Budgeting Tips: Repurposing Everyday Items


Image of a woman looking through her fridge

Household maintenance is one of our biggest budget drains. We pay rent or bonds, we pay electricity, we pay water, we pay TV licences (judgemental glance) we pay for furniture AND on top of all of that, we have to pay to keep it all clean.

One of my personal internal sighs is the amount of dosh I have to fork out for household cleaners every month.

There seems to be an endless mountain of cleaners that you can buy, each one promising to help shine, polish, disinfect or bejazzle some or other part of your abode.

The thing is, these products aren’t cheap. And it’s quite easy to become overzealous by the hot pink and lavender bottles. Before you know it you’ve overshot your budget and it’s time to starve, in your (very clean) house.

Here are a few interesting, bizarre and fun budgeting tips to use products you probably already have in your possession to better your living space and life.

Image of mayonnaise

Image: Pick n Pay
Nola Mayonnaise 750g
R16,99 (Save R 2.00 until 16 Sep 2012)


Mayonnaise is probably one of the most delicious additions to any meal, in my opinion (but not according to Pulp Fiction).

However, if you happen to have some lying around it’s good for your face, hair and wooden furniture – I know, right!?

Some lady – somehow – reverted to putting mayonnaise in her hair in a last resort attempt to get rid of hair lice.  She found that if covered with a shower cap and left in overnight, the lice were dead as Team Edward should be the next morning.

And as an added bonus, her hair felt incredibly soft. I wonder how many bottles of wine or painkillers resulted in this fortuitous discovery, none the less, I’m glad to know it.

In case that didn’t make you love Mayo enough, you can also put it into the creases in cracks of wood – wipe the excess and leave it. The oils will cause the wood to swell and make the appearance of cracks smaller. Sorry Mr. Min.

Mayo is also said to be good for your skin as a face mask, good for your nails as a hand rub, good for post-sunburn relief and to make your plant leaves shiny.

And my dietician told me to try and avoid Mayo? Pssh!

Image of Bicarbonate of Soda

Image: Pick n Pay
Royal Bicarbonate Of Soda 200g
R11,99 (September 2012)

Bicarbonate of soda

Another magical product is bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda as it’s commonly called.

Baking soda is a key ingredients in cakes. Yum! It’s also a great odour zapper and when left in an open container in your fridge or cupboard, it’s a great way to remove mustiness.

Dusting baking soda over your mattress will also remove dirt and moisture – no judgement as to how your mattress got like that, but it’s time for a budget-friendly spring clean!

You’ll probably also earn flowers now that your fridge smells nice and your bed is clean.

A nifty trick is to put a teaspoon of baking soda into the vase to prolong the life of the flowers. No need for the expensive store-bought kind.

Baking soda mixed with a dab of water is also great for insect bites as an anti-itch ointment.

Another use for this versatile white powder (probably the second most popular white powder in modern society, but cheaper by far and much more legal) is to polish your silver.

Your silver? If you own ‘silver’ then you probably aren’t too concerned with keeping to your budget. But maybe you should investigate the rest of moneysmart for ways to better invest your fortunes.

I have to go back to this bottle of mayo. I have a salad that needs a stylist, or is it dressing?

[tip title=”moneysmart tip”]Don’t fall for advertising gimmicks and and marketing ploys. Very often one product can have a number of uses that you might never have even thought of. Do your research and don’t overspend on stuff you don’t need.[/tip]

Please note: moneysmart cannot be held responsible for any mishap or damage caused as a result of using mayonnaise as hair conditioner or any other tip provided in this article. 


About Author

Angel Blythe Campey is a freelance writer, comedienne and actress living in Cape Town. She is a bright and quirky free spirit and holds an Honours degree from UCT’s prestigious Film, Media and Visual Studies programme.