Since regular savings in daily living seems to be a topic of interest, I thought I'd share some other things that have come to mind that we do to pinch pennies.
We use our printer pretty regularly whether it is for school assignments or notes, online billing or whatever. Ink is expensive! And paper, maybe not so expensive but why waste it? So each time when I hit "print", I click on the preferences and do 2 things.
1. I choose the "draft" setting instead of "normal" or "best"...it uses less ink and looks perfectly fine, even for college essays to be turned.
2. Our printer/scanner/fax is capable of printing on the back of the printer paper. So unless it is something that must only be printed on one side (like a school essay) I choose the option to print on both the front and back of the page.
Don't be grossed out, it all comes out very clean but I usually choose the "quick wash" cycle on our washing machine. This cycle lasts 20 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes to an hour! We are on a well so we do not have a water bill but we do lots of laundry and I'm sure it affects our electric bill between energy for washing and energy to heat the water.
Speaking of laundry, someone asked for the laundry soap recipe. This recipe was passed on to me from a friend who had gotten it from another friend but to my understanding the original recipe was posted by Michele Duggar. I'm including some of the side notes here but I cannot tell you who added them as I do not know:
Duggar’s Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
5 gallon bucket w/lid (Ace Hardware, Lowe’s)
4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (buy this at Kroger in Laundry Detergent aisle)
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda OR PhUp in pool section at Wal-Mart
½ Cup Borax (buy this at Wal-Mart by Shout-type products)
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (I do not dilute mine this much, but just because I like the thicker consistency.) This will gel so make sure to shake before each use.
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. I DO NOT do this because we like the clean smell of the Fels-Naptha soap.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons if diluted ½ and ½.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" – may be sold at Ace Hardware. Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!! The PhUp works perfectly and is cheap. You can also buy a 40 pound bag of it VERY INEXPENSIVELY at the Co-Op.
There was a suggestion to save our current laundry soap container and fill it with the homemade soap as needed. We plan to do that.
And lastly for today, my mother heard on tv (or somewhere) how toilet paper is much less expensive than tissues. It was suggested to take a roll of toilet paper and cut-out and remove the cardboard center. Grab the end of the roll FROM THE INSIDE and gently pull it up to the top. Place the whole roll into a tissue box (I guess we'd have to figure out this part) and just pull out pieces from that center tab. I commented on how toilet paper isn't quite so soft but my mother suggested the crazy softness of Charmin. I figure we could try it and see how it goes. I just picture the kids grabbing more paper than they need because they aren't already torn into seperate sheets.
Here's a way we've fund to make a few extra bucks...Dan is a avid reader. He usually picks up his books at Goodwill for 25 cents but also uses Paperback Swap regularly. To my understanding, the only costs involved with Paperback Swap is to mail a book out, which is generally less than $3 from what I have seen. In any case, we have LOTS of books. Dan has been going through his books and seeing what their resale value is on Amazon and listing them if they are a decent amount (I think his criteria is $5 or more). Amazon seems to have raised their costs over the past few years to do this but if we can make a few bucks here and there, he lists them and waits. It's hard to say for sure how much we make off of them because you have to consider shipping costs taken out of the total (buyers do have to pay an additional cost for shipping) but my guess is that we made over $50 last month this way. Amazon is also a great way to resell CDs and DVDs, as we've done in the past.