Mosquito Control on a Budget

By contributing writer Laura

It’s summertime, which means the mosquitoes are wreaking havoc on backyard barbecues and other outdoor fun. Perhaps you or a family member is a mosquito magnet and constantly battling the bugs, swatting and slapping away all summer. To be honest, summer can be downright miserable if you have allergic reactions to mosquito bites and endure swelling and irritation.

Mosquito Control on a Budget at The Happy Housewife

photo credit: Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel via photopin cc

Mosquito control expert Damien Sanchez of D.C. Mosquito Squad offers a variety of services to keep mosquitoes out of clients’ properties. He shares that those on a tight budget can take a number of inexpensive, preventative measures that can drastically reduce the mosquito population in their yard. It all begins with targeting the breeding areas, finding ways to be less attractive to mosquitoes, and getting effective repellants.

After talking with Damien and doing some research, below are some simple and frugal steps you can take to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

1. Get Rid of Standing Water

Mosquitoes thrive near stagnant water, so it is important to make sure you get rid of standing water in your yard. That means tipping over yard toys, like wagons, that may collect rainwater.  Mosquitoes need only a small amount of water, say a few tablespoons, to breed. Once mosquito larvae hatch, they don’t typically fly far, so standing water on your property could lead to a load of mosquitoes.

2. Keep Landscaping Neat

Be sure to limit foliage, yard clippings, and leaf piles, where mosquitoes and other bugs like to harbor or feed. Keeping your landscaping trimmed and limiting ivy and junipers will decrease places where the mosquitoes can seek shelter.

3. Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants

Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by a variety of plants. Fill your garden with plants such as marigolds, rosemary, catnip. citronella, peppermint, and garlic. If you don’t have the room for a garden in your yard, try some potted plants.

4. Don’t Wear Perfume

Fragrances such as cologne and perfume can supposedly make you more appealing to mosquitoes. Avoid wearing scented fragrances when spending time outdoors for any lengthy amount of time.

5. Choose an Effective Repellant

According to the CDC, the most effective repellents on the market today contain DEET. If you’re shopping for a repellent, look at the label to see if DEET is an active ingredient. You’ll find many of the big name brands that produce DEET repellents also offer manufacturer coupons during the spring and early summer, so check online and in your local newspaper inserts to save more money using their coupons.

6. Use a Fan

Since mosquitoes are not strong flyers, having an electric fan positioned on your deck, patio, terrace, or play area is an easy solution to the bug problem. The wind circulating from the fan should blow mosquitoes away from you, so they don’t have the chance to land.

7. Try DIY Remedies

You can try your hand at creating your own citronella oil candles, which supposedly keep the bugs away for short periods of time. You can also try repurposing used dryer sheets to repel mosquitoes.

Try these free and inexpensive tips to keep the biting bugs away this summer and take back your backyard!

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Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 7/4 – 7/6

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

National Activities:

American Girl: July In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) This month includes: Summer Flower Anklet Craft, Summer Reading Bookmark Craft, Pets Card Craft Event, Everyday Fun Doll ‘Dos, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, and Meet the Author Tours.

Apple CampApple has put together a really cool kids camp for ages 8-12. Your kids can learn how to make movies or even an interactive book complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. Availability is extremely limited but there appears to be more open slots for interactive storytelling.

Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp: The Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp features free fun games for kids, activities, and workshops where families can learn the skills they need to enjoy great outdoor adventures together. Now through Sunday, July 13 at 64 Bass Pro Shops located across the United States and Canada. See more info here.

Disney Stores: Disney Stores are offering Summer Play Days every day this summer now through September 1, 2014. The fun includes Art of Animation, Trivia, Story Time and Showtime.

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series. Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, July 5th: 10 AM – Recording Made Easy for Garage Band
  • Saturday, July 5th: 10:15 AM – Group Guitar Lesson

Home Depot: This Saturday 5th from 9am to 12pm kids can build a bug house. You can pre-register online.

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, July 5th from 11AM-3PM ~ Kids make and take a Silly Summer Cap!

Lowe’s Build and Grow:  This Saturday starting at 10am kids can create their very own Sheep Drop Game inspired by the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2. Register in advance.

Michael’s Kids Club Workshops: Kids can enjoy Summer Ice Cream Fun by Perler. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child). Starts at 10 am and runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays. You can shop while they create.

Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes (for kids and adults): Saturday, July 5th at 9:30 AM ~ Junior Chefs will make delicious personal sized pies. Make a reservation.  For ages 5+.

Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 6/27 – 6/29

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

National Activities:

American Girl: June In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) This month includes: Summer Flower Anklet Craft, Summer Reading Bookmark Craft, Everyday Fun Doll ‘Dos, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, and Meet the Author Tours.

Apple CampApple has put together a really cool kids camp for ages 8-12. Your kids can learn how to make movies or even an interactive book complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. Availability is extremely limited but there appears to be more open slots for interactive storytelling.

