A Penny Earned: bath products, plastic bags, live Christmas trees

I like to save money on bath and beauty products and treatments by using common kitchen ingredients. You can make for pennies what you would spend dollars on in the stores.

Here are a few of my "beauty-on-the-cheap" ideas.

In the bath, add a 1/2;-cup of baking soda or epsom salts for a relaxing soak.

As an all-over body oil try light olive oil, sesame or sunflower oil.

For an indulgent facial mask try honey, sour cream or cooked oatmeal leftover from breakfast.To remove makeup and condition your skin try Crisco or vegetable shortening.

For an all-over exfoliating body scrub. mix equal parts sugar or salt with a light oil such as canola.


— Janice Cox, Medford

Buy your bath soap in bunches for savings

Extend the life of bath (bar) soap by buying in bulk.

Remove all of the paper wrapping and store unwrapped for several months before using.

The soap dries and hardens, therefore lasts a lot longer during use.

— Geanie Flanigan, Medford

Yep, it's in the bag!

Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can, but we use a small-sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can.

— Maria Sabino, Medford

Freeze half your milk, defrost it a day before use

I use coupons to shop and try to buy extra when items are on sale. I don't use much milk, so I buy a gallon (cheaper) and freeze half of it, and defrost it a day before I need it.

— Phyllis Joy, Phoenix

Next Christmas,why not try a live one for a change?

For many years, we made the cold weather trek in search of the annual Christmas tree. That practice changed three years ago. Now, instead of killing a new tree every year, we bought a "live tree" and use that same tree every Christmas. Our "new" Christmas tree is a Colorado Blue Spruce, about 5 feet tall when purchased and after three years, still is a quite manageable 6 feet in height. Keeping the tree in the planting pot prevents the tree from growing. When it becomes too large for Christmas, it can be planted in the yard and enjoyed year round. The cost of a live tree versus a cut tree is about the same. At $45 a year for a new Christmas tree, we saved $90 in three years. Who knows how much we'll save in years to come!

— John Littleton, Medford

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