Stacey Victoria is a self-proclaimed “savvy saver” who shares her top tips on how to see your money go further – especially for fellow parents.
With the summer holidays in full swing, families across the UK are searching for ways to occupy the kids, often turning to stay-at-home days in a bid to keep expenditures minimal.
But while letting them run wild with toys or paints can provide a few hours rest, the dreaded clean up afterwards awaits.
Now, the mum-of-two, 36, is here to tell you how to keep the home spick and span for less, claiming her “easy” hacks have saved her £50 a month.
“I set myself the task of being able to manage with the items we had around the house, rather than forking out unnecessary money,” Stacey, from Huddersfield, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“I was adding so much to my shopping budget per month before I tried out these methods.
“It’s so easy to put things into a trolley, but I always try to shop with a basket now to avoid buying other items.
“I feel it’s really important to look at things differently now we have the cost of living crisis hanging over our heads.
“Now is the time to start reusing what we can in our homes.
“The average cost of these hacks is next to nothing, and, most times, free.”
Stacey, who shares her expert tips on Instagram, @home_with_stacey, used to spend up to £50 a month on extra cleaning items she didn’t need.
Now, she’s using her savvy and creative skills to help her family live frugally – and keep the home feeling fresh.
Here are the stay-at-home mum’s top tips:
Stacey, like many other parents, knows that children’s toys are a “breeding ground” for germs – but this is how to keep bacteria at bay in a snap.
She said: “A dishwasher makes quick work of disinfecting toys that are washable, such as Legos.
“Drop them into a laundry bag to keep them contained, run the cycle as usual, but remove the toys before it begins to dry.
“Let them air dry completely on a towel and all the bacteria will be gone.
“This method also works well for seashells and other treasured knick-knacks.”
The back-to-school uniform preparation can leave kids and parents, feeling gloomy.
But with this quick hack, their clothes will be ready to hang up for the long-awaited return in no time.
Stacey said: “Ditch the time-confusing iron or handheld steamer to get wrinkles out of shirts or school dresses.
“Throw a few ice cubes or a wet washcloth in the dryer with the wrinkled clothes and as the ice melts, the water will turn to steam and remove the creases.
“This trick isn’t as effective with heavier clothing but is a miracle for lighter fabrics.
“The best part is that you don’t have to set the dryer for longer than ten minutes for it to work, saving money on the electricity bill.”
Kids are known for playing dirty – whether that’s in mud, paint or sometimes, unwanted items, such as gum.
Fear not, if the sticky chew gets stuck on any home furnishings, there’s an easy way to get it removed without any damage.
She said: “When gum freezes, it gets brittle and easily breaks apart.
“If you have some stuck in your carpet, freeze it to remove it quickly and easily.
“This can be done by placing a sandwich bag filled with ice cubes on top and waiting for about half an hour.
“When it’s frozen solid, break it apart and pull it out of the carpet – no trace will be left behind.
“If there’s still a mark or any other stains, baking soda can be used to remove these, or for tougher ones, use hot water, scrub and then, vacuum.”
It’s easy to scour home shops such as Wilko and B&M while stocking up on unnecessary cleaning goods.
But Stacey has discovered a way to make your own sprays and air fresheners with cupboard staples.
The 36-year-old said: “For all-purpose household spray, mix vinegar and water with a 50/50 ratio.
“Also, uncooked rice and washing up liquid can make vases and glass squeaky clean.
“Simply cover and shake, before rinsing and leaving to dry.
“Making homemade cleaners is quick and easy, as well as great for saving money when it comes to cleaning the house.”
Stacey also reveals applying toothpaste with a damp cloth onto stains can remove them in an instant and for those messy bath times, they can be made sparkling in a pinch.
She said: “Simply cut a sponge in half and sprinkle a little salt on each part, then wet the inside of the bath and scrub.
“If you haven’t got any scourers left, scrunching up tinfoil can work just as good – but don’t be too forceful.
“Furniture and wooden flooring can be polished using olive oil and lemon in a spray bottle or hot water, white vinegar and essential oils for a relaxing scent.
“Always remember to label ingredients though and keep away from pets and children.”
Like many parents, she aims to keep her kids, Emily, nine, and Isabelle, five, away from harsh chemicals.
The mum claims that most products on the shelves aren’t as natural as they seem – but she has the perfect method to naturally make each room smell like a summer’s day.
Stacey said: “Pick up a jar and fill it with different fruits and water.
“Leave these in each room overnight and a natural, yet subtle, smell will flow through.
“Sometimes, people use essential oils too, which I have done before.
“While out on a walk, I pick up lavender with the girls and place these into reusable bags.
“Dotting these around the house gives off such a relaxing feeling and smells great – it also helps to warn off pesky moths.
“And for a simple air freshener, mix water and fabric softener in a spray bottle and spritz.”
She hopes to teach her daughters the value of making your money go further and to get creative with general items around the house.
The mum-of-two added: “I feel the values it’ll teach my children is that if they put their mind to it, anything is possible.
“I always tell them: ‘You win when you create.’
“I have carried these out for three years now, where I set myself the task of being able to manage with only the items I had in the house.
“I don’t have any concerns with these hacks, but it’s so important to label any homemade cleaners and detergents in case of allergies.
“I feel cleaning on a budget will make people appreciate things in life more.
“I do also think that if people looked around their home, they could easily clean it from top to bottom without spending a penny.
“It’s really easy and simple once you get in the habit of it.”