Missing new ideas

peanutmomNovember 6, 2011

I have been on hiatus from the money savings forum for a while. I stop by to lurk once in a while, but haven't been posting. It is rare to see a new post. It's kind of sad to see interest in saving money leak away now that the economy is not in decline. Maintaining is a better description now.

My goal is, now that things are forecast to get better for the economy, to keep saving money and living frugally. I think it is the only way to be sure to be ready for anything that could happen in the future.

That being said, I have a new question to post.

What is the strangest thing (in your opinion or others opinion)that you have ever done or heard of to save money.

One thing that I have heard of that my family would never go along with or even consider would be the idea of using small cloths or washcloths to wipe after using the bathroom. I would have a mutiny on my hands if I asked them to do it. I mentioned it once when I read it on the internet and the looks I got was enough to tell me they would make me walk the plank if I suggested it. LOL.

These kinds of ideas rarely get used, the they sometimes give us ideas for things we could do.

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Hi Peanutmom-
I too have been away. In fact so long that I had to re-register as my e-mail had changed. I used to visit here under veggrljo.

Where I am the economy is still in bad shape and we have no choice but to continue living frugally if we want a comfortable future.

Funny you posted about the wiping with cloths. I had read that as well. Another thing along the same vein was a woman who used a squirt bottle to rinse after urinating. Not going to happen here. Either of them. Mainly because there is a great deal of bacteria and viral matter in fecal material. Fecal/oral contamination causes a great deal of illness in the US each year. Most of it is contributed to the "flu".

The other crazy thing I hear about is re-using canning flats/lids. If it has been used once throw it away.

My family thinks a lot of what I do is crazy. But hey if it is safe and saves money...I'll try it. :)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 11:38AM
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I would never use the cloth unless they were throw a ways and I had no tissue. I wouldn't want that in my washer at all. As a young person I used coupons, pinched pennies etc., but now not so much. I have enough money to live my days out so why not treat myself to the luxuries that I can afford.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 4:05PM
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"I wouldn't want that in my washer at all."

what is the different between washing those cloths and washing cloth diapers?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 4:26PM
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I had to launder cloth diapers, I had no choice. I do now.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:14PM
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Difference in washing those cloths and washing cloth diapers....NONE..... "IF" .....you use an old black wash pot with fire under it to reach boiling, then keep cloths in a soapy rolling boil for a long time to clean/disinfect the cloths. Also o.k. IF your smeller is not working or there is a place outside to store used rags until wash day. Pheweeeee!!!!

Washing cloths in washing machines these days will not get residue out of the fabric like a rolling boil in a wash pot.

Rinsing after urinating is good hygiene "IF" a clean cloth is used each time, never used twice (definitely not for #2). In the olden days when a slop jar was used at night "a" cloth was used to wipe after urinating...yes it was gross, but you did what you had to do when there was no indoor plumbing in the farmhouse.

Having lived in the olden days, I prefer cutting corners on something else, not toilet paper. Never did like feel of Sears Roebuck catalog pages for toilet paper in the outhouse!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 4:17PM
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I haven't really seen any new ideas. I think most of the people who posted here were fairly frugal to begin with. Most just follow what they were already doing.

There was a neighbor lady who admitted that she wore her dh's old underwear rather than buy new for herself. I would have to be pretty desperate to do that. I do believe in passing down underwear from one boy child to another just like I did their other clothes when they were younger. It is not like anyone knows they were hand me downs.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:30PM
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If the cloth wipes creep you out, you may enjoy the information at the link below for making a portable bidet kit. Nothing like a real emergency to make you rethink things. Necessity being the mother of invention...


Here is a link that might be useful: Portable Bidet Kits

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 10:35AM
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I can do a lot of things that I don't like to do if it is absolutely necessary. In this day and age it is not necessary to do that. If you can afford a PC you can afford TT. We have places here in town that gives away groceries if you need them and they have tissue paper.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 2:08PM
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When I was younger (child/teen) my aunt and uncle had a country house with an outdoor toilet. They kept torn sheets of newsprint to use in there. Then again, if I use a public restroom and there's no paper, I'll "drip-dry."

