Sunday, June 16, 2013

putting my money where my mouth is ~ the household

Before I started on this wee adventure, changing the way we ate and what we eat, I used to say that I would love to eat only organic whole foods, but I simply can't afford it. 
And this is true for so many people. Eating organically, locally produced and whole foods can be more expensive.
 I realized that I had to jiggle things around a little to make it work for us. I am a single parent on a very low income, but I am making this work. 
As I have already blogged about I make all my meals from scratch, so this is a huge saving, ready made food is so expensive.
I am also trying to supplement what I buy with what I am growing or what I am given from friend's gardens. This means not eating what I want, but eating what we have. 
So far, I'm not sure how exactly the finances are working out. I have just started on this journey so I have just had a good few weeks in which I have spent more than usual because I made bulk orders.
 But apart from that this week I spent around 90 euro on food that was locally grown, organic and whole foods and this definitely is comparable (if not cheaper) to what I would have spent on a weekly Lidl (supermarket) shop.
But, 90 euro is only on food, there are other household expenses and I am finding ways to save on them too...
 I am making all of my own cleaning products. Using varying quantities of vinegar, bread soda, washing soda, castille soap, borax and essential oils I make my own dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner and dishwasher soap and window cleaner.
No extra packaging, no nasty chemicals, cheap and easy!

 For the dishes, I use a loofah and a good bristled brush along with:
Dish washing detergent:
2 tbsp washing soda
2tbsp apple cider/ white vinegar
2tbsp liquid castile soap
10 drops of tea tree essential oil
Fill a jug with warm water, stir in washing soda crystals until dissolved. Add other ingredients, stir. This makes about 1ltr of detergent, I store mine in 2 old washing up liquid bottles and use as normal. There are no bubbles, but once you get over that I am so pleased with it, it cleans really well and is infinitely cheaper than any eco brand out there!
 Laundry detergent.
My dear friend Mel sent me her mother's laundry soap recipe a couple of years ago when Benny was still in cloth nappies and I have been making and using it ever since. I store it in a big old water container, a little goes a long way so it lasts for ages and works really well.

equal parts Borax and Bicarb of Soda...this is shockingly good, I've tried other recipes etc before but the glass always came out misty, everything is washed well with this recipe and sparkling!
For the floors I have a steam cleaner, it washes and santises the floors with steam. I also use this for really dirty things, the chairs, the shower, deep cleaning, carpets and beds. There is also an attachment for windows.
Windows/ glass
My favourite is just vinegar and water, wipe on with a cloth, wipe off with a clean dry cloth :-)

My best tip for keeping cleaning expenses to a minimum...keep cleaning to a minimum (there now you have an excuse to do less!)

Other household items:
I recently found a really great Irish company that sell bulk eco products. They have super products for a great price and I am so pleased to have been able to buy things like unbleached 100% recycled toilet paper and recycled writing paper. I also bought compost able bin liners (did you know a bin liner takes 250 years to break down once it's buried in a rubbish heap eeek!)

 As for toiletries, this will perhaps be my next thing to learn how to make for myself, but I few months ago I made a bulk order of the natural toothpastes and shampoo's that I use, and I got a large supply of handmade soap in exchange for a doll. So I think they will last the rest of the year at least. Again my old motto, just do it less (the kids are delighted about that lol).
In terms of other expenses I spend very little, we buy few 'luxury' items on a weekly basis.

 I always accept handed down clothes for me and the kids and have them here, in this very organised way in the cupboard on the landing waiting for people to grow into them. So apart from the odd pair of knickers and shoes (I do like to spend money on good, well fitting, well made shoes) I don't spend money on clothing,

and I am getting better at repairing what we have (before the person out-grows it)

I recently heard someone remark that if they are going to spend their money it should be, above all else, on good food. Surely little else matters as much?

Hope some of these tips might be handy :-)


  1. Thanks for this! I've been making my own laundry soap for a while now, but I'm keen to try the dish-washing liquid.

    1. you're very welcome, love to know what you think :-)

  2. This is wonderful, Laura! I remember sending you that recipe now, when our boys were just little tiny ones- time sure has flown past fast!
    I soooo agree with your last statement about spending money on good food. Truly, it is what matters, it is what fuels our bodies, determines so much about our health, and our life!
    HUGS Laura, you inspire me so.

    1. i know Mel! where did that time go!!! you inspire me too dear one x x

  3. Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing these tips!

    1. you're very welcome Sarah, hope they are of use x