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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Thursday, March 3, 2011

keepin it light...like my wallet

I have wanted to do another post this week but haven't had time for some of the ramblings of my mind, heart, soul, whatever...so I have a few minutes before B gets home from work and I head out to run a quick errand...so I decided I'd post on something I've wanted to post on before, something super boring to some of you I'm sure.

It is no secret I have no job.  I mean, I'm making some extra money by putting my craftiness to good use, and for that provision, I am very thankful!  But I have no "salary" paying job, and I haven't for about two years.  So while Ridge was doing so poorly, it was pretty pointless to try to get a feasible budget on our new single income salary-- the monthly expenses changed every month, as far as medical stuff went, and frankly we just couldn't really think about any of that right then.   So as our life has semi-normalized in the sense that we are no longer in the hospital, we are trying to get back on track, budget wise.  My husband doesn't spend a lot on anything.  I love to be frugal and save money but I have to have a budget to do so-- I work that way.  When I was younger, my parent's gave me my "allowance" that way-- you have this much for clothing, this much for entertainment, etc.  I did have a job in high school, so that helped with extra money, but it was always nice to see that I had this "set" amount in an envelope for clothes each month or whatever.  I still like to operate that way (I love you, Dave Ramsey).  We used to do that, before Ridge-- allocate all funds, even literally using envelope systems (Dave Ramsey).  It was wonderful. Fights about money became non-existent.  Seriously. And we had MORE money even though we weren't making any more at all.  So I am so ready to revamp the budget on this new "diet" income we have.  Only I don't revamp it, BDawg does that.  But when we followed Mr. Ramsey's plan a few years ago, we seriously were able to pay off both of our vehicles (Praise Jesus they are both still in excellent working condition, and that neither of us is big into status symbols, bc we've had these vehicles for 5+ years, which isn't a lot to me, but is a lot to some of "society")...we paid off my husband's student loans, and some other debt that we had, I can't remember what it was....the only bills we had when we moved into the house we are in now were utilities stuff and the mortgage itself.  Then...we had Ridge...and blah blah blah...so began my conquest to save money.

I also like to do things myself (if you haven't noticed).  I like to be frugal and I like to try to be enviro friendly...but I'm not OCD about that part.  So the first thing I did to save money required some spending of it first--

I bought cloth diapers.   For Ridge.  I think we forked over about $120 total (I bought a lot of "seconds"-- not second hand, just "not perfect" cloth diapers.  They look perfect to me, so IDK...but they were about half the price of "regular" cloth diapers).  For that $120 I got about 18-20 cloth diapers and their inserts.  They are the cutest things.  Now...$120 sounds like a lot- but you parents or grandparents who buy diapers..think about it.  A BOX of diapers is around $15-$20.  If your child is in diapers exclusively, you go through a box a month, AT LEAST.  So you are looking at less than a year before you spend that $120.  With cloth diapers, the $120 lasts as long as you want to use the diapers (bc they are one size, adjustable, the ones I bought).  AND you can use them with your next child.  We want one more child, so it made perfect sense.  I almost never have to buy disposable diapers..(but if I do....I don't pay full price for the things). 

Excuse me if this is broken up-- I typed all of that, then ran an errand, and am finishing the post while supper is cooking itself.  Magical.