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:54AM
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I had neighbors in the 70's that didn't have running water or indoor plumbing. IIRC, they used pages out of the Montgomery Wards and Sears catalogs that used to come in the mail. I know they had a pot they kept stored under the bed because their grandkids showed it to me. They said the difference between a rich girl and a poor girl was that the rich girl had a 'canopy' over her bed. The poor girl had a 'can of pee' under her bed.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 10:31AM
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I have been thinking about this a couple of days. If and only if it is a state of emergency would I use the portable bidet or the cloth as toilet paper idea.

There are so many bacteria and viruses carried in human fecal matter. If you are using cloth or regular diapers they are a necessity. You have to protect the world at large and you can't have a child who can't control their bodily functions running around. They are also,normally, used for a limited amount of time. The person, changing the baby and laundering the diapers hopefully understands the necessity of proper hand washing, laundering in hot water, a hot dryer, direct sunlight, bleach and/or a combination of several of the previous.

Choosing to use cloths to wipe and laundering them presents multiple ways a family could be exposed. It takes so few micro-grams of feces to make a person sick that our immune systems are not geared to handle. If you have a family you have several people (presumably) using the restroom 3 to 4 times a day. That will be 12 to 16 contaminated cloths sitting in your restroom. You would have to do laundry daily or the pathogen load could get out of hand. Bleach is a good disinfectant but it dissipates after several hours in a solution. If you are soaking your cloths in this it may smell like chlorine but the amount of "free chlorine" available in the water may have dropped low enough for pathogen growth. And pathogens like nothing more than a moist warm environment. You now have unsanitary cloths sitting in pool of pathogens in your restroom waiting to make someone ill. It could get knocked over...you get the picture. Don't throw the cloths in the trash. If enough people did that there could be a public health issue as landfills are not designed for human waste.

Laundering them is another whole issue. Your water needs to be HOT to kill any existing pathogens. Not 135 degree hot water form your heater but 185 degrees or greater. The hotter the better. I would want mine to be boiling!!! And I would not bring the cloths into my kitchen to boil them either. If your washer does not get hot enough those pathogens could live in your washer. Not in the bin necessarily but on the bottom of the lid and other places that do not get cleaned regularly.

You also have to consider proper hand washing for the entire family because of the greater risk of contamination throughout the process.

The risks far outweigh any possible financial benefit. One good dose of norovirus will put you out of work for days and greatly weaken a child's or older adults immune system. There is a reason we have disposable toilet paper in developed countries.

If someone is determined to do this they need to understand all of the health implications and they will need to determine the precautionary measures to be taken in their individual households.

Oh, and the woman in the "portable bidet" video should NEVER place the gloves near her face after they have been used. Washing latex gloves does not sanitize them.

I did not plan on writing a novel but this really disturbed me.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:30AM
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"It's kind of sad to see interest in saving money leak away now that the economy is not in decline. Maintaining is a better description now." Well that's great to hear! I have been freaking out in preparation for the worse to hit especially since the federal debt hit $15 trillion today.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:09PM
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It is delightful to hear what limits people can and can't go to in their pursuit of frugal living!

I see ideas also, and think NO WAY! not in THIS lifetime. And yet, I save in ways I have seen other people say, THAT is NOT for me!

The personal trade offs we can handle are as varied as we are. Many seem to date back to our childhoods, and the issues we came out with.
And some are from knowledge we have gained since becoming adults.

Isn't it great though, we have this WWW to share all these ideas AND knowledge?

I'm sure many of you are like me, and do 'frugal' things without even realizing they are, until someone points them out. Its my way of life, not so much a choice I thought about and put into action. I came from humble beginnings and I just continued that lifestyle, throughout the good and bad times. I say I just never knew any better.... LOL

I married into a family of what I call 'wasters'. I cringed at things my dh did, and watched his family do the same. He marveled at things I did, and questioned me constantly about it. By my actions, and his curiosity, he not only sees the logic and payoffs of not being wasteful, he has begun to preach to the choir he left behind. LOL

But his questioning me, made me realize just how different my habits are. Here I thought I was 'normal'. LOL

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I agree, Rusk. The disposable lifestyle is foreign to me and the thought that anyone would NOT be bothered by spending any amount of money on something unnecessary or avoidable always blows my mind. The connections people miss. For example, a Chinese restaurant here serves take-out in plastic lidded containers that look just like the ones you can buy EMPTY from the store. Why anyone would throw these out, then buy the same thing is a real mystery to me.

I'm in a new relationship since last year and I've gotten the eyebrow-raise a few times in regard to "penny pinching" but there's been no actual complaining about wallets staying closed, and nobody has been inconvenienced (except me in regard to time spent preparing instead of spending) or in discomfort.

I totally agree there are some lengths to which I just won't go to save money, and this thread talks about one of those, but I'm always finding ways to NOT spend money. Dumb stuff like bottled water and ice, making 5 trips to the grocery in a week, a bunch of fast food for a day at the beach, clothing that's not on sale, lights on in rooms where nobody is. No way I spent my time working to throw the money away on stuff like that. When I used to have a dishwasher, it would really bother me if my hip turned on the heated dry button. All that's needed to dry the dishes is to open the door - and nothing gets melted.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Dang those landfills ...

... one of which is located within a couple of miles of my door.

Some years ago Toronto was trucking scores of loads of "waste" over the border to a major fill in the Detroit area daily, and there was some fussing from the neighbours with regard to it.

At about that time, a local landfill had their licence expanded from 9 million tons capacity to 17 million tons ... and we in the community said that we knew what would be coming next!

And it did - Toronto bought it ... for 220 million.

Now they'r in the process of building a ski-hill.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 3:18PM
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I just came back to Gardenweb after several years. This is a great forum. I don't feel the economy is improving where I live. (Los Angeles.) The small business owners in this area tell me that they have been losing money for the past three years. I grew up with a mother who used cloth diapers on four children. She was an immaculate housekeeper. She would put them in a diaper pail to soak, then bleach them in hot water in the washer and dry them in a hot dryer. I actually use flannel cloth sheets sewn into cloth wipes for #1 only. I wash them in hot water in the washer with Borax, baking soda and washing soda. I hang them in the sun to dry on the clothesline. I use TP when needed, but only have to buy it once a year. Flannel is very absorbent, and it's just a few drops on a piece of material that is folded over, it's not like a wet diaper, because you are using the toilet, not the material.
I do all kinds of things that save me money, the latest being growing as much of my own organic food as possible. I have thought of going car free, but my car is paid off, so I keep it and use my bicycle most of the time. I just bought my first set of LED bulbs at Costco yesterday. They were on sale. My electricity bill has only been about $11.00 a month in the winter, so I'm curious to see the new numbers. I love saving money and cutting back. In CA, we have a long way to go, (with all of the debt,) so I hope people continue to live frugally.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:21AM
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When my first daughter was born, I had purchased cloth diapers for her, believing they were better. Her first day home, I put a cloth diaper on her and rubber(plastic) pants over. She slept a few hours. When I picked her up I found the diaper had bunched up and soaked thru to the matrress. Quick change and went to the store for disposables. I used disposables (yes,thousands of them) for my 2 children. But they were easy to change, rolled them up and tossed them. I know they are still there in some landfill but I am certain they were better on my childrens delicate skin,and easier on my household-I did save a lot on detergent, water and electricity. No diaper pail smell.One thing I did do to save money. I didn't like the idea of wiping my girls' bottoms with chemicals on purchased disposable wipes. I bought some terry cloth and cut it or tore it in six-inch squares. Used plain water to wipe them. These I DID launder and reuse. When they got raggedy I used them as dusters. I threw the last one out just a couple of years ago.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:08AM
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These days, there are many cloth diapers available and most every one of them is better for your baby than a disposable one. Cloth diapers are "in", but not the cotton prefolds of the 80's.

I personally see no difference in theory in using cloth to wipe versus cloth diapers. But, it wouldn't be an option at my house unless we were in very dire straits. However, we did cloth diaper, in this decade.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Use the bathroom ... in public places ...

