2 ingredient, cheap, natural ant “Raid”

Need a quick, easy, cheap, natural fix for ants in your home? You’ve come to the the right place! 

Spring is here! For us that means gorgeous weather, fresh air breezing through our little casa, enjoyable spring cleaning (so far, enjoyable).

Unfortunately this spring, it also meant ants. I’m thinking they came through our screened window in the bathroom. There was never a trail, so it’s hard to say for sure. And when you can’t tell where they’re coming from, how do you find the source? The answer for me was to just spray everything and everywhere. (And with this amazing natural ant killer, it’s okay to spray everything!) 

We had ants in our apartment a couple years ago when my parents were about to visit. Of course, the ants were in the guest bedroom where my parents would stay. And this time there was a trail; I just couldn’t find the ultimate source (I think it was under the bed, coming out of a phone jack). Every time I sprayed with Raid, there would be a trail of dead ants, and then (eventually) another trail would form of live ants right above the previous (dead) ant trail. After each time I sprayed, the trail would get longer than it did before! They eventually made it out of the guest room, into the little hallway, and around the corner into the kitchen. It was incredibly frustrating. 

Being renters, it’s natural to think that the obvious fix is to tell your landlord. However, this is not my first encounter with pests in these apartments. Suffice it to say, there’s more than one reason I didn’t want to have our landlords run to the rescue, so that option was out for me.

So with Raid not working and my not wanting to have the place fumed, I began Googling my options. I love finding options that are so cheap and easy that it’d be silly not to try them. Now that this salt water solution has worked for me on two separate occasions (about two years apart from each other), I think it’s a must-try! 

Here are my conclusions of Raid vs salt water: 

Pros to using Raid

Um….I’m thinking 

  1. It comes already made; all you have to do is buy it 

Cons to using Raid: 

  1. It doesn’t work; the ants came back (case closed!)
  2. It’s toxic 
  3. It’s expensive (comparatively)

Pros to using salt water:

  1. If you already have a spray bottle, it costs about $.20 or less to make
  2. Salt is a common household product 
  3. It’s natural (non-toxic)
  4. You can spray it just about anywhere without having to wipe or clean it up (huge plus when you can’t find the trail!)
  5. It works at killing ants AND keeping them away!

Cons to using salt water:

  1. You have to own or buy a spray bottle
  2. You have to make it yourself 
  3. It might not work perfectly the first time (took me about 3 rounds of spraying for the ants to stay gone)

Disclaimer #1: I have no idea what kind of ants we had. I don’t have any more ants, or else I would post a picture of them! 

Disclaimer #2: the amount of salt seems to matter more for your spray bottle’s sake than for ensuring dead ants (my spray bottle got clogged when I tried to use too much salt)

What you will need:

  1. Clean spray bottle (bought mine from the dollar store)
  2. 3 tablespoons of regular table salt
  3. Warm water to dissolve the salt 
  4. Ants

Directions: 

  1. Pour salt into your clean spray bottle. 
  2. Pour warm water into your spray bottle; put lid on. 
  3. Shake to dissolve salt and mix thoroughly. 
  4. Spray wherever you see ants, wherever you saw ants recently, wherever you think the ants want to go next, just spray everywhere!!! 
  5. Come back a couple hours later to see only a fraction of the ants that were there before. 
  6. Spray all live ants and any areas you think you missed. 
  7. Continue until there are no more ants. This should only take a handful of times. 

For me it took about 3-4 times over the span of a few days. When I did this a couple years ago, I only remember spraying once, but my memory could be failing me on that one. 

I hope this helps get rid of your frenemy ants! 

12 Ideas for cheap, quick, easy meals


Ever looked at your budget and thought: the only thing that can give is the groceries! There’s just no other wiggle room! Well, the good news is there are plenty of resources to help you cut your budget without making everything from scratch (although that in itself can save you a lot of money!) If you’re not already doing so, going meatless one or two nights a week, is usually a help to your wallet.

Of course, these meals below are not meant to be consumed every single day for the rest of your life. This is just a season. A season for your finances to heal, for your savings to grow, for your bank account to get a fighting chance.

Maybe you’re not quite that desperate to save some money. You can incorporate one or two of these meals into your meal line up to save a little more here and there. If nothing else, you have some easy and quick go-to meals!

Basic carbs:

Spaghetti

Rice and beans

Baked potatoes

Mac and cheese

Garlic-Parmesan-Butter noodles

Breakfast for dinner:

Pancakes

Scrambled eggs and toast

Sandwiches:

Grilled cheese

Peanut butter and jelly

Soup:

Tomato

Vegetable

Black Bean

Here’s a meal for 4-5 that cost about $3.50. There was more than what’s pictured too! (I love Aldi!!)

Vegetables: $1

Spaghetti noodles: $1

Sauce: $1.50 (I think I used 1.5 cans; $1 each)

10 Reasons I Love Shopping at Aldi

If you don’t have an Aldi, I apologize. My heart goes out to you. My parents first got an Aldi (RIGHT around the corner from their house!), and they would rave to me about it… and now I understand why. We recently got an Aldi in the next city over, and it’s definitely worth the time and gasoline to go! Oh, and we recently got some big news: we are soon getting an Aldi, not just in our own city, but RIGHT. NEXT. DOOR. to our apartment. Aaaaaah!!!

