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Flipping Q-Tips! Or Why is Non-Food 1/3 of My Grocery Budget? - Page 2

post #21 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
Guess I am a freak of nature, but I cant tolerate ice, cant have ice touching my my teeth at all.
My DH is the same way. So I don't put ice in his drinks. Even at restaurants you can ask for your drinks without ice. I keep the iced tea pitcher in the fridge so it's cold and he drinks it as is.

You can also get stainless or glass reusable straws. One of the co-op sites just ran a co-op for glass straws from Dharma Glass - they have a lifetime breakage warranty on them.
post #22 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilia View Post
~Mach3, I use the same kind and I have been searching for a coupon for a couple years now. I spend about $24/year on blades.
FWIW I read recently that if you dry your blades after use it prolongs their life...Even just a quick alcohol rinse (because it dries faster than water) can help. I haven't tried it but I'm going to mention it to DH (he has to shave nearly everyday to be in uniform)
post #23 of 131
Paper Napkins (Bounty) $3 (4x/yr) = $12
Toilet Paper (Scott Tissue) $9 (5x/yr) = $45
Green Scrubbies $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Dish Wand Sponge Heads $3 (3x/yr) = $9


My only additions to ideas already brought up:

Knit/crochet yourself some scrubbies from a rough acrylic yarn.
Switch to cloth toilet paper.
Switch to cloth napkins.
post #24 of 131
Do you have a Walgreens or Rite Aid? I recently started combining coupons and sales and have reduced my spending on this kind of stuff to practically nothing. I'm going to bold the things that I've seen coupons for in the past two weeks. If you watch sites like weusecoupons.com you can get a good idea of what is on sale when in your area to get the best deal. My stores don't double coupons, and they don't give cash overages, but I have been walking out without paying more than a dollar for a big bag of things I would have otherwise bought, so it's not a bad way to save.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post

