laundry? Say the name and color of the items you're folding. It's an easy way for your child to learn colors and vocabulary. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-you-can-do-yourself-instead-of-paying-a-pro">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks">Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY best money tips DIY Tue, 31 May 2016 15:53:23 +0000 Amy Lu 1719033 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_gardening_000088044735.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to dress up her garden for cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's spring, and you've had enough of being cooped up indoors. Outdoor living is experiencing a boom, with Americans now spending $60 billion a year sprucing up the space outside their homes, according to Garden Media Group. That's $200 for every American &mdash; even more when you consider all the people who don't have any outdoor space to spend on.</p> <p>So what if you don't have $200 or more, but you still want your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing" target="_blank">yard and garden to look nice</a>? There are lots of ways to brighten things up for free or cheap, especially if you're crafty.</p> <p>A word of advice before we start: If people start stopping by your yard asking how much your lawn ornaments cost, <em>you've gone too far</em>! Being mistaken for a yard sale is never a compliment.</p> <h2>Planters</h2> <p>You can spend anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars for pots to put plants in. But almost anything can hold a plant as long as you put drainage holes on the bottom. My uncle, the plumber, used to put his petunias in old toilets and bathtubs. It's not what I would choose, but it represented him.</p> <p>Start with these creative planter ideas, then think about what kind of containers would represent you. If you don't have the items around the house, many can be found free or cheap on Freecycle, at garage sales, or at thrift stores.</p> <h3>1. Give Pricey Planters the Boot</h3> <p>Have you got a single, outgrown child's boot in the back of your closet? <a href="https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/How-to-Make-a-Flower-Pot-out-of-an-Old-Rubber-Boot">Poke some holes in the bottom</a>, weight it with gravel, and you're ready to plant. If it's a plain old brown boot, you could always dress it up by painting on a design.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>2. Tin Pan Garden</h3> <p>Instead of buying terra cotta or plastic bowls for hanging planters, repurpose thrift store metal bowls, cups, or even coffee cans. Macrame straps were the crafty way to hang planters in decades past; for an update, try <a href="http://2knitsters.blogspot.ca/2010/08/my-mom-bought-this-little-gem-on-one-of.html">beaded wire</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>3. Have No Seat</h3> <p>Use an old, broken-down chair to dress up an ordinary planter. These instructions involve <a href="http://gardentherapy.ca/outdoor-chair-planter-project/">removing the seat</a>, if the chair has one, and putting on a fresh coat of paint.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $10&ndash;$20.</p> <h3>4. Barney Rubble Planter</h3> <p>For a rustic look, <a href="http://www.tampahomebody.com/tree-log-planter/">hollow out a fallen tree</a> trunk or limb and put plants inside.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free, if you have tools for the hollowing and drilling drainage holes.</p> <h3>5. Pedal Planter</h3> <p>It's a classic that's perfect for bike enthusiasts or those who want to imagine cycling along the canals of Amsterdam while they sit in the yard: The old <a href="http://www.organizedclutter.net/2013/07/add-bike-to-your-garden-just-for-fun-of.html">bicycle with a basket full of blooms</a>. Organized Clutter explains how she plopped a coconut fiber liner into an existing bike basket to make her planter.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5&ndash;$10 for the liner, assuming you can find a nonfunctional bike for free.</p> <h2>Lighting</h2> <p>Outdoor lighting can be pricey, but going without reduces the number of hours that you can enjoy your patio &mdash; especially if you live in a region where it's warm during the winter months when daylight is shorter. You're not going to get long lasting, quality fixtures with a shoestring budget, but these ideas can help you enjoy the evenings until you can afford something more permanent.</p> <h3>6. Tuna Can Lanterns</h3> <p>You wouldn't believe it, but you can make an <a href="http://inmyownstyle.com/2011/06/trash-and-thrift-store-treasure-outdoor-candle-lantern.html">elegant outdoor lantern</a> using an old broomstick, a tuna can, and a hurricane shade. A coat of metallic paint has the whole thing gleaming in a jiffy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5&ndash;$10 for hurricane shade, spray paint, metal adapter, and candle.</p> <h3>7. Repurposed Holiday Lights</h3> <p>Everyone has a string of old holiday lights in their basement, with only half the lights working, right? Instead of throwing those away, turn them into pretty outdoor orbs by combining them with another forlorn item: A round glass shade, frequently found in thrift stores.</p> <p>Ball up the light string and shove it in the globe. Once plugged in, you have a <a href="http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/landscape-lighting/">mystical glowing ball</a> you can place anywhere in your yard for effect and illumination. Just be sure to use light strings meant for outdoor use.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1&ndash;$15 for glass shades (cheaper for used, more for new).</p> <h2>Hacks and Crafts</h2> <p>These ideas will appeal to the makers among us &mdash; those who love finding new ways to use familiar materials.</p> <h3>8. Solar Renewal</h3> <p>When solar yard lights get old, the plastic covering their solar cells can cloud over, limiting the amount of energy they receive from the sun. One blogger figured out that you can rejuvenate these with a <a href="https://blog.kriegsman.org/2012/04/19/rejuvenating-solar-garden-lights-with-nail-polish/">coat of clear nail polish</a>, of all things.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1.</p> <h3>9. Moss Graffiti</h3> <p>Did you know you can gather moss, stick it in the blender with sugar and buttermilk, and <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Moss-Graffiti">paint it onto a wall</a> to create a live, growing mural or sign? I sure didn't!</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $2&ndash;$3.</p> <h3>10. Hacker Couch</h3> <p>The author of <em>The Basement</em> created a <a href="http://kaylasbasement.blogspot.com/2014/07/diy-outdoor-bench-update.html">bench from cinder blocks</a> and two-by-fours in less than an hour.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> About $40; more for optional cushions.</p> <h3>11. Magical Marble Fence</h3> <p>With a drill and a handful of marbles, you can transform a boring backyard fence into a magical fairyland. Just drill holes into a wooden fence and <a href="https://gardendrama.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/garden-art-on-the-cheap-diy-glass-marbles-in-your-fence/">place marbles into the holes</a>; sunshine will provide the dazzle.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $1.</p> <h3>12. Key Chimes</h3> <p>What to do with those mystery keys that have been on your key ring for years? Paint them and hang them with string to make a <a href="http://giving.innerchildfun.com/2013/04/recycled-crafts-for-kids-diy-key-wind-chime.html">DIY wind chime</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>13. Rock Garden Markers</h3> <p>Use stones and paint to make cute <a href="http://craftsbyamanda.com/painted-rock-garden-markers/">labels for each row</a> of the garden instead of using store bought ones.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <h3>14. Mega Mushrooms</h3> <p>Turn a planter upside down and give it a paint job to <a href="http://www.birdsandblooms.com/backyard-projects/diy-garden-projects/diy-garden-%C2%ADmushrooms/">create cheery mushrooms</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5.</p> <h3>15. Owl You Need</h3> <p>Rolled strips of cardboard can be used to fashion <a href="http://empressofdirt.net/owl-craft-project/">a whole family of owls</a> to watch over your garden in an earth-friendly project.