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Money Saving Tricks

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Hi all!

Remember how last week I talked about switching to cloth rags instead of using paper towels? (Although I mentioned we still had a stock-pile of paper towels from a February Costco trip).

Well, you’ll be happy to hear that those leftover paper towels have been put to good use!!!

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Homemade Baby Wipes!

Ha! I mentioned that I’d seen a tutorial for homemade baby wipes, but I honestly didn’t think I’d be making them anytime soon. Well, necessity is the mother of invention….errr, idea-stealing, because I miscalculated how many baby wipes we had on-hand and we RAN OUT!!! Uh oh!!!!!

Never to fear! We had all the ingredients to make our own on hand!! All it took was some coconut oil (I regularly keep a big Costco-sized jar of Coconut oil in our pantry so we have plenty!), water, and a squirt of baby wash. And, of course, some paper towels. ; )

I used this tutorial (also pinned on my “DIY” board on pinterest), and it was easy-peasy! The toughest part was sawing the roll of paper towels!

And I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the result! You guys – I really didn’t expect this, but I may have given up buying baby wipes in favor of making my own!

My only complaint (and its my fault, really), is that I didn’t trust the directions. They say to cut the roll of paper towels in half, but I really didn’t think it would fit into my container, so I cut it into thirds. Turns out, I have a good inch on top of my container that could easily store more towels and, as a result, my wipes are pretty narrow in width. Next time I know better.

In terms of functionality, I’ve been using the wipes for four days and they work great! The babies’ bums are happy and clean! I have to admit it skeeved me out a little that homemade wipes can mold (since there are no preservative/chemicals), but since I have TWO babies’ bums to clean I use more than most, and I don’t think this will end up being a problem for us. I have, however, elected to wait to make new batches until the old one is gone (in the tutorial the woman makes two batches at one time – so she used the full roll of paper towels).

Anyway, there’s your first “trick” of the week – DIY baby wipes!

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And a little bonus money-saving trick….

The 30 Day Want List

I can’t remember where I first heard of this idea (to give proper credit), but the idea is that whenever you decide you want something (which the “old me” would just run out and buy), you put it on a 30 Day Want List. At the end of 30 days, you decide if you still actually care about the item, or if it was just a fleeting thing. If you do, in fact, want the item, then you figure out how to fit it into your budget. But the idea is that you don’t just buy something on impulse – you wait and think it over first.

Here’s my 30 Day Want List so far…

  • Rolling Pin 3/2 (purchased 4/8)
  • Glass tupperware containers (3/2) (purchased 4/10)
  • Stand-up mixer (3/2)
  • Dehydrator (3/18)
  • Electric knife (4/2)
  • Baby gate (4/2)

After a month, I still wanted the first two things on the list, so I fit them into our normal “grocery” budget (since these are items I would purchase from the grocery store – remember my grocery budget includes other grocery items in addition to food items).

I would still love a stand-up mixer, but they are expensive so I haven’t purchased yet. I dropped the hint to Chris and maybe (fingers crossed) I’ll get one for Mother’s Day next month. If not, I will probably start setting aside a little money each week out of our grocery budget to purchase one, and/or look for a used one for cheaper on Craigslist. The reason I want a stand-up mixer is that I’ve been making a LOT more items homemade (the topic for a future post), and I can tell that my hand-held mixer is not going to last long-term with the amount of bread products I’ve been whipping up lately (wheat bread loaves, dinner rolls, burger buns, pizza dough, etc etc etc).

The dehydrator is a similar “want.” I’ve been making my own fruit leather (like fruit-roll-ups minus the chemicals), but without a dehydrator it is a multi-day process in the oven and probably uses more electricity than its worth. Luckily, I have a friend who JUST bought a new fancy-pants dehydrator and said I could have her old one (I offered to pay and she said just to take it!). She hasn’t received her new one in the mail yet but when it comes in, the old one is mine!

I think I’m over the electric knife. My friend was telling me how useful they are for cutting bread (since I’m making homemade), but my regular serrated knife has been fine. PERFECT example on how I’m saving by using the 30 Day Want List.

Not sure about the baby gate (but I still have another couple weeks to think it over before even allowing myself the possibility of purchase). We don’t need one, but it would make my life easier to be able to lock the babies out of the kitchen for when I’m trying to do dishes and/or mop the floor. Otherwise, they’re all up in my business! : )

So there you have it! Your two new money saving tricks of the week. See last weeks here.

Ashley

Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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20 Comments

  • Reply Walnut |

    Check the Kitchaid store on ebay when looking for a stand up mixer. I purchased a refabbed model from ebay for 1/2 price of retail and it shipped free to boot. It arrived in perfect condition and has been going strong for 5 years.

  • Reply Kristina |

    Preface: I don’t have, nor do I want kids…

    But I have to say the DIY baby wipes is a kick ass idea. High five to that!

    I like your idea of setting aside a couple dollars from the grocery budget for the mixer. I just now looked at the price of a brand new one…holy crap. Have they always been this expensive??

    • Reply Ashley |

      I have no idea!!! I just started looking at them and was shocked how expensive they are! I was thinking in the $70-$100ish range, but many start at $300+ Yikes!

