Homemaker Hand Guide

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From Cooking Meals to Coupon Deals, Fancy Living on a Frugal Budget

On average, how much do you save each month by using coupons?

What type of products can you almost always find coupons for?

Which chain store have you found offers the best coupon deals?

What's the most you've ever saved on a shopping trip by using coupons?

What is your best tip for keeping the entryway clean and clutter-free?

Jacinda

I have an old, small dresser in the entryway of our house. I placed large baskets for shoes on the sides of the dressers, and then small bowls on the top for keys, mail, etc. This way, even if it is a bunch of clutter coming in, it looks neat and clean until we get a chance to take care of the mail, etc..
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What's a great cleaning product you've discovered?

Jacinda

One of my favorite products that I have recently re-discovered, are the Clorox Cleaning Wipes. These little babies are amazing! They clean and disinfect at the same time. I love how when I am cleaning the house, I can just go from room to room, and surface to surface. These are also great for the bathroom areas. They leave your rooms smelling great, and can be tossed when done.
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What is your best tip for keeping the bathroom clean?

Jacinda

One of the best ways we keep the bathroom clean is by preventing the mess before it happens. Each day I try and do a "wipe-down" of the sink, toilet and shower with a clorox wipe. This takes me less than 5 minutes and prevents the bathroom from becoming unbearably dirty. I also try and minimize the clutter by not keeping a lot of items in the bathroom. Just the basics. This helps prevent dust and makes cleaning a breeze.
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What are the best products to buy in January and February?

Jacinda

January and February are great months for finding bargains on lots of regularly "high priced" items. Almost all stores will be doing some sort of "year end clearance" and making room for the next years inventory. Some of the best products on the chopping block are: -Exercise Equipment: on the New Year, many resolutions are made to get more fit, and exercise companies are counting on it! They slash prices on many older models of equipment, or deeply discount new ones to get you to try their products and ultimately help you accomplish your goal. -Winter Coats: January is the best time to be buying a winter coat. You might think this is wrong considering winter has only just began in some places at this time, but as I mentioned before, they are clearing out the old, and in with the new. My husband just got a heavy winter coat last week at Target. It was originally priced at $64.99, and he got it for only $21! -Think outside of the box when buying items. Usually the items that aren't being used as much in winter time are also being discounted to help continue to bring in sales. This means you can typically get a great deal on boats and motorcycles which aren't used as much in the winter. -Lastly Cameras and electronics are greatly discounted in Jan/Feb as well. This is the time that the National Consumer Electronics Show happens, and showcases all of the newest models coming out that year, and the old ones get the boot. The SuperBowl is also in January so, T.V.'s usually get a great price so that you can wacth the big game!
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Can you share a favorite Valentines Day project or recipe that moms can do with kids under the age of 6?

Jacinda

Whenever there's a holiday like Valentines or St.Patricks day where there is an overall color theme, we make pancakes the color of the day! So for Valentines, put some red food coloring in the pancake batter, and bake. You can even get a heart shaped cookie cutter or pancake mold to form the pancakes into a heart.
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What's the most common financial mistake families make?

Jacinda

I think not budgeting where all of your money goes before you spend it. Telling every penny where to go gives you complete control over your finances, and helps you steer towards your goals.
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What tips can you offer for closet organization?

Jacinda

When it comes to closet organiziation, I have to be very creative because we have small closets, and too much clothes! For ease of access in and out of the closets, I make everything as easy to see and find as possible. I group all of my husband's clothes on one side, and all of my clothes on the other. I also put "like" clothing items together like t-shirts, dress shirts, etc.. For any non-clothing items, I find that some sort of shelving unit helps in organizing your small items or shoes. I usually buy plastic shelving units and use totes to store all of the winter clothes or not needed items at the moment. Try and also maximize the space you are working with. We hang a shoe organizer on the back of the closet door to not only organize shoes, but smaller items like makeup, etc.
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What's an affordable and fun family activity?

Jacinda

I think going to your local National Park is a great idea for a family. This is very affordable because most of the parks that are considered National, have free admission! Your children are usually greatly entertained with all of the information, and at the same time they are learning something. For the parks that do not have Free Admission, be sure and check out the link below that provides you with special days where ALL of the parks have free admission. This includes Yosemite, etc. http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
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Do you have a recipe for a useful homemade cleaning product (detergent, soap, or other product)?

Jacinda

I have been making my own Dishwasher Detergent at home! I linked my post (it also has a "how-to" video), but it only needs very simple ingredients: 1 Cup Borax (Laundry Booster) 1 Cup Baking Soda 1/4 Cup Salt (Kosher or Regular) Mix well in a container, and use about 1-2 Tablespoons in your Dishwasher every cycle. You can also use Vinegar as a Natural Rinse agent in the rinse section of your Dishwasher.
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