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free.</p> <h3>16. Step Right Up</h3> <p>Get the kids involved in making <a href="http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2009/08/daddy-camp-cement-stepping-stones.html#.VyvTX_mDFBc">stepping stones</a> by pressing just about anything into wet cement: old toys or costume jewelry, marbles, and beads.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $5.</p> <h3>17. Gnome Home</h3> <p>A tree or even a stump in your yard can be turned into a <a href="https://snapguide.com/guides/make-a-gnome-home/%20">fairy house</a> that kids will love to discover. Twigs can be used to frame windows, and a small piece of wood can be shaped into a door. If your gnomes want their <em>own </em>outdoor living space, use found objects or dollhouse furniture.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free to $5.</p> <p><em>How are you dressing up your landscape for free or cheap this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home decorating gardening hacks landscaping lighting outdoor living plants Tue, 24 May 2016 09:00:03 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1711684 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_tool_shed_000075068057.jpg" alt="Man finding smart ways to use garage space" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I spent our spring break this year clearing out and cleaning our garage. It had been filled with remnants from our move (nearly two years ago), random junk, and even&hellip; garbage. Now? The space is nearly empty, all 600 glorious square feet of it. And I'm wondering what we can do with all this added square footage, since we don't necessarily need to shelter our vehicles from the elements year 'round. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-in-your-garage-that-have-serious-re-sale-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things in Your Garage That Have Serious Re-Sale Value</a>)</p> <h2>Mudroom</h2> <p>Don't have much closet space indoors? Try&nbsp;<a href="http://sypsie.com/2015/11/11/one-room-challenge-week-6-garage-reveal/">making a mudroom</a> out of a portion of your garage to keep your stuff organized and tidy. All you really need to finish this project are some hooks for coats and bags, a bench for sitting, and maybe storage cubes for shoes and outdoor accessories. The rest is up to your budget and creativity.</p> <p>We turned a wall in our garage into a mudroom of sorts and decided to highlight the area by painting it an accent color. We then laid a rag rug down to cozy up the floor and protect feet from getting cold while getting shoes out of bins. I'd like to paint the door leading out there a funky color to make it even more fun. This project took us maybe an hour and cost just $50 for all supplies (we used what we had on hand).</p> <h2>Play Space</h2> <p>Or maybe you need more room for your kids and their toys to sprawl out. We've considered dedicating an area of the garage to play, especially since our backyard gets so much sun on hot summer afternoons. This&nbsp;<a href="http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/5MR-QnUFmhdPVb-_-H9EHA/o.jpg">garage-to-playroom conversion</a> is pretty basic, but it gets the job done.</p> <p>Try installing a few toddler swings to a solid support beam. Place a picnic table or two around for a drawing surface or just eating lunch. Since you're in the garage, you can even experiment with messier toys, like a DIY sandbox or rice sensory bin that won't collect as many bugs as it would outdoors. To soften the concrete flooring, head to your local carpet outlet and purchase a large remnant piece.</p> <h2>Office or Studio</h2> <p>Need a place to work from home? Try converting your garage to a studio or office. This unique&nbsp;<a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2015/04/before-after-a-garage-becomes-a-beautiful-studio-space.html">before and after</a> will get you dreaming up the many possibilities. For example, there's so much paint can do to freshen up a dingy area and make it come alive and inspire. Simple white is a solid choice if you want a neutral backdrop and maximum light.</p> <p>At the same time, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Concrete floors can be as practical as they are easy to maintain. And exposed beams add architectural interest, so don't bother trying to cover them. Once you get the bones looking good, the rest will depend on the kind of work you do. Artists may like keeping the garage door open for extra light during work hours. A sturdy table may work well as a desk and meeting space. It's up to you!</p> <h2>Home Gym</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-kStZFjlQi8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Some friends of mine recently took over one half of their garage to make an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kStZFjlQi8">at-home gym</a> because they were frustrated with monthly membership rates. Their hard work paid off &mdash; big time. You can get fancy and do flooring and walls, etc. Or you can stick with what matters most: Clear out clutter and replace with weights, mats, and motivation posters.</p> <p>What you stock your gym with depends on the activities you do. To get a good variety of equipment (and mirrors, etc.) on the cheap, consider checking Facebook yard sale groups, Craigslist, and even making a call out to friends. We actually scored a cheap treadmill from our neighbors that had been collecting dust in their basement for a few years. All we had to do was ask.</p> <h2>Hybrid Room</h2> <p>Maybe you have multiple needs. In that case, try planning out your garage to meet them all. Carla at Small + Friendly divided her garage into&nbsp;<a href="http://www.smallfriendly.com/small-friendly/2015/10/epic-garage-transformation.html">four different zones</a>. There's a crafting/sewing station, a play wall, a laundry nook, and then some smart storage/mudroom area. Everyone in the house has someplace to spread out.</p> <p>I like this family's use of vertical storage to maximize how much stuff they could contain in each zone. It's full, but very well organized. Additionally, if your budget doesn't allow for flooring, make use of interlocking foam tiles anywhere kids might be playing on the ground for added comfort. Carla's husband even uses the tiles as a makeshift yoga mat for morning workouts.</p> <h2>Bedroom and Beyond</h2> <p>My jaw dropped when I came across this incredible&nbsp;<a href="http://www.today.com/home/see-dingy-garage-transform-coolest-bedroom-ever-t20836">garage-to-bedroom transformation</a>. For just $900, Brooke Frederick was able to totally clean out the space, give it a nice coat of bright paint, exterminate pests, and then furnish to her specifications. And if you don't have a hefty budget, that's all you really need to do to make a room out of your garage.</p> <p>Of course, this kind of frugal flip won't work for everyone. Moving your sleeping or living quarters to the garage is probably more appealing if your garage has plenty of windows. Also, Frederick notes there's no insulation in her new bedroom, so this idea works best if you live in a more moderate climate.</p> <h2>Things to Think About</h2> <ul> <li>If you do intend to use your space year-round, you'll want to insulate and drywall to keep the heat and cold out. Same goes for your garage door.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Adding a few windows can also help provide the area with natural light, but aren't a requirement if you budget doesn't allow.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You may need to enlist an experienced electrician to wire some outlets to your new room to get the power flowing if you plan to use computers, televisions, and other electronics.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>That all being said, major improvements may require a permit. Check with your local municipality for the rules that apply in your area.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you use your garage for something other than parking cars? Tell us about it!