Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Living on the Cheap

I know these days everyone is trying to save a buck. Well, its difficult. These are some examples that I have done to make things stretch:

Milk: I use an iced tea pitcher and make one batch of powdered milk and add 2% milk to double the amount in the pitcher. With a young kid who loves to drink milk in the morning and at night, I feel like I have to or I'm buying a ton of milk. Its about $3.75 per gallon these days.

Laundry Soap: I make my own with borax, super washing soda and Fels Naptha soap. I've learned to not add as much water to my 10 gallon bucket. I do at times add Clorox color safe bleach, but its still cheaper than spending around $10.00 every 2 weeks on laundry soap.

Dish Washer Soap: I make my own with Lemi Shine, Borax, Super Washing Soda and Kosher Salt. One batch lasts over a month and its the same price as one big box. One big box at the store is usually $5.00 but only lasts two weeks.

Eggs: I've been buying eggs that are on a flat of 2 1/2 dozen at a time. It lasts two weeks and usually cheaper than buying per dozen. My husband likes omelets and my son likes his scrambled eggs on most days and only buying an 18 count or dozen doesn't last long.

Buying bulk: I do like to buy bulk on some things that are worth it. Oatmeal, sugar, flour, rice and powdered milk. Mostly sugar, flour and milk are great to buy at the big box store. Usually oatmeal is the same price for the smaller containers in the grocery store. Its funny how I can shop mostly at Walmart for some things but be careful. Not everything is cheapest there. I do still get some things once a month at Trader Joe's and weekly at Ingles. Its the west coast equivalence of Safeway but better prices without it having to just be on sale. For our bulk items we have food grade containers with lids to keep our food safe. I don't think I've haven't had to buy rice in a year. We do eat rice pretty often, but we had checked when rice went on sale or major coupons.

I was talking to my husband this weekend and I just don't know how everything still seems so expensive even with all my things I save with a family of 3. In about 3 months it will be 4 and we will have more money to need to go towards diapers, but hopefully will be able to breast feed and not have to spend a small fortune on formula. I know that with medical costs they are killing us. Moving out to North Carolina our health care changed dramatically. We went from Kaiser where we paid minimal each month to have it and only paid $20 in co pays and prescriptions were cheap. Now we have to pay $635 per month to have insurance and a $3,000.00 deductible per year and it renews in July. So the first $3,000. we pay and after that its 30% of the cost is out of our pocket. It makes such a difference. After this year I won't be having anymore babies and when our baby Claire is one she won't need to see the doctor every month. I don't know how other people do this. Its crazy. I hope these tips help you, if you have any please post them in comments. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Friday, March 2, 2012

DIY Air Fresheners

As I love Pinterest so much, I have found another project for the home. I've been buying air fresheners that don't last very long and can seem expensive after a while. I have essential oils on hand so why not? Well I looked up a couple different kinds last night. The first one is a gel air freshener that uses gelatin, salt, essential oil, and water. I have all of the above on hand. I have been saving glass Frapuccino bottles so I used them too. I saw a bunch of cute things to reuse them. I like the drink too so that wasn't so bad either.
Back to the gel air fresheners.

4 Envelopes of Gelatin 1oz.
2 Cups of Water, divided
1 Tbsp. Salt
20-30 Drops of Essential Oil
Food coloring if you want

Boil 1 cup of water, add the 4 envelopes of gelatin and whisk until dissolved.
Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp. salt and 1 cup of cold water and set aside.
Fill your container with essential oil and coloring
Then pour in the gelatin mixture into your containers.
Mix well and set aside for 6 to 8 hours until firm.

I used sweet orange in one and Lavender Vanilla in the other. Both smell great. Even while its cooling off the house smells great.

The next one I tried is a cheaper version and easier. Its baking soda and essential oil.

1/3 Cup Baking Soda
30 Drops of Essential Oils
Wooden Chopsticks
Bottle with Lid

Using a funnel pour in the baking soda, then add the drops of essential oil. Mix well with chopstick. With the lid using a big nail and hammer, poke plenty of holes. Put lid on and place in any room.

These came out very successful. Both are effective and Next time I think I will keep with the baking soda. Gelatin is more expensive then baking soda. Next time anyone needs some clearing of the sinuses then I will make one with eucalyptus.