Natural Living Cheap - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-07-2005, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. I'm new here so a quick intro. My name is Kristen and I have a son Jensen who is 7 weeks old now. Anyways...I really want to live more know, organic foods, natural products for things like soap, shampoo, cleaning products and natural fabrics for clothes and what not. The problem I'm having is that it's so expensive. Any advice on how to do it affordably?? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 11 Old 02-07-2005, 11:01 PM
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Hi and welcome!!

Congrats on your new baby!

Many people on this site are living naturally/organically anyway, at least with some things, so if I were you I would just stick with this site and find your way around this forum and you will find some great ideas!

A couple off the top of my head is using just plain vinegar, baking soda, club soda for cleaning---some mamas on here use vinegar to clean practically anything in the house! the great news is, is that it is safe and non toxic so if your baby ever happened to get into it, it wouldn't kill him!!

keep looking though, you'll find a lot of stuff!!
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#3 of 11 Old 02-07-2005, 11:10 PM
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Natural living can be very expensive, especially food-wise. We do end up spending quite a bit more on food but we cut back in other places.

I clean with baking soda, vinegar and dr. bronners soap. The kids and I don't use shampoo or conditioner. We wash our hair with baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse every few days. The kids usually don't need this and we can get away with just rinsing their hair with water and it's always soft and shiny. Only dh uses shampoo. I make my own soap and it's a lot cheaper than buying it in the health food store. If you look on the Natural Home and Body forum you can find a lot of threads on going "no poo (shampoo)" and cleaning with natural products.

I buy most of our clothing at thrift stores and find a lot of natural fibre stuff for cheap, usually name-brand. We cloth diaper, cloth toilet "paper", napkins, nose wipes and mama cloth. That saves us a ton of money each month. There was a thread a while ago with a recipe for making laundry soap with just a bar of Sunlight (or any other bar soap, not detergent bar), water and washing soda. I'll try to find it and post it for you.

Hope all this helps you out.

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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#4 of 11 Old 02-07-2005, 11:48 PM
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Here's the link for the laundry soap.

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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#5 of 11 Old 02-08-2005, 02:49 AM
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Glad to meet you!
I too am trying to live more naturally and frugally!
Some ways I have found to cut down on costs is to
If you eat meat-( dh does- I don't) only use a third of what the recipe calls for.
When I buy a pound of burger I seperate it into 3 baggies- and that is my new fake pound! It is healthier for dh and cuts way down on costs!
Use what you do buy- plan accordingly and do not let anything go to waste.
I do not cloth diaper but plan to with my next child that would be a great way to start your natural life with child!
CONGRATS on your new baby!
And good luck to you!
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#6 of 11 Old 02-10-2005, 09:31 AM
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*CLEANING: Baking soda, vinegar and hot water for general household cleaning. They don't smell bad (baking soda even neutralizes odours completely unlike conventional cleaning products which mask it).

*EATING: Planning your menu's for the week ahead of time and then buying accordingly.
Buying organic from local markets or joining an organic co-op.
Cooking at home, from scratch.

*Using cloth diapers (or doing Elimination Communication if you're up for it).
Line drying diapers.

*No shampoo or body lotions for baby. They have gorgeous skin and hair and those products ruin it all & cost a ton.

*Natural fabrics - did you mean organic cotton or just "natural" fibres such as cotton and wool?

*Soap - I buy 100% pure olive oil soap from an ethnic store. I get a packet of 8 soaps for $3 and they are wonderful! Made by hand and just the way it should be. They are just olive oil and lye. Nothing else.

It's so hard to go natural because the healthfood stores charge a premium for "natural" products. But when you make everything yourself, its inexpensive and far more healthier than the store bought stuff. Remember whatever goes onto your skin, goes *into* your skin and body! Keep that in mind.

Congrats on your baby and goodluck!!
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#7 of 11 Old 02-10-2005, 05:00 PM
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I second the cloth diaper idea. You will save up to $1500 or more through your child's first few years, and if you have more than one child, you save even more! It is really very easy to do. Check out the diapering board here for ideas!

You are right in that "natural" products can be expensive. And some of them aren't all that natural. I find just using fewer products works well. I still use shampoo and conditioner, though. I do use baking soda and vinegar a lot for cleaning. I buy bar soap that is cut at my co-op. I don't use very many paper towels. I buy them on sale and make them last a looong time. I use inexpensive cotton washcloths instead, for mopping up and wiping. I keep clean dishttowels handy for wiping hands.

Cook from scratch. Don't buy food packaged in boxes and wrappers. We buy almost no "snack" food or prepared food. I do buy canned goods from time to time--things like tomatoes, chicken broth, etc. I don't buy granola bars, soup, cookies, rice or pasta mixes, cake mixes, etc. I make my own.

