Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinching Pennies Practically

Since Dwayne and I have become homeowners this past summer, I have made a concerted effort to (not spend too much time on Pinterest) make more things homemade and save money. Pinterest has turned out to be very useful in this regard and I thought I would share some of my recent DIY projects with all four of my readers. *wink*

Home Decor

Super easy first painting that required a canvas, some painters tape and some yellow paint. My only wish is that I could afford a larger canvas. (Still hoping I can score one at Goodwill sometime soon.) However, I do LOVE the fact that this cost only about $10 and is fun to look at.

Pinned Image

Alaya's nightstand: found at a flea market for $15 and made beautiful (it was hideous. Think old West orange paint) with some white spray paint and some pretty knobs from Lowe's. Probably cost $17 total.

Homemade wreath on my front door. $5 for grapevine wreath and $5 for a HUGE pack of felt, of which I only used a few pieces, so $10 at the most.

My afghan that is probably going to take me forever to finish, but I'm proud of the progress I've made. Size 13 knitting needles and a bulky, fun colored yarn = a pretty throw for my day soon.

Homemade spray conditioner

Alaya is pretty tender-headed, so I often have to use spray conditioner after her bath to keep her from screaming as we brush her hair. I found this recipe on Pinterest and have found it works great:

5 Parts Water
1 Part Conditioner
Put in a squirt bottle and shake!

Cost: Pennies. Depends on how long the bottle of conditioner lasts, but probably a long time.

Laundry Detergent

This is probably what I am most proud of. See I am a die-hard Gain fanatic. I mean Gainster loving, don't-take-my-Gain-away-or-I-shoot-you, kinda girl. But laundry detergent is expensive. Expensive. And I have a lot of friends who have been doing the homemade laundry detergent thing for a while. So I decided to give it a shot. I perused many recipes and finally landed on this one from my precious friend Debbie:

2 cups Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda (not Baking Soda)
1 Bar grated soap. (See below for more specific instructions)

Here's where it gets interesting. I have seen recipes that use Fels-Naptha, Ivory, or Zote. I used Ivory soap for my first batch and I didn't love the smell, especially coming off my Gain high. So, per Debbie's recommendation, I bought some Whole Foods Brand Organic soap. I chose the Lemon Verbena scent and 

Oh. My. Geez. 
Smells so good. 
I think I am just really drawn to citrus scents for cleaning and laundry. 

So basically you mix the Borax, Washing Soda, and grated soap together and then put them in a jar. Also, per Debbie's recommendation, I purchased a glass jar with a lid because my friend Leslie said the powdered version of this detergent clumped together.

You use 1-2 tablespoons of this per load. 
Yes, you heard right.

I haven't had any clumping issues with my detergent. I know there is a liquid version of this detergent that requires some cooking and stirring and a 10 gallon bucket, and, well that just sounds like too much science right now for me. And this works great! Our clothes are just as clean as ever. I have made three batches of this now (one in November, one in December, and I just made another this week) so I guess it is lasting me about a month. But the kicker is that I'm still on the same boxes of Borax and Washing Soda that I started out with!! So, if my numbers are accurate, I spent about $7 on the Borax/Washing Soda (I have found these at Walmart in the cleaning aisle), $3 for my Whole Foods soap (you can do Ivory soap if you want and that would be cheaper), and $5 for my jar to store it in (and I could have gotten a smaller jar). Laundry detergent would normally cost me that much each  month and this has lasted me for three months now and I can still make more with what I've got!

For the record, I do still use Shout for stains and I do use Downy for softness and scent. I'm not so consumed with being "green" (not that I'm opposed to it. Please don't yell at me.) but with saving money. And these things have saved money and made our house more cute, more calm, and more clean.

So there's a penny pinching story. I'm sure there will be more to come.

(PS-I have a top loading washing machine. It is an HE machine, but top load rather than front load, and I haven't had any problems with the detergent.)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Shana-bana! My mom in law had vinegar recipe book.. So good just like simply clean that I have. In it it says put about half a cup of white distiller vinegar in your washers rinse cycle for: softener, removing laundry soap residue, odor reducer, and color brightener! I've done this and my laundry still smells great. I love your blog!


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