Frugality Wise

Tips, ideas, and resources for living frugally

How to Give Your Mom a Happy (Frugal) Mother’s Day

I Love You Mum - Stuart Miles

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

There’s no one like mom. In good times and bad, moms are there when you need support, strength, guidance, and love. On mom’s special day, Mother’s Day, show her that her mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual investment in your well-being is appreciated by doing something special for her. Doing so doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are five frugal things you can do to give mom a special and meaningful Mother’s Day.

Get crafty and make her origami flowers.

Floral bouquets are expensive, in part due to the demand for them. And Mother’s Day is one of the most high-demand (and high profit) days for flower shops. Rather than spend a ton of money on a bouquet, make her an aesthetically-pleasing origami paper bouquet instead. Admittedly, this does take some knack and patience, but the end result is lovely. You can even add an extra touch by gently spraying it with her favourite perfume. She will be mightily impressed by your ingenuity. (See the links in the Additional Resources section at the end of this post for tutorials on how to do this.) While you’re on a crafty roll, make her a card from scratch, as well, with a thoughtful hand-written message.

Give her a small gift bag of homemade soaps.

It’s easier to make soap than you might think, especially if you use the melt-and-pour method (see the link to a basic tutorial in the Additional Resources section). All you need is a melt-and-pour soap base, a decorative soap mold, fragrance oil, skin-safe soap colourant, and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. Put the completed soaps in a cellophane gift bag and tie with a decorative ribbon.

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Frugality Friday: Tea – A Remedy for Smelly Feet (That’s Right!), and More

I love tea. I love the myriad of health benefits that drinking tea provides. I have boxes of assorted organic teas in my kitchen cupboards. In a world where people can’t seem to get enough of their coffee to wake them up (and line up a mile long just to get a brew from Canada’s beloved Tim Hortons) I can’t get enough of my favourite warm beverage, a calming cup of tea, to relax me. If you drink tea you probably just throw the tea bag in the trash once you’re done. But hold on, not so fast! That used tea bag can be re-used in a variety of ways, both around the home and for personal health and wellness.

A Home Remedy to Reduce Shedding Hair

My favourite way to use tea in an unconventional way is to prepare a tea rinse for my hair to combat shedding. If, like me, you find that your hair is shedding a little too much for your comfort, try the following regimen which can be done weekly or monthly.

  • Brew 2 cups of green tea and allow it to cool.
  • Transfer the brewed tea into a spray bottle (an applicator bottle or a simple bowl can also be used).
  • Shampoo and rinse your hair, and then apply the brewed tea to your hair, focusing on the scalp.
  • Leave it on from anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes, then rinse it out.
  • This last step is extremely important. It is essential to deep condition your hair after applying a tea rinse, as a tea rinse on its own can make hair hard. A deep condition will keep your hair soft and moisturized after the tea rinse.

Be sure to clean your tub afterwards to prevent any tea stains!

Rather than spending money on products to treat or address the following issues, you can grab tea that’s already in your kitchen and use them in these additional ways:

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Frugality Friday: Castor Oil – The Ultimate Oil for Frugal You

In addition to my usual posts listing money-saving tips for different types of expenses and aspects of life, starting today I will be experimenting with a new weekly feature called “Frugality Friday”. On Fridays I will post and discuss one item that you can probably find lying around your home that can be used in multiple ways. Why spend money on different items for different purposes, when you can save money by using a single item for multiple purposes? With this feature, you may discover a certain way to use an item that you hadn’t ever before considered. Or a lightbulb might go off in your head and you think “Oh yeah, I used to do that years ago. I don’t remember why I stopped. I need to start doing that again!” So without further ado, this post is dedicated to what I consider to be the ultimate oil. I’m talking about good ol’ castor oil, of course!

Kicking Acne to the Curb

The first time I used castor oil was after I did some research on the internet, looking for ways to get rid of the adult acne that was affecting my self-esteem well into my mid-twenties. I figured at that age, I should no longer have to be dealing with the skin problems of adolescents. Even though we know that acne is a common occurrence in adults, we still associate it with the hormonal see-saw that is puberty. After years of buying over the counter topical treatments that either did nothing, did something but without significant results, or made my skin look worse, I bought a bottle of castor oil and did the following regimen in sequential order:

  • Washed my face with an oil-free cleanser
  • Gave my face a 10-minute steam with my electric facial steamer to open the pores, putting a towel over my head to trap in the steam
  • Rubbed about a loonie-sized amount of castor oil all over my face (For those not familiar with Canadian currency, a loonie is our $1 coin!)
  • Went back to the steamer to steam my face for another 10-minutes
  • Massaged the oil over my face some more before rinsing off with warm water, then a splash of cold water to close the pores; then pat dry with a facial tissue

Afterwards, there was still a little residue of the oil left on my face (it is a thick oil), but it didn’t make my face look like a shiny oil slick. Surprisingly, despite it being an oil, it doesn’t clog pores. (Otherwise, that would be counterproductive as a treatment for acne, now wouldn’t it?) After doing this regimen for a while my skin finally got smoother and my acne problems were finally behind me. I know not every solution works for everybody, but it doesn’t hurt to try if you’ve never used castor oil for acne before.

Here are some other good uses for castor oil:

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Fun Frugal Fitness

Image courtesy of stockimages /

Image courtesy of stockimages /

Years ago I joined a gym. I can count on one hand how many times I actually went to the gym after joining. It was a waste of money. Fast-forward to today, and while admittedly I have an amazing fitness benefit through my employer ($500 per calendar year, which allows me to get reimbursement for gym membership fees, exercise DVDs, workout equipment, and workout clothes and accessories) I have no desire to join a gym. I guess I am not a gym person. You don’t need to spend money on an expensive gym membership to get in a good workout and stay fit. All you need is a little space, not much, to workout at home; or you can workout in the great outdoors. I exercise in my living room, and specifically bought a coffee table on wheels so it would be easy to push out of the way to give me more space to move when I do my exercises. So rather than paying for a gym membership and exercise classes, here are some frugal alternatives to staying fit.

Workout to exercise DVDs.

There are a variety of genres of exercise DVDs from step aerobics, to pilates, to yoga, to cardio dance, and pretty much any style under the sun. You will find something that suits your interest and fitness level. Personally, I love my cardio dance DVDs because it’s a fun workout without feeling like a chore, since I love to dance. I particularly enjoy the Pussycat Dolls workout, the Cardio Striptease workout, and my hip-hop dance workout, in addition to my beloved yoga. On the Amazon website, you can find good exercise DVDs for $10. In my opinion, it’s unnecessary to spend over $15 for an effective workout DVD.

Go for a brisk walk or a jog.

If it’s a nice day, put on your running shoes and go outdoors for a brisk walk or jog around your neighbourhood. The sights and sounds will keep your interest more than a treadmill. Bring an MP3 player and listen to your workout playlist to get you going. If you like company, bring a walking/jogging buddy with you – your spouse, a friend, or even your dog.

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