Buy what you can in bulk. If you have a food co-op nearby or health food store they may offer this service. You can buy almost anything in bulk! As long as you're going to use it up eventually, it's worth the investment and you save money.

Shop tag sales for used toys. If there is a particular item you want, I guarantee you will see it at a tag sale or in your broadcaster newspaper classifieds eventually. My son loved his friend's "Cozy Coupe" car. I wanted to get him one but they were like $35. I kept checking tag sales but had no luck. One day I went for a drive and saw one in almost-new condition on the side of the road for FREE! FREEE!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. Now my son has a new Cozy Coupe that he loves and i didn't pay a dime! My mother also got him a little slide for the yard, again for free in someone's yard. People get these big yard toys for their kids and then they just want to get rid of them fast when the child outgrows it. Some people buy everything under the sun and they are buried by the time the child is two. So keep your eyes open!

Find a simple hairstyle that requires minimal upkeep. I go to the hairdresser every 3 months. I trim my bangs in between myself. If you have long hair you could probably even have a friend trim it. Keep makeup and clothing simple. I have found what works for me and don't bother trying to deviate from it. Simple tees and shorts in summer, jeans and khakis, yoga pants, etc. Besides I don't have time to shop! I love to buy organic cotton but really I don't very often due to the price. But I often get it as gifts since my family knows I like it.

Don't eat out. This is such a huge savings. It's a special occasion thing for us now. Once a month or less.

Drive a used car. We have two used cars in great shape. Lower taxes and they are paid for! I can't imagine we could live on one income if we had two big car payments a month.

That's all I can think of at the moment...this site will give you lots of great ideas, though!
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#8 of 11 Old 02-10-2005, 08:59 PM
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Some things we do, or are in the process of converting to:
--Grow some of our own produce (fruit, veggies, herbs) organically, and I'm going to try my hand at preserving as much of it as I can: canning, freezing, dry cellaring, dehydrating, etc.
--Gather some things from the wild: raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, edible mushrooms.
--Buy meat, dairy, and eggs directly from local growers instead of paying the middle man. I live near a large Amish population, and their prices can be cheaper than non-organic items at the supermarket.
--Buy items in bulk when on sale.
--Cook from scratch as much as possible.
--Clean w/ homemade cleaners from the book Clean Home, Clean Planet. The main ingredients are baking soda, vinegar, purified water, club soda, lemon juice, olive oil, and borax.
--I've always wanted to try making my own laundry and dishwashing detergents, but I haven't tried it yet.
--Make my own personal toiletries from the book Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair.
--Use reusable cloth instead of disposable products: cleaning rags, diapers, diaper wipes, menstrual cloth, nursing pads, "TP."
--Practice NFP instead of buying birth control.
--Kind of obvious, but breastfeed.
--Make your own baby food; the book Super Baby Food is a good place to start.
--If you do look into any of these books, check them out from the library instead of buying on them.
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#9 of 11 Old 02-11-2005, 12:58 PM
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Natural living can be extremely frugal.

There's breastfeeding and cloth diapers.

I use only baking soda and vinegar to wash my clothes- baking soda in place of detergent and vinegar in place of fabric softener.

Vinegar in water to wash windows and mirrors.

Homemade wool wash from lanolin and ivory soap.

Buying wholesome natural foods and cooking from scratch- my crockpot is a lifesaver for this!!! Rice, dried beans, and in-season veggies are very natural AND frugal- and I can spend 15 minutes preparing dinner in the morning when I have energy, and then dinner is ready in the evening when I'm totally out of steam.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#10 of 11 Old 02-11-2005, 03:01 PM
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Ruthla~~do you use bs to wash dipes too? That would be awesome!

Everyone has such great suggestions.

I'll tell what I did to switch to cloth dipes. It's kinda expensive to go from sposies to nice cloth dipes, so what I did was went to target, got myself 2 dozen gerber prefolds and bought 3 prowrap seconds (you can order them directy if you want I can dig up the phone #) for like 3 bucks each. I don;t think I spent more then $40. They worked fin till my DD was about 6 months old and started wetting more. That gave me plenty of time to save money for hemp prefolds and chinese prefolds. I couldn't have made the switch any other way as we are on a pretty tight budget.

I agree w/ everone else on the vinegar/water/baking soda for cleaning the home. I don't have ANY commercial products to clean my home
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#11 of 11 Old 02-11-2005, 04:53 PM
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also learn how to sew, even if it is just a seam. If you want natural fabrics they are easy to buy at the fabric store and you can make napkins, dish towels, clkothes for you, baby ds.. everything... plus then you know exactly where it comes from. I have a sewing machine I got from my mom and we even made our own diapers for DS..

I hope this helps

I am also trying to live more naturally... the problem is convincing DH that things that don't come shrinkwrapped are ok.. lol

one step at a time!
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