5 Frugal Skincare Essentials

5 Frugal Skincare Essentials

When it comes to skincare, the lotions, creams, and seemingly magic elixirs can add up QUICK. Surely, there’s a way to save money and still have glowing skin, right?


Be it a simple moisturizer or an exfoliating face scrub – beauty and skincare products today can turn out to be a tad bit expensive for you, especially if you’re on a budget or saving up for something big. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Believe it or not, you can actually treat your skin in the best way- just like it deserves without burning a hole in your wallet. Using these 5 not-so-expensive products, most of which you might already have in your kitchen, can turn out to the your ultimate budget friendly skincare essentials!


Heal a Sunburn Quickly

Heal a Sunburn Quickly

When you have a sunburn, there’s little you want more than to know how to heal it quickly.

I know, I know…why am I talking about how to heal a sunburn when common sense says I should’ve just used sunblock in the first place but hey, everyone makes mistakes sometimes!

My mom was in town and we decided to try out a new playground with the kids. Our normal playground is wonderful – shaded, lots of green, close by – but this new park has a fun water element that I thought surely the kids would love (ha!) My babies get sunscreen no matter what park or playground we visit but I rarely never use the stuff. I’ve never needed to! 

Growing up, I was outside constantly. Despite being mostly Polish, I always had a very dark complexion. While applying sunscreen should be a habit, it’s one I struggled with.

tan woman with short brown hair

Well then I had children and my high-needs daughter had me inside 95% of last summer – aka I turned into Casper the Sleepy Ghost. So here we are at a playground with nary a tree in sight and I don’t even THINK to put on sunscreen, even after covering my children in it.

Fast forward to us leaving the playground and I realize I am BURNT. Glowing red, please-don’t-even-look-let-alone-touch fried. I have two toddlers who need be outside for the sake of mommy’s sanity but the idea of going back out into the sun was literally painful.

Disclaimer: This most may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive commission should you click through to make a purchase.

sun burnt woman with brown hair and black glasses

How to Heal a Sunburn Quickly at Home

As luck would have it, my mom had brought us an aloe vera plant so of course my first plan of action was to tear that poor plant apart and cover myself in its innards.

Aloe Vera

You can usually find an aloe plant at most garden centers but of course I checked and YES, Amazon sells aloe plants! I’m probably more excited about this than I should be but hey, you know me and my love of shopping online.

If you already have an aloe plant, break off a leaf and carefully slice through the middle, exposing the ooey-gooey salve that will help take away the pain. From here you can either place the leaves directly on your sunburn or do as I did and use it to make a cooling milk compress.

Milk Compress

Milk is great at helping to heal sunburn because it provides immediate relief while also coating your skin in a thin layer of protein to help heal.

To double up on my immediate efforts, I placed a couple thick paper towels in a cup of milk, squeezed out a bit of the excess liquid, then placed them on a plate. From there, I coated the paper towel in the aloe and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. I then placed the towels on my shoulders and WOO! Take that sunburn! To keep from leaking milk and aloe everywhere, I used a couple cloth diaper inserts (which also make for PHENOMENAL burp rags, by the way!)

I was looking really good at this point:

Brown hair woman with sunburn and milk compresses on her shoulders
After repeating this process a couple times, I headed to bed and prayed my bed sheets would absorb the heat radiating from my skin.

No such luck as I woke up still burnt. It wasn’t as bad as it had been the day before, but I was still red and definitely still hurting.

So while my kids ate their breakfast, I put mine on my shoulders. I was desperate this point…

Yogurt for Sunburn Relief

greek yogurt for sunburn relief

I’m a huge fan of Greek Yogurt anyway, though normally I’m eating it and not asking my husband to slather it all over my shoulders. It’s full of probiotics, calcium, protein, and zinc – all of which I knew would help rejuvenate my poor toasted skin.

I suspected the lactic acid in the yogurt would also help keep me from peeling and I was right! Simply scoop up some yogurt and apply a thick layer to your burnt skin. Let it set for about 10-15 minutes and carefully wash off. Feel free to repeat, it feels oh so good!

Don’t have any yogurt? Well, how about oatmeal! (Who knew breakfast foods could be so versatile??)

