Do the little things *really* count? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-17-2011, 09:59 PM
 
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Would you share your recipe for homemade toothpaste? I know you can use just baking soda, but do you add something else? Just curious. Thanks!

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LOL I really haven't seen that many laundry soap posts, maybe I've been blind to it???
But I do feel like, on a F&F forum, there are going to be a lot of the nickel-and-dime stuff, because the big stuff is mostly pretty obvious & there's just not a ton of need to discuss it & get ideas from others. The little stuff is creative and (for some of us) fun and fulfills multiple purposes -- i.e. making our own laundry soap means I'm not supporting big-box stores, and that the run-off from our laundry is not loaded with chemicals, and that my laundry doesn't have an artificial scent (something I'm sometimes sensitive to)...
Frugality can be addictive, in my experience. It starts out with shopping sales and clipping coupons and then you start thinking, hmmm how could I save even more? How can I save on the little minutiae of daily life? Sometimes that shift happens out of necessity and other times it's just something we get enjoyment out of. For me, it started of necessity, and for a while shifted into a hobby, and now, with DH unemployed, is more of a necessity again. I honestly would probably continue making my own laundry detergent and toothpaste even if I had a million dollars or more. I just like living simply and being in control of the ingredients and spending as little money as possible.


 

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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Would you share your recipe for homemade toothpaste? I know you can use just baking soda, but do you add something else? Just curious. Thanks!

 


I keep changing my recipe based on how lazy I am lol. Lately we use nothing or just baking soda, but when I have the energy to make it, we use a paste I make from baking soda, xylitol, and water (plus a drop or two of mint).

There's a recipe here that I've been meaning to try: http://weewaldorf.blogspot.com/2010/05/tuesday-tutorial-homemade-toothpaste.html I think I'd just add xylitol too (for it's dental benefits).

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Old 10-18-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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I keep changing my recipe based on how lazy I am lol. Lately we use nothing or just baking soda, but when I have the energy to make it, we use a paste I make from baking soda, xylitol, and water (plus a drop or two of mint).
There's a recipe here that I've been meaning to try: http://weewaldorf.blogspot.com/2010/05/tuesday-tutorial-homemade-toothpaste.html I think I'd just add xylitol too (for it's dental benefits).


Thank you! 

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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I have REALLY been enjoying this whole thread. There's so much diversity and creativity here and I want to read it all over again for some ideas. Now and then I hear the topic weave in with the aesthetics of life and that's really entertaining. 

 

We always focused on both the big things and the little things. The great used car, the affordable living situation, etc.

 

And yes, I used cloth diapers when the kids were little, cloth pads from the time I was 17 until menopause at 49, plain soap and washing soda for the laundry, only bought scouring powder and dishsoap for our cleaning supplies. I could give a huge list, but the main thing for us was why.

 

I was raised by Depression-era older relatives who never bought the window cleaner AND the toilet bowl cleaner AND the tile cleaner AND floor cleaner. When I was a kid we didn't have snack-packs, juice boxes, cable TV, cell phones, VCRs or DVDs and video games. I had a bike, some books, and paper dolls. We were not poor and we lived in suburbia in a sizeable town in the Mid-west. But there was a certain aesthetic of life. Kids played outside all over the neighborhood. My mother and other relatives were house-proud. The linen closet was neat and the dishes done. 

 

I learned to keep things very simple and so I had a lot of time to spend with the children even when I had to work full-time at times. For me the little things were about making my life easier rather than more consumed by "simplicity". It was easier AND less expensive to use grated simple soap and washing soda in my laundry and my husband said he liked the result better than detergent. It was easier AND less clutter and expense to have just 2 sets of sheets per bed and 2 color-coded towels per person which gave me more room in the closet and more time spent with others rather than constantly sorting through a bedding nightmare and laundry (I did only 2-3 loads per week for a family of 4 excluding the diaper years).

