Home & Leisure Money Saving Tips

Ways to save money on your DIY

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Here we share with you a few tips on saving money by using simpler products than the more expensive products you can buy in the supermarkets. Often these can be as good as these far more epxensive products. They are often old wives tips to save money.

Always only try a little or on a small area first and we are not responsible for any damage.

White Vinegar

Masks lingering smells

Unblocks sinks (when mixed with bicarbonate of soda)

Household Cleaner (mix half and half with water & stick in old spray container to use on work tops, bathrooms & kitchens)

Prevents limescale build up (use neat)

De-scaler (use neat)

Bicarbonate of soda

Household stains

Cleaner for fridges, microwaves & ovens

Deodoriser gets rid of smells in the fridge

For ovens make a paste of couple of teaspoons of bicarb & a small amount of water

Use neat in pot in back of the fridge to great rid of smells

Cheap biological washing powder

Stain remover (carpets- soak with warm water & powder, cover with white towel, then walk on until most of water absorbed. Then leave to dry.)

De-greaser (cleans stubborn pans)

Boil up to bring burnt pans sparklingly clean (few tablespoons in hot water)

Value or Flat Cola

Clean toilet

Shifts burnt on food on saucepans

UK Useful websites


Stain remover for clothes

Toilet cleaner

Cleans cookers

Window Cleaner- use Vinegar & water in a spray bottle then wipe with newspaper.

Furniture wipes- use value baby wipes.

Polish woodwork- a drop of lemon juice to some olive oil. (stubborn marks equal lemon juice to olive oil & leave for a few hours before wiping off)



A damp micro-fibre cloth (picks up dust rather than spreading it around)


Stain remover (carpets- soak with warm water & powder, cover with white towel, then walk on until most of water absorbed. Then leave to dry.)

Smells- Sprinkle lots of bicarbonate of soda then vacuum up after 15 mins later


Rub a slice of lemon over the glass to remove greasy marks, then spray with neat vinegar (Do inside up and down & outside window from side to side)

Keyboard Computer

Clean with warm soapy water & toothbrush as it can have more bugs than the toilet!


1 part vinegar to 2 parts water & ad an essential oil or lemon juice to clean worktops, windows taps & floors.

Clean the dishwasher

Half a cup of white vinegar it in one of the dishwasher trays. Run on empty cycle to flush out the limescale. Do this once monthly.

You can use half a dishwasher tablet without much difference

Defrost the Freezer

Wipe glycerine on the inside of the freezer to make the next defrost easier.

Washing machine tips

Run on empty a boil wash with a cupful of vinegar in the fabric conditioner drawer to de scale

Use a little WHITE vinegar in final rinse instead of fabric conditioner it makes towels super soft.

Sinks & Drains

Use a bit of lemon juice or essential oil with a mild solution of white vinegar.

Blockages– sprinkle bicarbonate of soda down the sink then pour a mug of vinegar. It will fizz up. Leave for as long as possible to allow to unblock

Outside drains can be cleared with caustic soda but wear masks & gloves when handling it.

Want taps shiny new? Pour vinegar & lemon juice & ideally try to soak them in it to get rid of limescale.



Save money on clothes & shoes


Avoid anything that need dry cleaning due to the cost of getting this cleaned.

Clothes Shopping

When buying things, always ask yourself before buying:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Is it cheaper elsewhere (as you could save yourself a lot of money if it is a big purchase)?
  • Will I use it?
  • Is it worth it? Even if you use it, will you use it enough to justify the cost?
  • Is it cheaper elsewhere?

If no or don’t know to any of these questions then don’t buy

If you want new, always look in the sales. They are almost guaranteed at certain times of the year: Waitangi day, Queens Birthday, Labour Weekend and of course Boxing Day sales.


Sometimes you rush to buy things you don’t really want! For example that suit reduced at 50% but never wear it!

Otherwise there are a number of second hand stores available to buy clothes should you not want to pay so much or there is always Trade Me where there seems to be more quality second hand clothes coming on.

Charity or second hand shops

Buy from charity shops in expensive towns or areas of the cities.

Check out the smaller charity shops as bigger chains

Check what you really need in clothes before shopping that way you won’t buy more of the same thing

Note your family’s size in a notebook & keep a tape measure with you.

Only buy if you need it, it fits, you like it or you’ll actually wear it.

You can buy fancy dress items cheaply

You can buy items to use for DIY or just use some of your old clothes you never wear.

Auction sites or car boot/garage sales you can sometimes bag a bargain.

You could repair old shoes with a cobbler who can rescue them often much cheaper than buyer new.

Check out whether you can use your clothes with something else in your wardrobe you hadn’t thought of.

Buy in January if you want Christmas dresses etc as they are often in the sale. Dress hire shops can often sell off last season’s dresses.

The same goes for items for skiing or snowboarding as you can often pick up these items just after winter at bargain prices.

Children’s clothes

Set up clothes swaps with friends who may have older children. Otherwise they may be prepared to just give you the clothes as their child may have outgrown them

You can always keep clothes if you’re expecting more children.

Charity shops & garage/car boot sales can again be a great source of hardly used children’s clothing and at a bargain price too!

There are often 2nd hand shops selling old clothes or prams/cots etc.