Monthly Household Expenses Breakdown

Pets
$12 Cat Food (Purina)
$6 Kitty Litter

$1 Catnip
$15 Dog Food (Purina)
$3.50 Doodie Bags (Heart)
$3.50 Dog Treats

Non Food Consumables (Purchased in a Brick and Mortar Store)Aloe $4 (3 x/yr) = $12
BandAids $3 (2x/yr) = $6 (currently on sale at Walgreens, plus coupons from last week's paper)
Lip Balm (Carmex) $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Q Tips $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Cotton Pads $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Witch Hazel $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Dental Floss $6.50 (2x/yr) = $13 (3/$9 at Walgreens, and you get $6 back in register rewards for your next trip; there was a $3 off 3 coupon in last Sunday's paper, making it free)
Toothbrushes $3 (8x/yr) = $24
Toothpaste (Tom's of Maine) $3 (12x/yr) = $36
Razor Blades (Venus/Mach 3) $24 (1x/yr) = $24 (Venus blades are on sale next week at Walgreens. I haven't seen Mach 3 coupons because they've moved on to Mach 5 - my husband likes the Mach 3, too, and they're pricy!)
Deoderant (Tom's of Maine) $4 (2x/yr) = $8
Contact Solution $3 (1x/yr) = $3 (last week was free after rebate at Rite Aid)
Nail Polish Remover $2 (1x/yr) = $2
Glycerin $4 (1x/yr) = $4
Pine Tar Soap (Grandpa's) $5 (4x/yr) = $20
Liquid Soap (Dr. Bronner’s) $15 (1x/yr) = $15 (do you order from Frontier Coop?)
Peroxide $2 (1x/yr) = $2
Antibiotic Ointment $5 (2x/yr) = $10 (Neosporin is on sale this week at Walgreens, and there was a coupon in last week's paper)
NyQuil $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Tylenol $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Ibuprofin $5 (2x/yr) = $10
Stool Softener $4 (2x/yr) = $8
Tums $4 (1x/yr) = $4 ($2 for store brand at Rite Aid right now)
Misc Other First Aid Stuff $10 (1x/yr) = $10
Brita Filters $20 (2x/yr) = $40
Cheesecloth $5 (2x/yr) = $10
Duct Tape $4 (1x/yr) = $4
Packing Tape $2 (1x/yr) = $2 (free after rebate at Rite Aid last week)
Scotch Tape $3 (1x/yr) = $3
Masking Tape $3 (1x/yr) = $3
Gift Tape Refills $5 (1x/yr) = $5
Mechanical Pencil Leads $5 (1x/yr) = $5
Pen Refills $3 (4x/yr) = $12
Chalk $1 (2x/yr) = $2
Printer Paper $3 (3x/yr) = $9
Staples $2 (1x/yr) = $2
Envelopes $3 (1x/yr) = $3
It is school supply season - all this stuff is CHEAP
Stamps $10 (1x/yr) = $10 (There was a photostamp clearance at Walgreens, possibly still there at your store, where you got $8.80 in stamps for $7.19. It's a blue box in the photo department.)
Printer Cartridges $15 (2x/yr) = $30
SuckNSeal Bags $7 (2x/yr) = $14
Gallon Ziplocs $2 (3x/yr) = $6
Quart Ziplocs $2 (3x/yr) = $6
Recycling Bags $7 (1x/yr) = $7
Trash Bags $7 (1x/yr) = $7
Straws $1.50 (2x/yr) = $3
Toothpicks $1.50 (1x/yr) = $1.50
Bleach $5 (1x/yr) = $5
Borax $5 (1x/yr) = $5
Paper Napkins (Bounty) $3 (4x/yr) = $12
Toilet Paper (Scott Tissue) $9 (5x/yr) = $45
Green Scrubbies $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Dish Wand Sponge Heads $3 (3x/yr) = $9
Color Safe Bleach (Clorox II) $7 (1x/yr) = $7
Dishwasher Detergent $4 (1x/yr) = $4
Stain Spray (OxyClean) $2 (6x/yr) = $12
Laundry Detergent (Coldwater Tide) $12 (9x/yr) = $108 (Try using detergent not specially made for cold water and see how it does for you. I use cold water with All Free and Clear and have no trouble.)
Plastic Wrap $2 (4x/yr) = $8
Tinfoil $3 (4x/yr) = $12
Parchment $3 (2x/yr) = $6
Waxed Paper $2 (1x/yr) = $2
Waxed Paper Bags $2 (1x/yr) = $2

Total: $691per year
Or $57 per mo

(+$40 in pets = $97/mo)

Non Food Consumables Purchased Online or Thru the Cafe
Alpenglow Shampoo ($50/yr)
Chagrin Valley Shampoo Bars (Human and Dog) ($50/yr) (YUMMY! Love these! Worth the splurge! )
Everyday Minerals ($20/yr)
Essential Oils ($20/yr)*
Titanium Dioxide ($5/yr)*
Zinc Oxide ($5/yr)*
Sodium Hydroxide ($5/yr)*
Potassium Hydroxide ($5/yr)*
Beeswax ($5/yr)*
Conditioning Beads ($5/yr)*
Bread Bags ($5/yr)*
Dishsoap ($10/yr)*


Food Items Used As Non Food
Guar Gum ($10/yr)*
Xanthan Gum ($10/yr)*
White Vinegar ($50/yr)
Apple Cider Vinegar ($50/yr)
Baking Soda ($50/yr)
Salt ($5/yr)
Castor Oil ($10/yr)*
Sweet Almond Oil ($10/yr)*
Vegetable Shortening ($10/yr)
Olive Oil ($10/yr)

* = items purchased less frequently than once a year
post #25 of 131
The only things that stand out to me, are the baking soda (I can totally see using 50$ worth of vinegar- just canning pickles I used a whole jug this week!) and all the food wraps.

Another thought- have you talked to your kiddos about conserving TP and toothpaste, and such? Do they go crazy with it, or like my toddler, do they brush teeth multiple times a day because it is fun?

The detergent seems really expensive. I recently bought 4 boxes of Country Save powder from amazon for around 50$. Those will last us well over a year (and we do about 5-6 loads of laundry a week).

