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Things I don’t buy

I’ve been formulating this list in my head for a while; All the things we’ve removed from our shopping list. Either because we make it ourselves or we’ve found a durable replacement or because we’ve just eliminated it as a necessity. There is some overlap here with the my previous list of the 25 money savers we regularly engage in.

Without further ado…

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Soap. We realized the other day that we haven’t bought body soap in well over a year. Instead we make our own coconut, olive oil based soap. Admittedly, the process is a little arduous. It requires some know how. It makes a lot of soap however. We are on round 4 of homemade soap, but that includes much of it we used for gifts and even bartered.

Continuing with Soap…

Laundry Soap. Probably the easiest 20 minute project ever. We use

half way fills a five gallon bucket. Laundry soap is something else we haven’t bought in a very long time.

Dishwasher Detergent. Currently in it’s experimental phase. We’ve discovered that with the ingredients we have on hand for laundry soap, plus a little citric acid, you can make a mean powder dishwasher detergent. It’s effectiveness, however, seems to directly correspond with having vinegar in your rinse aid. We are considering the addition of coarse salt. I’ve seen that as an ingredient in several recipes.

Deodorant. Also, an on-going experiment. My apologies to my friends for the occasional funk. I started with a vinegar and essential oil blend, which had no staying power. While reading the

, of all things, I came across an amazingly simple and so far successful alternative. Mix equal parts coconut oil (which we already have on hand for soap) and baking soda (who doesn’t have tons baking soda?). I’m keeping it in a jar in my medicine cabinet. As with any deodorant, some effort must be made to keep it off your clothes. Other than that, this stuff rocks! I should also note that The Husband refuses to participate in this case study. He will however, promptly inform me if I smell.

Moving on..

Paper Towels. Long ago eliminated from regular rotation. Replaced with an increased stock pile of rags made from T-shirts and old clothes, and the somewhat classier un-paper towels.

Disposable Dining Items. We managed to do both Friends-Giving and a Christmas Party with out the assistance of paper plates or napkins, plastic cups or silverware. Granted, every dish in my house was dirtied in the process, and I do mean every, but, still.

Plastic Wrap. Who needs it really? I find this stuff maddening. Tinfoil is better. Tinfoil is reusable. Tinfoil is recyclable. When the last of our plastic wrap was used up, I threw a little party in my mind.

Plastic Baggies (a la Ziploc). We still have these in our house. I just don’t buy them. I haven’t found a better alternative for freezing berries and peppers. Luckily, the tortillas we buy which are made at our local market, come in very nice reusable plastic bags. They even have the fancy, zipper-style closures. I save these and there has been no need to buy boxes of Ziploc.

Fresh Herbs. These are a racket! In their ridiculously small quantities and little clam shells from the grocery store. Yet, they are so much tastier to cook with. A little networking reveals that amongst my group of friends, I can find a large variety of live herbs living in their backyards and sun rooms. Some pre-planning is required to have them when you need them, but so far I’ve been able to avoid the highway robbery in the refrigerated case. We plan to increase the herbs we grow and preserve this year.

Blackberries. After my very successful hunter gatherer stint this last fall, as a self-respecting PNWer, I don’t think I can ever buy blackberries again. With a little time commitment I managed to score enough berries to keep us in jam for the whole year, and have some to share. Plus a few pies and cobblers to boot. All free.

Jam. We didn’t just make blackberry jam. We have raspberry, apricot, plum and elderberry. In some cases we bought the fruit, or the jam was gifted to us. In either case, homemade jam is hands-down so. much. better. We won’t be going back to it’s inferior store bought cousin anytime soon.

Poo Bags. This isn’t much of a change, as I have never bought these. We sold them hand over fist at The Pet Store. I’ve just never understood it. I know the neatly rolled baggies and their little dispensers are handy. They attach to the leash, so you don’t forget. I don’t seem to have a problem with remembering to shove a free one in my pocket, or keep a couple in the glove box.

I realize as I write, this will not be a comprehensive list. There are other items worth notable mention; disposable razors for The Husband (replaced long ago by a

), certain “feminine hygiene products” I’d rather not go into, even magazine subscriptions, and compost. The point is it’s interesting how we’ve adapted our lives to cut down our shopping lists. To me, these all represent small changes in my day to day, less money spent, and (in most cases) superior products to the ones I can buy in the store.

The challenge is to keep going. What don’t you buy already? What do you want to add to that list? For us the next big conquests are

. I’d also like add tomato products to that list, assuming we can grow and can our own tomatoes. Right now, that’s a big assumption. I’ll keep dreaming big in the food production arena, and cutting down my shopping list, where ever possible.

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Comments

sheila
Reply

I don’t buy too much shampoo anymore. I make my own soap and have used it very successfully for shampoo. My hair is is good condition and I don’t see a difference when I use one versus the other. Just a thought.

Jane
Reply

Great blog! I used to make my own laundry detergent but have backslidden (is that even a word?) I am very intereseted in making my own soap though…can you share your recipe,PLEASE????
And BTW, grwoing and canning your own food is great. Once you get past the expensive equipment, it is a great money saver.

Tami
Reply

Yes, I would love to see the recipe for laundry soap! I searched, but could not find it:(

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