Mom's Top 5 Money-Saving Housekeeping Tips

by Jessie Ann Moser

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My mom was a frugal person. For my thirteenth birthday, she bought me my own copy of Sylvia Porter's Money Book: How to Earn It, Spend It, Save It, Invest It, Borrow It - And Use It to Better Your Life (TWO) (Volume 2) She dyed her own hair, ground her own hamburger meat, canned tomatoes, and made her own grape juice. I miss her, but some of the things she taught me about saving money and time in my housekeeping bring her and her wisdom back to me every day. Here for the readers of The Dollar Stretcher are mom's top five money saving housekeeping tips to save you money!

Tip Number 1. Save money by running the dryer only five minutes per load. My mother taught me to take a load of clothes out of the washing machine and dry it in the dryer for only five minutes to take out the wrinkles and lint. Then she would hang up all shirts on hangers, and hang up pants, shorts, towels and most large clothing items. Her washer and dryer were located in the cellar with a clothesline for this purpose (as are my washer and dryer). Once you are set up for this method, it doesn't take long to hang up clothes. You save money two ways. You use the dryer less and save energy costs, and by reducing the drying cycle, your clothing lasts longer (especially elastic waistbands.)

Tip Number 2. Wipe down the shower with a towel or squeegee after every shower. Water that is left on the tiles wicks into the grout, and over time, breaks down grout, especially in the lowest tiles. Soap scum builds up too. You can spend money on sprays designed to reduce the viscosity of the water droplets left on tiles, causing them to fall faster, therefore drying shower walls faster. But they don't work. Mom wiped down the tiles with an old towel kept outside the shower door for this purpose. Not only does this save the tile grout from wear, it is also an excellent way to get rid of soap scum. Family members have to be educated to help out, of course, but this is truly the best way to preserve your tile and prevent costly tile restoration repairs.

Tip Number 3. Clean the filters on heat pump or central air intakes every month. Save money by making your heating and/or air conditioning unit operate more efficiently. Yes, filters are expensive. Mom used reusable washable filters. For odd sized filters, you can buy "cut to fit" reusable filters. Take the filters out once a month and hose them off. This can be done in the shower in the winter months, but don't forget to wipe down the shower when you're done.

Tip Number 4. Do your own housekeeping and yard work and save money. Mom was a working mom, not a stay at home mom. She knew how hard it is to raise a family, go to work, and take care of a home and a yard. At the same time, she knew she worked hard for her money and would rather spend it on a second vacation home than on a housecleaner or a yard man. The key to managing and not going crazy is to do a little bit every day so that the tasks don't become overwhelming. For the yard, lay down mulch before the weed seeds germinate. Every time it rains, when the soil is nice and wet, put on your gardening gloves and weed one flower bed or even just one or two yards of a bed. Inside the house, Mom would dust a piece of furniture everyday by using a dirty sock before tossing it into the hamper. Her motto was to take a corner of the house or yard and work it a little bit each day. Go through the house like this each day, and in a week (or two), you can get through the whole house and every flowerbed.

Tip Number 5. Save money by making soup once a week. Mom's vegetable soup was the best and really stretched the family food budget. I finally discovered the key to my mother's vegetable soup. She bought stewing meat and cooked it a very long time. (I use the crock pot.) Mom added beef bouillon, bay leaf, onions, celery, carrots, adding the frozen mixed vegetables and potatoes last so they wouldn't overcook. A jar of her canned stewed tomatoes gave it that fresh from the garden taste.

I still miss Mom. I guess I always will, but when I make her soup, change my filters, hang my damp laundry, wipe my shower, pull weeds after a rain, or dust with an old sock, I feel her cheering me on.

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