“Life Hacks” That Didn’t Work For Me

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If you have any form of social media, you’ve seen a plethora of “life hacks” from sites like 5 Minute Crafts or Nifty. Some of these hacks look genuinely useful, so I tried them. There are some great hacks out there, but this list won’t have any. Instead, these are the hacks that I failed at the hardest.

DIY Clorox Wipes


The “Hack”: I tried to create DIY wet wipes from squares, cut from an old towel. The idea is that these “wipes” can be used, washes, and reused, cutting down costs on traditional cleaning methods. I whipped up my own recipe to moisten the “wipes,” this would be the actual cleaning agent. I used vinegar, baking soda, Tea Tree Oil ,and dish soap. This was an excellent cleaning remedy! You can always count on Teat Tree Oil and dish soap to get the job done, and vinegar is a gentle way to clean delicate surfaces. The first use of these wipes was incredible. The wipes really did clean up all my messed, even better than Clorox wipes, but my glee was short lived.

The Issues: The trouble began when I tried to wash these wipes. They completely fell apart in the washer, and they could never be used again. Because the rags I used were knitted together (most are), when I cut the seam, the rags completely unraveled. Buying new rags each time would be a waste of time and money.

How to make it work: This hack could still totally work. All we need to do is use full sized rags, or a different piece of fabric that wouldn’t unravel.

Tie Organization

My husband has gobs of ties, and I have tried everything I can think of to make his collection more organized.

The “Hack”: This isn’t so much of a hack as it is my blatant failure at organization. I tried two methods of tie organization: first, I made a makeshift tie rack from a clothes hanger, and second, I tried actually using a tie rack. The clothes hanger was actually more effective than the tie rack, if I tied the ties in knots. The tie rack didn’t have any traction, meaning the ties just slipped off the rack and hit the floor.

The Issues: No matter how I arranged these ties of clothes hangers or tie racks, the ties would inevitably find their way in a pile at the bottom of the closet. The only resemblance of success was when I tied the ties onto the clothes hanger and tie rack. This worked in theory, but in reality, it only held up for a few weeks. The issue was not so much the idea, but my husband. Sorry! My husband would not, for the life of him, tie his ties back up. He would just drape each tie of the tie rack hook, and soon, they would be back in the floor.

How to make it work: We have ended up designating a specific dresser drawer to his ties; this is effective, but not as storage friendly. A more expensive tie rack might work if each bar had something to hold the ties in place.

DIY Hanging Laundry Basket

A very successful option of this hack by Karisa. Learn from my mistakes and try this, instead!

I tried to make a hanging laundry basket on the fly, because my bathroom is tiny. We have no room for a laundry basket, and, at that time, we were broke. Man, was that project a disaster! Learn from my mistakes.

“The Hack”: I used a hula hoop, an old set of black out curtains, and a sewing machine. I sewed the curtains together and turned them inside out to make a basic bag. Just this bag pattern probably wouldn’t have been an issue. I, then, sewed the edge of my, now, bag around the hula hoop. It was easy, and it was finished within 30 minutes. It was not, however, high quality, long lasting, or safe spacing.

The Issues: The hula hoop made the opening of the bag entirely too big, and because it didn’t have any handles, it was a real pain to carry back and forth to the laundry room. Not only was it a bit inconvenient, it was also hideous. We used it for several months before finally purchasing a more ideal and ascetically pleasing at Target for $3. Worth it? No.

How to make it work: Sometimes, it is just better to spend a few bucks to use something that will do what you want it to, rather than struggle with an ugly, bulky laundry basket, that still ended up costing me $3. If you must try this, I would not use a hula hoop as the opening. Use something smaller and included handles. You could always try this pattern. It turned out 1000 times better than mine!

Clear Labels from Packing Tape

Gather and Flourish

Months ago, I saw a “labels from paper and packing tape” hack. It is, ideally, very easy. The above picture is not, however made from packing tape. This hack is meant to be a cheap alternative to Cricut labels, which is how the above label was made. In my opinion, this”hack” ends up just being a sad, obvious reproduction.

The “Hack”: Most “hack” websites instruct you to print out your labels on plain printer paper with normal black ink. You are then supposed to place packing tape over your paper, and cut around the tape. In a bowl of water, you place the “label” in the water, and begin rubbing off the paper. The paper section is the back of your “label.” Eventually, you will rub off the paper, and you will have a clear label.