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-uses-for-laundry-detergent">10 Unexpected Uses for Laundry Detergent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics of Making Your Home Sparkle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home cleaning clutter extra space garage home gym home office remodeling reusing Wed, 04 May 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1699778 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_yard_swings_000079618051.jpg" alt="Learning how to get the best yard in town naturally" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want a gorgeous, lush lawn without all the chemicals and other icky stuff? It's not as hard as you might think. With a little creativity and some elbow grease, you can whip your grass into shape without calling a service or spending much at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper?ref=seealso">Secret Lawn Tonic Golf Course Groundskeepers Love</a>)</p> <h2>Amazing Aeration</h2> <p>Before the season even starts, you should&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/aerate-the-lawn/">aerate your lawn</a> so it can have its best year yet. By letting it breathe, you get rid of nasty compaction issues that can cause bigger problems down the line. To aerate, you'll want the grass to be pretty dry. Insert a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qjqnlK">garden fork</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1TMK4yd">sod coring tool</a> every few inches to get the oxygen in. If you have a big lawn, you might consider going in with a neighbor and renting a power lawn aerator for a day or two. After you've finished this process, collect soil plugs with a bagged mower and add them to your compost heap.</p> <h2>Beer Fertilizer</h2> <p>My grandfather is known as a lawn king of sorts in my hometown. He swears by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Easily-getting-rid-of-dead-spots-on-your-lawn-effo">feeding his lawn with beer</a>. The fermented sugars and other nutrients improve the soil and help to get rid of dead spots. All you have to do is pour about eight ounces of regular beer per 10-inch spot that needs love. Beer can be fresh or flat, hot or cold. Wait about a week and if the area is still droopy, repeat the process.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part I</h2> <p>Not into brews? That's okay. You can actually use your favorite bath time soak to nurture your lawn.&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1UW0MMF">Epsom salts</a> help keep your grass green and healthy all year round &mdash; they may even soften grass. You'll want to use about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfsalt.com/epsom-salt-for-lawns">three pounds of salts</a> per 1,250 square feet of lawn. To apply, use a lawn spreader. If you'd rather add water and spray, use a tank sprayer or a hose with a spray attachment.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part II</h2> <p>The National Gardening Association explains that epsom salts also work wonders in your vegetable and flower gardens by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.garden.org/articles/articles.php?q=show&amp;id=68">enriching the soil with magnesium</a>. The group conducted a study where gardeners from across the United States sprayed their peppers and roses with the stuff. The results? Four out of six gardeners reported that their pepper plants were more robust. All the rose plants were bushier with greener foliage and more roses. To try this at home, add one tablespoon of epsom salts to a gallon of water, spray plants, and repeat the process every 10 days (peppers) or six weeks (roses).</p> <h2>Kind Killer</h2> <p>This weed killer is kind to the environment and won't cost you much. In fact, you might already be using it for many tasks in your home. Simply spray all those pesky weeds with plain white vinegar. You'll want to do this on a day with no rain in the forecast (can dilute the effects). My mother-in-law says that heartier, more persistent weeds respond better to something stronger like pickling vinegar. Just pour vinegar into a spray bottle and use as liberally as necessary.</p> <h2>Wondrous Water</h2> <p>Whether or not you live someplace where you have a cap on water usage, it's a good idea to conserve this precious resource. Try building&nbsp;<a href="https://1craftylane.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/diy-rain-barrel/">your own rain barrel</a> to collect what falls from the sky. You just need a 32-gallon plastic trash can, brass faucet, flexible downspout, and utility knife. Cut a hole in your can's cover, attach the downspout to your gutter, and then connect the two components. Wait for the rain and then use your faucet to tap into the magic.</p> <h2>Modified Mowing</h2> <p>How often and how short you cut your grass has an impact on its overall health as well. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, unfortunately. Regardless, grass cut too short can be more prone to problems like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/what-is-the-ideal-height-to-cut-the-grass">weeds, drought, and heat damage</a>. So, if you're experiencing little precipitation, it's a good idea to let grasses grow taller as a defense. For guidelines on how tall or short you should keep your grass in general, call your local extension office, garden center, or seed supplier.</p> <h2>Clover Comeback</h2> <p>So many of our neighbors seem to battle to keep white clover out all season long. We've embraced clover because it's actually a natural way to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/clover-comeback">crowd out weeds</a>. Clover also spreads quickly and covers the ground with greenery to blend with your other grasses. It grows well in shadier areas of your lawn and those with poor drainage. Best yet, it's a legume and can convert nitrogen into its own free fertilizer. Learn to love this misunderstood ground cover!</p> <p><em>What are some natural ways you care for&nbsp;</em><em>your lawn?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-high-tech-tools-to-help-your-garden-grow">6 High-Tech Tools to Help Your Garden Grow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living Home eco friendly gardening greener grass landscaping lawn spring summer weeds Mon, 25 Apr 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1693274 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_diy_paint_000050206910.jpg" alt="Woman dressing up apartment without losing her deposit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be a challenge putting your own personal touches on a rental apartment, but with these budget-wise decorating ideas that won't compromise your security deposit, you'll start to feel at home in no time.</p> <h2>1. Use Removable Wallpaper and Decals to Add Personality to a Room</h2> <p>I love the idea of an accent wall featuring wallpaper or some sort of design to give a room more personality. But how can you achieve this look without the permanence or expense of wallpaper? Modern décor has become so DIY these days that you can, in fact, install removable wallpaper &mdash; essentially stick-on paper that you apply in minutes and simply peel off when you want to take it down &mdash; or spot-design using decals. I've done the latter myself. I created a birds-in-flight effect on three accent walls in my house that give my living room a great amount of detail and depth, and it cost me less than $30 total.</p> <p>Alice Choo, an interior designer in San Francisco, adds that <a href="http://amzn.to/23ywowO">washi tape</a> (or Japanese masking tape) is an affordable ways to add color and patterns to your apartment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/60-things-you-can-decorate-with-washi-tape?ref=seealso">60+ Things You can Decorate with Washi Tape</a>)</p> <p>&quot;With washi tape, you can create your own designs and bring texture to the space. These can be easily removed from the walls,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>2. Swap Out Outdated Hardware for More Modern Updates</h2> <p>I can tell you from personal experience that one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to freshen up a space is to change hardware. For instance, when I moved into my home, I wanted to completely overhaul the bathroom, but I didn't have the budget for it. Instead, I compromised by updating the towel racks, TP holder, light fixture, and other bits with brushed nickel accessories that instantly gave the room a cleaner, fresher look. Same goes for the kitchen. Instead of ripping out the cabinets because I didn't like the style, I changed all the handles and knobs to suit my taste, and it made a major difference.