Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Frugal Friday!

So what are Frugal Fridays going to be about? Tips and ideas for making those hard earned dollars go farther is my goal. Who couldn't use ideas for stretching that dollar?

The first and best tip is to follow what Jesus instructed us to do.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

This is a wonderful truth. My husband and I have seen this in our own finances over and over again. If we were to write on paper our incoming and outgoing money it wouldn't be possible to do what we have done at times. But because God supplies our needs and blesses us when we give, the money is always there at the right time when we need it.

The other thing I would advise is to write down where you spend your money for a couple of weeks. You might find it going to little things that add up over the month and aren't really a good buy or necessary.

One thing that I do when deciding to buy something. What does that item cost? What does my husband get paid by the hour at his job? Lets say you see a new throw pillow that catches your eye and would look perfect on your sofa. That pillow let's say costs $25. Let's say your husband (or yourself if you work) makes $10 per hour. How many hours does it take to pay for that pillow? I am not the best at math, but I figure it would take 2.5 hours on the job to pay for it. Then you decide if that pillow is worth buying. Personally because I can sew and have plenty of fabric on hand, I would say no. I wouldn't want my husband working 2.5 hours so I could have that pillow looking pretty on my sofa. : ) I would find something to make myself or if you don't sew look at yard sales and thrift stores.

One of my favorite ways to save money is to make my own laundry soap and fabric softener. There are about a zillion recipes out there in cyber land if you do a search for homemade laundry soap. One that I like to make is easy and I made it double strength. It really works good for us and is very inexpensive to make and use. Just for fun I put it in a recycled gallon jug and printed myself a label for them.

This is my laundry soap from one batch.

And here is my fabric softener from one recipe.

Recipe for Laundry Soap

1 Bar of Fels Naptha soap

2 cups washing soda (not baking soda)

2 cups borax

Look for these things in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. Sometimes you can find just borax at one store and the washing soda at another. But they are readily available.

You will also need a bucket to mix this in. I use a clean 5 gallon bucket.

Grate the bar of soap. You can use a hand grater or put it in your food processor if you have one. After grating, put it in a large sauce pan. Add 12 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 8 cups of HOT water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir well. Next add 2 gallons plus 12 cups of tap water and stir. At this point I add some essential oils to scent it. I use about a tsp of lavender oil. You can leave this step out if you like or of course use other scents that you prefer. Let the soap sit for 12-24 hours and it will gel. Mine is usually ready overnight. This makes almost 3 gallons of soap. You can half the recipe if you like. Just make sure to half the water parts too.

The next morning I take a whisk and stir it really well and then pour into smaller containers that are easy to use. You can use old laundry soap containers or what ever you have on hand. I used gallon jugs that I buy Agave nectar in.

When you use the laundry soap a good starting place is a half cup per load. You may find you need up to a cup for heavy soil or if you have hard water. This is safe for HE washers too as it doesn't make suds. That is kind of hard to get used to, but it isn't the suds that cleans the clothes, it is the soap. This makes it easier for the rinse cycle to get the soap out of the clothes.

Give the bottle a shake before measuring it out. The water will separate from the gel a little, so always give it a good shake to mix it. Yes, you can use bleach with the soap. I find that the soap whitens my clothes very well on it's own.

Recipe for Fabric Softener

1 cup baking soda (yes BAKING soda this time)

1 cup water

6 cups white vinegar

6 more cups water

Use the large bucket again as this will do some major fizzing.

Put the cup of baking soda into the bucket, add the 1 cup of water. Give it a little stir. Next slowly add the 6 cups of vinegar. This will fizz and bubble up. Let it fizz and bubble for several minutes to dissolve the baking soda. I use a big wooden spoon to give it a bit of a stir making sure the baking soda is dissolved. Then add the 6 additional cups of water. This will stop the fizzing action. Stir and at this point add your essential oils if you like. About 12-15 drops will be enough to give a nice scent. Pour into a container. You might want to make sure the lid isn't on really tight as this will still do a little fizzing and expand. Use one cup in the rinse cycle. This will freshen and soften your clothes.

May your weekend be blessed and enjoyable.

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