Make Your Own Self-tanning Lotion and 5 Other Fabulous DIY Tips from the Web


Surprisingly simple, and totally affordable, this roundup of quick and easy recipes, tips, and hacks are sure to inspire.  Create your own self-tanning lotion, never waste rice again, give during tough times, and more!

1.     DIY Self-Tanning Lotion (from Niki Leigh Spa) This one blew my mind.  Two ingredients, one fabulous tan.  (You may need to adjust for your skin tone, and remember that this is NOT waterproof.)  Perfect for a natural bronze look, and it smells yummy, too!

• 1 tablespoon white unscented lotion
• 1 tablespoon pure cocoa powder

“Mix the lotion and cocoa powder together until very smooth and creamy, and apply with a sponge or makeup wedge.  Your tan will last until your next shower.” 

2.     Clever Uses for Milk Jugs

With 4 kids in the house, we go through A LOT of milk jugs.  I feel bad just throwing them away (since they are essentially around forever) and we don’t have a recycling program that will take them.  I was thrilled to find this list of 35+ uses for plastic milk jugs .  My favorites?  The fridge organizer and the “poor man’s blender.”  (And for extra fabulous uses for empty containers, see Myscha’s Garbage into Gold article.)

"Organize Your Fridge -  Cut the tops off several plastic milk jugs and use the bases to conveniently store grapes, kiwis, pear tomatoes, cheese, lunch meats and other small items in the fridge. Make shorter containers for the storage drawers and trays."

"Poor Man's Blender - Add yogurt, soy milk, fruit juice, nutritional powders, crushed berries or jam to a 1/2 to 1-gallon plastic milk. Replace the lid and shake like crazy. Store extra in the fridge."

3.     Save that Extra Rice

Is it just me, or is it impossible to make the perfect amount of rice?  I’m always stuck with just enough for one more serving, but the toppings always run out!  This tip taken from a reader over at Mary’ Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate Newsletter is the perfect solution (and might help keep my husband fed on those days when I’m not around to cook.)

“I freeze the rice in margarine tubs, which are perfect for one serving. When I want to defrost it, I heat the rice in the microwave for 3 minutes. The rice tastes like I just made it that day, and it saves me time on busy nights. – Jeanne “

 4.     Wake Up To Your Own Beat

If you’re like me, you may be living in an area of the country where your radio listening options are a bit limited.  Relying heavily on internet radio stations and websites like Pandora , my clock radio has been unused for many years.  Kim Komando found out the best way to use your PC as a radio alarm – waking you up to your favorite streaming audio at any time you choose.  Check out the full details at Kim’s website!

5.     Learn to Barter

Those who find themselves strapped for cash or too far from a convenient service provider may consider bartering, or a trade of services.  If you’re not sure what you could offer in exchange for that car repair, plumbing job, or use of storage space, just ask!  Good barters I’ve seen lately include:

  • Use of pasture land for a new fence
  • Painting a house in exchange for a complete wedding photography session and prints
  • One hour of auto mechanic work in exchange for firewood

If you have something you can give, there is something you can get. ( I use Craigslist and local newspapers for my bartering.)  Just look under the “Wanted” ads.

6.     Share and Share Some More...

Tough times call for tough measures, and sometimes that means giving less.  I know that when the non-profits start ringing my house, I don’t have to lie in the least when I tell them, “Sorry, I can’t give to your charity right now.  Times are too tight.”  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t, or don’t, give.  I’m just more selective and use a better system for reasoning how much to give.

For a no-nonsense, deeply inspiring look at how much room we really do have to “give” (even those of use who are feeling the pinch of the economy), read Cheaper By the Half Dozen’s $14 Multiplied By…

“What if instead of heading to McDonald's, we drove past it and went to the grocery store and bought a bag of rice and a bag of beans? Remember, this is a once-a-month sacrifice meal. Try to remember that many families eat this way for most every meal. You can do it for one, right? My entire family can eat a meal of rice and beans (ham hocks included for flavor) for $5 to $6. Wow.”

She then takes that $14 saved and considers how many less-fortunate children or families can be helped by that money.  Money that they won’t even think about in two days.  What if everyone did this?  What if they did it more than once a month?  What if?

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Myscha Theriault's picture

Thanks for the link, and . . . how 'bout the DIY tanning lotion?

Andrea Karim's picture

Rice and beans are the answer to so many cash-strapped woes. I'm working on a post on that very topic, actually!

Oh, and I love freezing rice and then re-using in a fried-rice dish. I sometimes use butter instead of sesame oil, because it makes the rice crispy and delicious.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Butter...   :)

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture

Wonderful ideas, very practical. I can't wait to try my frozen cooked rice, glad I'm not the only one who can't figure out the right amount to cook. Plus, I love more uses for my margarine bowls!

Guest's picture
Rob O.

I don't think of rice & beans as a 'sacrifice' at all. And it's amazing how you can introduce so many different cultural influences just by varying the type of rice and/or beans and the inexpensive seasonings used with them.

So switch it up! Go with black beans and add a dash of chili powder & garlic for a more Cuban-style fare. Use (or make) refried beans and add a spoonful (or two) of salsa in the rice and you've gone South of the Border. Use lentils and toss a little curry into the rice and you're doing it up Middle Eastern-style.

Don't forget to try brown rice for extra fiber. You can also add in some wild rice for texture. And there are many, many varieties of beans that you may never have even tried before.

Guest's picture

I love the idea of using milk cartons to organize and store small fridge items. I also used a similar idea in my last few apartments using soda 12-pack cartons. I cut off the open end flaps, and about 3/4 of one side to shape it like a stand-up magazine rack, then used it to store the various lids I have for my tupperware containers. Then I cut out a few more and used them for smaller various kitchen stuff like rubberbands, coupons, etc. They're really handy when you don't have any kitchen drawers!

Guest's picture

And you put this stuff on your skin......:-S

Linsey Knerl's picture

I kind of thought it was a strange concoction, but because it's just the cocoa and not the sugar, it's not sticky like I'd thought.  And even the commerical odor-free tanners smell kind of bad.  This is good for just a nice bronze look when having to wear shorts on a winter vacation! 

Guest's picture

so really it's bronzer and not tanner, since it washes off... but still a really good idea! you would probably have to be careful of what clothes you wore with it though, as it could potentially stain

Guest's picture

I like the what-if idea...Every sat morn I teach swimming at the Y. And every wed or so, i say, gosh i am dying for McD's huge iced coffee and a chicken busciut sandwich for breakfast. And i will spend around $4.22. and so i say, sure, you can treat yourself this wekend. but then i am late, or my neighbor and i zoom overto the y, and then, i never spend the $$. It's good practice. esp since this past weekend i spent $4.22 on a small antique table, a glass pitcher with grapes on it, a velvet fringy shawl, a burts bees brand new in box hand creme kit, a 6- bottle iron wine rack and some cute urban outfitters string-up lights from yard a lot more for my $4.22 and also reduced waste and buying new things.
and love the cooked rice one too!

Guest's picture

I LOVE the idea of DIY self tanner/bronzer. I don't use it enough to buy it, it just goes bad before I finish it. This is great. Thanks.

Guest's picture

So, the coca powder and lotion worked great... until my dog wouldn't stop licking my legs.

Guest's picture

aw adorable, definaitly made my day :) give your dog a little scratch for me.

Guest's picture

I know that must of been annoying to have your dog keep licking your legs, I'll remember when I try it I won't have any pets around, thanks for pointing that out, as chocolate is poisonous to pets

Guest's picture

Good idea!! need to try them out right away!!