</p> <p>You can do this in your apartment, too, without losing your deposit, by replacing the old hardware before you move out. Just keep the original hardware handy and in a safe place.</p> <h2>3. Add Mirrors to Create the Illusion of More Space</h2> <p>If you live in a small apartment, you know all too well that what once looked like a lot of space when the unit was empty, may very well look (and feel) cramped once your furniture and belongings are all moved in. Well-placed mirrors, however, can seemingly expand the space, providing the illusion of more room.</p> <p>&quot;When dealing with a small space, illusions are your best bet to fool yourself &mdash; and, more importantly, your guests &mdash; that you have more space,&quot; says Adam Busch, head of renter outreach for apartment-finding site RentLingo.</p> <p>He suggests incorporating a mirror into your living room to create more space.</p> <p>&quot;Utilizing the height of your room changes the appearance as well and one of the best ways to do this is to use taller curtains to create a larger height dimension,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>4. Paint an Accent or Feature Wall</h2> <p>If you don't want to (or can't) paint an entire room for fear of losing your deposit, perhaps your landlord will consider an accent wall. Or maybe you don't even have to tell them about it. That's the great thing about an accent wall &mdash; you're not covering a lot of territory, but it can make a world of difference in the overall aesthetic of the room. To take this concept a bit further, consider creating a pattern with the paint instead of applying a single straight color.</p> <p>&quot;The benefit of this feature is that instead of covering an entire wall with paint and the added stress of having to repaint the entire wall before you leave, you make use of a smaller space but add complexity for flair,&quot; Busch says.</p> <h2>5. Use Alternative Adhesives Instead of Nails</h2> <p>Many renters will likely agree that most of the time the reason their security deposit is in jeopardy is due to the state of the walls &mdash; that is, the nail and other holes that have accumulated over the period of your tenure. To avoid this deal-breaker, try using wall putty to hang lighter items, like prints, posters, and small canvases. Stay away from hanging glass items with putty, however, because if the putty fails, you don't want to have that dangerous mess to clean up. <a href="http://amzn.to/1MweO5h">3M's Command line</a> has lots of solutions that help you hang items with heavier-duty adhesives, and you can find these products at any hardware or office supply store, and even more common retailers like Walmart and Target.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Remodel&quot; the Kitchen With Faux Granite or Stainless Steel</h2> <p>Aside from replacing hardware in your kitchen to freshen up the space, another great redesign tactic you can implement is to use faux granite and/or stainless steel to wrap countertops and appliances. The concept is similar to removable wallpaper. Peel and stick the vinyl covering on the smooth surface you're trying to change, and voila; instant makeover without the hassle, cost, or loss of deposit. I'll admit that I hadn't actually heard of this cool trick before I started researching this post, but from what I can tell it definitely seems like a legit way to modernize otherwise out-of-date kitchen focal points without getting in too deep.</p> <h2>7. Rely on Textiles to Make the Space Cozy</h2> <p>And, finally, if you don't want to do anything to the wall, appliances, or hardware in your apartment, remember that you can use textiles to make your space cozy and comfortable.</p> <p>&quot;Pillows and rugs can be affordable and helps dress up a plain apartment; you just need to know where to shop for these items,&quot; Choo explains. &quot;You can get a set of stylish pillows for $25 and under online on sites such as Target.&quot;</p> <p>Expanding on that, area rugs, throws, and interesting upholstered furniture can all add that little something extra to your apartment without costing you any deductions from your deposit on the backend.</p> <p><em>What are some of your budget-wise ways to dress up an apartment without compromising or losing the deposit? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture">8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit">10 Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome (Without Losing Your Deposit)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off">Home Improvements That Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Real Estate and Housing apartments decorating rentals security deposit updating wallpaper Fri, 15 Apr 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689030 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_wires_electrocuted_000087920375.jpg" alt="Man trying to keep DIY projects from ruining his life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the face of the current crappy economy, more people are willing to try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less" target="_blank">save money on home improvement projects</a> by doing their own repairs&hellip;at their peril.</p> <p>With time, persistence, and attention to detail, the average non-klutz homeowner can learn to be handy. But how do you determine which projects are worth doing yourself, and which projects require an expert? Consider the following factors before you roll up your sleeves.</p> <h2>Assess the Time Commitment &mdash; And the Cost</h2> <p>While home improvement stores like Home Depot adjust their DIY project schedules according to the level of expertise, those schedules still assume that the project will be completed without a hitch. Whether you are learning a new skill or trying to level up on an existing ability, make sure to pad your time estimate to give yourself enough wiggle room to fix mistakes. Often, an overly optimistic schedule is not only frustrating but costly, too.</p> <p>For example, painting your own home is often touted as an excellent beginner DIY project. Yes, painting your own house can save you a lot of money. But when budgeting out the cost of your painting project, make sure to include the external costs. Will you have to pay to keep your furniture in storage while you paint? Will repainting your new apartment delay your move from your old apartment? You can (and should) wear a ventilator mask to avoid huffing paint fumes, but what about your pets? Can your dog go to grandma's house while the paint cures, or will you have to pay kennel costs?</p> <h2>Do You Have What It Takes to Get the Job Done?</h2> <p>No. Not mentally. Do you have the right tools for the job? My neighbor spent over two hours on a wet bathroom floor trying to tighten the leaky connection behind her toilet with a pair of pliers. Damp and tearful, she finally went to the hardware store for advice. Although she was offered no counsel for her plumbing aggravation, the store clerk did send her home with a $6.00 basin wrench. Armed with the proper tool, my neighbor was able to tighten the hard-to-reach nut in less than 10 seconds.</p> <p>Although my neighbor only lost 300 minutes of her life and $6.00 to her broken toilet, many projects require more costly, and high-tech equipment. There is a steep learning curve for many power tools. If you don't know how to use a floor sander, you might permanently damage the hardwood floors you are trying to salvage. Even worse, if you are a newbie to home repair, you might not think to buy ear protection. An expert might be able to repair a bad sanding job, but no one can repair your hearing.</p> <h2>Can You Afford to Make a Mistake?</h2> <p>I bought a well-reviewed tankless water heater that my plumber then nixed because he'd seen that model fail too many customers. Even though I returned the water heater in its factory sealed, unopened box, I was still charged a restocking fee by the store. Custom items like granite countertops are not returnable, so one wrong measurement can be very costly.</p> <h2>Trimming Trees Can May Mean Big Fines</h2> <p>Beyond the obvious extreme height + chainsaw = danger involved in tree trimming, amateur lumberjacking carries huge fines in many municipalities. The average cost of tree removal in Los Angeles is <a href="http://www.treeremoval.com/us/los-angeles/#.VvlZO_krJaR">$779 per tree</a>. That's expensive! But the fine for chopping down an oak tree, even on your own property, starts at $6,000 and can include jail time. Homeowners in other cities who only trim heritage trees such as oaks and sycamores without the proper permits can be charged <a href="http://la.curbed.com/archives/2007/11/a_375000_treetr.php">hundreds of thousands</a> of dollars in fines.