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Saving Money on Preps

Several Thoughts on Being Frugal from the Past Months

money-coinsFirst and foremost, I do enjoy trying to be more frugal these days. In part because we have to and it’s good to save money where you can but also because it’s teaching us to live with less… less stuff, less conveniences, less need for all that consumerism has to offer.

Second, I’m afraid there’s only so much I can do and talk about with regards to being more frugal. I know I can go all crazy cheapskate like the people on Extreme Cheapskates but I’m not ready for that level of money savings. 😉 With that in mind this day, Frugal Fridays, may find need to go bi-monthly and possibly share space with another topic. We’ll see how it goes.

Now, about my thoughts on recent frugal efforts over the past few months…

  • The 3-ingredient homemade deodorant that I’m fan of has a problem: it melts! Since our house doesn’t have air conditioning it can get a bit warmer than we’re used to and, consequently, I’ve found that when I try to use my homemade coconut oil based deodorant that it isn’t quite as solid as I need it to be. The easy solution is to put it in the fridge.
  • Even though I haven’t posted about it as a “frugal Friday” idea, I really do enjoy making my own homemade cleaners. That said, I noticed we go through them rather fast, in particular, the all-purpose cleaner which I tend to make a lot. I have noticed that the cheap $1 spray bottles I bought from Walmart aren’t the best and they tend to leak. My suggestion would be to save the quality spray bottles from commercially-made cleaners and re-purpose them.
  • Staying away from paper goods and plastics is becoming difficult. I have found myself going back to “old ways” and tending to use more and more plastic bags, not waiting for the garbage to get completely filled, and what not. I can say that we’ve stuck with using cloth napkins, not using paper towels, and certainly not using paper plates and the like.
  • We’ve been pretty good still about using less utilities and other silly things.
  • The dishwasher tabs that I posted about last week have completely turned to powder. Regardless, I’m getting excited to make a new batch or two and see if I can get them to stay as tablets longer.
  • While using coconut oil as lotion is ok–though it tends to feel “slimier” in the summer–I sure would like to find an recipe for lotion that’s more like the lotion we use and NOT terribly expensive.
  • When I posted about trying to stay cooler without breaking the bank, those strategies are still working relatively well. We did choose to purchase a set of Instant Screen Doors which I didn’t even know existed that have been very helpful of late. Now we can keep the doors open and keep the bugs out!
  • Though I hadn’t posted about it recently, switching to a Double Edge Safety Razor and buying 100 blades in order to save up to $100 on shaving has been a very good decision. In fact, when we went on vacation over the summer I brought my old Mach3 razor and found I missed my double-edged razor.
  • I wound up activating that debit card I said I didn’t need. 🙁 On the up side I haven’t used it yet and actually don’t plan to but there’s something about the prepper inside me that says I should have options.
  • Saving money grocery shopping is easy, especially when my wife does the shopping! Of course, we’ve added THRIVE foods to our repertoire which has helped a lot too.

Looking back, that’s quite a bit. 🙂 Of course, I do have a few more things to conquer, such as homemade laundry detergent that we actually like. I’d also like to make some hand soap on my own. Oh, and I have to figure out how to make toothpaste that my wife will use.

Hope that helps!

By Damian Brindle

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9 replies on “Several Thoughts on Being Frugal from the Past Months”

Thanks for the insights and for writing this blog. Just came across it and look forward to exploring.

I applaud your efforts and also try to abstain from using disposables. I haven’t gotten to the point of ‘family cloth’ either, but it’s still an option. At the moment, it’s just me and I lease a room in my home to a guy, so it’s doable, but really only considering it for #1 and keeping TP on hand for the other. 😉 I do use bandanas for a number of things, but keep a box or two of tissue in the closet for whenever I get a sinus infection or a cold. My guy always uses a bandana. He says he has all of his life. He has probably at least two dozen or more. I have at least a dozen. We ride motorcycles and they’re great to have tuck in my back pocket or the saddlebag. Many,many uses. As far as cloth napkins. I have a nice stack in a basket on my kitchen table along with some paper ones. I use the cloth most. Paper are reserved for grabbing on the way out the door or really messy foods. Wash-clothes are also great to use for messy foods, especially with little ones. Wipe their hands and faces while eating than rinse out and wash ’em up when finished. (Wash the kids that is.)

I re-use everything possible and stick with using non-disposable dishware.I also use my dishwasher,but we both wash the pots and pans by hand,so only run it once a week usually.I re-use my glass through out the day and rinse my coffee cup out in the morning and let dry. Usually use the cup a couple of days before putting in the washer. Looking for a decent dish-washing detergent recipe. One that cleans and doesn’t leave residue.

I’ve been wanting to make my own laundry detergent, but again I need one that’s going to work great.I pick up a lot of free clothing,sheets and such that need a good soaking and wash before I use or pass a long to someone else. I currently use detergent along with a scoop of a product called Awesome Clean(?). Soak everything I can in hot water and a scoop of that stuff. Pick it up at The Dollar Tree. Works great ! I rarely use softner, but occasionally will use vinegar in the winter to cut down on static.

As far as not using trash bags,no can do. I still live in the city and it’s a requirement, but I do put smelly stuff and any food scraps in a plastic shopping bag and take out to the big can. That extends the inside bag considerably.I help myself to the recycling bin at the grocery any time I need bags or ask a friend for any extras. I also use these to line small waste baskets around the house and if only paper has been placed in them, I re-use them over and over again. Just double check before emptying into the recycling bin.

