By Nikki Willhite
Frugal people are not lazy. Just the opposite. It takes more
work to be frugal than to spend money. If you are rich, you can hire people to
do all your work. When you are of limited means, you must do it all yourself.
For instance, you know that you can save the most money in the kitchen by doing
as much of the basic cooking yourself as possible. It's a lot easier to go out
We also know that if we take care of our possessions, they will
last longer. This requires extra work and maintenance. There are a lot of people
that don't do it, and replace objects as they prematurely wear out.
To have fewer possessions, that better serve our needs, and to
take good care of them is the ultimate goal in saving money and living well. It
is noble to use the earth's resources wisely, and to take good care of that over
which we have been given stewardship.
How sad it is to see people neglect their homes and property. It
usually takes more work than money to maintain our homes. Pulling weeds and
keeping the lawn cut take more time than money.
- Here is the link to an article on what may happen if you don't maintain your
On the positive side, here are a few practical tips for
maintenance of items in our home that will save you money by prolonging their
Toasters -Remove the crumbs from the bottom of the
toaster often. Unplug it, turn it upside down and shake.
Irons - If you have hard water in your area, your iron
will build up calcium deposits. For this reason, you should use bottled
distilled water. You can try and clean it out by using a solution of 1 part
water to 1 part vinegar in the water depository and steaming until it is gone.
Can Openers -Can openers are notorious for collecting
germs. Germs and gunk collects on the cutting blades and is hard to get off.
Don't let it get out of control. Remove the cutting wheel periodically to clean
Drains - First and foremost, use them only to dispose of
food when absolutely necessary. It just isn't worth the risk to carelessly
(albeit conveniently) dispose of old food this way. For preventative care, there
are several things you can do.
*Pour three pans of boiling water down them to keep them clear.
*Put in a Cup of Vinegar, wait a half hour, then put in 3
teaspoons of baking soda and boiling water.
* Pour 1 Cup of Baking Soda and 1 Cup of Bleach down the drain.
Then add 2 Cups of hot Vinegar. Plug up the drain and leave overnight.
*If it is the bathroom drain, and you suspect that hair is the
problem, try using a hanger. Straighten it out, and make a small loop on the
end. Put it down the drain a few times and see if you can bring up some of the
Humidifiers - Attend to them weekly. Add vinegar to let
soak for 20 minutes to remove scum. Rinse and then add soapy water with a capful
of bleach to sterilize. Let set 30 minutes.
Air Filtration Units - Be sure and change both the outer
and inner filters when necessary. The outer filter can often just be washed and
dried- even if the instructions call for you to replace it.
Vacuum- You will burn out the motor of your vacuum within
a year if you don't maintain the beater bar. When you vacuum, tiny hairs and
threads will attach themselves to the bar which turns, eventually forming a
steel like cord that will prevent the beater bar from turning.
Turn your vacuum upside down (unplugged) and remove those hairs
and threads. Some people go a step further and make a mop type devise that picks
up hairs, dust bunnies, etc., and they run it over the floor before vacuuming.
If you've even spent an hour trying to pull out the hairs from the beater brush,
you will know why.
Oven - Here is an inexpensive way to clean the inside of
your oven. Put a few cups of ammonia in an old dish on the bottom shelf of your
oven. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, take it out and you should be able
to wipe your oven clean. (Remember to be careful of the toxic fumes that can
come from ammonia. NEVER mix it with bleach!)
If you have neglected your oven, you will have to use harsh
chemicals to get it clean. As with most things in your home, once they are
clean, they are easy to maintain with periodic attention.
Dishwasher - Add a cup of vinegar and run periodically to
remove scum from the inside of the dishwasher and the hoses.
Furnace - Replace or clean the furnace air filter several
times during the heating season. Keep all your air registers clean. Take them
off periodically and vacuum. If they are on the floor, they will accumulate a
great amount of trash. The return vents on upper walls will collect dust.
Water Heater - Drain water from the bottom to remove
Carpet -Attend to stains on the carpet the moment you see
them. Any carpet cleaner will do. For a homemade solution, pour Seltzer on the
spot and sprinkle Cornstarch on top of it. Let sit overnight and then vacuum. Or
try making a paste of baking soda and water. Rub into the carpet. Let sit one
hour and then vacuum.
Wood - Attend to scratches and dents in wood. Cover with
a damp cloth and the iron on a high setting. The wood should expand to fill in
the dents. Keep the moisture in your fine wood by periodically using a wax spray
or a product like Liquid Gold.
The wood is covered by polyurethane, but it wears off. Your
wood will become old and cracked and lose its luster if you don't take care of
it. Also, try and keep moisture off the wood. We have wood backsplashes around
all our sinks, and wood on the edges of our counters. The house was only 10
years old when we bought it, but it wasn't maintained. The finish is coming off.
Now it will take a lot more effort and money to fix it.
You can also mask scratches by using colored crayons made for
this purpose and sold in hardware stores. They come in most of the wood grain
If you have white rings on your tables, try removing them
toothpaste. Apply with a dry brush, and whip off with a dry rag.
Shower Curtains - Don't throw them out when they get
mildew on them. Wash them in the washing machine with 1/2 Cup Soap and 1/2 Cup
Baking Powder. Add 1/2 Cup Vinegar to the Rinse Cycle.
Prevent mildew by good ventilation in the bathroom, fans,
keeping the door open when possible, and spraying the curtain with a Lysol type
Tupperware- Keep Tupperware and other plastic storage
containers looking new by spraying with a vegetable oil before adding anything
made with a tomato based product.