 

We didn't really have to 'return' to simplicity because we never left. I probably save thousands of dollars a year on the small things because I don't engage in many of them in the first place. We all used the same toothpaste and shampoo. There was one bottle of lotion for everyone to use (if we had it at all), that kind of thing.

 

For me, my frugality and simplicity is based in both the large and the small but not really as new experiments and trendy DIY choices (what can I simplify now?). It's been a lifestyle that I never left no matter where I lived.

 

I don't stockpile anything. I keep a reasonable pantry but not hundreds of dollars of aging food. I have craft supplies to make much of what we need, but not closets of unused yarn and fabric. I think that's also because I have moved a lot and so I have found out what I need to own and what I don't. I can land anywhere and have everything I need to cook, sleep, bathe, dress, stay healthy in 3-4 large suitcases. That doesn't include furniture and rugs, but it's pretty much everything else.

 

Don't get me wrong, though. I LOVE to shop. My daughter and I used to make a day of visiting every thrift store in Tucson every couple of weeks until I recently moved to Australia. We try on everything and then have lunch out. That's our fun and it's frugal as well as social (time spent together) and environmentally responsible. I buy things to repurpose and give away mostly or to wear myself. But I don't feel compelled to buy stuff. I think one person here commented that just staying out of the stores in the first place was an act of frugality in itself and I would agree.

 

Thanks for sharing everyone. I have really learned a lot and am amazed and impressed by all the care that goes into what you do to take care of your families and your environment. I love all the stories and diversity. 

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Old 10-19-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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I suppose when I started this thread it was from reading one too many "make your own laundry soap! It will save you so much money!" comments, like it's the holy grail of saving money. 

 

I do overall believe that things add up, that it can all help. I guess it just makes me wonder if people are grasping at straws and/or hiding from the bigger picture, things they can't control. Which I know, is a horribly offensive thing to say, I just don't understand everyone's obsession with laundry soap. When I think about where and when money is spent throughout the day, laundry soap is pretty far down the list. Even when we were really poor, watching every penny spent, no money coming in and behind on bills, it would have never entered my mind to make laundry soap as a way of saving money. I remember how happy and proud I was when I made focaccia from ingredients we happened to have in the kitchen to jazz up yet one more meal of spaghetti (recipe, minus the cheese, because cheese was a luxury!)

 

Maybe I've just been reading the frugal threads for too many years and tired of the same things repeated over and over. (I was here under another username-which I lost the password/email to- back to 2006). Maybe I'm just bored and suffering from frugal burnout. Does anyone else feel like that sometimes?


I totally get where you're coming from!  The little things like laundry detergent do add up, but I think mainly if you're coming from the "I only wash my clothes with Seventh Generation detergent" kind of camp.  If you're just buying whatever is cheap and on sale I'm not sure that it necessarily makes a bit of difference.

 

For us it was more about a lifestyle change, frugality was the bonus.  We got ourselves into a lot of debt living a life that was not remotely in line with our values and goals, we were really caught up in "keeping up with the Jones's".  Now we're focused more on sustainability and self reliance.  I want things to be good for the environment and with as minimal packaging as possible, so making my own cleaners (both personal and household), and laundry detergent fulfils that for me.  Same with line drying our clothes instead of using an electric dryer.  If it saves a few bucks a month - great!  Not buying magazines is better for the earth AND our wallet.  Not using drive thru's we're eating healthier and not creating so much waste.  The little things added up to a HUGE shift in our lives and how we view our money and what it can do for us.

 

We still buy some commercial products, but we're trying to get away from that feeling that we need as much.  The more we deny ourselves and just adapt and are flexible with what we have, the more money we save.

 


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Old 10-20-2011, 12:21 AM
 
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We, too, live on the edge of Enough and Barely Enough.  $50 extra in a month makes me smile big time; needing to come up with $50 leaves me scrounging the change jar.

