Archive for the ‘Saving with This and That’ Category

Make Your Own Fishtank Filter Cartridge

August 24, 2010

I am a huge Fish Geek.  Please don’t tell anyone. I wouldn’t want my reputation as a “cool kid” to be ruined 😀  This great idea came to me via Quiltie a couple of years ago to help diffuse the cost of my hobby. I just got around to taking pictures of the process 🙂

Make Your Own Fishtank Filter Cartridge:

All you need to do this is the Old BioBag Cartridge you are replacing, Loose Fishtank Carbon ,Polyester Quilting Batting, Needle and Thread.

Your Cartridge will look like this to begin with (probably alot dirtier though):

Notice that at the top middle of the bag, located on the long plastic piece is a clip. Remove that clip, along with the plastic piece and peel off the mesh filter which will be full of carbon. Dispose of the filter and carbon.

You will be left with a frame that looks like this:

Cut a rectangle out of the Batting large enough so that you can fold it over the frame so that there is an inch or two extra material on all three open sides.

It will look like this (I cut mine uneven but when it’s finished it will not matter because the extra will be trimmed away. Sorry about the yucky table top I put it on for the picture. Painting that piece is next on my to do list):

Fold the material over the frame and hand stitch at the side and bottom. No need to stitch at the top, the plastic piece and clip you removed earlier will hold it. Cut extra Batting off, leaving about 1/2 an inch past your stitches. You will be left with a sleeve around the frame not unlike the one you disposed of earlier.

Depending on the size of your Cartridge pour in the Fishtank Carbon (I used about 3 TBSP for a small Cartridge). The kind I use looks like this:

Fold the top of the Batting over the top of the frame and replace the plastic piece and clip. Trim the extra batting from the top

It should look like this:

Rinse your Cartridge ,as you would any new one, to remove the dust from the carbon and put in your filter.

I bought my box of carbon about 5 years ago and my batting was free because I’m lucky enough to live beside a Quilter who often has scraps. So it costs me about .20 per filter change to our Filter every couple of months.


Little Frugalista


*Hydrogen Peroxide* The Best .50 You’ll Ever Spend

June 14, 2010

I know you’ve seen the adds that pop up on the side of your screen that say “One Mom Found a Super Cheap Effective Way to Whiten Teeth! Click here to find out what it is!”. Well this Mom is giving the info. away for free ;)… Hydrogen Peroxide. I get comments now and then about how white my teeth are. After a barrage of questioning about what sorts of things I use the questioner is usually disbelieving that, no I do not use those $30 Boxes of “White Strips, Gels,Rinses etc..” but rather use the .50 active ingredient they use… Hydrogen Peroxide. The trick to Whitening your teeth with Peroxide is to rinse your mouth before brushing with a 1:1 (once again with pity for the math challenged as I, a half and half solution) of water and Peroxide. Then Brush your teeth as normal.

I’m sure at this point you are thinking YUCK I bet that tastes like foot but I assure you that it tastes like nothing. The only real difference between pure water and Peroxide ,taste wise, is that it will Fizz once you spit it out. The Fizz always thrills me though because that means it’s Fizzing out all of the crud I don’t want in there in the first place.

If you want to REALLY clean your teeth you can create a paste of Baking Soda and Peroxide. The added abrasion of the Soda helps to scrub the gunk off of your teeth. I can not promise however that this concoction will taste pleasant, though it is very survivable because I have done and will continue to do it myself 😉

Do these (either just Peroxide or Peroxide with Baking Soda), according to my dentist, once a week only.

All of that being said I need to add to this post…. Please consult your dentist before following this advice because, though my dentist gave me the ok, your teeth may have special needs with which this advice may not work. Do I sound like one of the announcers at the end of a drug commercial that lists off 200 things that may go wrong if you take their medication? “Possible side effects may include, listening to Wayne Newton Music, Cranial Implosion, Negative Karma, Coloring Outside the Lines etc..” 😀

Now since I’ve created a whole posting touting my love affair with Peroxide I will give you other great uses for this Store Bought Wonder…