The Issues: This was not the worst “hack” I’ve tried. It did technically make a label, that would stick to glass if you placed it immediately and never moved it again. The issue arose when I tried to readjust the label. This label has almost no adhesive after being dampened. It is also nearly impossible to completely remove all of the paper off the back.

How to make it work: Though this “hack” technically works, it is not a high quality reproduction of the Cricut labels. With the internet so readily available, I would rather purchase glass labels online. Here is a link where you can find some for less than $15.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my “life hack” failures! Comment yours below, and don’t forget to like, share, and follow this page for more.

Budgeting on a Teacher’s Salary

Teachers make a fair salary, but we are far from wealthy, monetarily that is. My family relies heavily on my income, with my husband going to College and only working part time, budgeting is the only way we get by.

After some time, we have almost completely mastered the art of budgeting, so I am going to share some of our tips, tricks, and editable documents that you can use for your budgets, even if you aren’t a teacher!

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Some/All images come from Pexels.com – the royalty free collection of stock photos.

According to Every Dollar, which is an incredible app for tracking spending, we should only spend a certain amount of our income on food, housing, charity, etc.

If your budget does not look exactly like this, that’s okay! I know ours doesn’t. Some people have more debt than other, like student loans. My resources seem to be useful for every individual in every income bracket.

Bill Due Date Calendar

I create my Bill Due Date Calendar every month, depending on the bills that we have coming in. We put this calendar on our phones and on our fridge. This helps us keep track of what money is coming in and going out, so we know what we should and should not spend.

You can download the editable calendar that I use below.

I like to check my Bill Due Date Calendar anytime I make a purchase. With this method, I never overdraft anymore!

The amount we pay in bills varies by the month (sometimes even the week)! It is important to create a new calendar each month, if your bills are like ours. I tried to just use one “generic” calendar but I got confused and ended up overspending. For me, the extra effort makes a huge difference.

Spending Log

Do you remember the old school Check Book Register that came with a stack of checks? Some people still use them, but I prefer to keep a spending log on my phone or computer. I have recently discovered Anastasia’s digital log on Etsy. Hers is cute, functional, cheap, and reusable! It is a digital download that you can keep reusing month after month.

You can use this code DIYDIARY10 to get 10% off your order for this digital spending log! But hurry because this code is only valid until February 3rd, 2019!

Digit App

So this is a new one for me! I have recently downloaded the Digit App, which rounds up each of your bank transactions to create a “Rainy Day” savings. You can also create a “goal,” which you can save toward.

I was originally concerned about transferring too much out per day, but you can even set up a daily transfer limit. Unlike typical savings accounts, you can withdraw your money as many times as you want and as often as you want. You even earn 1% interest every 100 days.

My favorite feature, however, is that Digit will transfer money from your “Rainy Day” savings to your checking account if you are about to overdraft!

This app does cost around $3 a month after your first 100 days. At least you can see if you like it before you buy it!

I hope you find these tips useful, and I would love to hear some of your favorite budgeting tips! 

Don’t forget to like and follow this page for more posts like this!

Create Your Own Pinterest Laundry Room for Under $50

Hey, guys! This week, I took on the task of creating my own “Pinterest Worthy” Laundry room. It was by far the worst room in the house, but now it is one of my favorites!

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All/most images are from Pexels.com, a royalty free website, for which I have a subscription.

Let me just warn you, our laundry room was pretty gross. It was disorganized and scattered in clothes. It is also the home of our cat’s litter boxes, so it was, at times, hard to glamorize.

The room itself wasn’t dirty, it was just terribly disorganized. So I headed off to Amazon, where every decorator can find his/her muse.

Amazon is an incredible place to bargain hunt, and that’s exactly what I did!

I bought:
pet food bin to hide eyesore paper bags ($16)
canvas bags to store and hide cleaning items on our shelving ($22)
curtains to match the color of the room ($11)

I re-purposed:
– a metal tin that I bought for a party months ago – similar to this, though mine isn’t this cute!
– a small side table – like this one
– a small wooden basket for dryer sheets – similar to this
glass jars to hide laundry detergent and softener containers

I recommend re-purposing as many things as possible, because this is where you save the most money. I never throw furniture, baskets, or bags away for this very reason!

