Doing laundry is definitely not fun, and the wear and tear that the machines put on your clothes can also tear a hole right through your budget. Luckily, AOL contributor Bekka Prewitt has a few easy tips and tricks that can help make your clothes and linens last.
Tip #1 – Tennis balls in the load
There's no secret that tumble-drying can damage your garments over time. So, the less time your clothes spend twirling around in the dryer, the better. Adding a few tennis balls in your load can cut your drying time almost in half. Thus elongating the life span of your precious garments.
Simply wrap each ball in a sock to prevent any lint from escaping before you throw them in. As the dryer spins, the balls help separate the clothes which in turn allow more warm air to circulate into the center of the load. The more balls you add, the faster the drying time. And best of all, they can be used over and over again.
Tip #2 -- Vitalize old towels with ingredients found in your kitchen
Do you have old towels that always seem to smell and don't absorb as well as they use to? -This stinky phenomenon is likely caused by fabric softener and detergent buildup, which accumulates in the fiber over time. But don't panic, with a little baking soda and vinegar, you can get them fresh and fluffy again.
Simply place those stinky towels into the washer, and add one cup of vinegar. Then, start the cycle on the warmest washing cycle possible. Once you're done, run the cycle again, except this time add ½ cup of baking soda instead. When that's through, just pop them in the dryer and you're done. This trick also works great on brightening and revitalizing dingy white sheets.
So remember, you can keep you're laundry clean without deteriorating it in the process. With a little know how, your budget and your laundry can last a lot longer than you think.
Tell us how you get your garments to last for less in the comments below.
Click through the pictures below to see the best couponing tips for 2015:
The best couponing tips for 2015
Laundry tips to make clothes last, and wallet green
Check Your Mailbox
A good place to start is your (snail) mailbox. Remember all that junk mail you regularly throw out? You might as well throw away your hard-earned money. Next time, at least leaf through the coupons to see whether you can snag some great deals on products you already purchased. Don't be dismayed if you don't immediately find them - they'll likely be hidden among the "must-have" ads for patio sun canopies and air fresheners.
Pay Attention to “Real” Savings
Which brings me to an important point: Don't fall victim to buying something just because a great coupon exists. Before you buy, consider whether you really need the discounted item. My husband used to jokingly ask me, "How much did you save us today?" I was shopping the sales and using coupons for my purchases and assumed I was saving money. However, my haul was rarely an accurate depiction of what we needed. I'd walk into a store meaning to spend about $25 on home essentials, but would leave with a bill almost double that. I fooled myself into thinking I'd saved so much money. Don't fall into this trap. Before you buy something with a coupon, ask yourself a few questions. Would you normally purchase it? Is it a staple that's sure to get used? If not, think long and hard about whether it has a place in your house – or your budget.
Once you are comfortable using paper coupons, I strongly urge you to explore the wonderful world of online couponing. The day I discovered it existed was the day life got easier and my dollar stretched further. My husband stopped teasing me when he saw my emails touting real savings on products we actually needed. Even with the declining price of gas these days, I'm hesitant to go to the store for much outside of buying groceries (and even that is one of my least favorite tasks, ranking right up there with pumping gas and going to the dry cleaners).
I do most of my shopping online, and reap huge savings. I'll shop at my favorite store, free of the enticing brick-and-mortar displays, and add only the essential items to my online cart. Plus, price comparing is easier online than in stores. Once my shopping is complete and before I enter my payment information, I'll go to a couponing website to see what I can save. Most of the time snagging free shipping is standard, but sometimes I can score site-wide coupons for 20 percent off (or even more). It's really that easy and all goes back to the question: Why spend more?
Beware the Cost of Bulk Buying
But another word of advice – beware of buying in bulk just for the sake of "increasing your savings." In other words, don't be misled by those extreme couponing shows on television. It isn't about multiplying your coupons to see how much you can save off the retail price or spending the hours to see how much you can get for "free." After all, time is money. Odds are you will end up paying a lot up front to stock up on, say, paper towels. Yes, you'll use them, but paying that much at once isn't likely to be kind to your monthly budget. Buy what you need and save while doing it. It's really that simple.