Tag Archives: soap

Finding my own way…

17 Sep

No this is not a post about being lost or needing to “find myself”…..I honestly don’t even know what that means and probably wouldn’t have time for it anyway. This is about trying to figure out my own ways to save money every month without going crazy in the process. I’ve been finding all these money saving ideas on (wait for it)…….Pinterest! I know you guys are so surprised. The problem is that while there are some good tips, most of them either don’t apply to us, don’t make sense for our family or are just plain weird and counterproductive. Yes I know I could save money on electric by sitting in the dark and reading by candlelight, or money on groceries by eating ramen noodles and mac & cheese every night  and ok i guess the water bill would go down if we showered once a week, but  come on….I need real ideas!

A little background on our family – we are a family of 5 ….Me and my husband( or is it my husband & I…I never know this one!) , and our 3 kids – 14, 8 and 2. We live on one income right now….my husband goes to work and I stay home with our toddler. We can live ok on what we make right now, but I would like to have money left over at the end of the month to put where we need it.  The only way to do this is either  for me to get a job(not an option right now) or find ways to save money. If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you will see a few of my attempts at this. Some of them have worked really well and others have really sucked! I’m going to make a list right now of each and then some ideas I’ve come up with that I’m going to try. Please feel free to jump in with any suggestions, comments, tips, etc. If there has been anything you’ve done to save a few bucks every month please share! I will let you know that I’m not terribly talented in the domestic area and I can’t sew so please no ideas for making my own clothes:)

DIY Successes:

Laundry Detergent – I seriously felt like one of the Duggars doing this, but it really does make sense! It saves me at least $15 every month or so and gets my clothes just as clean.

Deodorant – Its not like I spend huge amounts every month, but its natural and aluminum-free and works better than the store bought.

All Purpose Cleaner– this is awesome! It cleans the cushions on the chairs in my kitchen and makes them look new! I also use it for the bathtub, appliances, countertops, fridge, etc.

Lip Balm – I love this stuff! It works just as good or better than store bought and is so much cheaper!

There are a few others that I’ve tried that I haven’t posted about yet…..I will try to get posts up soon with exact measurements and pictures.

Fabric Softener – Its vinegar, water and a bottle of conditioner – I don’t love it because it doesn’t smell as good as the bounce sheets, but I really like it because it does work getting the clothes soft and static free and it only costs around $1.50 for a large container of it.

Lotion – I use beeswax, olive or coconut oil and water….I love this stuff! It keeps my face and hands so soft and is so inexpensive to make.

Carpet Fresh Powder – all you do is take baking soda and add some essential oil to it. It smells so good and is ridiculously cheap to make.

Air Freshener – This is water, essential oil and vinegar. Sounds like it wouldn’t smell good, but the oils overpower the vinegar and works really well!

Ok, now for the failures:

Shampoo – I kept seeing where everyone was mixing baking soda with water and washing their hair with it. I mean people raved about this so I tried it. OMG it made my hair into cotton candy! It was seriously like Barbie hair……I couldn’t brush through it and it was so thick and out of control. I will keep looking.

Conditioner- Almost the same as the shampoo – its apple cider vinegar and water……terrible! Conditioner is supposed to make your hair manageable and soft – it was crunchy!

Dish Soap – There are just some things you don’t mess with – I like Dawn and use it in some of my cleaners and I don’t see myself changing this any time soon. It was so runny and didn’t clean very well at all. It was a bar of soap, vinegar, and water.

Ammonia to clean drip pans on stove….not that this was a money saving idea, but I just want to bitch about it for a sec. I was almost the most disappointed in this! Not only because mine are really really dirty, but there were numerous successful posts with before and after pics on Pinterest and it didn’t work at all for me. Not even a little bit.

I probably should have an in between category because that is where I would put my body wash…..I didn’t come back and update on it after I used it a few times, but I’m on the fence on this one. Some of it was operator error and I think some was the recipe…..it doesn’t lather as much as I would like.. Not  really to call it a failure because it was really inexpensive to make and it does work – you just have to use a large amount of it. I’m going to try different things to fix it.

Ok, now for the things I’m going to give a try:

Shopping sales at the grocery store and planning dinner menus for the week. I’m even thinking of buying enough dinner ingredients for a few weeks, making up the meals and freezing them. I’m not a fan of cooking before freezing so I’m thinking of putting together freezer bags of crockpot meals.