</p> <h2>DIY Demolition Disaster</h2> <p>When I remodeled my bathroom, I saved $300 by doing my own demolition. In addition to getting a solid workout by swinging a sledgehammer, knocking out three layers of old tile and lathe was weirdly stress relieving. One of my neighbors also loved doing demolition. That is, he loved doing demolition until he knocked out a load-bearing wall while renovating his kitchen without a permit. His kitchen is now renovated, but not how he envisioned it. He blew his entire renovation budget on a very expensive and hideous support beam to keep his house from collapsing.</p> <p>I should also note that before I began my bathroom demolition, my contractor physically outlined the electrical and plumbing lines on my bathroom walls with a Sharpie before I ever picked up the sledgehammer. Replacing accidentally broken plumbing is one of the least sexy ways to spend money.</p> <h2>Play It Safe With Roof Repair</h2> <p>Reconsider doing your own roof repair for safety reasons alone. Likewise, if your home is over one story tall, consider getting a professional to clean your gutters. Or, at least, use a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Urt0yS">shop vac</a> or <a href="http://rochesterguttercleaning.com/tophat/aboutus.html">gutter vacuum</a> that you can operate from ground level.</p> <h2>Don't Blow Your Budget on Rental Renovations</h2> <p>I always rented places that I could repaint to my liking. Of course, using your own money to spiff up a rented space isn't smart financially. It's not your house. You just live there.</p> <p>If you are like me, then a little money is worth the price of turning another person's house into your home. However, if you are saving up to buy your own home, or just want to sock away more cash for retirement, education, or travel, it's smarter to treat your rented house as a crash pad where you sleep and store your things. Any DIY projects you do to improve your rented space is money and time you will never recover.</p> <h2>Death by DIY Pest Control</h2> <p>As a beekeeper, I am always getting calls from hysterical homeowners about &quot;Angry Killer Bees.&quot; When I arrive at a client's house to do live bee removal, I always ask diagnostic questions so I can assess the safety situation for the client and their neighbors. Here is a sample diagnostic question: &quot;Were the bees angrily chasing you around the backyard before you sprayed their hive with hairspray and then tried to light it on fire with a tiki torch?&quot;</p> <p>Many over-the-counter <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204563304574318231044370704">pesticides for home use</a> are also effective pet and people killers. Before laying down any kind of poison in your home, do some research and follow safety protocols to the letter. Although it seems counter-intuitive, professional exterminators have safer, less toxic methods of pest control at their disposal than consumers.</p> <h2>Leave Utilities to the Professionals</h2> <p>Doing your own gas, water, and power work is a really good way to damage you and your home. Even the smallest gas leak can lead to an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed due to electrocution or electrical fires. Leaky plumbing can cause water damage and mold, potentially making your home unlivable and unsellable.</p> <h2>Beware Those Nine Dreaded Words</h2> <p>&quot;While we are at it, we might as well&hellip;&quot;</p> <p><em>Mission creep</em> is the super villain of DIY. Replacing the disgusting, damaged vinyl flooring in my kitchen with new linoleum will take me two days total. I've replaced two kitchen floors already, so I know I can do this job, over a weekend, all by my lonesome. Of course, this two-day schedule does not include moving out all the appliances, transferring my frozen foods to a neighbor's freezer for safe-keeping, or repairing the baseboards. Nor does it include the time and money involved in repainting the kitchen walls &mdash; a project that can only be done with the appliances removed &mdash; that's also on my to-do list.</p> <h2>Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should</h2> <p>I know how to hot wire a 1965 Nova using just a flat head screwdriver. But, just because I know how to rip an old car, does not mean that I should take the Chevy to the levee &mdash; even though the levee is dry &mdash; at every opportunity.</p> <p>According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there are <a href="http://www.esfi.org/resource/do-it-yourself-diy-electrical-safety-216">37,000 nail gun injuries</a> every year in the United States. If the thought, &quot;Maybe this is beyond my skill level&quot; flickers through your mind even once, you should consider consulting an expert.</p> <h2>Losing Frugal Credibility Has a High Cost</h2> <p>It's 11 p.m. and I am painting my dining room, myself. I am an excellent painter. Martha Stewart would hire me. Painting my own dining room cost me just $100 in supplies.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I have had to work the dining room redo around my actual paying job schedule, so it's taken me six months of intermittently stripping paint, sanding, caulking, priming, painting, painting, and repainting to almost finish my newly spectacular dining room. My ceiling is silver leafed. Guests gasp when they behold the decorative finish on my china cabinets. I am so pleased with my work. My husband, however, could care less how magazine-ready the dining room looks. After months of eating off a drop cloth-covered dining room table, he's tired of painting without ever picking up a brush.</p> <p>So, while I won a frugal remodeling battle by renovating my own dining room, I have lost the frugal war. My husband now doubts that we can scrape, repair, and paint the exterior of our house in one month. He wants to pay a professional painting contractor $17,000 to do this job.</p> <p>The true cost of painting the dining room myself: $16,900.</p> <p>Don't be me.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home contractors Do It Yourself fixing home improvements painting renovations Wed, 06 Apr 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Max Wong 1682552 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_easter_000037037264.jpg" alt="Finding smart things to do with leftover Easter goodies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Easter holiday means a house filled with pastel&hellip; everything... cluttering the house. Don't toss all those goodies right away after. Instead, here are some ingenious ways to repurpose your leftovers for immediate use or year-round enjoyment.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Plastic Eggs (Practical)</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://redeemyourground.com/easter-egg-birdseed-ornaments/">birdseed ornaments</a> will liven up your backyard for pennies. Mix together flour, birdseed, water, and corn syrup. Scoop mixture into your plastic eggs, firmly packing to fit. Then close them up to set into your egg shape. Gently open the eggs (it helps to place them in a muffin tin) and let air dry for a few hours. To hang, tie some string or yarn around them. This tutorial makes about 18 small feeders.</p> <h2>2. Plastic Eggs (Pretty)</h2> <p>This sophisticated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.taylormadecreates.com/2011/05/tealight-flight.html">tealight flight</a> is incredibly easy to make. Take your leftover plastic eggs, crack them in half (using the bottoms only), spray on a few coats of spray paint, and attach them to a piece of scrap wood with strong glue. Let everything dry before you place tealights inside to create a beautiful glow.</p> <h2>3. Plastic Eggs (Educational)</h2> <p>I've seen quite a number of ways to repurpose plastic eggs for learning. For my four-year-old daughter, I plan to work on reading skills with these&nbsp;<a href="http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/word-family-eggs/">word family eggs</a>. Just collect your eggs, and use a permanent marker to write several letters on one half and the rest of the word on the second half of the egg. (For example, b-, c-, m-, s- and -at to make bat, cat, mat, and sat.) Your child can turn the sides of the eggs to create the different words and see how they relate.