      • Reply Slinky |

        There’s a reason it’s one of those typical wedding gift registry items! My MIL bought ours for us. We don’t use it on a regular basis, but it’s definitely the best thing ever when I’m trying to make 6 batches of cookies in one day or whip up a german chocolate cake from scratch.

  • Reply Angie |

    The 30 day want list is a great idea. One of the best advantages is it gives you time to scope out the availability of items on craigslist too. You can see how used items are priced and how common they are in your area. Gives you another chance to save!

    On the kitchenaid mixers one of the best deals I’ve seen is buying through Kohl’s at the right time (only if you or a family member has a kohl’s charge). Stack a sale, with 30% off, with a mail-in rebate, and kohl’s cash usually nets around $150.

  • Reply Hope |

    On the baby gate…I have been lucky enough to have a neighbor who had a stock pile in her garage…she has loaned us some and given us some.

    Otherwise, check the local thrift shop, you can typically find them for next to nothing around here. Clean it off with the hose and then a vinegar wipe down and you are good to go.

  • Reply Homes |

    So glad you’ve found the a use for those paper towels AND are saving money! I know my sister-in-law has actually gone so far as to use cloth diaper wipes – now, she also uses cloth diapers, so she’s doing a load of laundry with just wipes and diapers every day, but she says she’s run the numbers and it’s cheaper. Not being a mama myself, I will refrain from jumping in the reusable vs disposable debate – although I will offer that I LOVE my DivaCup and reusable pads (TMI? Maybe!) and they’ve saved me hundreds over the years I’ve had them.

    On the stand mixer issue – I have one and I love it, but you’re right, they are expensive. Mine was a gift. While it’s great for mass Christmas cookie baking, if you are wanting it mostly for bread dough, have you considered a bread machine? I make all of our bread products at home and our machine gets a workout almost every day. I rarely use it to actually bake the breads (prefer to shape and bake in an oven – better crumb/crust that way). Just combine all the ingredients in the pan (generally – liquids first, then dry) and set it to the dough cycle. It’ll knead the bread and keep it at a perfect temperature for the first rise. Once it’s done, take the dough out and shape it as desired for the second rise and baking. I see used machines for sell cheap much more frequently than stand mixers and I love the convenience of being able to use the timing feature to have dough ready when I get home from work. Not trying to encourage more spending (!) but if you are committed to making all your bread at home (which saves money itself!), $30 at a local thrift store can be a good investment. Shoot, you should even ask around – I think folks are far more willing to give up (or sell cheaply) a unused wedding gifted bread machine than a similarly unused stand mixture.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I honestly hadn’t thought of the bread machine route! That’s really a good idea to look into!

  • Reply Victoria |

    In professional kitchens, chefs hoard clean kitchen towels. After just a short time in one of those, a few friends and I got together and split a gargantuan pack of white hand towels from the warehouse club. I have clean ones neatly folded in a plastic container in my kitchen, and use them for everything: mopping, cleaning, potholding, and hand drying. All dirty towels go into a small plastic dish pan under the sink and get washed once a week with a touch of vinegar. (I used to use a wicker basket, but the dish pan is much easier to disinfect.)

    I cannot tell you how many paper towels I would have gone through otherwise. The only times I break those out now are for incredibly disgusting moments where you want to just burn everything afterwards.

    Good job on the wipes! I’ll have to consider that as we get into spring and the puppy gets into more mud.

  • Reply Jim |

    Ashley,

    I got my 4.5 gallon mixer around Christmas, after mine died after 10 years of hard use. This is the time to do it, believe me. I spent $125 for it, compared to the $500 it usually goes for. But if you are hard core set on the mixer, I keep up to date with all the hot deals and I will let you know if something comes up.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Wow, that’s a huge savings!!! Why does Christmas have to be so far away!?!?! Not sure what I’ll do. Someone else suggested a bread machine which sounds much, much cheaper than a stand-up mixer. I’d still love a mixer for other purposes, but perhaps if I got a bread machine cheap now, I could wait on the stand-up mixer until the holiday season rolls around.

  • Reply Kiki |

    I second the idea of getting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer from Kohl’s around Black Friday. I never see them cheaper than at that time.

  • Reply Deby |

    I strongly recommend the stand mixer over a bread machine if you can afford It (they are expensive!) A bread machine does just one thing – bread – but a mixer can do so much more. I use mine at least weekly, for bread, cookies etc. I bought the vegetable strainer attachment for pureeing apples and tomatoes for sauces (SO much easier than a hand strainer) for canning. I received the pasta roller attachment for Christmas last year and I’ve been having fun making homemade fettuccine and lasagna noodles. And if you are limited on space in your kitchen you might as well get the mixer, you know you’re still going to want it and both together take up a lot of room.

  • Reply SB |

    According to where you live, your local JBF Sale (http://www.jbfsale.com) will have tons of baby stuff cheap in their bi-yearly sales, or your local Parent’s of Multiples Group would also probably have some sort of bi-yearly sale as well where you can get more specific twin items. I’m in Houston and we have multiple JBF Sales around and lots of different Multiples Groups according to where you are located. Both have been a big money saver with twins.

So, what do you think ?