  1. To clean and sanitize the kitchen – clean countertops and sanitize lunch boxes. As with all cleaning I try to use things that are EcoFriendly and won’t adversely effect my family’s health and Peroxide fits the bill.
  2. To clean vegetables and fruits and prolong the freshness and taste – Add 1/4 cup of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. Add vegetables and fruits wash, then rinse with cool water.
  3. Cut and Wound care – Misting a wound with hydrogen peroxide will help clean it while speeding the healing process.
  4. For your toothbrush – Soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between uses can help keep it clean and prevent transfer of germs. Particularly useful when you or someone in your household has a cold.
  5. As an astringent – Dabbing 3% hydrogen peroxide on pimples can help promote clearer skin.
  6. Fresh blood stains – use 3% H202 to remove fresh blood stains in clothing. Then rinse fabric with soap/water. Also works for most other stains.
  7. For canker sores and toothaches – use 3% hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to kill germs and allow any sores to heal.
  8. Athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and skin infections – Soak the affected area in 3% hydrogen peroxide once or twice daily.
  9. Sinus infections – Mix one tablespoon of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide with one cup of distilled water for use as a sinus spray to kill and prevent sinus infections.
  10. Window and mirror cleaning – Hydrogen peroxide provides a streak free shine on glass surfaces. Simply use a spray bottle to wet the surface with 3% hydrogen peroxide, and wipe with a lint free cloth. This can also help disinfect, which is important in homes with children who like to put their mouths on the glass.
  11. Shower disinfectant – Keep a spray bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the shower for spraying down the shower to kill bacteria and viruses.
  12. Humidifier disinfectant – Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water.
  13. Laundry Bleach replacement – Add 8 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash. (Does the name Oxyclean ring a bell?)
  14. Pets – For dogs and cats, use 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 quart water for their drinking and bath water.
  15. Home & Garden Plants – Use 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide per quart of water.
  16. Bathtub detox – Add one pint or quart bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide to warm bath water and soak for 20-25 min.
  17. And last but not least My second Favorite Use after Teeth Whitening… Pour a little around your faucets and watch the nasty dirt and bacteria fizz out. Take a Toothbrush (One you use solely for cleaning. I don’t care how mad you are at him, don’t use his toothbrush. I’m fairly sure there is one lady out there in cyberland right now who thinks I’m psychic and can see her through the screen.) and scrub the remaining junk around the faucet and rinse with clear water.

If those weren’t enough uses for this Cheap Wonder and you would love to read more, including how to cure an Earache, Clean out Earwax, Prevent Swimmers Ear etc… Click HERE to visit Tip King.


Little Frugalista

We Already Knew This

June 2, 2010

If you read my post about Haggling Medical Bills then you are one step ahead of the people on MSN that wrote the article about 10 Things Your Hospital Won\’t Tell You.

 #4 Your Hospital Bill is Negotiable just reaffirms to me that I’m not the only one out there getting discounts on medical bills just for asking.


Little Frugalista

Toilet Clean Up Tip

May 29, 2010

I can not think of much that I hate worse then cleaning toilets. Maybe it stems from the fact that I have a huge phobia of germs. Whatever the reason I absolutely hate it.

I find toilet brushes to be especially disgusting and when little Miss was really young I stopped using them in favor of the toilet wands that use disposable heads.

 I was terrified she was going to pick up that nasty toilet brush and either play in the little puddle that hung around in the toilet brush holder or was going to  get ahold of the brush and drag the germy thing through our house.

The only thing that I hated almost as much as the toilet brush was how much the refills for the Scrubbing Bubble Toilet Wand were. I had to fight myself to purchase them every time we ran out because my conscience would scream at me for buying something disposable when I could be using something that was reusable. Anyway enough about my neurosis and onto the solution I came up with…..

The head of the Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Wand is like a claw that opens to place the refills in it to use.

Instead of using the refills I refill them with Flushable Store Brand Wipes.

They work just as good, if not better. Take 3 or 4 wipes, wad them up together and hook them onto the Wand where the refills would go. If the toilet is especially bad you can use a little Comet or Baking Soda with the Wipes.

This is a HUGE money saver because 180 wipes are around $4 at Walmart. So you can get 60 uses out of the pack if you use 3 wipes per time. Compare that to the Scrubbing Bubbles Refills which are around $4 for 12 pads.


Little Frugalista

Free Book for Kids at Borders

May 22, 2010

I was very excited last week to find out that our Borders was participating in this.  My computer is not hooked up to a printer so I was equally excited to find out that they had the forms in the store.

You do not have to purchase the 10 books your child reads at Borders. They also told me they would count 10 books I read to Little Dude as he isn’t old enough to read yet (though he is getting there)…..

If you’re 12 or under, you’re in!
• read 10 books—any ones you like* • list the books on this form
• bring your completed form to a Borders, Borders Express, or
Waldenbooks store and choose your FREE BOOK**
*No purchase necessary.
**Form must be completed and brought to any Borders, Borders Express, or Waldenbooks store by 8/26/10 to redeem coupon. Offer valid
in-store only. Valid only on selected titles.
Choose from any of these great titles:

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary ISBN 0380709597
Miss Daisy is Crazy! by Dan Gutman ISBN 0060507004
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown ISBN 0060097914
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary ISBN 0380709589
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan ISBN 0142417440
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen ISBN 0440419395
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth
George Speare ISBN 0440495962
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes ISBN 0440442508
The River by Gary Paulsen ISBN 0440407532
Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann
M. Martin ISBN 0545174759

Print out your form HERE!


