Let’s all be honest! We all want to save some money, right? I know I do. But sometimes we (especially busy moms with limited time) fall into the consumer trap of buying what we don’t really need just for convenience. It’s okay. We have all been there….even me.
However, once my 1st child was born, my husband and I agreed that I should stay home and raise our daughter. But with only one income coming into our home to support a family of three, we had to make some big changes to our budget.
We decided to cut as many unnecessary items from our budget to save money. And one by one, over the past six years, we have been able to minimize our spending and save and reuse as much as possible.
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND ANYTHING THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN OR USE MYSELF. YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE)
1. Laundry Soap
So I want to be 100% honest.
I have only recently this year started making my very own laundry soap from scratch, but like I said, “We took steps one by one to begin reusing and making our own products to avoid becoming overwhelmed.”
Another big reason that I have only just started making laundry soap at home is that I am busy and don’t have the time or desire to be a mad scientist mixing several ingredients together to finally end up with laundry soap at the end. Having a recipe that I can follow with minimal ingredients and that makes my life easier while also saving money was just the perfect solution for my problem.
When I finally came across a recipe on Pinterest, I was so very excited to be able to make my own laundry soap with only 5 simple ingredients.
Now, of course, your first question about this laundry soap will probably be the same as mine was before using it. Does homemade laundry soap get your clothes as clean as the store-bought laundry detergents?
Yes! Yes, it does. In fact, I love how my laundry is clean, free of chemicals and also smells of whatever essential oils I decided to add to my laundry soap recipe.
2. Dryer Sheets
Okay, first of all, I never really bought dryer sheets but maybe 4 or 5 times in the last 6 years so giving up this item wasn’t too hard for me. However, when looking at different ways to add softness and also a refreshing scent to my laundry I came across the absolutely amazing wool dryer balls.
These small balls of wool are reusable and completely cost-effective. Wool dryer balls are also super convenient since all you have to do is throw them in the dryer and go about your business.
As for an amazing scent for your just out of the dryer laundry, wool dryer balls are the best. I usually will add a few drops of lavender essential oils to my dryer balls before tossing them in with my wet laundry when I feel like it may need an extra boost of freshness. Especially for bedsheets!!!!
Lastly, the final superpower of wool dryer balls is the ability to shorten your drying time. Yes, you heard me right! So not only are you going to be saving time but you can also save your energy bill as well. And that adds up over time.
3. Household Cleaners
Store-bought cleaning products are one thing that I hate having in my home. Not only because of the money spent but also because many household and all-purpose cleaners are filled with harmful chemicals that I don’t want to keep around my children.
This is really the main reason that I started making my own all-purpose cleaners. And honestly, I started making this when I was still pregnant and worried about handling anything full of chemicals.
The best thing about simple household and all-purpose cleaners is they are easy to make and very cheap. I usually fill up a spray bottle with half water and half distilled white vinegar. That’s it.
4. Feminine Products
Feminine products are a fact of life when you have Aunt Flo visiting you every month. But you don’t have to run out and buy products that you are just going to throw out anyway. In my mind, I always look at it as money that I am throwing in the trash.
And although spending $5 on a package of tampons or even pads may not seem like a ton of money over time it really adds up. Think about it. Let’s just say you started having a cycle at 16 years old and now you are 26 years old. That’s ten long years of buying tampons or pads once a month that is now in a landfill.
$5 x 12 MONTHS x 10 Years = $600 or more if you spent more or bought both tampons and pads.
And even if the cost isn’t a huge factor, the chemicals and the ways that tampons and pads are produced are not the safest. Between bleaching and added absorbent chemicals, I can’t imagine what these items are actually doing to our bodies that we don’t know about.
So in the place of disposable pads, I love to use cloth menstrual pads. And I use a Diva Cup instead of tampons. The diva cup is also awesome since it is made of medical-grade silicone and can be used for 8 hours in a row.
5. Paper Towels & Napkins
Yes! I was a HUGE paper towel addict. In fact, I used to buy a 6-8 pack of paper towels each week when going to the grocery store.
One reason is that I have horrible anxiety about germs which makes me wash my hands like a thousand times a day. Like I am not joking, I could go through an entire roll of paper towels in one day. Even the thick absorbent kinds.
But when my husband and I finally sat down and did the math, we realized that we needed to cut them out. I was spending over $350 a year on paper towels that I threw away after using one time.
After that realization, we decided to make the switch to cloth kitchen towels.
Now if you have ever been on my blog before you probably know that my family uses cloth diapers and we love them. I actually started cloth diapering my daughter just after she turned 6 months old and we have never gone back to disposables.
Our biggest reason for switching to cloth diapers, in the beginning, was due to the cost factor. If you truly sit down and think about it.
