Nathan and I  have finally gotten around to listening to the Dave Ramsey CDs his brother loaned to us about a year ago.  We started disk 2 last night, but we both quickly fell asleep. Not because of the content of the disk, but because we were tired.  Dave Ramsey is a very entertaining and honest speaker. I don’t doubt that he always has a captive audience. It’s exciting to have us both so excited about our financial lifestyle.   We’ve never lived extravagantly and we don’t ever plan to, but we admittedly like stuff and there is a certain way that we would like to live in the future.  No matter how much money we have sitting in the bank or in investments we want to live frugally and always get a deal.  I never want to stop shopping at thrift stores cause it’s fun.  Plus it no longer makes sense to me to pay full price for name brand stuff that I can get at a thrift store (tags still on) for cheaper than sale price. I also have bought many of our home decorations from thrift stores.  Nothing a little paint and imagination won’t fix. Our message to ourselves is that we don’t buy certain things—not cause we can’t, but because we choose not to. Our entire wardrobe is not from thrift stores and neither are our decorations.  The point is why spend a lot of money when you don’t have to. Anyway, my point here is just to share one area of spending that I have changed to help us spend less money.  Household cleaners.

My desire to change cleaners first began when my kids began showing an interest in helping me clean.  I found myself saying too many times, “I would love you to help, but I don’t want your little hands to touch these cleaners.”  We also noticed that Moriah would sometimes break out in a rash.  An allergic reaction to something that we never figured out.  I figured it was some type of chemical in our home, but I still don’t know.  I know that once I changed what I used to clean our clothes and our home the rash stopped appearing.

There are two commercial products I use. Bon Ami and Imus Greening the Cleaning Citrus Sage Glass and Window Cleaner.Bon Ami is awesome.  I only use it in the bathtub, but I think it would be good anywhere.  It is virtually odorless and I feel comfortable cleaning without gloves when I use it.  Once it’s gone I plan to use baking soda, but if that doesn’t work as well back to Bon Ami.  The Imus stuff is wonderful too.  It makes tile, glass, and fixtures sparkle.  No streaks and I love the smell.  A plus is they tell you everything they put into the product (have you found a product on the shelf that does that?) and proceeds from after tax profits go to the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer.  It is a cleaner that is safe for people with cancer to use.  I will probably always buy this product.

Otherwise I simply use a bleach:water solution (I know bleach is harsh too, but most people just use WAY too much 1 tablespoon per quart is all you need), vinegar and baking soda.  That’s it.  To clean my floors I use castile soap and water.  I haven’t tried this one yet cause I still have some yummy almond scented furniture polish, but I read that you can use olive oil to polish wooden furniture.  I think it might be best to use an oil that doesn’t go rancid, but I haven’t really looked into this idea yet.

I’ve recently started making my own dishwasher detergent and my own laundry detergent.  Both have worked more wonderfully than any other commercial product I have ever purchased in the past.  Making either of them takes little time and they both save a lot of money.  As a rinse aid in the dishwasher I use vinegar.  There is no smell unless you spill.  And you shouldn’t put aluminum in the dishwasher if you are going to use vinegar as a rinse agent.  We no longer have problems with specks on dishes, or strong smells/chemicals wafting through the house.

Tomorrow I will share the recipes I use and a few humorous ways to save money outlined in 1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses