Rural Ramblings of a Modern Woman

Sharing how I merge rural life with modern society…on a budget!

The next money saving plan.

I’ve heard about it. I’ve thought about it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it.

What am I talking about? I’m soon going to embark on the adventure of making my own laundry detergent! I was a little skeptical about the efficacy of homemade laundry detergent. However, I recently spoke to a few of my friends who have been making their own for awhile now and they seem pretty happy with it. Maybe even more than pretty happy. The stuff works – and it’s much less costly than the quality brands from the grocery store.They have kindly shared their recipes with me so that I can share them with you. I hope you’ll try the homemade laundry detergent experiment along with me and let me know if you like it.

Okay, here’s the recipe I plan to try. My friend Miranda shared this with me.  http://mengalings.blogspot.ca/2011/08/goin-crunchy-homemade-laundry-detergent.html

After reading other homemade detergent websites, recipes and comments I think I might add some Oxy-Clean to help with my husband’s greasy work clothes. Or some scent beads like Downy Unstopables for wonderful smelling towels and bedding.

My friend Tabatha has a great recipe for a homemade liquid detergent.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Ingredients:

4 Cups – hot tap water
1 ivory soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Directions:

-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. (will gel)

Tabatha’s Comments: It works great, I have an HE washer and it leaves clothes smelling fresh and clean (I don’t always stick to Ivory as I like stronger smelling scents!)

Don’t forget that a great way to reduce the cost of doing laundry is to use cold water in the wash. I actually unhooked the hot water hose on my machine so I have no excuse but to use cold water!

As you may have guessed, I like to share a good thing. In my search for a good homemade detergent recipe, I came across a great idea for creating beautiful jars for giving a sample of detergent to your friends and family. Check out this great blog post from How Does She?

Okay, I’m ready to save money. Are you?

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When inspiration hits

It has been raining here lately and I’ve been feeling somewhat creative so when inspiration hits, I run with it! I finally finished crocheting a sweet little baby hat that an expecting friend ordered.

Good News Infant Hat

Thanks to CrochetBug for the great pattern.

Then I went browsing for a more creative way to use my melt and pour soap base and found a great recipe for Coffee Cream Soap.

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I used fresh aloe vera gel from my plant and ground some locally roasted coffee beans. The cream is from local milk and I added it all to a goat’s milk soap base. I can’t wait to try this out tomorrow! It smells yummy and should be good for my skin. The coffee grounds will be a great exfoliator!

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Making the most of it

Grocery day. Chances are you either love it or hate it. Or maybe you sit on the fence….loving it when you have an ample supply of funds, dreading it when you don’t. Since I lost my job at the beginning of the year, I have come to enjoy grocery day less and less. However, I’m finding ways to make it more bearable and, more importantly, to get the most out of my limited employment insurance income.

What has helped me stretch our income the most is taking the time to plan ahead. I never go to the grocery store without a list. Before I head out on grocery day, I sit on the sofa with a hot cup of coffee (usually while still in my pyjamas), my laptop, the family list of grocery needs from the fridge and the sales flyers. Shopping ListKeeping our list of grocery needs in mind, I browse through the sales flyers and look to see who has the best price on each item we need. On my laptop, I type up a list for each store. For example, last grocery day I had headings for stores like Sobeys, Superstore, Walmart and the farm market.

I also went through my small pile of coupons and chose the ones I could use, then made a note on my list by the items for which I had a coupon because I have a horrible memory and would forget to use them!

Another item that makes my budgeting life easier is a wallet with many organizing compartments. It might sound a little silly, but I have a section to put church collection, a place for dues money for Brownies and Guides, a place to put gas money, another section for grocery money and yet another to stash cash being set aside for something else. There’s a compartment to save receipts and another for coupons. By having cash, I can easily see how much money is left as I go from one store to the next. There is no accidental spending of the gas money or using up the change set aside for the kids’ extracurricular activities. This simple everyday item makes a big difference in my money managing strategy!

Remember to allow yourself enough time to make your stops, don’t go shopping hungry, and be creative with planning your meals. A package of meat that is on sale can often be used to make more than one meal and is so much healthier for you than a prepackaged, highly processed meal. Have fun and happy shopping!

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