Little Frugalista

Marquee Free Kids Summer Movie Series

May 22, 2010

Our local Marquee Cinemas participates in a free Kids Summer Movie Series. You show up for the movie at 9:30 am and get in for free. I’m really excited about this years series because there are quite a few movies my kids haven’t seen:)

Being the cheap mom I am I always throw snacks and drinks into my bag for the kids to eat while watching the movie 😉 I always buy special snacks that I keep hidden until movie morning so that the kids are excited about their snacks and don’t drive me crazy begging for concessions which costs an arm and a leg.

Check HERE to see if a town near you is offering this program. If they aren’t on the list or isn’t a Marquee Cinema it’s possible your theatre may still offer a Kids Movie Series and it wouldn’t hurt to call to ask.


Little Frugalista

Saving Little Dude’s Zhu Zhu Pet from Water Death :-D

May 11, 2010

Today is Little Dude’s 4th Birthday and one of the presents he received over the weekend was a Zhu Zhu Pet. I however found him on Sunday trying to be a good pet owner, washing his pet because he said he got yogurt on it. If you know anything at all about Zhu Zhu pets you know that they are electronic and that water is something you don’t want anywhere near them.

As expected Moo Moo began to malfunction and then pretty much all out gave up the ghost. Little Dude cried of course because it had been one of his favorite gifts. That is when I devised a plan to save Moo Moo 😉

Calling upon a tidbit of info. Mr. Frugalista remembered about Saving a Wet Cell Phone  I pulled out a bag of rice and a baggie. I took a screw driver and took Moo Moo apart as much as I was comfortable with, which consisted of removing the wheel box which exposed the batteries and then removed the cover of the wheel box. I took out the batteries and then took a Q-tip, carefully swabbing as much moisture as I could get to out of the parts. *The trick to saving electronics from corrosion is to get the moisture out as fast as possible.*

I then replaced the wheel box cover but left the wheel box out of the pet. I placed the parts in a baggie with about 1 cup of rice to wick moisture away from it.

I left the bag this way for 24 hours. Lo and behold Moo Moo worked after we replaced the batteries and wheel box 🙂

Hopefully this little tidbit will help someone


Little Frugalista

Another Discount Just for Asking

April 18, 2010

This past Saturday was my Sister’s Birthday and as is tradition for all of our family birthdays we went out to eat. IHOP was her restaurant of choice. We met at 6pm to be seated and they pretty much gave us a big table right away. We sat and chatted for a while and then began to really get hungry. We waited, and waited, and waited…. An hour and a half later we began to question where our food was. I don’t know if you’ve ever waited that long for food with children but is a vast understatement to say that is was not pleasant.

Our food began to show up at the 2 hour point and some of us got food, whereas other did not (which included the VERY hungry cranky kids). Showing our manners, those of us that got our food waited for the rest of our group to get theirs to begin to eat. Needless to say once the rest of the food showed up our food was cold.

I went to pay and very politely asked the girl checking us out… “We waited over an hour and a half for our food. Is there anyway you can give us a discount for waiting?”

She very nicely took %10 off of our check.

So we got 2 free kids meals for their kids eat free promo AND %10 off our total order. Our total was around $20 which is not bad at all for 2 adults and 2 children to fill up on, not as cheap as cooking at home but still not a bad deal 🙂

Just goes to show you that A)You don’t have to be mean to get a discount and B)It never hurts to ask 😉


Little Frugalista

A Free Spring Table Arrangement

April 10, 2010

My pastor’s wife,Leslie, shared these pictures with me of centerpieces she’s made from her Forsythia Bush this Spring and they were too pretty not to share.

If you’ve never grown Forsythia you just can’t kill it. In fact my uncle gave my mother some starts which basically consisted of 15 sticks cut from his bush. She forgot she had them on her front porch, left them for a week and upon remembering she stuck them in the ground with a jab and no tools. They not only survived but thrived. So no need to worry about harming the bush when taking clippings.

Forsythia is one of my favorite plants because it is one of the first to bloom here during spring. It turns yellow around the time that the tulips poke their heads out. So viewing it to me is like a promise that winter is almost over and spring is here. It almost instantly lifts my spirits when I  look at it. That is why I placed our Forsythia Bush right outside my kitchen window  above my sink which is where I spend lots of time doing dishes 😉

The tip I was given about the centerpieces above is that when using a large container, especially an older one that may contain cracks, place clippings in a small jar of water and then set the jar inside the pitcher. A small recycled jelly jar would be great for this purpose.

View of my Forsythia Bush from my Kitchen Window….


Little Frugalista

My Peas Are Sprouting!!!

April 7, 2010

I feel like a new mom, except my baby is edible (yes I do believe that was a little dark) lol My baby peas I planted on St. Patrick’s Day are sprouting!

Little man and I were out in the yard a couple of days ago playing and I went to peer at my raised garden just to see what was going on and I spied this….

I can just imagine my kids in about a month or 2 eating them straight from the vine 🙂


Little Frugalista