Today’s mantra: Frugality isn’t a tactic, it’s a mindset and a joyful lifestyle. It’s about being your own person, not the person society says you’re supposed to be.
Today’s action: Brainstorm a creative, frugal approach to something you’re currently spending money on.
Today’s challenge made me stop and think for a bit. I was genuinely stumped on this one. Then I remembered that “oh, duh,” I DIY a lot of stuff, I’ve just been doing it for so long I forgot that I ever used to spend money on it!
Most of my DIYs came from me trying to find the ultimate trifecta: frugal, environmentally friendly and works as well, if not better than the commercial alternative. Being a scientist, I try to stay aware of what products I’m using, to make sure they’re safe for me and safe for the environment.
One of the first things I’ve started to DIY is spray cleaners. I live in an area that has issues with hard water, and thanks to the design of my lovely older house, there’s no physical way to add a water softener to my water heater even if I wanted to. My water heater is squeezed in next to my washer and dryer, no extra room for a softener.
Luckily, our hard water is calcium based, so it dissolves in vinegar. Vinegar is my new best friend. I use it to clean everything! I make a standard cleaning spray that’s 1:1 water and white vinegar and then add some essential oils. I’m not convinced of the efficacy of essential oils (show me some scientific papers that aren’t funded by essential oil companies, and then I’ll listen), but I use them in such small quantities I figure it can’t hurt, and it makes the sprays smell better, naturally.
Because this spray is so cheap I keep one bottle in the kitchen and one under each bathroom sink. I also keep a roll of paper towels next to each bottle, so I never have an excuse to be lazy and not clean up a mess. That simple practice, of keeping cleaning supplies in each location it’s needed, makes cleaning that much easier.
And when I say I use this spray to clean everything, I mean it. I don’t any other cleaner except Magic Erasers because those things are life-changingly amazing. I use my spray for the countertops, greasy stove, tile floors, mirrors, tubs, toilets- everything! I even stopped buying dish detergent, I just wash my dishes in vinegar and hot water.
I’m trying to cut down on my paper towel use (it fits with the trifecta), so I’ve started using mostly rags in the kitchen. I haven’t been able to cut down on my paper towel use in the bathroom- I’d rather those germs not go into my washing machine. I’ve never been much of a bleach user, but soaking the rags in bleach might convince me to use rags in the bathroom. We’ll see.
The other thing I started to DIY is my face moisturizer. I was given the idea from my boss who uses coconut oil as a moisturizer. The trick she taught me is to splash water on your skin first, then apply the coconut oil. Let it sit for a few minutes and rise or blot off any excess. I was worried the coconut oil might make my face breakout, but so far so good. I figure coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties must help with that.
My sister has a really sensitive face and mentioned that she didn’t wash her face, so I figured why not try that too. I haven’t noticed any difference between when I was washing my face and using commercial lotion vs. not washing it and using coconut oil. More frugal wins!
The last thing I decided to tackle was my hair product. I have really fine hair and in order to keep it longer, it needs a light moisturizing product of some sort to stop it from being constantly staticy- but there’s a fine line between moisturizing and turning my head into a grease ball.
I tended to use products with argan oil in them, so I figured, why not cut out the middleman and use straight argan oil. I got a bottle of pure argan oil of Amazon and tried it out- straight from the bottle = grease ball. I looked up online how others were using it, and found that it was common to make a dilution. So I used a small mister bottle I had on hand and made a 1:5 argan oil to water dilution. Success!
The bottle of argan oil wasn’t the cheapest. I bought a 4 oz bottle for $15 back in June, but I’ve barely made a dent in it. And while I was reading the bottle’s label it mentioned that argan oil is also good for your skin, so I started adding it to my coconut oil for my face. I found that it helps the coconut oil stay softer and not solidify as it gets colder, and the mixture absorbs into my face better and faster.
Sorry, that was kind of a lot, but I get so excited when I find things that fit into my trifecta of frugal, environmentally friendly and works better, or at least as good as, the commercial alternative. It also fits into my need to make everything from scratch.
What about you? Is there anything that you’ve started making or doing on your own that you used to pay for? Doesn’t it feel great to lose another a shackle of dependence? Let me know your frugal wins!