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.

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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?

Inexpensive Secret Santa Gifts

Inexpensive Secret Santa Gifts

Secret Santa can be a lot of fun, even if you’re frugal-minded like me!

It’s December and for many of us that means it’s time for lots and lots of gift-giving. From your own families and friends to your children’s teachers and even the mailman, there are lots of presents to be bought. Even if you planned ahead and bought cute knick-knacks at the end of last year’s Christmas season, you might still be scrambling for some last-minute ideas that won’t break the bank, particularly if you participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange.

Many work places, including my own, celebrate the end of the year by pulling names from a hat and “sneakily” leaving presents for each other with a set minimum (usually $20). Rather than sabotage your co-worker’s goal to eat healthy this year by loading her desk with a bunch of vending machine snacks, here are five ideas on inexpensive Secret Santa gifts that people will love:

Inexpensive Secret Santa Gift Ideas

secret santa gifts

Cold Weather Gear

Here in Illinois we can go from 38 degrees on Friday to 70 degrees on Sunday. With the wild changes in the weather, and never really knowing what to expect, cold weather gear is often easily misplaced. Personally, I can never have too many scarves or gloves. For just a couple dollars, it’s easy to pick up a cute scarf or a pair of warm gloves or even a fun Monster hat…

toddler digging in sand wearing a green and orange monster hat

Blankets

When I first met my partner, he thought I was nuts for always wanting to buy blankets whenever I saw them on deep discount. Now that we have children, though, he sees the light. We have blankets in each of our cars for emergencies, we use blankets on the kids in their car seats, we need extra blankets whenever a child is sick, the list goes on and on. You can never go wrong with a cute throw blanket and you can usually find one for $5 or less (especially if you use this money-saving Christmas trick like I do!)

DIY “All in One” Jar

Now I know this blog is all about saving time while also saving money, but hear me out – for just a few dollars you can pick up a mason jar (unless you’re already a jar hoarder like me!) fill it with cocoa mix and marshmallows, throw a pretty ribbon on it, and call it a day. For those of you wanting to really impress, you can also include a mini bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Yum!

red cup with white dots filled with hot cocoa

 

Photo Frames

Like blankets, I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many photo frames. If you’re Facebook friends with your Secret Santa receiver, you could even go the extra mile and print a picture for them to put in the frame. Even just a frame, though, is always a great gift and you can often find them on clearance at places like Hobby Lobby. It’s important to have frames for those extra special moments…

crying baby sitting in santa's lap

Winter Care Kit

The only thing worse than chapped lips is chapped skin. Help your Secret Santa combat winter dryness by giving him/her some lip balm and a travel size lotion. You could also include small “spa kit” things like a sugar scrub or microfleece slippers.

A Personal Print Out

One of the most memorable Secret Santa presents I ever received was a Pepsi with a homemade card attached. The card was a Photoshopped David Bowie holding a Pepsi (I’m a *BIG* Labyrinth fan). If you’re an expert in Photoshop, put those skills to use and spend a few minutes making your Secret Santa something personal.

It truly is the thought that counts! I hope you enjoy this holiday season and are able to find some extra moments to enjoy the magic that is this time of year.

 

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

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A Review of InboxDollars

A Review of InboxDollars

Looking for a review of InboxDollars? You’ve come to the right place! Today over my lunch hour I made $50! And now I’d like to show you how to do the same.

Disclosure: Any link to InboxDollars within this article is a referral link, which means I may be compensated for your sign-up, but this does not in any way affect my thoughts or feelings towards InboxDollars.

InboxDollars Review

legit survey site inboxdollars review

InboxDollars is one of the few sites that I’ve found that actually prove to be worthwhile (and by worthwhile I mean I’m making more than $.50/hour). The ONLY other site I highly recommend is SurveySavvy, which you can read about here, and there are lots of great ways to make money online other than survey sites.

InboxDollars is great, though, and very “newbie” friendly so even if you’re just branching out into learning how to make money online, this site will work for you. It’s still like a lot of your typical survey sites – little pay out in regards to time put in – but it’s something you can do while watching t.v. or waiting for a bus.

A Review of InboxDollars: How to Make Money Online!

You can also earn at least $50 in the first hour that you sign-up.

How to Earn More with InboxDollars

  • The $5 sign-up bonus. Woo! $5 made in 30 seconds, we’re on the right track.
  • Complete List #1 ($.50)
  • Watch the How-To Video ($.15)
  • Complete List #2 ($1 plus $ for e-mails and surveys done)
  • Take the Interests, Household, General Profile, and Qualifications Surveys ($1.25)
  • Go to the site via your phone and download whatever apps you can/want ($2.59 for me, varies depending on what you download)

InboxDollars Cash Offers

  • Go to Cash Offers – here’s what the real money is. Look for 100% free offers. The Grow-Up Plan from Gerber will earn you $1, signing up for Bing Rewards (great in and of itself) earns you another $1.Others I chose:
    • Publishers Clearing House – hey, a girl can dream about winning it big but in the mean time I’ll settle for $1
    • Big Buck Survey – $2.25
    • FlexShopper – $6!
    • Swappable – This is one where you have to spend money to make money but it’s worth it. If you shop at The Gap or Old Navy, definitely choose one of those cards as you can save even more than I did. I chose the $50 BP card because goodness knows we always need gas. So I got $5 towards my first purchase, plus $6 from InboxDollars for making the purchase, plus .$50 for using my Amazon card to make the purchase. So here I basically got $50 in gas for only $39.50!
    • Discover Card – I like Discover and the rewards on this card are decent, so if you’re in the market for a new credit card, this is definitely worth applying for. $20 for approved users. Just make sure you stay thrifty and only put on there what you can pay off when the bill comes!
    • Nielsen Online – $5
  • Spin and Win – at least you get something for failing to qualify for those surveys. Won a whole $.60 from this!
  • Paid E-mails – set your preferences so that you don’t get these to your actual e-mail. Click through via the site and earn $.02 per click.
  • Grocery coupons – I do most of my shopping online, but these are still worth looking into to. Just make sure the savings is worth the cost of printing.
  • Searches – If you’re not using Bing (or even if you are), use the ID search every once in a while. You’ll win cash or sweeps every time you complete 4 searches and you can earn a $.05 bonus each week you search four or more days.
  • Donations – InboxDollars will often offer great rewards for donating to a not-for-profit. These change regularly so check to see if your favorite is there!

Is InboxDollars legit?

It most definitely is! It won’t necessarily make you rich and you can’t bank $50 for every hour you spend on it. But you can bank $50+ and continue to earn pennies here and there at your leisure. I decided to cash out shortly before the end of the year and then start fresh to see just how much I can make in one year with minimal effort.

InboxDollars Proof of Payment

My first payment!

In the meantime, get to InboxDollars and let me know how much you make over your lunch hour today!

 

Are you a fan of survey sites? Which ones have you tried?

For better or worse, tell me about ’em in the comments below!

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