When I started this blog back in August, I was just coming off of shampoo. It was and still is my main goal to limit my dependence on large commercial products and decrease my spending at national big box retailers. This all started in May of last year. If I have one regret, it's that I didn't track my savings because the amount of money I estimate that I am saving now almost trumps the original goal. So this is going to be a HUGE post. I'm going to go through everything I no longer buy, or buy less of and tell you how I did it. Target misses me dearly, but I don't miss them like I thought I would. You know, flea markets have much cooler furniture or less money. Just a thought.
So here is my list followed by a break down. I no longer buy (or on a regular basis)
Body/ hand lotion
Hair products (palmade, hair spray, gels and such)
All purpose Cleaner
Bathroom Cleaner (except toilet bowl cleaner)
Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets
This is where I am after 9 months. Can you imagine how much money I am saving not purchasing those items anymore? I am still purchasing something, but the items are much less expensive, I can find them at my local employee owned grocery store and I don't buy them very often. So here it is.....the break down.
Shampoo, Conditioner, Shaving Cream, and Hair Products
If you have read this blog before then you probably know I have sworn off traditional shampoo and lived to tell the tale. I went "Poo Free" Last May at the start of my journey to hippydom. I now use organic poo free shampoo and conditioners, but I only wash my hair once a week now. This is one of the few things I still have to go to Target for. I use Shae Moisture brand shampoo and conditioner. They have a very short ingredients list, and at about $9.00 per bottle with limited use, it's quite a bit less than I used to spend on my
Rusk brand shampoo and conditioner. What is even better is that my hair is now so awesome, I don't need any product in it ever. So these two products have eliminated my need for salon shampoo and all hair products. I even use the conditioner to shave with, and now I don't buy shaving cream any more. See how this works? Pretty awesome aye?
I went deodorant free back in May also. I tried a few different things but what I ended up sticking with was a deodorant stone, like this one. Available at my grocery store, it was about $10.00 if I remember right. The thing is, it can last for years. They are made from mineral salt. They go on clear, no stickiness or residue, they
give you 24 hour protection, and they are completely natural. Just be sure of a few things if you go this route. Make sure it is not a synthetically made stone. It should be clear and colorless not white and opaque. The synthetic ones don't work as well and can hardly be called "natural" when you get down to it. The second thing is that there is an adjustment period. For a few weeks, I had my stinky moments. A pack of baby wipes in you purse can be helpful until that passes.
I make my own. Here is the LINK to the recipe. It's made with coffee, raw sugar, and olive oil. The coffee and sugar are bother great exfoliaters and the olive oil makes your skin soft. Coffee is also great, because caffeine is known to reduce puffiness in the skin and smooth out cellulite. Buying a large container of coffee and raw sugar lasts forever and is much less expensive and more effective than that pricey St Ive's body scrub I was buying for years.
Facial Cleansers, Toner, Hand and Body Lotion, and Makeup Remover
My new nightly ritual for my face is this. I remove my makeup with olive oil, then I splash my face with warm water and rub it with raw honey, then rinse. I pat my face dry and apply coconut oil before bed. I no longer need toner or facial cleansers. The olive oil removes my makeup and tightens the skin around my eyes. The honey is an antibacterial that reduces swelling, redness, and acne. I use the coconut oil as a moisturizer. I also use the coconut oil in place of hand and body lotion. Now you may go to the store to look at these items and think, "This stuff is expensive" But keep in mind, some of these things are replacing more than one product and a little goes a long way. To learn more about the honey I use, you can click HERE to go to the blog post.
All Purpose Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, and Glass Cleaner
I have a confession. I used to think that people who made their own cleaners had dirtier houses. I know it sounds awful but I have since seen the error of my ways. 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water cleans all my surfaces and makes my windows and mirrors shine like I have never seen before. No streaks, not ever. People complain about the smell of vinegar and it did take me about 2 weeks to get used to it, but keep in mind it dries odorless. Do you know how much a gallon of vinegar costs at my grocery store? A little over a dollar. Do you know how much I used to spend buying Windex? Let's just say way more than a dollar. For my bathtub and kitchen sink, I use baking soda. You can sprinkle it on and let it sit for a few minutes. It will soak up every little bit of soap scum and if you have a really tough job, add a little vinegar to it and get a fizz going. Really there is nothing better than hearing your husband yell "This is awesome!" while he is scrubbing your tub.
My daughter loves to eat oranges. When she has one (if I need any) I put the peels in a mason jar and fill it with vinegar. I let it sit on my windowsill for 2 weeks. Then I put it in a spray bottle with some water and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (maybe a half cup of water this isn't really scientific) This is my furniture polish and it makes my dinning room table look amazing.
This is a big one people. The recipe I use lasts or like 6 months, and I promise you, the clothes really do get clean. I used to cloth diaper and I used this recipe on them without incident.
4 bars of soap grated (I use Dr Bonners but you can use Fels-Naptha)
1 box borax (4 lbs)
1 box of baking soda (4 lbs)
1 box of Arm and Hammer washing soda (3 lbs)
1 box of OxiClean (7 lbs)
In the parentheses I put how big the boxes are. If you find one a little over or under it's not that big of a deal
Mix all that together in a huge garbage bag. I leave mine in my basement and fill a large Mason Jar for my laundry room. You won't have to worry about detergent for months and months and all the ingredients probably cost you less than one box of your regular detergent. Now I know there are some pretty big named companies in that list, but they are getting a lot less of my money now.
Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets
I use dryer balls, but here are a couple other alternatives.
You can use a cap full of vinegar in the rinse cycle to soften the clothes, or you can get some sheets of cheese cloth. Soak them in your favorite softener and wring them out. Hang them to dry and use them as dryer sheets. One sheet should be good or up to ten loads. You will still be buying softener but you will be buying far less.
I hope this information is helpful to you and that you can find a few ways to cut down your own dependence on large manufacturers, or just save a buck or two.