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?