Even if you decide to stick with tide, experiment with using less detergent. Check your washer while it is agitating, and if there are bubbles, add a little less detergent the next time until you see just a few bubbles. This should also make it easier to rinse the clothes clean, and you can reduce the amount of vinegar you use in the rinse.
post #26 of 131
we use regular cotton cloth instead of cheese cloth. I rinse in the sink and then throw in teh wash (I don't know if that would gross you out.) I have a high tolorance for yuck. And we have kids yet so no diapers.

But you could always wash by hand and hang dry. I don't know how it compares to cheese cloth because this is what my family has always used. (an old sari, ect).
post #27 of 131
I love that you have this list - keeps you aware of your spending!!!

you can grow the aloe!!
post #28 of 131
We rinse and re-use straws. We have had the same 10 leftover fast food straws for years. I am not even sure where they came from since we do not even eat fast food....

I found that tooth powder goes a lot further than paste. Eco-dent runs about $6/bottle but lasts 3-4 times longer than a tube of paste. I do buy paste for dd as she is not careful enough with the powder yet. But she is great about only squeezing out "an eraser worth" at a time.

We also use Country Save. 80 loads per box. Two boxes sees us through a whole year. Works fine with cold water and diapers. Safe for septics too
post #29 of 131
Thread Starter 
I will check out the metal straws. We had the reusable plastic kind, but since we don't have a dishwasher, I couldn't get them clean (boiling water just melted them), so they got gross and hit the trash.

DH hates silpats, won't even consider them. He's the baker round these parts.

Our WalMart sells Tom's of Maine toothpaste for around $3 a tube. We're just lucky, I guess.

I dry and lubricate our razor blades after each use. It does help.

I use aloe as lotion, burn ointment, hair gel and shave gel, so I go thru a good bit.

Same with witch hazel- bug bites, sore butt, ingredient in toner- and peroxide- clean out ears, bloodstains, and really nasty messes.

I guess I thought 2-3x per year was occaisional.

The waxed paper bags keep cheese perfectly, are more earth friendly than plastic, and we go thru a $1 box in a year's time. Any box I bought to replace them wouldn't work as well (believe me, I've been round the bend trying to keep cheese) and would take a decade or more to pay for itself. So waxed paper bags stay on the list.

I might also be overestimating our toothpaste use- I KNOW we don't go thru more than 1 tube a month, but it may last longer than that.

I use white vinegar in cooking, cheesemaking, to clean virtually everything from the windows to the floor, and as fabric softener.

I use baking soda in cooking, to wash my hair for about 1/3 of the hair washes, in diaper laundry detergent, to clean the sinks and the toilet, in the fridges and freezers for odors, and in the cat box.

I use ACV in salad dressing, in conditioner, and in homemade toner.

I go thru about 1.5 jugs of white vinegar, about half a gallon of ACV, and a 3# box (or maybe box and half) every month. I may have slightly overestimated, but I know I spend an absolute minimum of $100/yr on these three items. I also know it's cheaper than Sea Breeze, WishBone, Pantene, Dreft, Comet, the FridgeNFreezer Packs, and Downy. Or their generic equivalents. Plus, I think it's worth pointing out, this stuff actually gets accounted for under food, as I said upthread. So that $12 or so per month is actually coming out of my $200/mo food budget, which, frankly, I am happy with. I don't think that we could go lower on food without a nutritional cost, which I am (of course) unwilling to do.

You know what, we do use tons and tons of tape. That tears it, I am not letting the kids play with it anymore! That's where most of it goes. If they want some, they need to ride their bikes to the hardware and buy some with chore money. (DSS just made himself a knight outfit with duct tape, so maybe I'm overreacting to this line item. )

Are Freezermates a Tuppeware specific thing? Or are they just square containers?

I think I'm going to keep the stain stuff, and ditch the Tide. If our gas bill goes up, I may go back to it, but I think if I just sort the stained laundry into one basket and wash that one load on warm/hot, we'll be fine.

