So maybe you’ve heard (or perhaps you’re tired of hearing) … we’re getting out of debt.
To that end, I have picked up a few borderline hippie habits to save money, that I would not otherwise have been inclined to try. If you know us, we’re not that hippie-ish. I’ve discussed this before. We like red meat, we don’t grow our own vegetables, I don’t think twice about tossing poopy diapers in the trash. I slather Desitin and non-organic sunscreen on my babies’ skin, and I shop at Walmart.
Sorry, hippie friends. We can still get along. [I’m also not critical of anyone who prefers vegan, gluten free, non gmo sunscreen or whatever. I have a lot of friends in that category. I don’t really care, honestly.. To each her own.] 🙂
BUT, in the spirit of saving money at home, I have tried a few “natural mom” things that I’ve grown to tolerate and even enjoy. So, I figured, I’d share the love, for my hippie and non-hippie friends alike.
1. Cloth Diapering
This is something I tolerate. I don’t love cloth diapering. I don’t think everyone and their grandma should exclusively cloth-diaper. Quite frankly, I don’t care about it that much. But, keeping Emma in cloth most of the time keeps our diaper budget under $15 a month. (I wrote this post about how we cloth diaper, what my favorites are, and how much money it saves… if you’re into that kind of thing.)
*Bonus: ridiculously cute cloth-diaper-clad-buns
2. Baking Soda + Vinegar to Clean
NEVER DID I EVER think I would make my own cleaning products. No way. I am so happy to walk down that aisle that smells of bleach and laundry detergent and buy all kinds of lemony fresh chemical cleaner. I love that smell, I like chemicals, and they work.
BUT, did you know vinegar works too?
I didn’t. I know, I’m behind, but seriously. That stuff is amazing. Apparently people have been using it to clean for a while now, but when I “discovered” vinegar a year ago, I was amazed at how much it could be used for. #latetotheparty
The “discovery” happened when we were in Boston and I ran out of cleaner. I was pregnant and without a car and got a crazy urge to deep clean our kitchen. I looked up ‘DIY cleaner’ and vinegar + water was repeatedly suggested. Of course, it worked so well. It has a strong smell, but only for 30 minutes or less. Then it’s gone and everything smells and feels fresh. Honestly, it’s easier for me too. I usually shop at Aldi which doesn’t have great cleaning product choices. And when I’m at Walmart, I always forget to check if I’m running low on cleaning products. So, I just keep a giant container of vinegar around and add it to water when I need more cleaner. Plus it simplifies my under-the-sink cabinet. I keep meaning to order a couple Essential Oils on my next Amazon order just to add some fresh scent – ya know, to complete the whole crunchy-mom-DIY-cleaning-products-thing. I was thinking lavender and lemon. But I rarely order on Amazon anymore. Because of the aforementioned debt. Haha! 🙂
The other trick I picked up that crazy-nesting-deep-clean-night was baking soda on a stainless steel sink. You probably already knew this too. Amaze-balls. If you don’t believe me try it. Just sprinkle some all over your sink and then scrub away. You can use a wet bar-mop cloth or a soft scrubber. Rinse with water and voila. Sparkling clean. When I’m feeling really crazy, I use an old tooth brush to scrub the grime around all the edges. I’m actually freakishly weird about a clean sink. It’s one of the only things I deep clean regularly. I read once that people’s sinks often have more bacteria than their toilets and that was that. (because everything you read on the internet is true and they obviously had a lot of sound data to back up that claim…) So, now I clean my sink a lot.
[P.s. I don’t exclusively use vinegar and baking soda to clean my house. A couple cleaning products I do buy that I love are: Lysol wipes; this pledge all-purpose cleaner (it smells AMAZING and is good for wood); soft scrub with bleach (toilet + bath tub); Weiman glass stove top cleaner.]
3. Paper towels
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I hardly ever buy paper towels. If I have them around, we use them for everything and end up spending a lot on them. Am I anti-paper towel? Nope. Are they easier? Yep. But can you do without? Yes. For almost everything.
Cleaning glass/ windows/ mirrors: I bought micro-fiber cloths and use the vinegar/water solution. It actually works better than paper towels, surprisingly!
Wiping kids off: I cut up old t-shirts and put them in an empty lysol wipes container. We never spray anything on them and we don’t mix them with the cleaning rags. I only ever wet them under hot water, wipe kids off, and put it in the laundry. I don’t really re-use them throughout the day or let them sit around. It’s actually easier to wipe them off with a rag than a paper towel too – more leverage & friction. Because when they look like this, you need leverage and friction. 😉
Bacon: there is no substitute. That I can think of. I usually have a roll of paper towels around for soaking up grease on the plate if I’m cooking bacon. Although now that I think about it… maybe just never soak up the grease. Yum.
Lettuce: I usually wrap washed lettuce in paper towels & store in a ziplock to have it keep longer in the fridge. If I don’t have any, I use a towel, but it doesn’t work as well for some reason. So I like to have paper towels around for lettuce too. Usually we don’t need more than 1 roll a month.
Next up: composting and DIY-toilet paper.
But seriously, these 3 things add up in savings!
$45 monthly savings in diapers= $540/ year
$10 monthly savings in cleaning products = $120/ year
$15 monthly savings in paper towels = $180/ year
TOTAL= $840/ year.
What money-saving tips and tricks do you have to share?