Oatmeal for Sunburns

Another great way to help soothe a sunburn is to take an oatmeal bath. Bathes are a rarity for me, but they do work well for a sunburn.

Simply blend a cup of oatmeal into a fine powder and add to a tub of lukewarm water. Soak for as long as you’d like (or as long as your children let you!) and pat dry.

If taking bathes isn’t an option for you either, do as I did and use an oatmeal-based lotion (like this eczema cream). Plain coconut oil works great, too, but don’t be too quick to apply it. Wait a day before using it as you don’t want to form a barrier that keeps the heat from escaping your burns.

At this point, I was looking much better, but it’s important to note one of the best things I did – drink water. Lots and LOTS of water!

heal sunburn faster

Heal from the Inside Out

Hopefully you already drink a ton of water, but if not, now is the time to really step up your game. I aim for about 100 oz on a normal day but when I was burnt, I pretty much bounced between the water faucet and the bathroom. Your skin needs to replenish the moisture lost from the burns, so drink lots of water and stay hydrated!

Take care of yourself and do what feels right for you. Don’t rely on these tips to cure your sunburn immediately. Stay out of the sun for as long as you can. More importantly – see your doctor if you are feeling unwell! I am by no means a medical professional and only offer these tips as something that worked well for ME.

What other tips do you have for those seeking a fast way to heal a sunburn?

Clever Ways to Use Mason Jars

Clever Ways to Use Mason Jars

The uses for mason jars are innumerable! I love to collect glass jars, specifically mason jars. Weird to some, maybe, but they’re just so incredibly useful! Now I know I’ve written on why you should declutter to save money, so maybe you’re thinking “Amber, I don’t need anything else!” but seriously there are just so many amazing ways to use these jars!

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission should you click through to make a purchase; this in no way impacts your cost or my opinion of said products/services.

Build a window sill herb garden

Fresh herbs when you need them means saving time and money! This is especially easy if you already grow herbs in your summer garden. Before the first frost, take a snipping from each herb just below a joint. Put each herb in a jar and fill with just enough water to cover the joint. Swap out the water every few days and once roots appear, transfer to dirt.

You can take your gardening on a budget one step further by using yogurt cups or other used receptacles. Poke a few holes in the bottom, fill with dirt, plant your herbs, and set back in the mason jars. Mist every week or as needed, just be very careful not to over-water.

Make oatmeal jars

Oatmeal jars make for a perfect easy breakfast! I love how simple these are to modify and change up any time I find myself getting bored, there’s hundreds of recipes to be found online and it’s easy to figure out just how to make them to best suit you.

My favorite recipe is to sauté bananas in some coconut oil and brown sugar then fill a pint-size mason jar halfway with oatmeal, top with the bananas, add in some walnuts, and fill the jar with almond milk. Give it a good shake and let it set overnight. You can make five at a time to ensure breakfast is ready every day of the week.

Put leftover coffee to use

Pour some into an ice cube tray to freeze and the rest into a mason jar to stick in the fridge. In the morning, add the coffee cubes to the mason jar, pour in some heavy whipping cream or other favorite coffee add-ins, and you’ve got iced coffee ready to go! Yum!

Perfect for a gift exchange

Did you forget about the Secret Santa exchange at work? Grab a mason jar, toss in some hot cocoa mix and marshmallows, tie a ribbon around it and voila! A cute and easy gift that anyone will love. Don’t forget to grab a cute Hallmark greeting card from the Dollar Store!

Learn to can

Take advantage of the cheap summer produce and stock up to ensure you have access to healthy options all year round. Personally I love pickled foods (like seriously – my mouth waters at the idea of anything pickled!) but you can also make family-friendly treats, like crockpot apple butter!

Use them to store your homemade beauty products

I love to use apple cider vinegar as a facial toner and coconut oil as a moisturizer so I keep both stored in mason jars in my bathroom. This is also a great route to take if you’re into essential oils and need an air tight container for any blends you make.

Mason jar storage

Buy in bulk and use mason jars to store things like loose leaf tea, grains, sugar, etc. Bonus: glass jars are critter-proof!

