I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with ways to save money. We have a new baby on the way and our income doesn't seem to be keeping up with the increasing cost of food, electricity, and supplies. Something has to give. I mean, we already cloth diaper, I nursed our daughter, I buy used clothes and housewares, we try to not eat out as often as we used to, and have been trying to save energy and heat by the standard methods. But still, I'd like to spend a little less, if I can.
After cutting down on non-essentials, you have to start looking at what you're paying for the essentials, right? I can save $10 on an oil change by showing up before 10am. That's great, but can I save EVERY DAY?
My first thought was, COUPONS! So, I searched the internet for tips on shopping with coupons. The fist thing I learned was that internet coupons abound! You can print coupons for a lot of things these days. Having access to a printer, this sounded like a great idea. Then I tried to go shopping with my new coupons. They didn't work! My local store will not honor internet coupons. Crudola.
Well, I guess I could still use real, commercially printed coupons, right? Well, yes, if I want to take the gamble that the $2 I pay for the Sunday paper in order to obtain said coupons will pay off in more than $2 worth of coupons for things we already buy. Snort. Yeah, how often do YOU see coupons for Rice Milk, Tofutti, and beer?
So, pretending that I could get my hands on coupons that would be useful to my family, I decided to learn about the tactics of using coupons. The number one tip listed on all of the sites is to shop on "double coupon" days. I had to look VERY HARD to even find a store in town that had "double coupon" days. The thing is, you have to read the fine print. Our store has one day a week when they will double coupons, they accept coupons up to $0.75, you can only double 5 coupons per order, and in order to qualify for coupon doubling, you have to buy more than $25 worth of items before the coupon items are included. That sure is some pretty big savings possibilities there! (insert heavy sarcasm here)
What's a girl to do?!
I have decided that I will start making my own laundry detergent. Tide is $7 for a box the size of two paperback books stacked together. With children, you wash a LOT of laundry. That little box doesn't last us too long. When we start up on diaper laundry again in three months, I'll be in need of LOTS of detergent. I was surfing one of my cloth diapering forums today and came across mention of making one's own detergent for diaper laundry. Tada!
This is the website/recipe I found with great recipes for laundry detergent.
And after reading this website, I have learned that I can do one load of laundry for a penny if I make my own! A penny! When was the last time you bought anything useful for a penny?
I think I'll make a powdered detergent instead of a liquid. Liquids are dandy, but they require that you have a bottle with a cap to store them in, which I am fresh out of! I do, however, have a 5 gallon bucket of laundry detergent that I am almost done with. It will hold homemade detergent nicely!