I encourage you to look around your own house. What are you not using? How could it benefit you somewhere else?

I reorganized everything based on purpose and placed them in my canvas totes. This added decoration and organization to my otherwise drab shelving. It has also helped me out enormously when doing laundry! I know exactly where stain removers are, without digging through cabinets!

I put our dog towels in the metal tin. This freed up so much space in our cabinets that we could use for something else, and since we use our dog towels so often, it became far more convenient! I ended up sitting this on top of a side table that I smooshed behind the dryer. It ended up actually looking like a shelf, and I love it!

I put laundry pods and fabric softener beads in their designated glass jars. At first, I wasn’t going to put the dryer sheets in a decorative box, but it felt like such a waste, so I re-purposed an old box we had in our closet! It looks fab!

Last, but not least, I hung up curtains and new decoration (which I made from old fabrics and various sized embroidery hoops). It looked great so far!

I cleared out full laundry baskets, resolving to finally fold them punctually, and I rearranged the litter boxes (which I didn’t include in the pictures because who want to see kitty poo? No one!). All in all, I ended up very pleased with my “transformation.” There are some things I would love to accomplish, like a decorative wall-paper wall or new wooden shelving, but for now, this will be perfect. Until next time, happy DIYing.

Oh! You didn’t think I forgot did you? Our winner for last week’s giveaway is… Heather Kennedy!

Please email me at diydiaryblog@gmail.com for more information about your prize.

Faithful readers, don’t forget to like and share this post with your friends and family.

 As always, thank you for reading. 

If you are interested in supporting this blog, you can donate, or you can purchase from our Etsy shop here!

My Favorite WW Recipes

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Do any of you strive to eat healthier this year? Me, too. I regained Weight Watchers (WW), which helped me reach incredible success in April! I lost 25 lbs!

Granted, this post is not about the wonders of WW, but, honestly, it was and still is a game changer for me. I do not feel like I am dieting when I am on this program, and, as a serial dieter, I have noticed this is the only program that offers sustainable advice and results. Why? Because magic? No. On WW you eat whatever you want in moderation, which has proven to be effective and sustainable for the long term. There are foods you can eat unlimited amounts of, like beans, veggies, fruits, chicken, and shrimp. Having these “unlimited” foods has removed the diet stigma from my brain and allowed me to lose weight.

WW has been the only “diet” in which I have seen results. Nothing else worked. Not the Military Diet, which was recommended by my Army Grandfather. Not the Low Carb Diet that has remained popular for years. Not even calorie counting worked for me. All because I could not get past the mental hangup of dieting.

If you want to try WW, you can get 1 month free by using my link when you sign up here. It costs me $13 a month, but I only do online tracking. I have never tried the meeting, but have heard great things!

Now to my absolute, all time favorite WW recipes!

Skinny Caramel Macchiato – 2 pts

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If you read my previous DIY Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, you know that coffee is important to me. So important that I created my own “Skinny” version. This is only 2 points, and it really is good.

You will need:
– 3 shots of espresso
– 1 Caramel Premier Protein shake

In order to make this delicious coffee, you just need to pour your espresso over ice and then top with your protein shake.

It is a delicious dupe!

For more information on how I make my espresso or espresso alternatives, check out my DIY Caramel Macchiato.

*You can blend the ice, espresso, and shake for a Frappe!

Banana Bread – 4 pts

This is the actual picture of Jennifer’s Banana Bread! Isn’t it beautiful?

I first discovered this recipe months ago, and it has been a staple in our household ever since! This recipe is written by Jennifer at I Save A to Z, but I did adapt this recipe to our own needs.

You will need:
– 5 large, ripe bananas
– 2 cup all purpose flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 5 tsp butter at room temperature
– 1/2 c. brown sugar packed
– 1 large egg
– 1/4 c. fat free skim milk
– 1/2 c. splenda (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all dry ingredients. Smash bananas and add to the dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into greased bread pan, and bake until golden brown and knife comes out clean (about 1 hour). Cut into 12 slices.

I like to add in Splenda because I love sweets!

