Monday, August 17, 2009

Saving Money

I am a stay at home mom, and Chase works 40 hours a week, (plus overtime whenever he can get it)  so money is always tight.  SO i have started thinking of ways to make the money we do have stretch farther.  I did 2 new things this week.

First- I made my own laundry soap!  I got this recipe from Chase's sister Jaime, who got it from Sara Taylor.  You need:


  • 1 bar Fels Naphtha Soap
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • Water

(I found all of these at Fry's, Borax was the only thing I could find at wal-mart,  but it was about 1/2 the price of what I paid at Fry's)


  • 5 Gallon container
  • Knife
  • Pot
  • Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)

(I actually used a cheese grater instead of the knife- it worked better for me)



"Pour 6 cups of water in the pot and heat it just shy of boiling. You want the water hot enough to be able to melt the soap, but not hot enough to boil over. While the water is warming up, grate the bar of soap into small pieced. Add the shredded soap to the pot of heated water. Stir the mixture until the soap is completely melted.

Once the soap is melted, add 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda to melted soap mixture. Stir until dissolved. Pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container. To the 3 gallons of hot water you'll stir in the melted soap mixture.

Optional Fragrance: If you prefer to have a pleasant scent to your homemade laundry detergent, you may add a few drops of essential oilsclip_image001 (usually found at health food stores). The amount of fragrance added is strictly of personal preference.

Now that everything is mixed and dissolved, you'll have a 5-gallon container of soapy water. Cover the container, and place it somewhere it won’t be disturbed. Let it cool overnight. It will begin to gel when as it cools. It does not gel uniformly so if you look in the container the next day and see a lumpy watery gel don't be alarmed. It will have an Egg drop soup texture. You will however want to store your homemade laundry detergent in smaller containers. I place mine in my old store bought laundry containers after it is mixed before it cools.

Amount Per Load: ½ cup is sufficient to clean a load of clothes. This recipe is great for high efficiency washing machines because it is a low sudsing detergent.

Yield: This recipe yields 432 oz of homemade laundry detergent, of which 4oz are required per load. In total, you should be able to wash 108 loads of laundry."

Yes- I just copied and pasted.  So i followed all the steps and this is what I ended up with:


The big tide bottle is all filled up, and almost 5 full juice bottles  of laundry detergent.  Things to note- both of Chase's sisters that have tried this had the soap mixture boil over- it came close to that for me but I was able to save it before it spilled over, so it is something to be very cautious of.  Also, my soap gelled really-really-really well. It looked like I had made jello in a bottle and was first concerned about how to get it out- but I just shake it a bit before pouring, and then it comes out good.  I am just not sure how well that will work with the bigger Tide bottle- so maybe more smaller bottles would work better?  Now you are wondering how much money this costs vs. save?  

My Costs:

Borax 76 ounces for 5.19,  or  0.54 per batch

A&H Super washing soda 55 ounce for 2.79, or 0.40 per batch

1 bar Fels naptha soap- 1.79 or 1.79 per batch

5 Gallon bucket- 4.50

So starting costs were $14.27,   and it cost 2.73 "per batch",  but until all that borax and washing soda are gone I only have to buy a new bar of soap for each batch ($1.79).  In contrast- my regular powder detergent is $10+ for only 80 loads.

Second thing I did was not quite so time consuming or adventurous.  Since school started i have been buying prepackaged fruit for Hannah and Brad to put in their lunches.  Almost $4 for 5 servings of fruit- and I bought 2 of those each week, and didn't even have enough for Sam and Bekah to have any. This week I bout 2 big bags of grapes and spent less than $5 and bought a box of Ziploc baggies. I was then able to wash and seperate the red and green grapes into 20 seperate, equal containers and dump them into a drawer in the fridge.  This way each of my kids can just grab 1 of the bags every school day.  (even sam and bekah benefit from this). Doing it all at once means that we don't run out half way through the week, and only letting the kids have 1 bag a day  eliminates the "Brad ateALLLLL the grapes" problem.   I know that a lot more people are probably doing the fruit thing already Vs. the making laundry soap thing,  but it is just another way that I am making our budget almost work at our house.


The next thing I have been contemplating is home-made baby wipes.  I will let you know how that goes if I ever try it.....


Tara said...

Congrats Liz! I am surprised to see that everything costed less for me here in Utah. I wonder why? I don't understand how the economy works...maybe I will ask Dallin.

Scott and Jaime said...

good for you. you will have to tell me how you like the detergent. i am glad it didn't boil over on you. i can't wait to try this recipe instead of the one i used. it seems easier and i used a cheese grater to grate my soap too!

Elena T said...

Hiya. Back in Utah I tried the homemade baby wipes. I learned to make very small batches or they would go moldy. But that was a great way to save some dough.

Glad to hear that stuff works on HE washing mahcines, that's the first time I've heard that.