Air Drying  towels, comforters, etc on a rack or hanging them outside. My dryer seems to take forever and I just really like the smell of sheets dried outside 🙂

Potty training – I’m half joking ….it would save $30 a month on pull ups but its not really part of the budget plan….it would be nice though.

Turning off lights, unplugging unused appliances, setting tvs on timers, etc to save electricity.

Garage Sale – my sister and I were just talking about doing a combined garage sale and getting rid of all the junk(sorry, treasures) we don’t use…. this will not only bring in a little money but will free up some space so I can get more organized.

I’m really trying to thing of ways we can cut costs but we don’t really go out much, I’ve already called and saved money on car insurance, put the gas on budget, use money from the account instead of credit cards, and only have cell phones – I got rid of the house phone last year. Also, our combined cable and internet bill is cheap (around $30 a month)because my husband works for a cable company so no cost cutting there either.

If anyone has any other ideas or tried and tested products please share them here.


I made 167 oz of Pumpkin Spice body wash for around $1.90!!!

8 Sep

Its finally done! It has taken me the last 2 days of playing around with it, but the pumpkin body wash is finally done!




















I didn’t expect it to make so much so I had to find some empty bottles to put it in.




Here’s what I used – If you are someone who needs exact measurements don’t read any further because I don’t use them!

3 bars Ivory Soap

Huge ass amounts of water

About 20 drops pumpkin essential oil

About 10 drops vanilla essential oil


Boil about 2 gallons of water…..I used a big stock pot. Reduce heat to medium for about 10 minutes. Grate bars of soap and add into hot water and STIR STIR STIR!!! I can’t stress enough how much you need to stir. Its going to be really really watery – don’t panic, its supposed to look like that. After every bit of soap is dissolved and mixed in, remove from heat. Let cool and pour into containers to cool. I used mason jars. After mixture is cooled, you can add whatever scented essential oil you like and mix it in. I thought pumpkin & vanilla would be good since we are getting into fall.

I’ve never even heard of essential oils before, but apparently you can do so much with them. I found mine at my local craft store for about $4 a bottle.

Let body wash cool in containers overnight. By morning, your body wash should be ready!


Now for my tips – I’m only giving tips because I had the worst time with the original recipe I found online. Every soap is different and the amount of water you need varies greatly!

For example the recipe I found was for Dove soap (I used Ivory since it was on sale for $.30/bar) . It was 3 bars grated soap & 6 cups water. This resulted in containers of hard smooshy glop. I then poured all the mixture back into the stock pot, put on medium heat and added a ton more water. You didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t measure did you? I stirred it up and then let it sit overnight again. It was better but had a “snotty” consistency. I poured some of it into my mixing bowl and ran it under the beaters for a few minutes. This helped get it all mixed up and a better consistency. Its a little foamy, but settling down.

So, if your mixture is too thick, add small amounts of hot water to it at a time to get it to a good consistency.

If the mixture is too thin, warm it up and add more grated soap.


I know some of you are sitting there asking yourselves if its really worth it to go through all this for body wash? For me, absolutely! I have a family of 5 and we are a 1 income household so anywhere I can save money I will.


This cost me under $2.00  to make 167 oz of body wash. I pay $8.98 for 70 oz at the store.  To me, that kind of savings is worth it!


I’m still trying to get my Irish Spring batch the right consistency, but once that’s done I won’t have to buy body wash for my family for a really long time!


Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Vanilla Body Wash

7 Sep

I wish you guys could smell this through the computer…..it smells like fall! I’m really into my “Suzie homemaker” phase and I thought I would make my own soap and body wash…..sounds easy right? Actually, its not really that hard…..the problem is finding the right balance between ingredients. My original reason for making some of my beauty products myself is not only because they can be really expensive in the stores, but because of the huge list of ingredients I can’t pronounce. Now, I realize that by starting with bar soap, it doesn’t eliminate all of the crap thats in them but I was afraid to start from complete scratch. I wanted to ease myself into it by having a base.

I tried 3 different soap recipes:

Irish Spring body wash

Pumpkin Vanilla Body Wash – made with Ivory Soap

Pumpkin Shea Butter bar soap

The only thing that came out the right way the first time is the bar soap……all I did was melt shea butter in the microwave, add pumpkin essential oil and then pour into soap mold. Easy peasy.

Both body washes are WAAAAAY too thick this morning when I checked on them (I made them last night). I need to add water to them today and hopefully they will turn out ok.

I’m showing pictures of my soap making process, but I will post the “recipes” after I’ve adjusted them to get them the right consistency.