... or at friends' houses.(?)

o j

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 6:35PM
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"I wash them in hot water in the washer with Borax, baking soda and washing soda."

My water heater is set as low as I can stand (maybe 120 degrees F?)

I wonder if the electricity of running the washer(plus the cost of setting the water heater to run at 185 degrees) plus Borax, baking soda and washing soda is cheaper than a few squares of toilet tissue. Paper is a resource, but so are electricity, water, and chemical cleaners. Time is a resource, too.

An 0n-demand water heater takes a long time to amortize when there's only one or two people in the house.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:18PM
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My son is 7 months old now. We've used cloth diapers since the beginning and we've never had a poop blow-out.

Haven't had a leak since those early newborn days where I changed diapers in my sleep and may or may not have put them on backwards. :D

We've also never had a diaper rash. Not a single one. I don't know anyone who uses disposables who can brag about that, but I do know lots of people who use cloth who can!

kirkhall is right--modern cloth diapers have come a long way. (Maybe people still use flats/prefolds with a PUL cover, but no one uses "rubber pants" with the more modern materials available in the 21st century!) I use SoftBums and recommend them to all my friends.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 5:23PM
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I have not been here in a long time, either, but now and then I look to see if anything is going on. This forum has been really quiet for a long time.

On the cloth bathroom wipes, I'm admitting I started using them about a year ago -- with some modifications. I only use them for urine. Let's be reasonable here about urine. Some people actually put human urine in their compost to help it "work" faster. The architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, is said to have had his construction workers pee on the copper he used to speed up the process in "weathering" it. I've heard that some people actually drink urine, and they say it whitens their teeth. Ugh. We all have places where we draw the line and I would not step over it for that one. People's dogs pee on everything. If you put your trash bags on the curb, chances are some dog's going to come along and pee on them. I can't leave my laundry basket under the line while I wait for my laundry to dry because my dog will pee on it. Any time you touch a plant outside or pick a flower or sit down on the grass, you may be touching dog pee.

So let's get a grip on this one.

I think what is turning people off is the comparison of wipes to diapers and really that is not a fair comparison. A diaper is holding the entire load. The wipes have just a few drops on them. Compare instead to a man's underwear. Men do not wipe when they urinate. They just shake, and their urine splatters all over the bathroom, and then they tuck themselves away where any little droplets left deposit on their underwear. So there's no difference between washing underwear and cloth wipes. The smell of a bathroom containing a container of used wipes is no worse than the smell of the bathroom that a man has urinated in while standing up. I once worked for two well-respected attorneys. The senior partner was an older man who never washed his hands in the bathroom. The wall next to the john was stained yellow. How's that for bacteria?

I cut up an old worn towel into 3" x 5" pieces. I intended to zigzag around the edges but never got around to it. Consequently, I can't throw these in the washing machine because they ravel. I keep them in a box in the bathroom that I use during the day. I use each wipe once, then drop it in a small trash container that has one of those discrete lids with a swinging cover. If, before I wash them, I detect an odor, I pour in a little distilled vinegar. I don't like the odor of bleach and bleach eats up the cloth and is not good for the septic tank. But normally I wash them by hand every few days, in their container, starting with a soak in water with vinegar added, drain that, then a little hot water from the tap with some of my cheap homemade laundry detergent that contains borax, washing soda, baking soda and Fels Naptha soap, swish that around, drain that (and both vinegar water and soapy water can go into the bowl of the john, where it does as good a job cleaning and sanitizing as any expensive bathroom bowl cleaner you can buy), and then rinse and hang them on the line. There is no odor other than that of the laundry detergent. All this takes only a few minutes.

I repeat. I still use TP for #2. Also, I don't ask guests to use the cloths or even tell them that they're there. Hubs sits to pee so that he doesn't splash his urine all over the bathroom. Some men think this is emasculating but if you're so unsure about your masculinity that sitting down to pee in the privacy of your own bathroom bothers you, you have bigger problems than I can address here.

