Better Than Sales and Coupons

As you know, things are a little tighter in our budget than they have been in a while, and I’ve been working very hard to keep our costs down.  Today I thought I’d share a couple of things that have been working for us.

1.  I’ve been making my own laundry detergent.  Laundry is a necessity but even the cheapest detergent is expensive.  I was stunned to see that Walgreens is offering their 50 load bottles of detergent this week buy one get one free. That is 100 loads for $6.99, which is the cheapest I have ever seen.  My recipe does approximately 170 loads (using 1/4 cup per load)  for less than $1.50.  Think Walgreens or WalMart will ever beat that?  I don’t.

I use the recipe at this blog, but with one change: I use Fels Naptha soap that I ordered from here.  I read that you can use any pure bar soap, but I don’t know enough about soap to know if it’s pure or not.  I purchase the washing soda and Borax at any grocery store in my local area.  It takes less than 30 minutes to make and my last batch lasted more than three months, which isn’t such a bad time investment for the pay off.

2.  I hate bar soap.  It looks dirty after the first use, and it leaves scummy patches on the sink.  It’s so nasty, but it’s so much cheaper than liquid soap.  This week Walgreens is offering either 1 bottle of liquid dial body soap, or 8 bars of soap for the same price. Here’s the thing: you can make the equivalent of 2 bottles of liquid soap from one bar.

Grate the soap with a soap grater (the same one for the Fels Naptha if you’re making the laundry detergent.) into four cups of steaming water.  Let the soap melt completely, then remove from heat and let cool.  Once cooled it will be very thick.  Gently stir in warm tap water until you achieve the thickness you desire.  Pour it into a bottle (I use a clean 1/2 gallon milk jug, as unglamorous as that looks) and use as you would any liquid soap.  I use it in the shower as a body wash and put it in the pump dispensers to be used as hand soap.

3.  I use the dishwashing detergent recipe from the same blog as the laundry detergent recipe and mix 2 parts of it to one part commercial dishwasher detergent.  It works just fine and makes the detergent last so much longer.

So there are three ways I’m keeping my consumables to a minimum.  What works for you?


4 thoughts on “Better Than Sales and Coupons

  1. For almost all household cleaning needs, I find that baking soda and vinegar work just fine. Vinegar for washing floors, baking soda for scrubbing the stovetop or bathtub, vinegar for glass….

    Also, if your water leaves hardwater scale in the toilet or tub, a pumice stone does a good job instead of nasty chemicals- I got mine in the nail care section of Walmart.

    I switched to these things because I’m on a septic system now, and don’t want to poison my land, but they’re also cheaper.

  2. So, I’m probably hopelessly late in recording this so anyone esle will read it, but my best money-saving thing this year has been to radically reduce my dryer use. I have challenged myself to never do more than two loads a week in the dryier, and with four kids and a husband, I do about six loads of laundry. So I have two good drying racks, I do laundry almost every day (except Sunday), then hang it up, take it down the next day and put it away. In the summer we can use a line, but in the winter this has the added bonus of adding moisture to our dry winter indoor air. I think a load in the dryer is currently about $1.50 at our electric prices, so I save about $7.00 a week. Nothing to sneeze at!

  3. ha,ha. I save about $6.00 a week. Math has never been my strong suit. Oh,a nd sometimes I don’t use the dryer at all, so that makes the savings more.

Comments are closed.