17 September 2008

Book Review: Saving Money with the Tightwad Twins

Saving Money with the Tightwad Twins: More Than 1,000 Practical Tips for Women on a Budget.
By: Ann and Susan Fox

I am currently on a kick to save as much money as possible. It has turned into a game and I feel like the amount of money I save is my paycheck for being a stay at home mom (and no, I don't believe that buying something "on sale" that I wasn't going to purchase in the first place counts. That would be called spending, not saving). I also have this little tendency to want to be the best at every single thing I do so I always do my research. That is where the Tightwad Twins come into play.

This book seemed right up my alley. I was wrong. Very wrong. There were a couple of ideas that will work for my family, but the included advice operates on the assumption that I don't throw anything away and have loads of unneeded items around my house and cluttering my garage. I am certainly not clutter-free, but my home doesn't look like a ramshackle yard sale (at least, I don't think it does). I don't have a collection of old coffee tables, a box of panty hose with runs in them, 25 beat up rugs, or a stash fraying place mats to turn into treasure. The reviews on the back from Maury Povich and The National Enquirer should have been my first warning sign about the quality of the book and I suppose I should just be grateful that it didn't turn into a compilation of "Who's the Baby's Daddy?: Paternity Tests Revealed!"

There were still a couple of items I found useful and to spare you the torture of reading through the book, I've included them here. I also need to return this to the library so I wanted to make sure I had all the handy information available. As such, I have not tried these out yet, so no promises.

Homemade Cleaning Supplies.
* All-purpose household cleaner. 1/2 c white vinegar, 1 c ammonia, 1/4 c baking soda, 1 gallon water

* Automatic dishwasher detergent. Mix 1 c borax and 1/2 c baking soda with 3 cups of cheap automatic dishwasher detergent

* Cleanser for garbage disposals. 1 c baking soda, 1 1/4 c water. Mix ingredients and pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Turn on the disposal (no water running) and dump about 5-7 ice cubes down the drain, allowing the machine to grind them up

* Powdered carpet cleaner. 2 c baking soda, 1/2 c cornstarch, 1 T ground cloves. Sprinkle over the carpet, leave overnight and vacuum as usual.

* Laundry pre-stain. You can use a spray bottle for this one. Mix 1/2 c white vinegar, 1/2 c ammonia, 1/2 c store-bought liquid laundry soap and 1/2 c water. Spray stain, rub in m mixture, let garment sit for a bit, then wash.

* Stain remover for fabrics. Mix 1/2 c dishwashing liquid, 1/2 c baking soda to 1 gallon of boiling water. Let your clothes soak overnight, then wash as you usually would

* Basic Cleaner. To 1 gallon of hot water, add 2 T baking soda and 1/2 c detergent

* Furniture polish. 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts vegetable oil. Polish as usual.

* Toilet cleaner. Use a 1 to 3 ration of vinegar to water. Vinegar will remove many rust stains because it is a natural acid

* Glass cleaner. Add 2 T cornstarch and 1/2 c white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water

* Carpet deodorizer. Baking soda. If it doesn't get the carpet smelling fresh, try a little more. Sprinkle a little then wait about 7-10 minutes and vacuum as usual

* Car wash mixture. 1/2 c liquid detergent, 1/2 c baking soda, 1 gallon of water. It only takes a cup of this solution in a bucket of warm water to wash a car

Air Freshener. Boil orange peels in water and let the aroma fill the house

For the Kids.
Funky Craft Dough You Can Eat.
1 c butter or margarine, softened
6 hard cooked egg yolks, mashed
2 tsp cream of tartar
5 c all-purpose flour
1 c shortening
2 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla extract
Red, yellow, green paste food coloring

Cream butter and shortening; add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, soda, cream of tartar and vanilla, beating well. Add flour a little at a time, mixing well.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Color one part red, one yellow, one green, and leave the last dough part plain. Wrap each part up separately in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Hand shape the dough into anything you want or roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake your creations at 350º for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes.

Play Dough. Mix 2 c flour, 1 c salt, 1/2 c cornstarch, 1 1/4 T baking soda, 2 c water, 1 T cooking oil and a pinch of food coloring; microwave for about 4 minutes on high and store in an air-tight plastic container

No-Cook Play Dough. 1 c flour, 1/4 c salt and 3/8 c hot water from your faucet; add food coloring if you desire.

Gooey Slime. 8 oz. white glue, 3/4 c water, 1 teaspoon 20 Mule Team borax; add food coloring if you desire

Silly Willy Putty. 8 oz. white glue, 2 teaspoons 20 Mule Team borax and 3 tsp water

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