</p> <h2>4. Egg Dye</h2> <p>You've finished coloring your eggs &mdash; now what? Use leftover dye to get crafty. Try&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gsheller.com/2011/04/fun-with-easter-egg-dyes-and-yarn.html">dying bare yarn</a> in a rainbow of colors for whatever projects you have on your calendar. First, soak the yarn in vinegar and water. Get your dyes ready in different containers and use plastic pipettes for coloring. Apply the dye to the yarn, microwave to set, rinse, squeeze, and hang to dry.</p> <h2>5. Jelly Beans</h2> <p>Teach your kids some&nbsp;<a href="http://lemonlimeadventures.com/engineering-for-kids-building-with-jelly-beans/">engineering basics</a> using colorful jelly beans as your guide. To set up the experiment, you'll just need toothpicks, jelly beans, and some creative minds. Make cubes to start and then move on to more complicated shapes to see how they stabilize and shift. The author of this project said that these simple supplies gave her kids over a month of educational enjoyment.</p> <h2>6. Fake Grass</h2> <p>We typically fill our Easter baskets with fake grass of the paper variety. I then use whatever we have left for wrapping gifts (usually in gift bags) throughout the year. I've also used it as cheap packing material and given handfuls of it to my daughter to add dimension to art projects. Alternatively, you can carefully collect your leftovers and reuse them next year.</p> <h2>7. Hard-Boiled Eggs</h2> <p>Before eating your hard-boiled eggs, make sure they haven't been sitting out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours, haven't been in contact with pesticides or animal waste in an outdoor hunt, and aren't more than a week old. Once you've considered these&nbsp;<a href="http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/are-eggs-dyed-easter-safe-eat">food safety points</a>, you can eat them plain, make deviled eggs, or whip up a delicious egg salad.</p> <h2>8. Candy</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/leftover-easter-candy-cookies/">leftover Easter candy cookies</a> will help clear out your pantry shelves for fresh spring produce in no time. You simply mix together the dough base with flour, baking soda, sugars, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Then chop up two cups of whatever candy you have left (assorted chocolates probably work better than jelly beans), fold it into the dough, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.</p> <h2>9. Baskets</h2> <p>Whether they're crazy colored or more neutral, you can always find great uses for baskets around your home. I store my daughter's markers, crayons, and other art supplies in small baskets that I keep in my craft room. When we're ready to do some coloring or art, I grab a basket and it helps keep everything tidy. Use yours to wrangle small toys (cars, blocks, etc.), books, or store it away to use again next year. Don't like your basket's looks? Spray paint it another color to suit your mood or decor.</p> <h2>10. Egg Crates</h2> <p>There are seriously a million ways you can reuse an egg carton in your home. My current favorite? I'm&nbsp;<a href="http://planetforward.ca/blog/my-organic-gardening-part-three-cartons-are-not-just-for-eggs-anymore-sustainable-practice/">organizing my seedlings</a> for the upcoming planting season. Just cut the lid off, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup, fill each three-quarters full with soil, place your seeds inside, and put it on a plastic tray. Then label so you know what is what. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates?ref=seealso">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a>)</p> <p><em>How are you re-using your Easter stuff? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-have-a-cheaper-easter">10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Easter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY Green Living baskets candy Easter eggs Holidays leftovers recycling repurposing Fri, 25 Mar 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678890 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Household Tools Every Frugal Homeowner Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tools_screwdrivers_000040737522.jpg" alt="Finding household tools every frugal homeowner should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a home, you need a tool kit. It's an essential for any household. But what to put in it?</p> <p>Well, the good news is you can get by with just essential 10 items. You will of course need more tools as time goes by, but this list is a great starting point. (Oh, and you will need a sturdy <a href="http://amzn.to/21DTdyo">toolbox</a> to store them all. You can find used ones for cheap, or even free, on Craigslist. Or try your local thrift store.)</p> <h2>1. Multi-Bit Screwdriver</h2> <p>There are many variations of the <a href="http://amzn.to/1QsbnIF">multi-bit screwdriver</a>. On the cheaper end, the bits come in a separate holder or case. You can also find ones called &quot;<a href="http://amzn.to/21DTPE8">auto-loaders</a>&quot; that contain at least six different varieties of bit. You want one that fits both Phillips head and slot head screws. With this one tool, you have a starter set of screwdrivers that will work for most jobs around the home. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber">10 Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don't Require a Plumber</a>)</p> <h2>2. Power Drill (Go Cordless)</h2> <p>There are so many different jobs around the home that require a power drill, so your frugal tool kit should include one. If you want to save the most money and have something much more handy, go with a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DTVeM">cordless drill</a>. They don't have as much power as an equivalently-priced corded drill, but for everyday needs, they're just fine. Ideally, get a good, refurbished brand rather than a cheap new one. DeWalt or Makita are reliable, and will last you many years. This will definitely be the most expensive tool you buy in this kit, but it's worth it. You will also need a variety of <a href="http://amzn.to/1T8DJNU">drill bits</a>. Luckily, many drills come with a starter selection.</p> <h2>3. Claw Hammer</h2> <p>There are several types of hammer available to the DIY enthusiast. A <a href="http://amzn.to/1QscqbJ">ball peen hammer</a>, a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVln18">tack hammer</a>, a <a href="http://amzn.to/1QscJ6h">club hammer</a>, and even a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DUXHG">sledgehammer</a>. But for the basic, frugal tool kit, your best bet is a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DVbyy">claw hammer</a>. Its two uses, driving in and removing nails, are ideal. When you get into more specific tasks, other hammers for specific jobs are much better, but for a starter kit, the basic claw hammer is just fine.</p> <h2>4. Adjustable Wrench</h2> <p>The key word here is <em>adjustable</em>. As you're building a frugal tool kit, you want your tools to have as many uses as possible, whenever possible. The <a href="http://amzn.to/21DVsBH">adjustable wrench</a> can fit a wide variety of nuts and bolts, and is therefore perfect for your kit. Buy a wrench that is big enough to cover a large array of sizes, without being so big that it will be cumbersome on smaller nuts and bolts. Anywhere from eight to 12 inches is good.</p> <h2>5. Retractable Tape Measure</h2> <p>You probably know this as the <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVlABj">Stanley Measuring Tape</a>, but they are available from many different manufacturers. However, Stanley has been making these for decades, and they're very good at it. In particular, the PowerLock model is a great tape measure for having around the house. They're available in many different sizes, but for the minimal price difference, go for the 25'x1&quot; model. It's sturdy, long enough to cover most jobs, and very reliable.