Trying to save money? Here are a few life hacks for your home that won't hurt your wallet.
DIY dryer balls
It seems like a never-ending chore: As the laundry piles get bigger, so does the electric bill. The Saving Electricity website estimates that it costs an average of $0.49 to dry a load of laundry for 45 minutes. If a household does 7.5 loads of laundry per week, that adds up to close to $200 per year.
To cut down on drying time, you could spend $20 on dryer balls to help keep the laundry moving in the dryer. Or for half the cost, you could make your own with chemical-free wool yarn. The Live Simply website has instructions on how to make felted dryer balls. Felting involves putting the balls in a laundry bag or pantyhose for a couple of loads to spread out the strands of yarn, which holds the shape. We learned the hard way that skipping this step will leave you with a dryer full of unraveled yarn!
A medium load of towels took 43 minutes in our dryer. The same load of towels, along with five yarn balls, took 35 minutes – cutting our drying time by close to 19 percent.
Homemade dishwasher detergent
Now let’s talk dirty dishes. Those dishwasher tabs are convenient, but not cheap. Also, some brand-name detergents get “F” ratings from environmental groups, like the Environmental Working Group.
So why not make your own? There are many homemade dishwasher detergent recipes online, but many of them contain borax, which is banned for food use by the FDA.
The Ecofriendly Family website boasts a borax-free recipe that’s safe for the family. It has just four ingredients: 1.5 cups of washing soda, 0.5 cups of baking soda, 0.5 cups of sea salt, and 1.5 cups of LemiShine, which is primarily citric acid, available for purchase at Target stores. One batch makes enough for 32-64 loads for about $5.
Put one to two tablespoons in the main tray per load.
Our results were impressive. Our glasses came out streak-free, and our silverware came out spotless!
Did you know that you can freeze dairy?
It’s true! The U.S. Census estimates that the average U.S. household spends about $400 per year on dairy. So don’t waste it. According the Dairy Council of California, you can freeze milk for up to two months. Many cheeses and even fresh eggs can be frozen and thawed for future use as well. Just make sure that you pour a little milk out of the container to give it room to expand in the freezer. When you're ready, thaw the milk in the refrigerator.
So the next time there’s a sale, you can stock up. Or put the milk in the freezer if it’s close to its expiration date.