Tips to save money in 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

If your goal is to be more financially stable in 2012, this post is for you. This is a roundup of some things I do that helped my pocketbook in 2011. Some projects are a little more difficult than others, but they’re all worth trying at least once.

Ready? Here ‘goes:

  • Make your own laundry detergent. I have been going DIY with laundry detergent since May. This recipe makes a five-gallon bucket worth of detergent concentrate and took me seven months to go through. It’s cheap, easy, great for dirt and gentle on clothes.
  • What to take the laundry two steps cheaper? Use a 1/4 cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle as a fabric softener and dry your clothes on a clothes line in the summer. You’ll be amazed at how clean your clothes will smell!
  • Clean with baking soda and vinegar. This is something I just started to do in December and it happened out of desperation. I’ve tried several formulas for DYI cleaners but was never satisfied with the results. I had been using either Bar Keepers’ Friend or Arm and Hammer Scrub Free Bathroom cleaner (still scrubbed anyway) but neither were cleaning as well as I wanted. Case in point was my bathtub; it had collected what I thought were blackish stains in the fiberglass basin and no amount of scrubbing would remove them. I decided to try a baking soda scrub. Turns out those stains were soap scum and they came right off! So much for commercial cleaners who claim to remove soap scum. Baking soda also works wonderfully on stainless steel sinks because it will not leave a film when rinsed away. Follow up your baking soda cleaning with a spraying from a squirt bottle full of vinegar to dissolve any leftover soda and to disinfect surfaces.
  • In the baking department, try making your own brown sugar. It’s quick, easy, requires only a fork and a bowl to make and tastes a million times better than the bought stuff.
  • Pack granola bars in your or your kids’ lunch buckets? Here’s a tasty recipe to make your own.
  • Try the oil cleansing method to wash your face. I’ve been using this method for a month and can honestly tell you my skin has never looked this good in my life. I’m always getting compliments. All you need are olive and castor oils.
  • This is a little more difficult and a little expensive upfront, but making your own bar soap in a Crock Pot is a great way to save money and your skin.
  • You can also try making your own dish soap. It’s very, very different from traditional dish soap because it doesn’t suds up at all, but it’s amazing on cutting grease.
  • If you like liquid soaps but not their prices, you can buy bar soap and turn it into liquid soap. I’ve only tried this with my homemade bars, but I’ve read on other blogs about successfully doing this. Caution – this supposedly does not work well with Dove soap, according to comments on the article I’ve linked to.
  • Use microfiber cloths in your Swiffer duster. Sweep, shake out the dirt outdoors, then toss in the wash.
  • Wash your plastic shower curtain when it’s dirty instead of pitching it and buying a new one. Wash it in your machine on the gentle cycle with a towel to help scrub off the junk. Hang back up on the shower certain rod to dry.

How do you save money in your own home? I’m always looking for more tips!

6 responses

  1. Great post. I use vinegar with a bit of water and dish soap to clean windows, and instead of softer, I use vinegar. I didn’t know you could use baking soda for that.
    I don’t own a dryer. Its seems sinful to have one when you live in a country with so little rain and so much sun….I am also glad not to have to pay the extra electricity bill.
    I am going to see if I can find out what washing soda is in our parts and try out your home made detergent. I have a bunch of borax left over from my jeweler days🙂
    I love your Idea for brown sugar, as I nixed making some Cinnamon cookies because of the price of the brown sugar… I was shocked. I am not sure what molasses is in my part of the world, but in intend to find out.

    • I have tried vinegar as a softener, but I like the baking soda best. I envy you for being able to use your clothesline all year round! It’s snowing here and is very cold, so I think my wet clothes would freeze before they were dry! There are some people that do hang out clothes when the snow flies, but I’m not one of them.

      I hope you can find washing soda so you can try the laundry detergent. I know it is available online.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Wow. Thank you so much for this post! I am trying the baking soda/vinegar on my shower tomorrow…never knew about how to make brown sugar, duh…and the oil cleansing method for your face intrigues me. I’m excited to try out these great ideas.

    • You’re welcome! I hope they work as well for you as they did for me. You’ll be amazed at how clean a baking soda scrub will leave your shower. I have old faucets and shower walls and a scrub with the soda makes them sparkle! It doesn’t take much either. I think I used two or so tablespoons on the sinks and maybe a 1/2 cup on the shower.

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