Tortilla Pizza – 6 pts

This is Sabrina’s actual Tortilla pizza! Doesn’t it make your mouth water?

Guys, this is a game changer. I love this pizza because it actually tastes like pizza! I originally found this recipe at Dinner then Dessert by Sabrina, but I adapted it to my own delicious needs.

You will need:
– medium sized flour tortillas
– Ragu Simply Traditional Pasta Sauce
– Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese blend
– Pepperoni (optional)

Preheat your over to 450 degrees. Place your tortilla on a pizza pan, put 1 tsp pasta sauce on your tortilla and spread it all around. Add 1 oz (roughly 2 TBS) of cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is crunchy and delicious.

I did not add pepperoni because it added another point, but you would want to do that when you add cheese!

Italian Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup – 3 points

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This recipe is also decadent and filling, and I am not a soup person, so that is really saying something! This can be made in the crockpot or on the stove top, which is awesome for working moms.

You will need:
– roughly 80 oz. of fat free chicken broth
– 2 large cans of diced tomatoes
– 4 cups of spinach
– 2 TBS Italian Seasoning
– 1 TBS parsley
– 1 TBS basil
– 1 package of cheese filled Tortellini
– Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients together in a crockpot and cook for 4 hours on low, or simmer on stovetop for 30 minutes.

One serving is 1 1/2 cup.

“Skinny” Poke Cake – 4 points

Check out What’s Cooking Love Here.

This cake is a creation that I came up with one afternoon when I was craving some Chocolate Poke Cake. This version is pretty stinking great!

You will need:
– 1 devils food cake mix, prepared and baked as normal
– 1 package of fat free vanilla pudding, prepared
– fat free whipped cream

Once your cake is out of the oven and still hot, poke holes across the top with a straw. Pour the pudding over the cake and allow to cool in the fridge. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

This cake makes 16 servings!

I hope you love these recipes! Share your own creations or favorites below!

Etsy Try

Hey, guys! This week, I tried two products from Etsy, which I’m sure you’ll all love. I know I did.

This page has affiliated links. I will receive a small portion of the profit, if you click and purchase from these links. There is no additional cost to you!

Some/All images come from Pexels.com – the royalty free collection of stock photos.

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Laundry Soap

The first product is a Organic Powdered Laundry Detergent by Melissa at ConcordSoaps. I got the 3 oz. Warm Vanilla Sugar Homemade Laundry Soap for $2.50.

3 oz. of this soap washed 4 loads of my laundry, and left every article of clothing smelling great! This detergent is vegan and offered in a variety of scents and sizes.

Use the coupon code 20OFFBLOG18 for 20% off your order for any item on her page.

Dry Shampoo

The next item I tested was All Natural Dry Shampoo from Michelle at DirtyMouse. This product was pretty great, and I had high expectations. I’ll be one to admit that I do not wash my hair as frequently as I should. I usually use Batiste Dry Shampoo, which I adore, but this dry shampoo gives Batiste a run for it’s money!

Below, I’ve attached a side-by-side photo of my hair pre and post dry shampoo.

The proof is in the pudding, folks. I didn’t even take my bun down to get these results. I used the “dark hair” version of this dry shampoo, but it also comes in “light.” It has a great consistency and smell.

Go checkout these awesome products, and comment your thoughts below.

Don’t forget to like and share my posts to be entered into this week’s giveaway!

Stay tuned next week for the giveaway winner, as well as, my post A Pinterest Laundry Room for $50 or Less.

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New Year – New Giveaway

Who likes free stuff? Literally everyone!

This page has affiliated links. I will receive a small portion of the profit, if you click and purchase from these links. There is no additional cost to you!

Some/All images come from Pexels.com – the royalty free collection of stock photos.

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Without some of my loyal subscribers, I wouldn’t be where I am now with my blog. I cannot thank you guys enough. You have encouraged me and really made me feel like one of you. Specifically Haphazard Homemaker! Girl, I love you. Go check out her page here.

As a way to thank all of you wonderful people for your support, I will be hosting a monthly Giveaway!

In order to be eligible for the drawing, you must like this post and share it on some form of social media. I will draw for a winner and it will be announced on next week’s post!


This month, I will be giving away a gold portable charger. I live by these things. You will love it, guaranteed.

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