For just one baby it generally costs $2k or more to diaper them from birth to the age of 2 years old. And that doesn’t even include if they are a late potty trainer or the cost of pull up training pants.
Now that is a big number.
And now that my family has cloth diapered two children with my second child about to turn 2 years old, we have only invested about $500 for both kids. The reason we were also able to save so much money is the fact that many cloth diapers can be used for multiple children and stand the test of time.
But if money wasn’t enough of a reason, my son having a horrible reaction to disposable diapers sure was. After wearing a disposable diaper my son turns bright red in the diaper area. He also suffers from eczema which I think contributed to that reaction. But with cloth diapers, he has no issues.
7. Baby Wipes
Baby Wipes are kinda in the same boat as cloth diapers. If you are gonna save money and cloth diaper, you might as well use cloth wipes as well.
One reason is when you change a dirty cloth diaper you would then put it into a wet bag or diaper pail. And if you are using disposable baby wipes, you have to throw them separately in a trash can. For me, this was just another expense and I didn’t want to even have to think about separating a diaper.
Like I said earlier, I am too busy to think straight. Haha.
The great thing is that you can either make your own baby wipes from an absorbent fabric or even use old baby washcloths. Who really uses those in the tub anyways.
8. Shaving Cream
This was always a must in our home. I used it and my husband used it. But it always seemed after using shaving cream our skin would be extremely dry and not to mention, I didn’t like paying for it.
The replacement we decided to use is coconut oil.
Yes and believe me your skin will thank you. Coconut oil is so smooth and amazing for your skin. In fact, I use it in many other ways around our home.
9. Sandwich Bags
With one child in school now, I feel like we are constantly packing lunch. And although once again buying sandwich bags is not terribly expensive, having a more economical option that is reusable fits our needs much better.
That’s why I decided to pick up these lunch skins and have not regretted buying them since. They have a wipeable protective layer inside and a velcro closure that even my Kindergartener can open.
10. Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil has become somewhat of a normal household staple for many families. And we were definitely one of those families.
But after reading this post that my friend Carolina wrote on her blog, I decided to stop using aluminum foil for good.
11. Facial Tissues
So everyone gets sick and has those nasty colds where you are surrounded by tissues for your poor runny nose, but we decided to use small washcloths in place of facial tissues.
Generally, this has worked fairly well and we have not had to purchase facial tissues for years.
12. Bottled Water
Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!!!!
I was a huge bottled water user when I was pregnant with my son. In one way it was good that I was drinking so much water to support my body and the healthy baby growing inside me, but my wallet didn’t appreciate it much.
After finding some heavy-duty glass water bottles and some even better stainless steel cups, I was more than happy to make the switch and save some money.
13. Plastic Wrap
Although plastic wrap was very rarely used in our house, we did purchase and use it from time to time. And after receiving these awesome beeswax wraps, I haven’t purchased plastic wrap in over a year.
These beeswax wraps are perfect for covering leftovers or even wrapping fruit and bread.
14. Cable TV
After having cable and barely watching it for the first few years of our marriage, my husband and I realized that we never truly watched live television and almost always had to watch our favorite shows on-demand or by recording it.
But it felt like we were spending far too much just for tv, so after searching around and naming off our favorite tv shows, we canceled our cable and switched to Hulu and Netflix.
We were able to get a monthly subscription for both Hulu and Netflix for under $25 and still be able to watch all of our favorite shows while saving over $100 each month.
Now that was one big change I am very proud of.
15. Disinfecting Wipes
As you read above, my anxiety is massive when it comes to cleanliness and germs. So naturally, I fell in love with the convenience of Clorox disinfecting wipes when I had a small baby to clean up after.
But when finally looking at all of the ingredients that were in them, I decided to switch to a more natural option.
Since the “greener” disinfecting wipes ended up costing more than double what the regular wipes were, I decided to make my own with my vinegar and water recipe.
By just adding some kitchen towels to my water and vinegar mixture, I am able to make my own reusable disinfecting wipes that are pennies compared to the store-bought ones.
16. Diaper Rash Cream
Another fact of life is the diaper rash! Well at least if you have a baby in diapers. If you have heard anything about cloth diapers, you probably know that not all diaper rash creams are safe to use with them.
In fact, many of the typical diaper rash creams that are sold in stores contain ingredients that can cause build-up in cloth diapers. And build-up leads to diapers that are not washing properly.
So instead of forking over $10-15 for a cloth diaper safe marketed diaper rash cream, we use coconut oil for my son’s diaper rashes. And it works like a charm every time.
17. Makeup Remover
If you wear makeup you’ve gotta remove it sooner or later.
Although I am not one who wears makeup often or even every day, I still do wear it on occasion. And when taking it off I use only two things. Coconut oil and then I wiped it all off with a warm wet washcloth. Easy-peasy right?
It honestly is easy. The coconut oil takes it all off without hardly any effort.