In part two of this savings adventure, we wanted to talk just briefly about some new things we are trying out to save even more money. If you remember from Part 1 (clear here to read the previous blog), we listed out some things we already do, and have been doing for a while now.
Just a quick list review:
· No more paper towels
· Some homemade cleaning supplies
· Eliminating Out-To-Eat trips (mostly)
· Reducing extra trips out
· Pre-ordering groceries and other items for pick-up when available
· Solar Power
· Getting our exercise for free
The items we are discussing today we have only just began experimenting with, so we can’t really say if these are effective yet or not – but if we don’t try, we’ll never know! Also, we don’t have all the costs and savings numbers yet, but I will make an update in the future once we have had time to uncover all the true costs.
New things we are trying:
First – More cleaning supplies! Remember how I explained that cleaning supplies were in my top 3 expenses at the grocery store (along with cereal and meat).
So, why not continue on this path to cut some more dollars.
1. Homemade laundry detergent
*** Careful… there are a lot of recipes out there to make your own laundry soap – but notice I said ‘detergent’ not soap ***
Soap is made with oils that when used in washing machines can form a buildup on your clothes and in your machine. Some, but not all, of the recipes we have been trying out do indeed contain a little soap, but not enough to cause any problems (so far). The current one we have made is HE safe and seems to be doing well. I made 5 gallons of this, and our clothes are clean and smell great! If I see that this one continues to work well, and I don’t see any ill effects on our machine or clothes, I will post the recipe on our “Recipes” page.
2. Bar soap for dishes
Tip: Don’t run your dishwasher if it isn’t full. Your washer uses the same amount of water for one glass as it does for a full load.
When there just aren’t enough dishes to fill the dishwasher, wash those items by hand. Quick, easy, and cheaper. However, you don’t need to fill a full sink of water for those few items… what would be the point then? We have just recently started using a bar soap (that I make and will be available in our store soon) to hand wash those few items.
Bar soap keeps those pesky plastic bottles out of the landfill, saves water, and cleans great!
· Simply place your dishes to be washed in one side of your sink.
· Get your water to temperature
· Wet your dishes and sponge (or loofah, cloth, etc.)
· Rub your sponge on the dish soap bar
· Using the now soapy sponge, wash your dishes
· Place sudsy dish in second sink compartment
The specially formulated bar soap cleans very well. We are saving a ton in water costs by not filling up a whole sink for a few items.
Of course, this same concept can be used with liquid store bought soaps as well. You may not get the cost savings from using a less expensive soap and there is still the landfill waste, but you can certainly use this to save that water bill!
Second – Beauty
Oh, the relaxation we get from sitting back while some stranger plays with our hair or picks and prods at our feet and fingers. Why do we enjoy this? I’m not sure, but it defiantly is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I used to go every two weeks to get my nails done, monthly for a pedicure, and once every other month to have my hair trimmed. Not that I don’t pamper myself occasionally, but this has been reduced to about once a year for special occasions. Saving money is important, but so is your mental health! It is good for the soul to have little splurges now and again.
I no longer color my hair and I have opted to just let my hair grow out, with an occasional trim (which Jeff is getting pretty good at doing). Now, Jeff still gets his hair cut about once a month, but this is done by our oldest son who also cuts his own hair as well.
This has been working out great and we have saved a ton so far.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you will have seen a recent post where I explained that I have nearly cut our all make-up. The cost is simply INSANE! I do use a UV blocking moisturizer, and sometimes a loose powder. I also use lip balm (which I make myself) and a bit of blush. Since starting this, I have cut out all mascara, eye shadow, primer, liquid foundation, eye-liner, lip liner, eyebrow pencils, contouring and highlighting sticks, concealers, and bronzers.
For the little that I do wear, I am thinking of making my own – but more on that in Part 3.
3. Manicures & Pedicures
For those of you that know me personally, know that for years I kept my nails done… even having a special design that I stuck with that only one person could do well. It may surprise you that this was the easiest thing for me to give up. It hasn’t been a full year yet, and I did get them done this summer for my daughter’s wedding, but so far, I haven’t really missed it. When working in gardens and with animals, having perfectly manicured nails has not really been at the top of my list.
Pedicures though, I do miss them… but it was an easy fix. I just do them myself at home. Hot water and my homemade foot soak is fabulous. Not quite as pampering as a massage chair, but worth the savings. This is also where that “pamper myself occasionally” part comes in. Instead of once every two weeks, I’m thinking once a year will be fine. I just had a pedicure at the beginning of June, so we will see if I can make it to summer for the next one.
Third – Technology
Wait – if you think we are talking about giving up our tech, then you have lost your mind. I’m writing a blog for a website, on the internet, with a program that requires a monitor, and a keyboard, and access. No way am I ever giving up what little tech we use. We did find a way that we are trying out to save quite a bit of cash though.
We did not upgrade to the latest iPhone when it came out. Can you believe the price?!? Seriously, it did not cost that much to make… they are making a mint on those things! Instead, since we did need new phones, we took a different approach. We purchased an LG smart phone. We could have gone cheaper, but we use our phones for everything (including our business), so we really needed to stay with a decent smart phone. So far, the phones are working great and about 80% less expensive. The service is great too – we left AT&T after 20 years of loyalty and switched to Cricket. They run off of AT&T towers, so we haven’t had any interruption and the cost is literally 1/4th of what we were paying before.
That is all we are really trying out new at the moment, and once some more time goes by, I will update you on how the cost savings has come out.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
One final thought I would like to express before I end this one:
Keeping up with the Joneses – why?
When all is said and done, it’s how beautiful is your soul.
I don’t care if I look like a supermodel, we don’t care if we have the most expensive car, biggest house, or biggest diamond ring. If you have a lot of expensive “stuff”, then people either want to take if from you, envy you, or what to see you lose it all. Who cares what others think. In the past, we put ourselves into so much debt just trying to have the things that everyone else had. We finally realized that we simply don’t care because it really doesn’t matter. When we look back on our lives, Jeff and I simply want to say that we have been living a good and happy life.
We would love to hear some of your ideas! Please feel free to share any experiences you have had with these cost savings ideas, or any new ideas we haven’t thought of yet.
Stayed tuned for Part 3.
In this final segment, we will be talking about things we are planning to try in the future. Let us know some things you do or have tried and we may mention you and your idea in this next list.
From our family to yours, have a spectacular Thanksgiving Holiday!!