Don’t waste money on expensive face scrubs, deodorizers, or insect deterrents. Easy tools in reducing your out-of-pocket expenses are already in your kitchen cabinet.


  1. Neutralize odors by putting a small, open container of it toward the bottom of the fridge (baking soda works, too). Some people line their ash trays with oatmeal, too.
  2. Treat acne, sunburns, or otherwise irritated skin by running 2 cups of uncooked, plain oatmeal through a food processor until it becomes powdery and dumping it in your bathwater. Add 1 cup of milk and a tablespoon of honey for a more luxurious spa experience.
  3. Forget commercial face or body scrubs. All those little beads are not biodegradable (they’re basically plastic) and they justify raised prices for something you could make for cheap. Just add 1 tsp of ground-up oatmeal (or almonds) to your face or body wash. It exfoliates, moisturizes, and soothes—without the extra dollars.
  4. Wipe the inside of an empty oatmeal container with a dry towel, slap on some wrapping paper, and use it as a container for gifts, cotton balls, toilet paper rolls, and whatever else you can think of.


  1. Fill a small spray bottle with high alcohol content vodka and spritz on funky-smelling clothes (or all over your closet, bed sheets, and the like) to kill odor-causing bacteria. (The alcohol smell goes away as soon as the fabric dries.) It’s cheaper and lasts longer than Febreeze, the lasting smell of which can cause headaches or nausea.
  2. Use the same spray bottle of vodka to chase away pesky insects in the house or on a hike.
  3. Use the same spray bottle (again) if you get stung by a jellyfish or stumble into some poison ivy. The alcohol will relieve the pain and remove poison ivy’s culprit, urushiol oil.
  4. Combat bathroom mold by spritzing some vodka onto the problem area and walking away for 15 minutes. Com back armed with an old tooth brush and start scrubbing.

Aluminum Foil

  1. You can wash a sheet of it after use and reuse it until it starts falling apart.
  2. Sharpen scissors by folding used foil (the kind that you really don’t want to wash and reuse anymore) so there are at least five layers and cut through. You can use the same method on garden and pruning sheers; just make the foil thicker in layers.
  3. Is the cat ruining your blinds by crawling through and eventually bending or breaking them? Lay a sheet of aluminum foil wherever your animals are unwelcome. They hate the stuff.
  4. If your scissors are sharp and you still have non-reusable balls of aluminum foil lying around, scrub grills, ovens, and non-Teflon surfaces with them.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and amateur musician. Lately she’s been researching grants for engineering students and writing about higher education. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and playing PlayStation 3.