If I had children in the house I don't think I'd let them use cloth. Children have no motivation to be careful about dropping things into the toilet bowl and then flushing. As small as these cloths are, maybe they'd flush ok but that would be a risk I wouldn't want to take.

People talk about how washing cloth wipes is an added expense when actually they're small and can be thrown in with your load of underwear. So no additional cost there. Remember, there's no more urine on these wipes than there is on the inside of a man's underwear.

TP is getting more and more expensive all the time. Some brands actually contain cloth fibers and these clog up septic tank laterals.

I save money in many other ways. I wash plastic bags, if they have not contained raw meat. Before I wash my pots and pans, I put a drop of dish detergent in each bag with a tiny bit of water, smoosh the bag all around, and dump it into the sink as I rinse them out. Then I add a little more water to the sink and wash my dishes. So it has not cost me more of anything to wash bags, like some people like to say when they oppose the practice. I hang the bags up so they dry inside and out. In using a bag several times, I'm saving money and keeping lots of bags out of the landfill.

If you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. BTW, we are almost never sick.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Well, it's not for me at the moment, but it's certainly reasonable. In a normal person urine should not have bacteria. It is very much like underwear. Not to mention the more extreme comparison to incontinent people and washable chair/bed pads, which handle much more urine per use and are laundered without thought.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:20PM
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If you would like some new ideas you can join the Simple Living Forums. It is very active and like-minded people!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:17AM
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Fastidious men ...

... (civilized men?) ...

... sit down to pee.

In a discussion while visiting with a parishioner, some years ago, the lady said that she told her three menfolk that if they weren't going to do so ...

... they were going to clean the bathroom!

Two-thirds of her "menfolk" have been on their own for over 30 years.

She died last year.

Men who live alone ... clean their own bathroom, regardless.

o j

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 2:53PM
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I find some of these posts,hmmm. Like one poster said, if you can afford a computer and pay for internet service, you can afford toilet paper! I never used cloth diapers either with any of my three children. Oh , the bacteria you people are messing with is disgusting just to save a few dollars. oh my. I would rather have not read this, disturbing. We don't live in 1892.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Hey everyone. I have a few money saving tips that I hope can be of some use to you. I've been "resourceful" for many years now and it has been of great benefit.

1. Document all your spending. Do this for 30 days. After the time is up, break down everything into categories (ex; food, gas, bills, entertainment, fun, waste, etc.) This way you can see where your money is going.

2. READ READ READ. Read books about money management. Dave Ramsey has lots of useful advice.

I just finished a book called "Money Saving Tips: A Poor Man's Guide to Prosperity". It's on Amazon. It was $3 but it has lots of simple and effective tips anyone can use.

3. Use the internet. You can find anything on the internet. Be resourceful. Use YouTube to "learn how" to do anything you want from fixing leaky faucets to building a porch. It's all there. You can save a ton by avoiding hefty labor fees.

4. Shop at discount or thrift stores.


6. Use sites like craigslist to find free stuff. Look under the "for sale" tab. Click on the word "free". People are giving away lots of free stuff.

7. Grow a garden

8. Ride a bike or walk

These are just a few tips. I'm sure you can think of many more. Most of these are so simple, and many of us overlook them. Every penny counts in this economy. I promise a few cents here and there adds up to a lot over many years! Good luck to everyone. May you have long and prosperous lives!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 4:30PM
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This is my first visit to this forum and I'm finding it a little ironic. People are grossed out by washing cloths with a little urine or even feces in their washing machine. It's no different than washing your underwear. Anybody with a son can attest to the "skidmark" phenomenon.That's what good old chlorox is for. Personally, I'll find other ways to save money, but I'm certainly not turning up my nose.
Just yesterday I was bragging to two relatives about how thrifty my DDIL is, she buys some great toys for my granddaughter at garage sales. Both of these relatives turned their noses up at that. I pointed out that my DIL carefully washed everything. but that their grandchildren who were in daycare were playing and sharing toys with many other kids, probably without the frequent washing that my granddaughter's toys get. Everyone has their priorities, I would never put down anyone else's choices unless I thought it was truly dangerous.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:19PM
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