I am totally buying some floursack towels and ditching the cheesecloth! What a good idea.

I have never seen pencil leads or pen refills on sale anywhere, any time of year. Same with pet food. Or toilet paper. I live in a rural, remote area and I'm starting think that my shopping options just suck.

Altho'... since the name brand items I buy are few and far between, maybe I should try to find coupons of Tom's of Maine and Purina and Scott Tissue. Hmm... off to Google.
post #30 of 131
Re: razors

My DH loves the Mach 3 razor line too, and I flipped out the last time he asked me to buy razor refills. $24 for a 6 pack, I think. $4 for a razor that lasts a week, maybe 2? That's insane!! And he only shaves 2x or 3x a week. I bought him a 'safety razor' that I found on Amazon that got good reviews. It's an old fashioned type where just the metal blade gets replaced. Those blades are 10c each, or 100 for $10. Way better.

I just don't shave.

We don't use toothpicks, or parchment paper (I love silpats!). Everyone could use WAY less shampoo and body soap than they're probably using. Like a teaspoon, not a handfull like my DH uses : We hardly use any bandaids, usually they scab over quickly and we just leave it at that. We spend $60/year on water filters. I'm also surprised at the amount of tape and envelopes you use. I use maybe one envelope per month. Boxes last YEARS here. Our dentist gives us free toothbrushes at every visit.


What I want to know is - How the heck do you feed your family on the remaining $100/mo??
post #31 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by avendesora View Post
I just don't shave.
ah, thank goodness I'm not the only one.

FWIW I don't buy fiber pills or 'roid stuff anymore since becoming broke, because eating beans solves that so well (could be the first time in my life I've eaten so much fiber) Y'all's mileage may vary.
post #32 of 131
We use Q Tips to clean our ears. Always swam a lot. I never clean my ears. My doctor as a kid said they were very clean. But whatever makes you happy!

Is there a kind of cheesecloth you can wash and reuse? I go thru tons of cheesecloth - Yes. Get "butter muslin" and wash in cold water. Can be ordered from Leeners or New England Cheesemkaing supply.

Cotton pads are for wiping bug bites? Wiping bug bites? I've never done that. Sunburn? I just put the lotion on with my hand. Removing nail polish - seldom happens. I use TP and hate it. some kind of cotton would be better. Pet ears - again, don't do, but I think I'd want something disposable.

Antibiotic ointment is cheaper than hemmroid cream. Thank you, childbirth! Bummer!

My kids love straws. If we have them, we don't battle over the lack of juice boxes at our house.

DH uses toothpicks for EVERYTHING. I forget they even exist, but he uses them daily.

We have four chalkboards in our house - cool. I want to paint some doors with that chalkboard paint.

Envelopes bug the living $#!@ out of me. DH's mom and grandma REFUSE to get email. REFUSE. They both have computers, internet access, and digital cameras, and they will not get email. MIL sends me discs of photos via snail mail. It bewilders me. The envelopes are so we can send them prints. Otherwise, DH gets the extra long guilt trip.

Staples are DSS's pet thing... but he seems to be outgrowing it.

We do use a lot of bags and wraps. I'm going to buy the restaurant sized plastic wrap, tinfoil and parchment. That should help trim, as those will last for years.
To be honest, I use a lot of ziplocs. But rarely foil, parchment, plastic wrap or waxed paper. Do you need waxed paper and waxed paper bags?

I've heard veggies can be stored in small waxed carboard milk containers - washed out.

You are a good sport! I grew up in a house that never had tissues or cotton patches/swabs/balls. We used toilet paper for everything. Even when we ran out of napkins at dinner.
post #33 of 131
A bunch of that is available at the dollar store, plus most of it DOES in fact have coupons. I also agree there is a sales cycle to most of that stuff.