 

I focus on the big things like raising insurance deductibles to reduce premiums, cancelling the phone land line, using the envelope system to keep grocery and gas on budget, etc.

 

But also focusing on the little things (vinegar/baking soda for cleaning, clothes shopping at Goodwill, no eating out/movies/etc.) helps keep me in a frugal state of mind.  It raises my awareness of how important it is to be a good steward of our family resources and of the earth's resources.  The few dollar savings here and there is a positive, but the bigger positive is how these actions help make frugality more second nature for me. 


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Old 10-30-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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Hi Heather - I wonder if you live in a high cost of living area?  I sure do, and when you pay what I do for rent saving a few cents or dollars on cleaning products doesn't add up to a big chunk toward that high rent.  On the other hand, I do like some homemade items because I feel good using them and they are good for my family in other ways, and we use cloth diapers, wipes and mama pads, shop second hand, live in a small space, etc.


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Old 10-30-2011, 11:05 PM
 
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This is such an individual choice, I don't think there is a right and a wrong way about it. 

 

We reuse plastic bags because I hate creating more trash.  We don't buy them at the store, but I will reuse a bread bag/veggie bag (we use reuseable stuff for lunches, so we don't use baggies).

 

But the primary motivation isn't financial, it is more environmental/laziness!  Sure, I see the bags at the store for 4 bucks and think that is a waste of money, unless I am freezing a bunch of fruit, etc.

 

We pick berries and make our own jam because we eat A LOT of berries and cannot pay the 4 bucks for a tiny container, when we can pick them and get them for a 1 per pound (organic). But we love to do this--it isn't just for the money savings. 

 

I sometimes make our own read, but since I am a poor planner when it comes to baking, I found that the savings was lost on the heating of the oven!  Our electrical bill was much higher when we did all of our own baking.... I bet if I made like 5 loaves and something else at the same time, it would have been worth it.... but its just not my thing. 

 

We bake a lot, but not every loaf of bread.

 

I agree that it really depends on where you live.  Here in the PNW, good food is really inexpensive--you can buy directly from farms, and even the big chains have good organic produce for not a whole lot. 

 

Just buying our coffee at costco pays for the membership alone, so the eco friendly detergent, etc. there works better and costs less then making it.  And I agree that time is money.  If you don't enjoy spending the time on it, then it is probably not worth the money you are saving.


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Old 11-08-2011, 01:57 PM
 
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5-6 tbsp coconut oil, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup cornstarch.  Melt the oil then add the BS and cornstarch.  I also added a few drops of tea tree oil so it smells nice.  It makes about 4 oz.  Pour it into a baby food jar or some other container.  You can scoop it out with your fingers.  Some people pour it into empty deodorant containers so they can apply it that way.  I guess you have to keep it in the fridge when you do that though.  I'm really liking it so far.  It's not really an antiperspirant so on really hot or muggy days I'll reapply.  It's nicer than regular deodorant though and doesn't leave white marks all over my clothes!  I made mine 2 1/2 weeks ago and have maybe used 1 oz?  So I think one batch should last me 2 months.



If you add beeswax you would be able to keep it at room temp without it melting. Here's a lip balm recipe we use (we use a lot of lip balm, and it gives the glossy appearance dd is always wanting, too). I have been waiting to try it w/the baking soda plus tea tree/lavendar, or sandalwood, etc EOs for deodorant.

 

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/newsletter/06/lip_balm.php


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Old 11-09-2011, 05:06 AM
 
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We do both as well-

- We have a house on 15 yrs(5 to go) with a super low payment

- we have done most all the finish work on the house and plumbing and electric- dh is very adament that things are done well and right the first time, even if it costs more -

- We went with the best insulation available, keep the thermostat low(as we can stand), buy used cars - fix them ourselves and drive until the wheels fall off

 

We also

- buy meat in bulk from the farmer

- grow some of our own meat

-buy most groceries in bulk through the co-op(unless it isn't worth it to do so)

 

And

-make our own detergent which is super duper cheap and works fine for us

-make our own tooth soap

- make our own cleaners

-anything we do buy (like handsoap) we use sparingly

 

We try to invest in quality in items we buy though if it is worth it and also look for used quite often.


Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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I no-poo, but with my new pretty cut/style I need hairspray. I've been hating that I broke out my 8 yr old, almost-empty, can of hairspray and have used it 3 times(gasp!). So, I decided to look up a make-at-home recipe that would be healthier for myself and family. I found 2. I hope this helps one of you frugal moms (though most truly frugal moms probably don't get hair cuts from pros that require hairspray, I suppose... I'm a work in progress)

 

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-make-homemade-hair-spray.htm

http://dkmommyspot.com/how-to-make-homemade-hairspray-that-really-works/

 

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Old 11-11-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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 (though most truly frugal moms probably don't get hair cuts from pros that require hairspray, I suppose... I'm a work in progress)

This is an interesting comment to me, and I think it signifies how a lot of people look at frugality - like it's a complete denial of any luxury.  IMO, that's not frugality that's miserly.  I budget, and save money and am "frugal" on many things, so that I can indulge in little luxuries like a good haircut.  I don't think that makes me not a truly frugal mom...it's all about balance :) 

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Old 11-11-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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yeahthat.gif  A good haircut 1x/ year is definitely something I indulge in, too.  When I was sporting a stacked bob, I was getting it done 2x or 3x/ year, still far less than a lot of women I know.  I've been going to my stylist for over 8 years and she's in a different state than I am.  When we visit my in-laws I make an appointment with her.  And as expensive as her rates are, she's incredibly worth it, and because she knows what she's doing, is fantastic at it, and knows my lifestyle, she makes sure to cut my hair in a style that will hold up well until my next cut, which could be 1 year away.

 

For me, a quality cut from a good hairstylist who knows what s/he is doing is frugal.


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Old 11-17-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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This thread has been really inspiring to me.. thank you to all posters for the amazing ideas! I am very very fortunate that I don't have to live a super frugal, budgeted life. We have been working as a family to cut back on our consumer spending, save a bit of money, and pay down our student debts. But I also feel, amongst some of the reasons mentioned earlier (consumer/environmental awareness, control over ingredients, cost savings, etc) that I have a social responsibility to save more money, and then find a way to give to others. Recently I have been spending 2-5% of my weekly grocery budget on some food goods to donate to the food bank (there is a donation box in the store), and it makes me feel really, really good, and it's so easy to do. Living on a moderate income as we do, while learning to fight back against our consumer upbringings, and paying down our debts has always made it hard to feel like there is room to spend on others. But this thread helps me realize how much work our family has yet to do! I dream of changing our lifestyle enough that we can pay off our debts quickly, bring down our mortgage, have money in savings, but also do some good for others less fortunate than we.

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Old 11-22-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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One way to stay frugal is to start a "boutique" - we have a group of volunteers in our community that run a wonderful place of giving and receiving that doesn't involve money that we call the boutique .  It was started with  a donated garden shed, a little hut next to it and it is our boutique.  Everyone can shop for free.  Everyone can bring stuff they no longer use/wear to put into the boutique.  It does take some looking after - not everyone is so careful and tidy as we would like and the person who lives next door to it has to lock it up and close it every night.

 

Friends who have travelled and talked about our community (The Findhorn Community in Northern Scotland) always get a lot of interest when they share about this aspect of community living.  There are office buildings in Brazil now that have created a boutique on the same principals.

 

There are also so many many miracle stories to share of when someone is desperately looking for something, needs an extra something, has just been told about a particular something and they go to the boutique and there it is laid out in front of them - for free.  The only charge is to bring something back to the boutique next time you come !

 

If you had a group of moms and dads who wanted to set something like this in your neighbourhood it would be a wonderful way of recycling, reducing consummerism, and saving money.

 

 

 

 


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