Four Frugal Tips and Tip Number Five

The Cheap Chick Empire is a marvelous thing.  Check out her website for fabulous tips to save money, find those awesome sales/deals that make you feel good about spending money, and just to prove she’s truly one of us, she even has a weekly feature when she ‘fesses up to her personal victories and failures (fast food and Target seem to be her Achilles’ heels!).

After reading her blog for awhile now, I’m feeling inspired to impart my own frugal-living wisdom to you. I know you may think you only come to my blog for Dr. Who and Abney Park updates, but trust me.  On occasion (granted it’s more rare than I’d prefer) I actually am frugal.   And even more rarely, I have wisdom!

Tip #1: Why pay money for those skin-scrubs that (even when they say they are all-natural) are most likely packed with nasty things that harm your skin?  When a cheap, really all-natural alternative exists right now in your own house?  I’m talking about baking soda.  Is there anything that baking soda can’t do?  It cleans, deodorizes, brushes teeth, and now, scrubs skin in a totally non-harmful, good for you kind of way – and since there are no fragrances or chemicals in it, it’s perfect for those with allergies.  Just pour a small amount into your palm, dribble in just enough water to mix it into a paste, then apply to your face and cleanse away.  I love the tingle you get afterward, and the softness of my skin.  After I discovered this, I can never go back to store scrubs!

Tip #2:  Hydrogen Peroxide.  Yep, the same stuff that you can buy for under fifty cents a bottle to disinfect your child’s scraped knees is also a skin beauty product!  It’s a marvelous skin toner and makes those large pores on my face just disappear when I dab it on at night with a cotton ball.  Plus, I use it for a mouth rinse – just be careful to keep it out of your eyes and don’t swallow it.

Tip #3:  Alice.com Ever notice how, when you go to Walmart or Target for a couple of necessary household or personal items that you end up shopping for things you don’t need and end up paying far more than you wanted?  Here’s the perfect solution.  With no shipping fees, and a minimum order each time of only six items (and it doesn’t matter how cheap the six items are or how heavy they are) you can have your necessary items shipping right to your door.  Things like detergent, toilet paper, makeup, pet items, even food – and it’s even brand name products – and as cheap as you could get them at your local Walmart.  You can even have Alice keep track of what you order and remind you to re-order when you’re starting to run out!  No more running to the store constantly for those basic things of life – and you even have a chance to receive free items with your order, even really awesome items like free ipods!  And for every friend you refer, you get a kickback of 3% of whatever they purchase.  My dog loves it when the alice box comes in the mail since there’s nearly always something in it for her!

Tip #4: Paperback Book Swap.  If you’re a reader like I am, you’re always picking up books wherever you go.  Thrift stores, book stores, garage sales; there is seemingly no end to the amount of books I can acquire in a year.  And once I read them, where do they go?  I used to donate them back to the thrift store, or, for those popular new titles that my used bookstore would accept, trade them in for a discount.  That’s good, but this online site is better.  You list the books you don’t want (and they can be basically any kind of book, even hardbacks and ex-library books, so long as they’re in relatively decent condition) and other people request those titles from you.  You print a mailing label right at the site (including postage, if you don’t mind their small convenience fee) and mail them off to that person.  For every book you mail, you get one credit…and this is where it gets fun.  You can search a database of millions of available books and request them for free, one book for each credit you’ve earned. If they don’t have the specific book you want available, you can add yourself to a “wish list” and as soon as that book is made available, they put it on hold for you and send you an email.  It’s marvelous, and this particular online book swap is better than the other ones out there.

And one last tip: Tip #5.  When Christmas tree shopping, it might be wise to bring your dog, or borrow a dog for the excursion.  Why?  Well, we bought our tree home from the lot, and noticed that our dog Jacks was very intrigued by it.  We thought: “Oh how cute!  She’s happy it’s Christmas!”  But then, we discovered exactly why she was intrigued: one section of lower branches smelled of dog pee. (We’re assuming it’s dog pee; it could be bear!)  After some branch-trimming, and some use of a spray deodorizer/sanitizer, the tree no longer smells of pee.  However it also doesn’t smell of tree.  And isn’t that a large part of having a live tree in your house?  Learn from my mistake, take a dog tree hunting, and avoid any tree the dog “likes”!

And since I doubt I’ll have time to update my blog again until after Christmas,

Merry Christmas!!!!

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