Make your own household cleaning products

Vinegar makes for a great cleaner and mason jars are perfect to store those solutions!

An easy (and great smelling) cleaner is to:

  • Fill your mason jar with orange peels, or any citrus you enjoy.
  • Cover the peels with vinegar, seal, and then store in a dark place for 2-4 weeks.
  • Strain the peels, add to a spray bottle, and you’re good to go!

Just like any cleaning products, though, make sure you label them properly and keep them out of reach of the children.

Mason jar organization

From holding pens to store paper clips, mason jars can go a long way in helping your work area stay organized.

Make your own cold brew coffee

Toss 1/3rd of a cup of coarse coffee grounds into a jar filled with 2.5 cups of water. Sit in the fridge for 8-24 hours (depending on how strong you want it) then strain with either a cheese cloth or a tea infuser and coffee filter. Way cheaper than going to a coffee shop!

Keep your crafting and art supplies organized with mason jars

Just like you can do with your office, mason jars are great at helping you keep things like paint brushes, beads, glue sticks, and such quite organized. The smaller ones also make for great containers for DIY finger paints for the kids!

DIY Mason Jar Ideas

Mason jar diy ideas

Salad jars

Remember those McDonald Salad Shakers from the early 2000s? Yum.

You can make them yourself and make five ahead of time so you’re set for the week, just make sure you put the dressing at the bottom and the greens at the top (add your usual mix-ins, like sesame seeds or cheese, in between).

Mason jar vase

Don’t toss those dandelion flowers your son picked for you! Grab a mason jar and display them proudly.

Mason jar tupperware

Use mason jars instead of plastic tupperware to store and tote leftovers. They’ll last longer than your traditional plastic tupperware and it’s so much better for the environment!

Make a rootbeer float

This is seriously an amazing dessert and with far less sugar than a traditional rootbear float (which is especially great if you’re just starting a keto diet!) Fill the bottom of the pint-sized mason jar with heavy whipping cream. Cover and shake for 30 seconds then slowly add your root beer. Trust me on this – it’s AMAZING.


Make your own mason jar candles

These work great as presents or for your own use. Hearth and Vine has a great tutorial to make mason jar oil candle lanterns!

Or make your own hanging lanterns…

Punch two side-by-side holes in the top of your mason jar and thread wire through. Drop in a battery-operated tea light and you’re good to go with a beautiful hanging lantern, perfect for frugal Halloween decor or any time of the year!

Use mason jars instead of disposable cups

Not only is this better for the environment, but you can use a cupcake liner to keep bugs out of your drink. Simply use the jar’s outer lid to secure the cupcake liner and then poke a straw through. This is especially great if you have young children prone to spilling.

Use smaller glass jars to store your spices

You can even add magnets to the tops to keep them on the side of your fridge and take back some of your much-needed cabinet space.

Create a time capsule with your kids

Have them gather up a few things representative of this time period and seal them in a mason jar. Decide on when you’ll open it back up and then pick a spot in the backyard to bury it.

Have some fun with the kids and make your own butter.

Just add some heavy whipping cream to a glass jar and shake, shake, shake! Keep rockin’ it for a few minutes and you’ll have whipping cream, keep going for a bit longer and you’ll end up with whipped, delicious, easy-to-spread butter.

Use them to celebrate the holiday season.

Make snow globes with your little ones by gluing a cute scene or decor to the inside of the mason jar lid. Fill the jar with a bottle of clear Elmers glue, about a quarter of a small jar of glitter, and water. Hot glue the lid to the glass and you’re good to go!

Get a little fancy at your next dinner party…

Serve individual desserts in some of the smaller jars and you’ll really wow your dinner guests. You can bake cakes directly inside them or fill with ice cream, set out bowls of toppings, and have a DIY sundae bar.

Make a mason jar bird feeder

Pick up a poultry feeder base from your local farm store, fill a mason jar with bird seed, attach some wire, and you’ve got a great little bird feeder.

You can find mason jars in bulk online, but I recommend looking around the next time you head out to garage sales or do an ISO (I Seek Out) post in a local resale group. I guarantee you can find some amazing glass jars for an even more amazing price!

Do you use mason jars?

What’s your favorite way to make use of them?