Barnes and Nobles: Kids can learn aspects of physics by building their very own rubber band race car. Events are held through the 29th for ages 7 and up.

Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp: The Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp features free fun games for kids, activities, and workshops where families can learn the skills they need to enjoy great outdoor adventures together. It begins Saturday, June 14 and continues through Sunday, July 13 at 64 Bass Pro Shops located across the United States and Canada. See more info here.

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series. Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, June 28th: 10 AM – Recording Made Easy for Pro Tools
  • Saturday, June 28th: 10:15 AM – Group Guitar Lesson
  • Saturday, June 28th: 11:00 AM – Drum Circle

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, June 28th from 11AM-3PM ~ Kids make and take a Summer Memories Frame!

Lowe’s Build and Grow:  This Saturday starting at 10am kids can create their very own Sheep Drop Game inspired by the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2. Register in advance.

Michael’s Kids Club Workshops: Kids can create a personalized scrap book. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child). Starts at 10 am and runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays. You can shop while they create.

Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Beauty Products on a Budget

By contributing writer Laura

Beauty products are by no means a necessity, but they are items that most women purchase. Cosmetics can help you feel better about yourself and provide some enhancement of your outward beauty. After all, most of us don’t want to be the “frugal frumpy mom” who is such a tightwad that she neglects her outward appearance.

However, I have friends who don’t wear makeup or wear very little, whether due to finances or personal conviction regarding modesty. Of course, I believe inward beauty trumps any attempt at outward beauty, but it doesn’t hurt to take care of yourself and try to look your best.

Beauty Products on a Budget | The Happy Housewife

Since most of us ladies are purchasing some kind of beauty products, and all those different types of products can add up to a big chunk of change, I wanted to share tips for beauty products on a budget. Here are ways that you can get more bang for your buck with beauty products.

Simplify Your Beauty Routine

One simple way to cut costs is to simplify your beauty regimen. Less can be more, and you can often achieve the same look with less products, if you focus on the most important ones. I suggest you eliminate products you don’t need or rarely use and find ways to cut out products that may be serving similar functions.

Find products that are multi-purpose, which will save you money. For example, you can purchase a compact with blush and toner combined, instead of buying separate blush and toner. Consider purchasing a cosmetic that combines foundation and powder; I have personally done this for years. Finding products which can serve more than one function or do the job of two or more products, can help you cut down on the amount of products you buy, which will in turn save you money.

Stick to a set of colors and shades that are tried and true on you, ie. that you have worn in the past and work with your skin tone and pallet, to avoid spending money on something you wear once and then decide you don’t like.

Simplifying your product selection from designer name brands to more affordable solutions is another great way to save. For example, substitute your pricey moisturizer for a tried-and-true inexpensive option recommended by dermatologists, like Cetaphil. Look for practical products that work instead of focusing on a certain brand that you are accustomed to using.

Use Up Every Last Bit

Some bottle, container. and tube designs make it difficult to get all the product out. According to a Consumer Reports study, you can miss out on up to 25% of the product if you discard the bottle before it’s really empty. I like to turn bottles and containers upside down so that most of the contents of the container comes to the dispenser. Once I’ve squeezed out all I can that way, I get out my heavy-duty scissors to cut the container in half, when possible, and retrieve even more product that is stuck on the inner walls and corners of the tube or container.

Reuse What You Can

Another great way to save money on makeup is to reuse your cosmetic applicators and beauty tools. Once you use up your product, you could still make good use of that empty container or applicator by washing and reusing with another cosmetic. Or perhaps you have a lipstick that breaks or melts in the car on a hot day (been there!) then you can scoop out your product into an empty makeup container or compact and use with a little lip brush; this is a great alternative to tossing the messy, broken tube and wasting that lipstick.

Trade What You Don’t Need

If you find yourself with free samples you don’t need or want, see if you can trade with a friend. Or find a forum or site like eDivv.com which allows you to swap sample beauty products. If you have extra beauty products laying around that you’ve collected from bonus gift bags or free sample sites, then you can trade those unwanted products for items you’ll actually use. This is a great way to save money by not letting those products go to waste in your closet.

Make Your Own

You can save a lot of money by going the DIY route. Make your own chapsticklotion bar, moisturizer, face masks, body scrubs, and other homemade body care products. I also really like Alea’s DIY Facial masks and cleansers made from natural ingredients. A benefit of making your own products is that you can control the ingredients and can eliminate unnecessary additives or other controversial items found in makeup mass produced and sold on the market today.

Shop at Discount & Dollar Stores

Discount stores like Ulta and Sally are a great place to find name brand cosmetics on discount. Also, you may not realize that the dollar store can be a great place to score inexpensive personal care products and tools. Stop by your local dollar store to check out their selection and look for inexpensive beauty care items like cotton balls, q-tips, nail files, and nail polish.

Use these tips to save more money on cosmetics so you can save a pretty penny while looking pretty! Please be sure to share your own cost-effective beauty tips below in the comments too!

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