Sometimes household expenses add up during what I like to call my “Dunce” moments. As household CEO and mommy, I don’t get to put myself in the corner. Darn it! But when I ruin a perfectly good pair of scissors opening a toy’s blister pack or pay a small fortune for an ice pack, I get frustrated. I have learned—often the hard way—tricks for using items I already have at home to save money, equipment, and my sanity.

Scissors: Ah, blister packs. They often result in blisters and cuts on my hands. Why do manufacturers make those clear, hard, plastic packages so darn hard to open?! The packaging also makes my wallet hurt because of the twenty pairs of scissors I have had to buy because they go dull. Enter the can opener. You heard me right. This little baby can open the packaging in a snip. Just run it along the packaging like you would on a can. I now can say I have fewer pairs of scissors and have to worry less about keeping my colorful language to myself.

Ice Packs:  Now, these items aren't horribly expensive, but during a heat wave or a typical school year, they become a necessity. But I’d like to save enough cash to occasionally buy a lovely bottle of wine. Hey, I have two kids under five. So instead of investing in reusable ice packs, I use an ordinary sponge. Wet it, plop it in a zip-top bag, and pop it in the freezer. I like this option because it’s cheaper than the blue reusables, isn’t made up of mystery chemicals, and it also works to clean the dishes!

DVD Restorer: Have you ever priced those special kits at the store that fix scratches in DVDs and CDs? They are downright pricey! I’ve gone through a baker’s dozen. Yeah, my boys have decided that DVDs make great flying discs. Poor “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” didn't stand a chance. I looked for an alternative solution and found one that surprised me! A banana. Rub it in a circle on the DVD. Once the disc is fully coated, rinse it off with warm water. The DVD will play without skipping. Bananas may be a super fruit, but they cannot get out really deep grooves.

Toothpaste: I love it when my kids get creative. Sometimes they take that “artistic license” a bit too far and go full Picasso on my walls. I hate using anything too abrasive in my house, and getting crayons off my walls is a pain when my only solution is to paint. A little accident revealed a great trick! My kids coated a wall already covered in crayon with toothpaste. I left it on long enough to harden a bit and then wiped it off with a wet cloth. Voilà: no crayon! And my walls were minty fresh–bonus!

Drain cleaner: Okay, this one is a bit odd, but it works, especially since I rarely keep toxic chemicals around the house. Instead of dangerous Drain-O (my kids can open any “child proof” lock) I keep a plunger on hand for the sinks and toilet. Recently, Captain America took a trip down our toilet. And got stuck. I had read somewhere that if you use HOT water and dishwashing soap before you plunge, the process is quicker and easier. Boy howdy! The old captain flew out of that drain pipe. It is just one little trick to save money and one less item to worry about hiding from the bandits.

I firmly believe that saving a little money is better than saving no money, and in a tough economy I will take cents over nothing. Use ordinary household materials to combat the everyday disasters, and watch your savings add up!

  This has been a guest post by Christina from Indiana
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Mundane to Magic: How to Save Money with Household Items