Okay, so here are some reasons I’m so excited to have an Aldi right next door to us (in no particular order):

  1. Aldi saves me money on groceries!!! Hands down. It’s the best. Where else can you get 40 oz. (that’s a lot) of peanut butter for $3? That’s a dollar cheaper for the same size at Wal-Mart – not that Wal-Mart is the standard. Honey is also $1 cheaper than Wal-Mart! I seriously leave Aldi thinking, How did I get this much food for that low of a price?!
  2. Aldi has no membership fee. (No offense, Costco and Sam’s friends!)
  3. Aldi stores are small. Grocery shopping is so manageable in Aldi. You don’t have a massive selection to choose from (typically you have 2 brands to choose from) which I’m pretty sure helps my stress level stay quite low. Does anyone else get stressed going grocery shopping in big stores?
  4. They have caring, friendly, efficient employees.
  5. They have a double guarantee. If you don’t like the product, you can return it for a replacement AND get your money back!
  6. They keep their stores clean (can NOT say that for our local Wal-Marts). This also makes for a more pleasant shopping experience.
  7. They are speedy, so they consider all of their lanes to be “express lanes.”
  8. They have you rent a cart for $.25, so their store and parking lot are not crowded with carts everywhere. This also keeps prices low…and my stress level.
  9. You don’t have to buy bags. You simply take a box or two from the shelves while you’re shopping (but if you don’t, you may want to buy a bag for $.15).
  10. I don’t have to worry about what’s in my food. Even in their cereal, they refuse to put in harmful red dyes, and they are working on getting out some other known harmful chemicals. Here’s a little more about their brands to help you feel good about what you’re getting.

Before you go to Aldi, keep a few things in mind:

  1. You need a quarter to get a cart. You’ll get it back.
  2. Pick up a box while you’re shopping (empty the box if needed) and stick it under your cart for check out time.
  3. They probably won’t have the exact brand you’re looking for. Their generic brands are pretty good though, and Aldi strives to make its generic brand as good as or better than the nation’s leading brands.
  4. Don’t expect to get 100% of your shopping list there, particularly if you have some new recipes you’re shopping for. They don’t have a wide variety of spices…and you can’t find spray starch there (but you can make spray starch for super cheap!).

If you haven’t yet experienced Aldi (and embraced her for all her awesomeness!), I hope you’ll go soon and let me know what you think!

Photo credit: Ben Tsai

5 Ways to Save Money on Clothes

I was recently asked how I save money on clothing, and once I thought about it, I realized that there’s not just one way…at least not for me.

Personally, when it comes to clothing, I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for something. My husband on the other hand, if he’s with me and sees that I like the item and not the price, he won’t hesitate! Anyway, just saying “never pay full price for anything,” seems insufficient. You can easily find a 15% off coupon for Kohl’s, so instead of paying $100 for a coat, you pay $85 (which for me feels like it only covered the tax. You’re welcome, California). That’s not a deal, even if your 15% off wasn’t for an expensive item. And so, I have some money saving tips to help with our clothes shopping battle:

  • Shop only the clearance section. If you are truly a deal finder (and you have the discipline to only buy a great deal), you can probably safely branch out of the clearance section, but if you are truly trying to save money, the clearance section is the place for you. Now mind you, Target’s 30% off “clearance” is not really clearance. My idea of clearance is about 60%-70% off. Even 60% is sometimes not tempting.
Tip: try on anything you want to buy! Once you have it on, you may realize that it's not worth the price!
  • Find your top 2-3 favorite stores and only shop their major sales. This requires that you get some classic clothes that will remain “in season” for a little longer (solids for example), but it doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes from the last decade. I think my favorite go-to store is New York & Company; they have some GREAT markdowns in the summer and right after Christmas. And on top of that, they offer $10 off of a $30 purchase (and I can spend $20 at NY&C!) and the deals continue to go up as you continue to spend money.
  • Welcome hand-me-downs. When a friend knows 2 things: 1, that you like the clothes she wears and 2, that you are trying to save money, she may very likely offer you her unused or unwanted clothes. This assumes you’re similar sizes, of course, and that your friendship is strong enough that you won’t offend your friend by not wearing them. It’s safe to say that about half my closet (or more) was given to me. And I have no shame in that!
  • Find the best consignment and thrift stores around you. For me, that means I have to travel about 45 minutes. But when I go to my motherland, the great state of Texas, it means I have to go 3 minutes down the street to Thrift City (and I might just find a $3 Gap sweater or a $5 Ann Taylor skirt – both in great condition). Finding a nice area matters for a couple reasons: 1, the nicer the area, the better brands you find (which matters not because of having a certain status of wearing name brands but because often better brands last longer and look nicer) and 2, they’ve taken care of their clothes; they typically don’t donate them with stains or rips, and they haven’t worn the clothing to a pulp; they simply don’t want or need that item anymore.
  • Find clothes on Poshmark or other clothing resale app. I’ve sold unwanted or unused clothes on Poshmark, and I’ve used those earnings to buy things I do want (another $5 Ann Taylor skirt!). So I’m basically trading what I don’t want for what I do want. But you can also find good deals on there without having to sell something first in order to pay for it. For more info, check out my post on buying and selling clothes online. Use this code to get $5 off your first purchase (I get $5 also): JXAXJ
Tip: Ask yourself, Would I rather have this article of clothing or $(name the price of the item)?

My hope is that at least one of these tips will work for you or at least get you thinking about how you can improve your saving and spending on clothing. Happy saving!

Photo credit: Picture of Money