Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simple Changes BIG Budget Impact

As a stay at home mom I can say honestly I miss working outside the home. No I don't miss the crazy boss or the why is your kid sick again. But I miss the feeling of accomplishment and the time spent away from my kids and husband and house.

But I'm very practical and have looked at the math up and down and backwords and forwards. If I were to go back to work even making the $13 dollars an hour I was making as an admin assistant when I left my last job I would be loosing money...

After you add up the Daycare, Gas, Second Car, Higher Insurance, Lunches, Dress Clothes, Shoes ect.. we would loose an extra 5 to 8 hundred dollars... instead of bringing home that amount. Then you also have to think about your employment record. Saying I was unemployed because I was a stay at home mom is better then saying I was fired from my last 4 jobs because of my kids. With everyone in this family having a medical issue I always felt disjointed and missed more work then I ever wanted.

So I'm a stay at home mom. This year I am making it a point to not only educate myself more about Green/Zero Waste/Urban Homesteading.  I am also trying to implement simple changes that will have a big impact on our Budget.

This has really opened my eyes.. Some of it was a real shocker to both Corey and myself.

Take Laundry Soap. We use the cheapest stuff running us about $7.00 a month for soap and $4.00 a month for Softener.. So a year is $84 to $100 for Laundry Soap and $48 for Softener

I can make a 10lb Loaf of plain Cold Process Soap for around $15 depending on the price of oils. (averaging on the high side)  After curing time I have enough soap to grate and then dry for powder to get us through at least 6 months of Laundry. Add a box of washing soda at $2.50 every 3 to 6 months and there's our detergent. $40 at the most for a full year. Softener I've been told you can use white vinegar which I already use as a cleaner around the house and for pickling so we ALWAYS have this on hand. I just saved at least $84 or more a year in laundry supplies, not to mention all the bottles and dryer sheets that won't be thrown into the landfill.

Yes grating soap takes time but come on, grab a grater, a bowl and throw in your favorite movie or TV show and you can get at least half if not all 10 lbs grated. Leave it in a couple of trays to dry out and it didn't take any time away from you.. you just used the time you were already wasting... for something productive :)

My next big realization in the last 2 weeks.. we buy tons of ready mixes.. more then I thought, from Pizza dough, to muffins, to pancakes , to waffles.  I can make all these things with my sour dough starter that's already sitting on my counter, the flour, sugar, powdered milk, oil and eggs we already buy in bulk and have on hand.. so why am I spending so much on packaging and preservatives when I could be making it myself?

My husbands newest realization has been in the form of cheese. We always bought the big bag of co jack shredded cheese from Wally World. for about $8.00. This month we spent $14 on a huge block of Co jack that had weight that was 3 1/2 times the weight of the bagged cheese. I put it in a container and have been shredding it as we go. Corey realized his stomach is not bothering him anymore. We are also using less cheese because it really melts and gets all gooey and tastes like cheese.  So for the extra 3 min it takes to grate cheese were saving money, packaging, and not getting a ton of preservatives. (I use the tiny grating part so it spreads out easily)

Snack/Cookies  I bet you have some in your pantry right now. You know like a bag of Chex mix and some yummy cookies... We don't. Do you know for the price you pay for the big bag of Chex mix you can make 2 Gal sized Canisters of it? And make it as spicy or as sweet as you want?  We make a batch of Chex mix, a batch of Puppy Cow/Muddy Buddies, 2 batches of Cookies and a big batch of Garlic Cheerios (generic of course). We have a canister or tub for each and can see when were getting low. Most all of these take some of the same ingredients, like butter, garlic salt, season salt ect.

Bread  another way to save money. It sounds like it would take a bunch of time but it really doesn't if you plan it out right. One evening you mix your dough and kneed it really well. Leave to rise over night. In the morning kneed again and separate into rolls or loafs. Bake before or after lunch or dinner if you don't get home till late. Once again you save packaging, and preservatives going into your family and you save money. We make rolls instead of loafs, they seem to take up less room in the freezer and they are a grab and go snack for the kids. One day a month we make enough for the whole month then freeze. Another day we make breakfast rolls for the month. The have Cinnamon, sugar and sometimes nuts in them.

It sounds like a lot of work but honestly I enjoy it and the whole family helps. Its another way we spend time together as a family

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