Beach Explorers, This DIY Project Could Save You $150+

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hand colanders for sand sifting

Whether you’re visiting the sandy shores on a vacation or make trips regularly, it’s always fun to find beach treasures hidden in the sand. But instead of shelling out [pun intended] hundreds on sifting equipment, Hip2Save reader Melinda shares how to make your own clever sand sieve and sand sifter projects for cheap!

plastic sand scoop

Every penny counts, especially on VACATION! We are headed off to the ocean very soon, and a friend suggested we hunt for shark’s teeth. She and her family bought sand flea rakes for each of her kids and suggested we do the same! I checked them out on Amazon, but they were $43.58 each!

I decided to buy a much cheaper long-handled strainer shovel online and used Ibotta rebate money to pay for it.

colanders and bucket for sifting

We did some research online and learned some people just scoop up the sand in kitchen strainers instead of buying the shovels, so we went to Goodwill and Dollar Tree and grabbed a variety of different strainers and kitchen scoopers to dig with instead.

I also picked up some jars from Goodwill to keep our findings and used a $5 credit from my rewards account with them.

floating pool noodle water sifter

We also wanted floating sifters for each of our 3 kids. The least expensive ones on Amazon end up being over $30 each with shipping.

I came across a website outlining how to build our own floating sifters and decided to save by doing so. We purchased pool noodles and zip ties from Dollar Tree along with PVC pipe, joints, and galvanized mesh from the hardware store using a $5 coupon Ace had mailed us.

hand colanders for sand sifting

Ordering 3 of each item for each of our 3 kids would have cost us $206.61, but overall we spent $53.84 out of pocket—over $150 less than if we ordered the recommended items! Plus, our sifters are a bit bigger than the ones on Amazon, so I think our kids will have a super successful shark tooth hunt!

Side note: We also took advantage of the $50 off Expedia post on Hip2Save to grab 6 tickets to a nearby aquarium. It was a better use of the money still in our pockets!

We can’t wait for our trip!

We hope you and your kids have an awesome time at the beach treasure hunting, Melinda! 🏖️

We love the resourcefulness to save BIG by DIYing your own sifting tools. Thank you for sharing your budget finds and project with us!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique tip to share?! Fill out our Happy Friday form. Every Friday, we post one submission by a Hip2Save reader (view past submissions) that gives us a glimpse into their frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If yours is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon eGift card!

Learn the Tips & Tricks to having your Happy Friday submission picked!

Use these clever hacks for the best beach trip.

About the writer:

Emily obtained her Bachelor's degrees from Clarkson University with 5 years of content writing experience specializing in health, beauty, fashion, home, & living frugally.

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Comments 7

  1. s

    $43 is ludacrous. We find sharks teeth by sifting through areas that have been dredged.

  2. Mary J

    I live 2 blocks from the beach on the Jersey Shore. I plan on making the floating sifters with my 7 & 11 year old to see what we can find in the surf. Fabulous ideas! Love them!

  3. Lo

    Never thought to bring sifters!
    File down the clipped ends of the zip ties. They’re very sharp and can easily cut thru skin.

    • Emily

      Use a cheap pair of fingernail clippers. It’ll round the edges so they’re not sharp anymore.

  4. Cg

    Now I have to go make floating sifters 😒lol

  5. LJfromNJ

    We used to use the shovels for cat litter from the dollar store. They are too big for sharks teeth, but they are fine for shells.

  6. Luna

    What!? Shark teeth finder never knew

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