Knitting sites www.knitting.about.com or www.chicknits.com


You can take a sewing course at a local college

Free patterns are available at www.sewingpatterns.com & you can download it from there.

Sewing machines can be picked up 2nd hand from car boot sales or off auction sites.

Ripped jeans can be turned into shorts

Baby socks can be turned into scratch mitts

Old socks use

Use for extra warmth in the winter.

Dusters, shoe polishers, car cleaning rags.

Cover shoes

Make them into puppets for your kids

Add pot pourri ,sew them up & stick them in your shoes.

Old tights & stockings

Store flower bulbs or onions

Plant ties

Swapping Parties

Meet with a group of friends or people to swap any unwanted stuff.

This can be from clothes, shoes to unwanted CDs or DVDs. The items are brought and piled up in the middle of the room (this way you won’t get embarrassed with your crazy items). The host/hostess lifts up one of the items and asks if there are any takers. If there are a few takes then they can be decided over later on.

You can make a night of it buy having nibbles & even some wine if you fancy.

Any unwanted items can then either be sold on auction sites, garage/car boot sales or more likely given to charity shops. (But make sure everyone agrees to this before the start of the night)

Wedding dresses

You could hire, make, borrow or even use an old family dress. However if you buy what can you do with the old dress.

Sell on an auction site

Keep it for your future daughter or relative

Have shortened to use as a cocktail dress or dye it and wear as evening gown



Save on Beauty


Making ourselves look good can cost alot of money but it doesn’t have to. Here we reveal some tips for you to save money on those expensive beauty treatments.

  • Use old shampoo you don’t want as bubble bath
  • Use conditioner can soften hair before shaving
  • Mix fake tan with moisturiser as it can make it last longer
  • Try to declutter by using up all your old shampoo bottles, soaps etc
  • Out of date suncream can be used as a body moisturiser
  • Use gloves to keep your hands soft & young when washing up
  • Hand or even foot moisturiser can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of sugar (Massage, leave for 2 mins then rinse off)
  • For super white nail tips soak your fingers in lemon juice for 10 mins to take out any yellowness.
  • A dab of toothpaste on a spot could get rid of the those spots as well as expensive spot cream
  • To get help cellulite use coffee grinds & add to shower gel, rub over dimply bits. Caffeine is used in lots of fancy anti-cellulite creams. It’s also got oil in it so your skin is nice & smooth.
  • You can get the last of your nail polish by adding a few drops of nail polish remover to a bottle & giving it a good shake.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice has a slight bleaching effect on your hair (use for highlights) but don’t use too much or it dries out your hair
  • Save sample bottles of shampoo to use on holiday instead of paying for them.
  • Mayonnaise can be used on face & then rinsing it off.
  • Cold tea bags or cucumber slices over your eyes can reduce bags under your eyes. Mashed up bananas for left for 10 mins can be used for the same thing.
  • Add a cup of milk to your bathwater to make your skin feel fabulous (It worked for Cleopatra)
  • Make a scrub made form half cup of brown sugar, one eighth of a cup of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of honey sand some essential oils like rosemary, mint or grapefruit.Use about 1 tablespoon esp on rough hands, elbows or feet.
  • A handful of oatmeal to your bath will soften your skin.
  • Skin of avocado can soften elbows.
  • Rinse fine hair in beer to give more body.
  • Egg yolk in the hair can be a great conditioner & makes it shiny, but rinse off with cold water.
  • Shaving cream massaged into the scalp & washed with cold water can be used instead of clear dandruff without using expensive anti dandruff shampoo.
  • Cold milk can be used as eye make up remover & cleanser.
  • Make perfume last longer by applying a thin layer of Vaseline to your skin & spray it on perfume.
  • Exfoliator- Sugar or salt mixed with baby oil can be rubbed on to the face
  • You can often get a free make up makeover at some shops where they try to get you to buy their products but you don’t have to buy these
  • Ask for a free sample
  • Local beauty colleges often offer a discount on massage & facials
  • Try a hair dressing college. Students are supervised so you wont come out with a shocking hair cut. Be prepared though as it may take some time compared to your local salon.

Sunburn Treatments

Dab cool tea on burnt areas

Aloe Vera

Try supermarket own brands of after sun

Natural live yoghurt, leave till it sets, then wash off with cool water.

Slices of cucumber



Save on DIY




A few tips to help you save on DIY or home maintenance

Keep a box with old screws, nails, nuts & bolts as you never know when you’ll need it

Borrow power tools from friends or neighbours.

You may be able to get helpful advice from a local trade electrical or plumbing shop

Some handy hints to remove common problems around the house:


Use bleach instead of fancy cleaners

Stick on transfers

Can be removed with razor blade and hot soapy water


Allow air to circulate

A bowl of salt can help.

Run cold water before hot water in bath.

Descale shower head

Unscrew it & leave in a sink full of white vinegar & hot water for at least an hour. It may need to be done again if particularly stubborn.

Stop a dripping tap

Turn off the water, remove the body of the tap with a spanner, then fit new washer.


Get rid of glue after stripped wallpaper.

Wash down with sugar soap (from hardware store) & rub hard to remove.

Smooth finish on walls

For newly finished walls, mix one-third PVA & two thirds water & brush on. Let it dry before painting.

Clean painted walls

Use sugar soap or washing up liquid with warm water