Ditching Paper Towels//Living On Less

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You’ve heard the environmental arguments from the holier-than-thou-be-green-team, explain the importance of ditching your use of the paper towel. 

 

I –am not– that fanatical.  My motivation is merely me being a cheapskate. (my husbands words)  Or as I like to assume, a conscientious consumer.  

Although, I’m happy to see my inability to splurge on the aforementioned item also does our planet a little good. 😉 

 

I’m not going to sit and lie to you, and say that we never buy paper products.  We do on occasion.  For instance, back in July, while my niece & nephew stayed with us, I splurged and purchased a $2 package of paper napkins.  I understand that napkins are not paper towels, but it is close enough!

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I’m also not going to lie to you and say that we gave up our use of paper towels cold turkey.  When it comes to changing ones habits, it has to become a lifestyle change.  Even small ones such as paper towels.  And just like with most habit busting techniques, I winged us off of them. 

On average, we used one roll per week.  I changed that to only using one roll every two weeks, and then eventually only one per month.  Now I don’t purchase them at all. 

 

Now, we use a cheap set of 18 white rags from Wal-Mart for $4.  At least that is how much they cost in my neck of the woods.  We use them for everything, and once the holes begin to form, I toss them out. 

(The picture of the their 9 count dishcloths.  They were out of the 18 count.)

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Because I’m sure you’re curious, I will go ahead and tell you that we have not bought paper towels in 11 months.  It will be ONE YEAR this November. My husband will tell you that he misses them sometimes, but I haven’t really noticed a difference.

 

// I also wash all the rags once a week, along with other whites in the house.  This way it doesn’t feel like the extra laundry is a burden. //  You can get my DIY Laundry Soap here.

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My cost is about $11.  I purchased two packages of the 18 count and one the 9 count in one year.

 

I asked a friend of mine who has the same size family as myself (5), how many rolls per week they use.  Her answer was about 3 rolls.  I would say that is close to $20 per month, right?  Give or take. 

 

Tally that up for a whole year and that would equal $240. 

Visualize the savings:  What could I buy every month for $20? 

New shoes? 

Shirt? 

Makeup? 

Savings?

You see where I’m going with this?

 

It’s just as easy to pull a dishcloth out of a drawer, as it is to pull a sheet off a paper towel roll.   Promise.

 

What ways do you save extra money in your home? 

 

Like this post?  Then check out some of my other posts on budgeting

Does It Really Work? Living On Less Series

I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for two+ years now, and I’ve tried five different recipes, before landing on the one I’ve used for the last year.   

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Because I get asked frequently, Does it really work, I figured I would answer it here.  YES!  It really works, it smells fabulous (You’ll see why in the ingredients), and it only takes 10 minutes to put together.  I don’t suggest washing your delicates; I feel you should stick with Woolite or the drycleaners for those, but for your everyday clothes…this is just as good as the store bought stuff, without the price. DSC_0317_edited-1

  A little bit of my experiences…

At first, I tried using the liquid kind, since I had always bought liquid detergent at the store.  However, the mess of it all, along with the goop it created once it hardened…I knew I had to try something else.  Then I tried another liquid recipe, but it was still a hassle to make and keep multiple jugs handy, etc.   

DSC_0327_edited-1Thus, began my hunt for the perfect dry laundry detergent.  Although all the recipes I found for it cleaned my clothes well, it always lacked that good smell.  Know what I mean?  Sure I added lavender extract, among others, but it wasn’t the same.  I also wanted a little extra cleaning boost…so, after many recipes and many trial and errors, I think I have finally perfected our laundry detergent, enough so, that I haven’t changed it since I created it one year ago.
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Liz’s DIY Laundry Detergent
Makes roughly 8-10 cups
Here it is:
2 ivory soap bars (unscented, original)
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Super Washing Soda
1 cup of regular baking soda
1 cup of Oxi Clean
1/2 – 1 cup of Downy Unstoppable Beads (optional) You can also use 3+ tablespoons of lavender extract.

Method:

Grate the Ivory soap using a cheese grater.   Then mix all the ingredients together and store in an air tight container.  I use a glass jar that I purchased from Walmart for $5.  And because it is humid here in the southeast, I made a rice sachet to place inside the jar to keep the detergent from clumping. 
Put about 1 Tablespoon per/load or adjust to size/dirtiness of load.  I usually sprinkle in 2 tablespoons though.
DSC_0339_edited-1To make the rice sachet, use some fabric, sock, or cheesecloth, and fill it with a little rice, then tie the loose ends together.