</p> <h2>6. Needlenose Pliers (AKA Long Nose Pliers)</h2> <p>Again, there are so many different types of pliers available on the market, all doing slightly different jobs. For the frugal starter kit, you are better off going with a pair of sturdy needle-nose pliers. We're looking for tools with more than one function, and these include a wire-stripping tool whilst also having a long reach and the ability to twist small wires and objects. When you start building up your kit, you can add locking and adjustable pliers. But for the basic kit, these will serve you well. Stanley's eight-inch <a href="http://amzn.to/21DWduz">long nose pliers</a> are solid, and usually sell for under $10.</p> <h2>7. Retractable Utility Knife</h2> <p>Just like the tape measure, Stanley has also become synonymous with the <a href="http://amzn.to/21DWuxI">utility knife</a>. In fact, many professionals and amateurs still refer to it as the Stanley Knife. You will need a sharp knife for a countless array of DIY jobs, whether it's cutting carpet or vinyl tile, to wallpaper, wood veneer, or even sharpening a pencil. With a good retractable knife, you have safety as well as versatility, with a variety of different blades on the market available.</p> <h2>8. Hacksaw</h2> <p>There will be more than a few DIY experts screaming &quot;No!&quot; at this next statement, and I would usually concur &mdash; but this is a frugal toolkit, after all. Instead of buying a wood saw and a hacksaw, simply buy the <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVm8Hw">hacksaw</a> and use it for both purposes. There. I said it. If you only have the money for one saw, a hacksaw is at least multi-functional. It cuts through metal and plastic beautifully. It can also cut wood, although it's inefficient, slow, and clogs the small teeth &mdash; <em>but</em>, it will do it. Try cutting metal with a wood saw and see how far you get. There are several different blades available, so if you do need to cut wood, opt for blades with the fewer teeth per inch. For instance, 14 will perform way better than 32.</p> <h2>9. Level (AKA Spirit Level, Bubble Level)</h2> <p>For so many jobs around the house, you will need to make sure something is straight, or level. This is why a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DYtlE">level</a> is an essential part of your toolkit. They come in various sizes, from as small as three inches, all the way up to several feet. For your purposes, anything from nine inches to three feet is a good bet. Make sure your level has three different bubbles inside, for vertical, horizontal, and 45 degrees. If you really don't want to spring for a level, and have a smartphone, you can find an assortment of free level apps. The phone is not as good, but it's better than nothing at all.</p> <h2>10. Rechargeable Flashlight</h2> <p>Finally, the flashlight. When the lights go out, or the fuses blow, you'll need a flashlight. When there's a leak in the corner of the basement, you'll need a flashlight. When there's a wiring issue under the counter, you'll need a flashlight. Basically, without a flashlight, you'll be groping around in the dark, and that's not safe at all. Now, regular flashlights are fine, but most people will tell you &mdash; the batteries die at the worst possible time. So, go with a <a href="http://amzn.to/1T8IuXO">rechargeable one</a>. They stay plugged in, and are ready to go whenever. Plus, they're affordable, starting at around $10.</p> <p><em>What would you include in a basic frugal tool kit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-diy-halloween-costumes">Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity">Gift Giving Hacks That Will Save Your Money and Your Sanity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping fixing things hammers Households pliers screwdrivers toolkit tools Wed, 16 Mar 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1669559 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Surprisingly Valuable Uses for a Penny http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprisingly-valuable-uses-for-a-penny <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-surprisingly-valuable-uses-for-a-penny" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000047183066_Large.jpg" alt="valuable uses for pennies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's a quick fact for you: it costs more to make a penny than a penny is actually worth. The Government Accountability Office states that it <a href="http://www.kltv.com/story/30939761/pennies-nickels-cost-more-to-make-than-theyre-worth">costs 1.7 cents</a> to make a one-cent penny. The reason is rising metal prices. This probably means the venerable penny will not be around for much longer, as it is a money pit for the mint. So, while it's still around, here are 15 valuable uses for your humble penny. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-uses-for-safety-pins?ref=seealso">12 Smart Uses for Safety Pins</a>)</p> <h2>1. Decorate Floors and Tables</h2> <p>If you have the time, and patience, pennies can be a decorative and highly durable surface for floors and tables. Do a quick Google search for &quot;penny table top&quot; or &quot;<a href="http://www.usalovelist.com/penny-floor-made-in-usa/">penny flooring</a>&quot; and you'll see some quite ingenious and beautiful designs using the penny. Even better, it's a very affordable option for covering your old tables or floors. All you really need is a huge amount of pennies, some epoxy, and a way to seal the finished surface. And if you're budgeting this in your head, it takes about $3 of pennies per square foot. That's cheaper than most tiles or wooden floors.</p> <h2>2. Check Your Tire Tread Depth</h2> <p>Tire tread depth is important. Worn tires are unsafe, especially in winter conditions or heavy rain, and you should monitor it often. New tires are usually between 10/32&quot; and 11/32,&quot; and depending on the type of tire you have, and the kind of driving you do, this can wear down quickly. To <a href="http://www.bridgestonetire.com/tread-and-trend/drivers-ed/how-to-check-your-tire-tread-penny-test">check the depth with a penny</a>, turn it so that Lincoln's head is pointing down. If the top of his head is covered by tread, you're in good shape. If all of his head is visible, get the tires checked. It's probably time for a new set.</p> <h2>3. Turn the Screws</h2> <p>Often, we'll find ourselves in situations that require a screwdriver. And we might not always have one on hand. In these situations, a penny can come in handy. Of course, it's not exactly ideal (it will only work on slot-head screws), but a penny can be used to turn that screw and get you out of a jam. You can also use pennies to pry open containers.</p> <h2>4. Make a Cold Pack</h2> <p>Every home should have a cold pack in the freezer. They are a very effective way to reduce the swelling on an injury, but they can be expensive. However, you can make your own with just an old sock or cotton sack, and a whole bunch of pennies. Pour them into the sock, tie it up, and pop it in the freezer. The pennies will form around the leg or arm, and they stay cold for a long time.</p> <h2>5. Keep Cut Flowers Fresh for Longer</h2> <p>There are several tricks out there for prolonging the life of your flowers. According to florists, all it takes is a copper penny (dated before 1982) and a cube of sugar. Add both to the vase and fill it with water, then add your cut flowers. The copper from the penny acts as a natural fungicide, which helps keep your flowers free from yeasts and bacteria.</p> <h2>6. Use as Spacers When Laying Tile</h2> <p>As Alton Brown often says, you should try not to buy items that have only one use. Bags of plastic tile spacers are available at every hardware store, but they have just one use. Instead of wasting your money on them, use pennies instead. They give you the width you're looking for, and you can clean them off and use them again, or cash them in.</p> <h2>7. Pay With a Vengeance</h2> <p>Some people say this one is a little petty, but hey, depending on the circumstance it can be a great way to make a statement. If you get a bill that you think was undeserved, or just owe money to someone that you believe deserves to be taught a lesson, pay it back in pennies. They are legal tender, but it can become a nightmare to count them. Just think, even $10 is 1,000 pennies. You may get told you cannot pay in pennies, but this is not the case. Money is money. This is not a check; it's hard currency.