Sunday, April 12, 2009

Living Frugally

Well, it has been awhile since I posted here. Things have been very busy. With warm weather approaching, I have been into spring cleaning and fix-up. My hope is to get things ship-shape inside and then concentrate my free time and energy on some yard work and a small backyard garden.(yum!)

With the economy in it's current state, it seems prudent to me to start cutting back in areas where I can. Being a hands on, project oriented person, this has become my new past-time.

I started with cutting costs in the laundry room. Rather than use the clothes dryer, I began hanging clothes out to dry whenever it is not raining. I guesstimate that this will save us around $30 a month on our electricity bill. I still use the dryer briefly for fluffing a few things and for our permanent press items. (I'm not particularly fond of ironing.) I also purchased a folding wooden drying rack for drying smaller items indoors on rainy or very cold days. And a couple of lines put up in my back utility room help with larger items if I can't hang them outdoors.

Next I searched the web for a recipe for making my own laundry detergent. With just a few basic ingredients and a few minutes of time I had approximately 2 gallons of liquid laundry detergent for an average cost of 5 cents a load. After using this for about 3 weeks, I have found it to be as effective as the Tide I formerly used.

Fabric softener was my next goal. Hanging clothes out does leave some of them feeling rough and stiff. Too bad we're such pampered folks. Our ancestors never gave such things a second thought. But I do like my laundry to be soft and cozy. My daughter gave me the solution to the fabric softener, though. She read somewhere that white vinegar in the rinse cycle would do the trick. I was afraid that this would make my laundry smell like vinegar, but had to give it a try. I am still experimenting with how much to use, but at this point I am filling my Downy ball with it and it is making my clothes much softer. And it leaves my laundry with no odor at all! What a great thing for those with allergies to fragrances.

So my quest begins. I will keep you all updated from time to time as I come across more ways to live frugally. Now in case you are thinking that I must be building up a fantastic savings account, the answer is 'no'. My main agenda is to have money for the things I want by cutting back in other areas that don't matter to me that much. I consider it a challenge, and I believe we all need a challenge routinely.

I am searching the web and blogs for more thrifty ideas. If you have any, I welcome your comments and your help.

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