15 Surprising Uses For Household Items That Will Help You Save

Photo: KOMUnews

As a kid, I used to roll my eyes at my dad each time he responded to my complaints about a bruise or bothersome bug bite by telling me to “Hush up and put some witch hazel on it.”¬†Alright, I still roll my eyes whenever he says that. But the point is that he might have been on to something.

If you’re looking to cut costs at home, a great place to start is right in your own kitchen.

Vinegar: Pamper Your Pooch

Vinegar may be pretty assaulting on the olfactory senses (full disclosure: this reporter can't stand the stuff), but it is probably one of the most diverse products you have in your household arsenal.

Vinegartips.com recommends using it to make your pup's coat really shine. Just mix a cup of the white distilled variety with one quart of water, then rub down its coat with your hands.

Olive Oil: Grease Your Gams

The price of shaving creams these days is enough to make any girl's leg hairs stand on end. But if you're well-stocked in the olive oil department, you'll be glad to know that Rachel Ray's favourite kitchen staple is also great as a makeshift shaving oil.

Bonus: According to Woman's Day, olive oil is packed with skin-nourishing nutrients, so go ahead and skip the $10 moisturizer afterward to save even more.

Coffee: Touch Up Your Locks

Good news, brunettes. Ditch those $200 touch-ups at the salon and brew an extra pot of Joe instead to brighten up your hair colour.

Mint.com suggests taking a strong pot of black coffee after it's cooled and pouring it on freshly shampooed strands. Let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes (plenty of time to brew yourself another cup) and then rinse with cool water. Follow it up with conditioner and style as usual.

Bonus: Save the leftover grounds if you're looking for a cheap alternative fertiliser.

Beer: Stop Slugs In Their Tracks

If you've got a slug problem, you might want to think twice before you toss out the empties from last night's beer pong match.

Turns out the little pests will wander right into jars of brewski if you leave them hidden properly in the ground, according to Wisebread. Be sure the rims of the jars are at ground level and check back on them a day or so later to easily dispose of the unsuspecting critters. It's just as effective as salt without the hassle of finding the slugs yourself.

Baking Soda: Call Off The Plumber

Before you drop cash on Drain-O for that clogged sink, just grab some baking soda from the fridge and let it do the work at a fraction of the cost.

First, pour 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, Real Simple suggests. Then slowly add equal parts white vinegar and let it sit for five minutes. Douse the drain with a gallon of boiling water afterward and run the water to check your results.

Lemons: Nature's Deodorant

Lemons are all the firepower you'll need in the face of life's stinkier problems.

Couponsherpa.com suggests tossing leftover lemon peels into the garbage disposal and letting it whirl to get rid of any unsavory smells.

You can also rub down your cutting board with half a lemon to freshen it up. During cooler months, cozy up to the fireplace and toss a few peels on the flames to add a citrusy hint to the air in your home.

Cinnamon: Ants Never Stood A Chance

Forget pricey pesticides. If you want to keep ants at bay, cinnamon may be all you need.

Use it to deter the six-legged critters from invading your home by spreading powdered cinnamon anywhere you catch sight of them, Anniesremedy.com says. Not only will you be bug-free, but your home will smell delicious, too.

Toothpaste: All-purpose Cleaner

Save big on cleaning costs by repurposing your toothpaste, Good Housekeeping says.

The magazine recommends using the minty stuff to clean sink fixtures and eliminate garlic or similarly malodorous scents from your hands after cooking.

If you're desperate to get your silver looking good as new, toothpaste can act as an emergency polisher, too.

Alka Seltzer: Reel In A Big Catch

Bizarrely enough, using alka seltzer tablets in the water where you fish could attract your catch of the day, according to Curbly.com.

If that's not enough to impress you about these fizzy tablets, you can also drop a couple of them in your toilet to give it a quick clean on the cheap or use them to soothe insect bites.

Dryer Sheets: Stink No More

If you don't have the time or funds to pick up expensive fabric deodorisers, just head for the laundry room.

A couple of dryer sheets can be used to freshen up running shoes or tucked in between couch cushions if you need to get things smelling spring fresh in a pinch.

Tea: Ward Off Warts

There's no need to walk around like a human toad if you've got a few leftover teabags on hand. The tannic acid inside of tea leaves can work to eradicate warts, according to DIYLife.com.

The site recommends placing a warmed, wet tea bag on the wart for about 15 minutes, up to three times per day to get rid of the unsightly lumps.

WD-40: Mess Eraser

The next time your kid gets his hands on a box of Crayola's finest and runs amok, don't waste a ton of cash on wall cleaner.

WD-40 -- you know, that stuff your grandpa was always carrying around to fix even the smallest of squeaky door hinges? --can be used to remove crayon marks from most surfaces, according to Woman's Day.

Just be sure to wipe down the surface with a soapy rag if you want to get the oil off the wall afterward.

Bananas: Shine Up Your Silverware

Banana peels can be a great, cheap trick to getting your silver to shine again.

Just use the inside of the peels to rub down whatever needs to be untarnished and watch them work their magic, Lifehacker.com says.

Honey: Fight Germs

Winnie may have been on to something.

Some varieties of honey can be used as a very effective antibacterial agent, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The most potent type is found in New Zealand, but there are bandages you can purchase to use at home that are infused with the sticky stuff. Research has also shown honey may reduce scarring.

Avocado: Not Just For Dip

Not all of us can afford to take a spa day when our skin starts looking sad during the dry winter months. For an affordable, all-natural alternative, avocados can be a great source if you're looking to treat yourself to a facial.

The vitamin-rich fruits are packed with essential nutrients that your skin will love. Plenty of sites out there offer recipes on avocado facials, like this one from Naturenews.com. Just mix some avocado with a little milk or oatmeal and slather it on your face. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water and enjoy the silky smooth results.

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