</p> <h2>8. Save a Glass of Wine</h2> <p>It's happened to all of us who partake in a glass of wine now and then. You go to sip your delicious glass of merlot or claret, and boom; you're hit with the smell of rotten eggs. This is because volatile sulfur compounds (<a href="http://www.wineanorak.com/mercaptansinwine.htm">mercaptans and thiols</a>) form when the chemicals in the wine react with oxygen. Fortunately, the wine can be saved by a clean copper penny; just make sure it is dated 1982 or earlier (anything after this date is made mostly of zinc). Pop the penny in your glass of wine and give it a stir. The sulfur in the wine will bond with the copper in the penny, creating copper sulfide (which has no smell). Problem solved, wine saved, party on.</p> <h2>9. Make Your Own Washers</h2> <p>If you need a washer, and fast, you can use a penny. Simply secure it in a vice, or clamp it down with woodworking clamps, and drill the appropriate-sized hole in the center. And as you're drilling, think about this: Similar-sized washers cost between 10-15 cents at the hardware store. By using a penny, you are saving 90% on the price of a washer.</p> <h2>10. Create Tap Shoes for Kids</h2> <p>Okay, so they won't be good for actual competitions or professional dance lessons. But, if you want to let the kids experiment with tap dance, you can improvise some pretty cool&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=pennies+tap+shoes&amp;espv=2&amp;biw=1050&amp;bih=1562&amp;site=webhp&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwj55Yzp2N7KAhUT6GMKHVkCCJcQ_AUIBygC&amp;dpr=1">tap shoes using pennies</a>. Just find an old pair of shoes or sneakers that are not being used. Find some good, industrial-strength glue, and affix three to five pennies on the front part of the sole, and two to four on the back. Let the glue dry, and you have a pair of tap shoes that sound great on hard surfaces.</p> <h2>11. Give Your Birdhouse a New Roof</h2> <p>Birdhouses are great, but most of the time the weather takes its toll on them. The roof, in particular, bears the brunt of the wind, rain, hail, sun, and snow. With about $5 worth of pennies, you can create a new roof that is not only great against the elements, but also looks just like an old tiled roof. Here's a great example of a birdhouse that was <a href="http://www.woohome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Lovely-DIY-Lifehacks-That-Use-A-Penny-9.jpg">given a penny makeover</a>.</p> <h2>12. Add Weight to Curtains</h2> <p>If your curtains are a little lightweight, and don't hang as straight as you'd like, pennies can come to the rescue. Simply make an opening in the hem, and slide pennies into the cavity, at even spaces along the width of the curtain. Use as many as you need to weigh the fabric down without it being cumbersome. Then, simply sew the hem shut.</p> <h2>13. Make Buttons</h2> <p>Pennies can become very cool buttons for coats, jackets, and bags. First, decide if you want the pennies to look worn and dated, or shiny and new. You can get brand new pennies from banks, or shine your own by popping them in a bowl filled with vinegar and a little salt. When you have the pennies ready, drill two small holes side-by-side in the center. Now, sew them onto your garment.</p> <h2>14. Stabilize Wobbly Chairs and Tables</h2> <p>Most of us fix a wobbly table or chair by folding up a piece of paper several times, and jamming it under the short leg. It's a fix, but not a very good one. And sooner or later, the paper will come out. Instead, glue pennies to the bottom of the offending leg. Place pennies in the gap until the table or chair is stabilized, then remove them, glue them together, and let them dry. Then, glue your penny wad to the base of the leg. If you're worried about scratching the floor, glue a small piece of felt to the bottom penny.</p> <h2>15. Create Amazing Art</h2> <p>If you have some artistic ability, pennies can be transformed into incredible works of art. As this site here demonstrates, you can make a <a href="http://www.pennyportrait.com/gallery.html">portrait of Lincoln</a> using a variety of pennies that have different levels of shine. But you can take it even further, and create <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-L_JUEvE8k">any kind of image or portrait</a>.</p> <p><em>What are some other creative uses for pennies? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprisingly-valuable-uses-for-a-penny">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY arts and crafts life hacks lucky penny pennies penny spare change Fri, 26 Feb 2016 11:30:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1659841 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: Our 61 Best Home Improvement Hacks Ever http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-our-61-best-home-improvement-hacks-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-our-61-best-home-improvement-hacks-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_home_improvements_000065753207.jpg" alt="Couple using best home improvements hacks ever" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Home improvements can be fun in theory, but can quickly turn into costly, nightmarish disasters &mdash; especially if you're new to the DIY game. One wrong nail placement or bargain paint color can tarnish the beauty of your sacred space. Luckily, there is a wealth of information available to make rookie DIYers feel like seasoned veterans. And we've got some of the best, money-saving DIY home hacks around.</p> <p>Here's a roundup of the 61 best home improvement hacks we've ever shared.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/man_diy_blueprints_000037414960.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a> &mdash; There are just some home projects that you cannot or should not do yourself. So when bringing in a pro, you'll need the right info to use as a bargaining tool. These will get you the right price for the job that needs to be done.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a> &mdash; Maybe you're only looking to add a little pizazz to one room, or change the vibe of your home's exterior. These frugal home improvements will give your house a lovely lift without emptying your wallet.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/couple_painting_000023944106.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a> &mdash; Surprisingly, you can make tons of amazing changes to your home with just $50 or less! Put in a little elbow grease and your crisp Ulysses (why is there no cool nickname for a $50 bill?) and you're good to go.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">Boost Your Home's Value With These 5 Projects</a> &mdash; Not only will these home improvement projects make your house look stellar, but it'll also boost its value. Money well spent, indeed.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-to-maximize-your-savings-at-home-depot">6 Surprising Ways to Maximize Your Savings at Home Depot</a> &mdash; There are few home improvements you can do without taking a trip to Home Depot. So in order to get the best price for your supplies, here are six savings hacks to keep your overall spending to a minimum.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/home-5336247-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/recoup-more-of-your-investment-8-home-improvements-that-add-the-most-value">Recoup More of Your Investment: 8 Home Improvements That Add the Most Value</a> &mdash; These are bigger projects that will probably require the help of home improvement professionals. However, in the end you'll have a home you love living in, and the peace of mind that your home's value just went up.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a> &mdash; Don't underestimate the aesthetic power of a landscaped backyard. It can completely change the way you unwind on the weekends, the way you see your home, and the overall value of your house. And these backyard projects are ones you can easily do yourself!</p> <p><em>How do you save money on home improvements? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-our-61-best-home-improvement-hacks-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-49-smartest-amazon-hacks-that-will-save-you-big">Flashback Friday: 49 Smartest Amazon Hacks That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-reasons-to-be-done-with-summer-and-get-excited-for-fall">Flashback Friday: 84 Reasons to Be Done With Summer and Get Excited for Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Home diy projects fbf flashback friday frugal DIY home home improvements Fri, 19 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1659473 at http://www.wisebread.com