I have decided recently that being thrifty isn't something we should 'do' just when we HAVE to. You can read that however you want....but, for this pay check to paycheck enlisted military family...it means that sometimes the month lasts longer than the paycheck. If'n ya catch my drift. So, I have been trying to find painless ways to save a bit here and there. My initial worry was that I'd be sacrificing quality to save money but, I've found that, with a little added work, just isn't the case. I like to TRY and keep our home as 'natural' an environment as I can. I don't always succeed but, I figure if I do several little things it has to make a difference right? I have found in this quest to save money that if I forgo some of the 'deals' and commit to a little work I can have high quality product at a VERY small price.
My FIRST find is Home Made Laundry Soap. You can find 'recipes' online. The one I used came from a fellow Coast Guard Spouse. I felt confident trying it after a lot of glowing recommendations from other spouses. It is super easy to make and you may just briefly lose consciousness when you see how much it will cost you...or rather SAVE you. =) You make a 5 gallon bucket of CONCENTRATE at once. Once you have the concentrate made you use old (rinsed out) laundry soap containers (reusing=recycling's older and wiser brother...yay). For each gallon of finished laundry soap you use 1/2 gallon of your concentrate, so your 5 gallon bucket will yield TEN gallons of laundry detergent!!! That equates into roughly 180 loads for a traditional machine or 640 loads for an HE or Front Loader! Wow...right?!?
Now picture all those big laundry soap bottles...pesky right? I hate those. Even the 2x or HE soap bottles are a pain. No MORE! =)
Now, would you like to guess how much this batch of laundry soap will cost you to make? Wait for it....right around $2.10. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself. I did the math (with a calculator and everything). Of course your prices may vary given different stores, container sizes and cost of living factors etc. but this will give you a rough idea.
1 Fells Naptha Soap Bar=$1.29 (makes 1 batch)
1 box of Arm and Hammer WASHING Soda=$3.29 (makes 6 1/2 batches)
1 box Borax Laundry Booster=$5.50 (makes 19 batches)
That's about a PENNY for each load for traditional washers and about 5 loads for a PENNY and a half in an HE or Front Loader Machine! SERIOUSLY. *gasp* Right?!?
The only other things you need are:
1--5 gal. bucket With a lid. Any clean one will do. I bought one at Fred Meyer for $4.
1--Grater for soap ( I used the slicer/shredder/Grater attachment for my KitchenAid this is quick and easy but, any grater will do.)
pan for melting down grated soap and water
This takes a minimal amount of time and will save you a good chunk of money (and help our planet a bit too).
Here are the instructions:
1 bar of soap, grated (I used Fels-Naptha Brand)
1 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer Brand)
1/2 cup Borax
4 cups HOT water
Grate the soap, and put into a pan on the stove with the 4 cups of HOT water and cook over med low heat until the soap is melted.
Pour into a 5 gallon bucket, add the Borax and Washing Soda and stir well.
Add HOT water (we used the bath tub) to the top of the bucket to equal 5 gallons of liquid.
Let sit over night. This mixture will gel. Stir well the next morning. Take an old clean laundry detergent container and add 1 quart of laundry detergent concentrate and 1 quart of HOT water, screw on the top and shake well. You now have 1/2 gallon of homemade liquid laundry detergent. Shake before each use. You can add essential oils at this point if you so desire. I picked up some Tea Tree Oil to help with 'disinfecting' and the yummy smell.
Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads) Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)