Saturday, March 24, 2012
Homemaking Saturday: Ways to Save Money Around the House (and create less waste!)
On Homemaking Saturday I share something I'm doing or learning to make my home a better place to live.
My friend Rachel over at Mighty Violet inspired me to share some ideas I had a few weeks ago. These ideas struck me as I was adding to our household shopping list, even though the household fund was empty for the month. Then I thought, "How can I stop buying things that I just use up?" These were things like q-tips, toilet paper, plastic wrap, etc. And my head was spinning the rest of the day until I could get my ideas down on paper (in my helpful "Me Binder"). While Rachel's focus is on reducing waste (which is important to me also), my main focus is on saving money. That's where we're at.
So today I'd like to share a few ways we already save money (and prevent waste), new ways I have just implemented or want to soon, and a few of my dream ideas for the future (maybe way in the future!). After all, green seems to been the theme this March.
Ways We Already Save
1. We don't buy trash bags. Buying trash bags seems exceptionally ironic to me. You pay for something that's only use is throwing away? We use plastic grocery bags in the kitchen, produce bags in the bathroom and no bags in the living room and bed room. These last two usually only get paper and the like in them, which I sort each week into recycling or actual trash.
2. I make our own laundry detergent and household cleaner. I really don't even give a second thought to how much we save because I've been doing it for a few years now.
3. We use rags. A lot. I have paper towels, but they are rarely used and then only for special purposes.
4. We use cloth napkins. I have two sets of four from our wedding and we'll use them for a few days, then they get washed with the towels.
5. I reuse foil. Over and over. Until it's too ripped, messy or crumbly, I reuse it!
Things I've Just Started or Hope To
1. Using hankies instead of tissue. Rachel mentions this in her post. I need to get some hankies, then we'll start!
2. Give up plastic wrap. I didn't use it often anyway, and since I ran out a few weeks ago, I haven't missed it. I just use foil if I need to, but most of my containers have lids.
3. Use a small baby washcloth over a q-tip to clean out my ears. Then wash the washcloth with the towels. I admit, it doesn't feel as great, but it's a little pleasure I can give up. I tried it on Sweet Girl though, and it was too bulky for her little ears. So I will probably still have to buy more, but at least they will last longer!
4. Make my own dish soap. I need to do some research, but there has got to be a simple recipe out there. In fact, if you have one and already do this, please share!
5. Use cloth baby wipes instead of toilet paper. (Just for pee!) I left this for last because, well, it's pretty odd. But logically, if they are fine to wipe my baby's bottom, I can use them too! I just toss them in the diaper pail and wash them along with the diapers. I just bought a new package of toilet paper and I hope it lasts to the end of the year! (Um, well, at least longer than usual!)
Dreams for the Future
1. Make our own lotion. I really, really want to do this. We use a lot of lotion, and we buy an all natural kind which runs about $6 a bottle. It is great, but the first ingredient is canola oil, which I choose not to eat, and would rather not put on my skin. It's the best thing for us right now, but I want to make something perfect.
2. Make our own toothpaste. This will not be hard, it's just getting motivated to do it. Honestly, I like "normal" toothpaste, but Tom's is close to $4 a tube.
3. Make our own shampoo and body wash. I have a few bottles for now, but once I get close to running out, my goal is to not buy, but make!
4. Make my own lip balm. I have paid good money (okay, $4 or $5) for good lip balm, and ones that individuals made themselves. I know it can be done. I want to try this kind.
5. Try an alternative to using tampons. I joked with my husband that I should just be either pregnant or postpartum until I hit menopause that way I'll save money and the environment by having less cycles, ha ha! But maybe I'll just look into Rachel's way.
I know there are people out there doing more than this, and I hope to learn even more as we mature and someday have a house of our own (and hopefully land to garden and raise animals!). Until then, I will try to do what I can and continue to learn. I want to check out a website Rachel recommends called The Zero Waste Home. Sounds like a high standard, but one I'd like to try to reach.