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Instead of purchasing expensive (and potentially toxic) bathroom air fresheners to get rid of bathroom odors, invest in a book of paper matches. Lighting a match in a bathroom will eliminate odors, save money, and reduce the garbage created by empty air freshener containers.
Decorating a new home? Do not overlook secondhand sources for electrical items. Our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore (building supply thrift store) sells ceiling fans (with or without lights) for as little as $25, depending on the style. That's less than half the cost of a new one. Habitat makes sure the fan works and is not a fire hazard. I've bought lamps for as little as $7 from local thrift stores. I inspect them carefully to make sure the wiring is okay. The ones I've bought are as good as new, but much cheaper.
One money-saving habit I have been doing a lot lately is signing up for free samples. Obviously, you get a free sample, but beyond that you get to reuse the packaging it comes in! Many samples I've received recently are mailed in bubble wrap envelopes. I open them carefully and save for items I sell on eBay or for sending gifts to relatives and friends! I figure I save a buck. Plus, I get a free sample!
Updating Vertical Blinds
There is a way to change the color or pattern of your vertical blinds, and it is very easy! Find some fabric that you love or that matches your new decor and then cut it into strips the same length and width as your blinds. Then use starch to stiffen them. Once they are dry and stiff, you just insert them into the vertical blinds just as you would the replacements that are more expensive! We have done this not only in my mother's house but in friends' houses as well, and it worked without any problems. It only cost them the starch and the fabric.
Emily in Oklahoma