Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No poo!

Who has heard of the “no-poo movement”? No, it's not about deliberately constipating yourself until your colon explodes. It's when you quit shampoo. I am slightly creeped out by the term so I am just going to say that I am going to quit shampoo. This does not mean I am going to have greasy and stinky hair. I actually have an alternative. I'll get to that in a second.

So why am I going to break up with shampoo? Yes I am cheap but that's not the reason. I am dealing with an autoimmune disease and my neurologist would like me to turn into a crunchy granola tree hugger. She thinks that using chemicals and eating processed foods is really bad for you in general and especially for those of us that have autoimmune issues. So while I don't see that I will ever give up ALL my non-crunchy granola girly needs (like make up, deodorant and shaving my legs), I am making an effort to get rid of more of the chemicals and processed crap in my life.

So there are chemicals in shampoo like methylisothiazolinone and diethanolamine. Google them and you will see that they cause cancer, nerve damage and Alzheimer’s disease just to name a few of the horrible things I found. My personal opinion is that the small amounts of these things in shampoo probably are not responsible for my nerve damage yet they probably aren't all that good for me either. Also the sodium lauryl sulfate (AKA: SLS) in shampoo irritates skin. As I am blessed with the most sensitive/irritable skin on the planet this is something that I can relate to.

So, in short: by simply quitting shampoo you will save money, you will have less irritated skin and you will not be using chemicals on your body. And for the real crunchy granola people out there it’s better for the environment because there are less plastic bottles in the landfill and we are washing less poison down the drain and into the ocean.

The alternative: shampoo with baking soda and condition with vinegar.

Nope, not kidding. Here's what you do:

Shampoo: Put 3 TBSP in a cup of water. Mix up and put in a reusable bottle. Wet your hair, "shampoo" with your baking soda solution and then rinse really well. You don't need to use the whole bottle. About 1/8 cup is all you need just massage this into your scalp.

Conditioner: Add 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. Add to your hair. Leave in for 1 minute then rinse.
Rumor has it that quitting shampoo will make your hair soft, shiney and they healthiest it's ever been. I am trying it tomorrow. If I stop going out in public you will know that this was a very very bad idea and I am bald.

Oh and for those of you that remember I was going to color my own hair, I did it. Bought a box of color for dummies (i.e. Clairol) and colored my hair myself. It turned out really good. I was very nervous that this was a horrible idea but I am pleased with the results. (Except the one spot by my right ear that I missed apparently. Only noticeable when my hair is in a pony tail so I am not going to fix it until it's time to color again.)

So cost of the color at home was $7.99 plus tax. What do I pay at the salon? Anywhere from $300 - 400 per trip depending what I have done. Cheapest I get out for is $250.

I need to add the savings for shampoo/conditioner and hair color to the total. I am holding off on the shampoo/conditioner total until I know if I am going to do it for good or go running screaming to my beloved shampoo bottle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wash your hands

I love the bath and body works hand soaps but they are about $5 per bottle. Even when they go on sale and I stock up they aren't cheap. I go through at least 1 bottle per month in the kitchen and the 3 bathrooms go through about 1 bottle every 2 months. This is roughly $100 per year on hand soap. So I decided to make my own hand soap. I made one gallon of soap and I spent $1.03 to make the whole gallon. I figure a gallon will last 4-6 months. So for $4.12 a year at most I made some awesome soap.


8 oz of bar soap. (I bought one at the 99 cent store for a whopping 99 cents)
2 TBSP of glycerin. (I bought a bottle with 10 oz for $6. This should make at least 20 batches of soap)
1 gallon of water

Shave the soap. I used a cheese grater. Add the soap, the water and the glycerin to a pot. Turn the flame to a medium heat and stir to allow the soap to melt. Don't boil. (If you buy unscented soap you can add fragrance to it at this point. My Aunt Beth gave me the great idea to put grapefruit rind in the water and boil it before I add the soap to have a nice natural grapefruit soap. I am totally doing this next time.) Let it sit for 10-12 hours to cool. I used an immersion blender to get the clumps and top layer nice and smooth. Then fill up your soap containers. I had lots extra and have it in a container to refill as I use what's in the house.