Purina, Tide, cat litter, BandAids, Neosporin-all have coupons. Tom's of Maine does once in awhile too. I guess I don't find that budget appalling, but I also am one who uses sales and coupons religiously and much of that stuff I get free or darn near free.
post #34 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
-I still use homemade laundry detergent for diapers, but I switched to Coldwater Tide (1 fl oz per load- yes, I measure) for general laundry to save on our hot water bill. But now I'm thinking that maybe the savings don't offset the cost of the Tide- anybody have any thoughts on this?
i don't think it's either/or

I use homemade laundry detergent w/ cold water. I just boil some H2o in our electric kettle and dissolve the powder in it and then pour that into cold water wash.

when my dh does laundry, he does not do this and the clothes still seem to come out fine!
post #35 of 131
Also on all the different plastic bags/foil/wrap, I think Leta does a huge amount of cooking ahead and freezing, thus saving a ton of $. However one of the costs is having the right wraps and containers to freeze and pack this stuff efficiently away in the fridge.

I remember for a while I was proudly re-using glass applesauce jars to freeze soups and sauces. But then I realized that they were all falling around in the freezer, I couldn't maximize space like I can with flat plastic bags.

I'm thinking for Leta, it might be an issue like this one - doing all that prep to have meals and elements of meals on hand and ready is only satisfying if you can package and organize it all in a way that's really convenient for you.
post #36 of 131
Thread Starter 
Just to be clear, our grocery budget is $300, $200 goes toward food. It's the $100 on non-food consumables that bugs me.

We JUST got a Walgreen's. I will have to check this out.

I'm totally going to back to making my own detergent. The boiling water thing is genius, traceface. Also, I've decided that even if I have to include powdered commerical laundry detergent in my borax/washing soda/oxy/baking soda mix, that's okay, it'll still be a significant savings.

When I buy the bulk plastic wrap, tinfoil, and parchment, I'm comparing their price on TP, too.

I'm also going to try growing some of our aloe and catnip.

So this should put a dent in the laundry and food wrap catagories... I guess I just need to be more mindful of how much we are using in first aid/meds and office supplies.

DH made a good point. He said that we spend a lot on food wrap and laundry because we buy virtually zero packaged food, thus we package it ourselves, and because we use cloth everything (cleaning towels, dishtowels, napkins, menstrual pads, breast pads, WrapNMats, snack bags, tablecloths, diapers, wipes, Shmop heads...) we are bound to have quite a bit of laundry. So while it's a savings overall, other areas of our spending are going to creep up. I think he's right.

Since I'm spending around $60/mo on non-food, non-pet, non-bulk stuff, I'm going to try to halve this. So my total will be around $65-70 instead of $100.

I think I can, I think I can... wish me luck!
post #37 of 131
Thread Starter 
Hey traceface, we double posted! You and DH are on the same wavelength.
post #38 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
I can't drink an iced drink without a straw. Guess I am a freak of nature, but I cant tolerate ice, cant have ice touching my my teeth at all.

I need straws - otherwise I dont get to drink anything good.

Now if I ended up in the poor house, I would just drink warm water but thankfully that hasnt happened yet.
This

Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
My DH is the same way. So I don't put ice in his drinks. Even at restaurants you can ask for your drinks without ice. I keep the iced tea pitcher in the fridge so it's cold and he drinks it as is.

You can also get stainless or glass reusable straws. One of the co-op sites just ran a co-op for glass straws from Dharma Glass - they have a lifetime breakage warranty on them.

Nt owrth the hassle-besides, l ike ice indrinks,as long as it doesn't touch my teeth.

Straws are a couple bucks a year,and i reuse them to some extent.
post #39 of 131
I once read that you only need a pea sized portion of toothpaste to brush your teeth with. I've been doing that for years and it lasts me a very long time.
post #40 of 131
Have you ever considered getting a Foodsaver? At Costco the bags are around $35 for a BIG box(6 rolls of bags) and they last a long time. If you are prepping and freezing large amounts of food(which you do) it may be a more practical way to go, plus they are often at 2nd hand stores for cheap. I guess for me it would have to go under less waste too, and it saves so much space(and money).

I just am sooooo in love with mine right now. Freezing food for our baby due in a couple months. It's changed my whole perspective.
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