Let’s begin by setting the record straight. If you came over to my house right now, you would find dirty dishes in the sink, laundry in both the washer and the dryer waiting to be tended, and all sorts of paper I should have cleaned up two weeks ago. I’m no Stepford Wife or Martha Stewart. I can easily become the Queen of Clutter. I live my life abiding by the wise words of Phyllis Diller who said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” I break out in a cold sweat just opening the FlyLady website.
From the messiest desk to the messiest locker to the messiest room, I’ve struggled to stay neat and clean my whole life long. All of that to say my Spring Cleaning Money Saving Tips are aimed at those of us who are *ahem* neatness challenged. However, even though I can think of 3 million other things I’d rather do than clean, I can’t help but admit keeping orderly systems allowed us to pay off $127K in debt.
Proverbs 25:28 says “A person without self-control is like a house with its windows and doors knocked out.” When we lack self-control in any area – cleaning, fitness, food, spending – we leave ourselves open for destruction. Our families are without protection. We sit cold and wet, wondering what has happened when crises hit.
While I still struggle, these spring cleaning money saving tips helped me reign in some poor spending and organizational habits and kick debt and chaos in the teeth.
1. Order Cleaning Products from Amazon
Many times, you can get a better deal on your favorite cleaning products and toiletries on Amazon. Did you know Amazon actually has coupons that you can “clip” to maximize your savings? Pair these coupons with the low prices featured on the Subscribe & Save and Amazon Mom programs and you can own shopping for cleaners like nobody’s business. Another advantage is that the products you purchase come straight to your door and eliminate impulse buys that might occur in a brick and mortar store. Pay attention to unit price though. Subscribe & Save prices fluctuate from month to month so after an item ships, it’s a good idea to pause or cancel the subscription so it is not automatically shipped the next month. For more ways to save on Amazon, read: The #1 Way to Save Money at the Store.
2. Cut Sponges or Scour Pads in Half
This simple tip can stretch your sponges or green scouring pads twice as far without spending an extra cent. Simply use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip them into two equal pieces. For other ideas, read: 5 Unique Ways to Save on Spring Cleaning.
3. Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
In Slaying the Debt Dragon, there’s an entire chapter devoted to “Keeping the Castle Clean.” I talk about everything from streamlining your utility bills to making your own cleaners. For years, we have made our own powdered laundry detergent. The simple recipe is 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda, and 1/2 cup OxiClean (I buy generic). Get this, you only use 1 Tablespoon per load. I typically make a batch with 6 cups Borax, 6 cups Washing Soda, and 3 cups Oxiclean and it lasts our family of four for MONTHS at a time. I swear these people change their clothes 12 times a day, too. For more ways to save, read: 5 Brilliant Hacks to Save Money on Laundry.
4. Descale Your Coffee Pot with Vinegar
Calling all java lovers. If you daily use your coffee pot, at least once a month you’ll want to descale it. Simply run 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water through a regular cycle. Let the mixture sit. Pour it down the drain (by the way, this will actually help clear your drains, too). Then, run a regular cycle with just water. Your coffee will taste better on the next brew and you’ll stretch the life of the appliance. Want to know what other two appliances to maintain? Check out 3 Appliances to Maintain to Save Big Bucks
5. Clean the Cleaners
Spring is a great time to clean your machines, too. Your dishwasher and washing machine build up detergent (especially store bought) during the course of the year and need a good scrub. I’m a big fan of Lemi Shine Machine Cleaner 2.5 oz, 3 Count which works on Washing Machines, Dishwashers, and Garbage Disposals.
6. Vacuum Seal Bulky Winter Clothes
Ready to pack away the sweaters and coats for a season. Rather than clogging your closet, consider vacuum sealing them into a dense, flat package that can easily slide under the bed. I bought a set of bags from ALDI years ago. But here’s a 5 piece set for $11.55. It might take a bit of practice to get the process down but you’ll save on space and cleaning using this type of storage. They also work great in the trunk for long road trips. Another great space saving idea is to change the flow of your pantry. Read 31 Debt Free Missions: Reorganize Your Pantry.
7. Hit the Dollar Store
It’s the question I’ve debated before: Is the Dollar Store a Deal? For some cleaning products, the Dollar store is a great fit. Purchase your own spray bottles to make glass and multi-purpose cleaner with white vinegar. Buy traditional cleaning products at a fraction of the price. My favorite dollar deal are stainless steel scouring pads which are double the price at a super store.
8. Lighten Your Load
Friends, much can be said for simplifying our lives. For instance, say a certain redheaded girl who likes wearing a plastic tiara at one point in time had more than one set of dishes. She may or may not have hated doing the dishes so much that she would wait to wash them until every single one was dirty. After donating the extra set of dishes, she realized that with less to manage the task took less time and she was less overwhelmed. There is much to be said for fewer toys, clothes, and dishes to help you clean more effectively. For organizational strategies, read: 31 Ways to Kick Debt in the Teeth: Clean Your Room!
9. Sweep Out the Back of Your Refrigerator
This is a ridiculous tip but go with me here. The coils in your refrigerator get clogged with dust, hair, and grime. Every once in awhile, it’s a good idea to use the attachment on your vacuum or a Shop Vac to sweep that badboy out. Your refrigerator will run more effectively and keep cooler. Your energy bill decreases a bit and your food lasts longer. Double bonus. For other out of the box ideas, read: 31 Debt Free Missions: Save Money On Appliances
10. Sub White Vinegar for Fabric Softener
White vinegar makes a fabulous frugal replacement for fabric softener. I purchased a Downy Ball at my local big box (the link to Amazon is overpriced, don’t buy it there. I just wanted to show you what it was.). Instead of filling it with fabric softener, I use white vinegar (the best price is at Sam’s Club). You won’t smell like salad dressing, I promise. Your whites will actually be whiter, clothes are soft, and it works cuts down on static most seasons of the year. I also have a set of adorable Kikkerland Hedgehog Dryer Balls that help with static, too.
None of us is going to be perfect when it comes to keeping a clean house. We’re bound to take two steps forward and two back now and then. More than anything, cleaning helps us strengthen our ability to connect with our families in our homes. Yes, it’s a chore. Yes it can be a big bummer. But the reward is well worth it and keeps us from having “knocked out windows and doors.”
Be sure to read 7 Frugal Cleaning Products You Need This Spring for more ideas!
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!