This is a $95.88 savings per year. So we are now at a total of $677.40 in savings for 2012. I am still waiting to make the dishwasher soap. I am almost out so we will make this when we run out.

Next post? Adventures in do it yourself hair color.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saving the earth, one bottle at a time

I drink a lot of water. I average about 84 ounces a day or more. And I like Smart Water. It tastes clean. I generally buy my Smart Water at Costco or Sams Club. A package of 12 one liter bottles costs $11.68 including $1.20 CRV so about $0.97 per day. I drink at least one of these bottles per day. I go through about 3 cases of water per month so $35.04 per month or $420.48 per year on bottled water. And even though I do recycle these bottles those are a lot of bottles every year.

In an effort to save the earth and some money, I invested in a reusable bottle. It is BPA free and comes with a filter.


This product is called a Bobble and cost $12.99. A replacement filter is $6.99. Each filter is worth about the same as 300 bottles of water. So total investment for the year is $19.98.

This is a $400.50 per year savings. And it makes me feel like I am doing a good thing for the earth at the same time. Suck that Al Gore!

Total savings to date: $581.52

How to make your own dishwasher soap will be the next topic. I am excited about that one!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Penny Saved

So my friend Tamara posted something about making laundry detergent. This is the recipie she used:


I did the math. It will cost me $0.02 cents per load to make my own detergent rather than spending $0.09 cents per load for the stufff I buy at Sams Club / Costco. I have 6 people I do laundry for in addition to the household stuff (towels, blankets etc.) so we do a lot of laundry. By making my own detergent it will result in total savings for the year of $120.02. And it works just as well as the detergent I have been buying for years. As I have very sensitive skin I used an Ivory Soap bar that worked like a charm. My skin is not rashing out and the clothes are clean. Works for me!

Also I read that I can use vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener. I spend about $65.00 per year on fabric softener. I got 4 gallons of vinegar for about $4.00. This will last the year. So this is a $61.00 savings. It works. My clothes were soft and didn't smell like vinegar. Score!

I am going to try making dishwasher soap next. It looks easy and will also save me money. So total savings with just a few small changes has added up to $181.02. Not bad for something that will not change our lifestyle at all. So let's put $181.02 in the savings account.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

And the journey begins

I have determined that we spend too much money. None of us think twice about going to lunch or dinner many times a month. If I want something, I buy it. Same goes for the hubby. Kids ask for something? Nine times out of ten I say yes. We have tons of clothes, shoes, toys, grown up toys and random other junk that we didn't really need but wanted and so we got it. Who knows how much we could have in our savings account if we actually were making good choices about what we spend money on. So I have a new proposition for the family: 365 days of no spending money. Obviously we will need to pay the bills, buy groceries and gas for the car. But what would happen to our net worth if that's ALL we spent money on? We are about to find out.

I don't consider this a New Year's Resolution but a challenge for my family. Hubby and I will get $20 per month to spend on incidentals. The kids will get $10 each per month. That's a total of $70 per month for gum, candy, new clothes, going to dinner/lunch and the movies. After the bills are paid and the groceries are purchased the rest will go into savings.

In addition to this challenge I am going to see how much money I can save by making different decisions. For example we bought little plastic sandwich containers rather than sending the kids lunch in a ziploc bag everyday. It's good for the pocketbook and for the environment. We are also going to try to make our own laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. Good for my allergies, the environment and the pocketbook. I think we can do so many more things to save money and grow our net worth that I am going to blog about it and share what we are doing and how much we have saved.

It's going to be a huge shock to our lifestyle at first but I think it will be worth it when we see the balance in the savings account at the end of the year.