So I bought cloth diapers. That's how I started.  It is fun (as fun as diapering can be).  Another thing that happened almost simultaneously is I started making my own laundry detergent.  It's incredibly cheap. I gave some as Christmas gifts, even.  Seriously.  It's better for your washing machine, too (if you use the right kind of soap when making it).  Depending on which recipe you use, it saves you 50-80% cost wise.  I make a powdered version because it is faster to me than the liquid recipe, but the liquid recipe makes a TON more detergent with the same ingredients.  I usually make a double batch of the powdered kind and it lasts us around 70-80 loads.  Recipe for the powdered kind:  1 bar fels naptha laundry bar soap (most grocery stores sell this with the laundry items like spray n wash...it is between $1-$2; other people use ivory or whatever is cheapest, but i prefer to use a laundry bar...truth be told, i prefer to use goat milk laundry bar soap, from goatmilkstuff.com, but it is a bit pricier, but still comes out much cheaper than store bought powdered detergent), 1 cup washing soda (i can only buy this at homeland in town, no other stores have it...it is not the same as baking soda but similar, and in an arm and hammer big box), 1/2 cup borax (this is at homeland, but is cheaper at target, about $2 at target, closer to $4 at our homeland).  You grate the bar soap with a cheese grater.  Then process it in your food processor (this isn't weird or gross, it's soap, so at worst, it is cleaning your processor).  You then mix it in a bag or container or whatever with the other two ingredients.  You are finished.  Use 1 T of soap per load, 2 T if it's a really big load.  Let a little water run with the soap in your machine first before loading clothes.  This soap does not suds.  That's another story-- but short of it is, the sudsing with your laundry detergent isn't what gets your clothes clean. Neither is the fragrance in detergent what cleans your clothes.  Anyway, this saves a ton of money, and if you make the liquid kind it saves even more.  The liquid kind only has one more ingredient- water.  There are a ton of recipes online-- just google "homemade liquid laundry soap recipe".  The Duggars (19 kids and counting) have recipes for both kinds of detg on their website- that is where I got mine.

Making our own laundry soap led me to make our own dish soap and dishwasher soap.  If you want recipes, here ya go.
powdered dishwasher detergent  (I use recipe number 3)
http://elizabethobsesses.blogspot.com/2008/06/homemade-dishwashing-detergent.html

liquid sink soap/liquid dishwasher soap (the castille is expensive but it still comes out cheaper, usually, because the bottle of castille lasts for SEVERAL batches.  I occasionally do still buy sink dish soap because I can sometimes get it for close to free):
http://www.ehow.com/how_7698594_homemade-greasecutting-dish-soap.html

I use white vinegar as fabric softener and I use white vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. Super cheap, and better for the environment, I suppose.

I haven't made our own cleaning supplies, but that's something else I'd like to do.

Another thing I do to save money is...I've started couponing.  I always liked a good coupon, but then I started hearing stories from people I actually KNEW, who were getting groceries for almost nothing!  I am not that good- I get the principal of how to get that good at it, I just don't buy into that for us...I don't need 8374728653876 tubes of toothpaste (although I do have about 10)....But I am getting the hang of getting things we want and need for close to free. My rule is that if I have a coupon, I use it on sale or clearance items only, and try to keep my purchase of an item $1.50 or less. Sometimes that isn't practical for certain items.  I also do a lot of shopping at walgreens and CVS because they give you rewards money back.  The other day, I went to Walgreens and bought a baby wash, baby lotion, pack of diapers, hmmm, i don't remember what else-- but it was totaling up at $45.87.  After I used my coupons, and some rewards money I'd earned last time (these are called register rewards at walgreen's, they work like credits sort of ), I ended up paying out for $12.87 I think.  Which was great, but the greater part is, I got $12 more register rewards for next purchase, so it is kind of like I got all my stuff for $0.87!  I spend about 3 or 4 hours a week total clipping coupons and comparing ads at Target, Homeland (they double coupons), Walgreen's, and CVS (Target, Walgreen's, CVS, and Dollar General allow you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon, which is sometimes as good or better than doubling coupons).  WalMart is awful with coupons so I don't go there at all.  Anyway, I'm getting pretty good at it and am getting more for less money.  I can almost always get toothpaste and deodorant free, as well as other toiletry items for close to free.  I can usually get a pack of diapers for less than $7 but they usually come with rewards or extra bux (Walgreens, CVS) so they actually come out closer to $4 or $5 a pack.  And a pack lasts us a long time, since we cloth diaper almost always.

Now that I've bored you to death with things that thrill me, I will get back to eating this triple chocolate gelato from our Homeland (which I did not get for even close to free- it was my reward for saving so much moolah the other day)...and let you finish your nap. :)  Go ahead and shoot me an email if you have further questions. My email is a_b_cary@yahoo.com

Alisha

1 comment:

Twin-Daddy said...

Excellent and useful post! I'm sending it to my wife. She stays home to and she's been trying to come up with ways to save money.

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