Someone mentioned they used the crystal deodorant. I have in the past and need to get back to it. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

I still use a few plastic bags from time to time, but pretty selective with them. I try and stick to using containers, mostly glass or glass jars that food was purchased in. My housemate eats a lot of peanut butter and fruit spread, so I snag those jars before he toss’ them in the bin.

Some other things I do are :::::

* Take advantage of craigslist for free stuff

* Stop at piles of junk set out at the curb. I’ve found some amazing stuff that I’ve been able to use, pass on or sell.

* Always let folks know what I’m in need of or looking for. I use social media a lot.Willing to barter my time and skills if they’re open to that. Most recently obtained about 75 bricks and a decent fire-pit that was actually delivered to my house for free, along with fire-starter logs,charcoal fluid and a bin full of wood.

* Always try to think out side the box. Re-purpose when ever possible. I need something, I first ‘shop’ my house and think of what else I could use for a particular purpose before running out to buy.

*Open the blinds during the day for natural light. Close them before it gets too hot in the summer to keep my home cooler. Hang blankets in front of them in the winter to conserve heat. Do the same at the back door. My house is pretty weather tight, but every little bit helps.

*Buy meat on sell or marked down only. If it’s not within my price range,it stays in the store.

* I do eat beans and love ’em. I buy bags of dried and soak and cook. Worth the trouble for the price difference in my opinion, plus I get more servings out of a bag,so less waste as far as packaging. Even though cans are recyclable, they require raw energy and resources to make.

I’m sure I do a lot more, but I’ll stop with that. I do have plans for a small garden and am even reading on how to grow veggies indoors during the winter.Fresh lettuce and tomatoes year round would be great. 🙂

Wow, that’s quite a list! I’m not even sure where to start. 🙂 First, thank you for applauding my efforts; it was honestly out of circumstance that I’ve taken such an interest in being frugal. Granted, it’s likely long overdue.

I’m actually posting about a new laundry detergent recipe this Friday which may be of use to you. Thus far we think it works well for OUR clothing.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Craigslist anymore. Most of the time people are a real pain there. We did briefly use freecycle (to post things we wanted to get rid of) but that was even worse!

As for all the other things you’re doing… it sounds like you’re well ahead of me. So long as what you’re doing works well for your situation then, by all means, do everything you can to save money. After all, it’s not like they’re printing more. Oh, wait… yes they are… and that’s the inherent problem we’re all facing.

Homemade Goo Gone

2 parts baking soda
1 part coconut oil (expeller pressed unscented, if possible)
a few drops of sweet orange essential oil for extra degreasing power and scent (I didn’t have any of this)

Remove as much of the label or sticker as you can before beginning. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mash together with a spoon or small spatula to form a thick paste. Apply homemade goop remover with fingers or a cloth, rubbing it in until label/sticker is gone. Wash with warm water and soap to remove any left-over goop. Store in a sealed container.

This stuff works very well!

I have had some trouble making a clothes washing and a dish washer detergent that I am satisfied with. I’ve finally given up and gone back to Tide after six months of dingy clothes. Though I do save money by using vinegar as a fabric softener and it stops static cling, much cheaper and I also use it for cleaning, so I save money. I use that Crystal deodorant and love it. It lasts a long time and doesn’t leave that white waxy gunk on your clothes or break me out. I make my own Goo Gone which works very well and a general cleaner utilizing hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice mixed with water. I do everything that people say to save money on groceries besides living on beans and rice. I hate beans! It’s really difficult to save money nowadays, everything is just so expensive.

Thus far I’m relatively satisfied with the dishwasher tabs turned powder. 😉 I have recently tried a new laundry detergent recipe that the jury is still out on but it’s promising thus far. The ultimate “judge and jury” will be my wife, of course. I’d never thought about making my own Goo Gone… I’ll have to try that one. What’s the recipe if you don’t mind? I never did like the store-bought stuff.

Adding about razor stropping- it was to be done moving the blades the OPPOSITE direction from which they cut- backwards against the surface of the denim- and also keep the razor dry- I also read that storing the heads in mineral oil will keep them rust free.In the old days they stropped their razors against a leather strip that hung in the bathroom or shaving station. I remember my dad’s shaving mug and brush- and he had a razor strop and told us he used to get whipped with it. The directions said that by using these tricks a ‘disposable’ razor will last months! Great tip- the ones I use just jumped from $2.98 to $3.18 in a WEEK, for a package of ten.

I’ve used something that helps me keep my Mach3 blades sharp longer. All you do is add some shaving cream to the blade and push the blade in the opposite direction to shaving a few times which helps to clean microscopic debris from the blade. I think it helps. Apparently, you can do the same thing with jeans (like you said) but never tried it.

Use more baking soda and less coconut oil- also I used too much essential oil in my homemade deodorant and got blisters, so now I leave it out. A while back I read on some site- possibly this one-about stropping your razors on denim to keep them sharp and make them last a LOT longer- BE SURE to use a piece of CLEAN denim dedicated to this purpose. I used the leg of my jeans that I wear- forgetting that my animals jump on them- and got infection under my arms. You might stretch a small piece of denim between two wires from a coat hanger and hang in the bathroom -or fold to keep the stropping surfae clean between uses and where you can slide off occasionally and launder. Hope this helps some one out. Good Luck.

I think my wife had similar trouble with the essential oils (can’t remember if I mentioned that in the post) but good thoughts on using more baking soda, though, not sure if that would cause reactions… will have to try it. Regarding using denim to sharpen razors: that would never have occurred to me! Thank you.

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