Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Attempts at frugality

In the current economy, frugality seems to be a buzz word.
Everyone is looking for ways to stretch the devalued dollar to fill all their gaps; and to be better stewards of our environment many are looking to reusables and creativity with what we already have.

It has been difficult to find areas to skimp when we already make most food from scratch, buy in bulk, reuse our foil, and ziplock bags, and containers... we even save (almost) every jar and use them to drink out of!
So where to cut costs???
One thing I have been interested in for quite some time is making our household cleaners.

Hubby was not interested in my experimenting with chemicals (understandably) when prego last year and since then we bought an HE so we've wondered if laundry soap that is homemade is safe for the new washer anyway...
In my quest for knowledge and recipes I ran across this info.
"HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds."

This was good news and as soon as I can find the ingredients (washing soda has been difficult to find here so far) I plan on trying this out!  As well as their recipe for Dishwasher Detergent!

Also we have used baking soda in many applications before, but just 2 TBSP in 1 qt hot water was an amazing, safe, cleaner for all of our cupboard and appliance fronts!  It easily got rid of some greasy stuff that normally take me a bit more elbow grease to fight!  And I didn't worry about the kids using it with me. :)
I used baking soda to make our own carpet deodorizer.  I plan on purchasing some essential oils for cleaning, but since I have none now, I used a tea bag with a "homey" scent and let them set together.  Being impatient, it didn't get as scented as I would have liked, but I put some in the cupboard to try it again in a couple of weeks.

We also use vinegar fairly regularly, which is inexpensive, but I did not realize it could be used in place of JetDry in my dishwasher.  Normally I just go without, so that doesn't save me any money, but it did do a great job of aiding the dry cycle and may help in loads with more glasses (which suffer most from the hard water spots at our house.)

Another few items to replace: Disposable Diapers, feminine pads, nursing pads.

You *can* spend a lot on any of these items, premade, and it will take some time to have them pay for themselves!  You can also make them yourself with items you may already have or can get cheap, or even free!
I made new nursing pads this week from an old receiving blanket that I wasn't even using!
When I decide on fabrics, I plan to try making menstrual pads too.

I have old fashioned prefold cloth diapers I am fine with using. 
I may be attempting to sew some of my own... but this also requires I make a decision on fabrics!!! For now it is only cutting back on our disposable usage, but every bit helps.  As for washing the costing...  I don't do anything special (soaps, or settings) to these that I wouldn't be doing to other laundry of ours, so a few of these in a load a day doesn't really cost me.  :)

Something else I am considering is efficiency.
Where am I wasting money without thinking of it?
A good example from last night, is using the oven.  If I need to heat up the whole thing I should be using more of it!  So I planned on adding a couple of things I could bake, then store... like the sweet potato I wanted to give the baby... alas, I did not remember to put it in.  Which equals energy wasted.  There are other little things that can help your use or hurt it that probably go over looked too.
We have several people drinking water around here, but glasses sometimes sit and get "compromised" by a smaller child... (hands in it or the like) so then no one wants their cup because it may have been tampered with.  So we use this water for our animals, and if it isn't ok for them, it goes to the plants! 

What ways are you trying to be a bit more frugal?

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