Annnnd, because I just can’t help it, here a few lovable outtakes…

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Living On Less: College Edition

pic source: Campus Book Rentals

If you read my first Living On Less post, then you know that my husband has returned to college.  I’m also sure that you know college isn’t cheap.

Like most students, we are taking out student loans; however, we try to pay as much as we can out of pocket.  This mainly includes: textbooks and parking.

On the parking side of things, it is expensive and a pain no matter what you do, so my best suggestion is to hitch a ride, but I can offer plenty of advice for textbooks.   
(I SO wish this was an option during my college years.  It would have saved me a ton of money.)

Here’s the tip.  


Rent your textbooks!  If you haven‘t heard of this novel concept, then I’m about to tell you all about it along with the company that we personally use and trust.

How does it work & what company do you use?

First, let me tell you the company name; Campus Book Rentals.  

As for how it works…well…it works just as it sounds! Simply go to campusbookrentals.com, type in the book you need, and then how long you need it.  You pay on a secure server, then they ship it for FREE!  How painless is that?!
Bing, Bam, Boom and your holding a textbook for a fraction of the cost.  Genius, I tell you.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about the parking at the campus bookstore.

….and because I know you’re wondering, here is a list of the other perks that come with renting your textbook.

Save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
FREE Shipping (This includes returning your textbook!)
It’s OK to highlight in the textbooks
Flexible renting periods
A donation is made to Operation Smile with each textbook rented

Here is an example of a book that came from Campus Book Rentals.  It was Bubba’s Pre calculus book.  If we had purchased it from the campus bookstore, it would have cost us $190!  We paid, $49.

As if this weren’t enough, the company offers a Rent Back program for all the old textbooks that the school/other store wouldn’t buy back.

We had to purchase a book and now, if we want to, we can rent it out to other students using Rent Back, which you can find more about, here.

So if you know someone in college, or are returning yourself, then this is my friendly shove to save yourself the money and rent your textbooks.

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are mine. Thank you for your support as I accept sponsors to help our family.

 

Living On Less

After a grumbling conversation with myself this morning, I finally made the decision to get this post out of my draft box. For whatever reason, I’ve had a hard time finding the words to introduce this series on my blog. In a nutshell, this will be tips on how we save money by making small changes in our lifestyle and by becoming more self sufficient.  
In order to not bore you to death with a long story of how we came to live the way that we do, I figure the short version that can be squeezed into a paragraph or two will be much easier for all of us.  
Short Version:
My husband and I were like many who supported their lifestyle through credit cards and student loans. We have no one to blame but ourselves.  We wanted the champagne life on a Natural Light beer budget.  (For all the non-alcoholic drinkers, Natural Light beer is probably the cheapest beer you can find.)  
We were living check to check and our credit limits were maxed out.  Reality began to set in and we realized we had no wiggle room when it came to our bills.  It was ridiculous, frustrating, and we were feeling trapped.  
Then the bad things began to happen. 
You know that phrase: Saving for a rainy day?  
Well our rainy day poured and we didn’t have the savings.  I was pregnant with twins and lost one of the babies, resulting in a large sum of medical bills.  One month later, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor which led to many neurologist bills, CT scans, MRI’s, etc. (Since then, he has been diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst)  Wait.  I’m almost finished.  
Bubba broke his knee and I suffered from complications after giving birth leaving us with plenty of hospital bills.
To make things harder on ourselves, we decided that my husband should leave his well paid, handsome yearly bonus, job in exchange to go back to school. And while we were at it, we threw in an expensive move back to our home state of Texas all the way from Utah.
This decision came with financial consequences.  If I thought things were a struggle back when his job was good and I worked, things only became tougher when our family went from three to five in less than two years, and our TWO income household became an ONE income household.
When you add up all of the above, it results in becoming more creative in how we choose to live day by day; saving wherever we can.
If you read everything down to here; I’m proud of you and you deserve a cookie! 
I hope you’ll check in on the Living On Less tab at the top of the page once and awhile to see how to save you or your family a little ching, ching.  It all adds up! Really, it does.