Things we don't need to buy?

bry84November 4, 2007

People buy a lot of things because they think they need them, but there are lots of things we don't actually need. We can do the exact same thing without them, or with something much cheaper and longer lasting. I was thinking about this when I mentioned in another topic that I quit buying toilet cleaner because other products do the same thing just as well and last much longer.

As another example, a few months ago I accidentally ran out of shaving gel, so tried shaving with an ordinary bar of cheap bath soap that I had. I found a shaving brush and made some lather. I was expecting it to be less than ideal, but instead it worked perfectly. I've been using ordinary soap since then without any problems, and I expect to never buy another can of expensive gel or foam again.

I also mentioned in another topic that I don't use my telephone provider's answerphone service, the 3.99 a month is almost £50 a year. I bought my own answerphone for much less than that and I expect it to last for years.

I'm now wondering what products/services other people have realised they don't actually need? Things that can be substituted with much cheaper and longer lasting things?

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I like this post.
In addition to things I have previously mentioned, I found this link with the 'clean and green' household cleaners - stuff our grandparents knew about!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 1:01PM
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Books and magazines spring to mind. I find I can read the latest issues at the library and if I really want to have that article or recipe or pattern, I will use the photocopier and reproduce it. I also do not rent or buy DVD's...I find the local library also carries enough that interest me. I am fortune to have friends who do purchase these items and I can get the loan of them if needed. I agree with bry84 there are lots of things we don't really need to buy if we just stop and think about it. IMHO Budster

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Remember how we used to rent our telephone from the phone co.?

At something like $2.00/mo.?

Most of 'em lasted for 10 years ... or more ... didn't they?

What a great deal!

For the phone co.!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 3:09PM
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I could probably eliminate most everything in my house if I'd just use VINEGAR ! Boy -- that stuff does EVERYTHING !!!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 3:22PM
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The thing I waste the most is papertowels. We didn't use them very much growing up. We always used washcloths or old clothes we made into rags for cleaning or wiping up messes. Papertowels are so convenient and you throw the mess away. I don't like spending money on them. Paper companies are extremely nasty and harmful to the environment.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 4:32PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

hmmmmmm....I'll just say several of the snacks I bought at the grocery Sat eve. I made the awful mistake of being hungry and going for groceries. I went in the Aldi store to get some noodles and stock up on chili beans. All their prices are so reasonable, I ended up buying $53 of stuff I just couldn't resist. Several things were 'handy' snacks, and not very healthy at that. I did however stock up on several food things at good prices.

A loaf of 'fresh' bread and some eggs and I'm good for several weeks though, considering what is stocked up, canned up, and in the freezer. I feel some like a squirrel getting ready for winter.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 8:32AM
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I agree, books and nagazines. I can read magazines and newspapers in my library's reading room. And I can borrow books for four weeks for nothin'.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 9:08AM
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Paper Towels. I cut up old clothes and just toss in the trash after using them to wipe spills or clean. I decided to do this after finding out that Salvation Army removes the buttons and piles clothes in huge piles in a storage area. I no longer worry about donating used clothes that are not expensive name brands (they resell those.)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 10:59AM
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Garbage bags i never buy. You get a free bag at every store that you shop at.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 11:08AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana


It is my understanding that a lot of unusable clothes at the Salvation Army are cut up into rags, and then the rags are sold to generate income...along with providing the jobs of cutting them up.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 11:44AM
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i dont buy mops, i use rag cloth and i wash it every time i use it and reuse it till its time for me to throw it. it is a grt excercise too.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 12:55PM
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If you want to save money, help the environment and lose weight, walk don't drive.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 1:40PM
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When it comes right down to it, there's really very little we "need"! We don't need electric lights, thermostatically controlled furnaces, cars, TVs, computers.... BUT, we do want them! So this is a good topic on what you're willing to do without.

Books, magazines, etc, I go online and read. I dropped cable tv several years ago during a financial challenge and have no incentive to go back. I thought that when I went someplace with it, I'd want it again, but there's not that much on that I'm willing to fork over the money to see.

I quit using fabric softener and dryer sheets. I like to wash clothes to get rid of a stench instead of put a stench into it. I use vinegar in a Downey ball occasionally when I need some help softening or something, and it works fine. I have a water softener so I don't need it for softening and actually, my softener died about a year or two ago and I've found that I don't need to replace it. I can get along fine without it. I'm cutting down on the number of different types of cleaners too.

I'm satisfied with much less light on, plus I am very happy with CFLs (the bulbs, not the Canadian football players!) and I am very happy to put on some sweats and keep the temp between 60°-65°. If I get into 70°-75°, I'm sweating and uncomfortable. Have trouble sleeping then too.

I've cut down on condiments. My tastes have changed and I appreciate the taste of the food more, rather than the coverup.

I need the post office less and less. I'm still irritated with them because I subscribed to a newspaper from out of town and it took a minimum of 3 days and up to 15 days to get the paper 180 miles. I pay bills online, send very few cards and the like. I fax when I can, email when I can and save a lot of money (relatively speaking) on postage, gas, envelopes and the like.

I had given up soft drinks altogether, but admit I do buy a 12 pack of generic on occasion now for a different flavor.

I don't need to get a new wardrobe all the time. I wear clothes until they're worn out and then use them for dirty work around here for a final use.

I just plain like a simpler lifestyle. I don't torture myself over it, I "treat myself" to something special on occasion and enjoy the things I have. I worked hard to get what I have and appreciate it. I don't try to keep up the the neighbors. It's kind of nice to have the oldest vehicle in the neighborhood. Less likely to get stolen! :D

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 5:07AM
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When my kids were little, I never bought those diaper wipes. My girls both had very sensitive skin and it hurt them when I used store-bought wipes. So I went to a fabric store, bought some soft terry cloth and ripped it iNTO 4-inch squares. When I did a diaper change,I'd dip a square in water and gently clean with good old water,no chemicals or perfumes. Best of all,they were machine washable and I used them over and over.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Never thought of the Downey Ball and vinegar!
Keep 'em coming - I'm enjoying this thread immensely!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 10:07AM
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We still buy paper towels, but we don't use them a lot at all. We have rags that we use to wipe up spills and the dog's muddy paws.

I hate that we buy garbage bags. If it were just me, I'd use the plastic grocery bags.

I don't buy fancy foot cream. I use creamy pretroleum jelly (store brand) and it works great.

I use a lot fewer postage stamps since I began using automatic payment and online bill payment.

We don't buy books or dvds, except occasionally some used paperbacks from the thrift shop. We use our library a lot.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 5:36PM
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Besides buying garbage bags, another major annoyance is buying scratch pads or the like! There's so much paper around that's used on one side, flip it over and you have scratch paper. I even make my own "post-it" notes on occasion. Office supply stores sell a removable glue stick. You put it on and let it dry and it works just like a post-it. I can make them any size, shape or color I want. Occasionally I do have need for them and it works better than paper clips so that is nice. The stick lasts forever and costs about a buck. Plus it will also work as a permanent glue if you apply it right away.

No more buying weed killer either. Vinegar and bleach do just fine.

Oh there's so many more things.... if I could just remember!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 6:15AM
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"Remember how we used to rent our telephone from the phone co.?
At something like $2.00/mo.?
Most of 'em lasted for 10 years ... or more ... didn't they? "

IMHO, you can't compare the quality of Western Electric phones to the garbage out there today. I have several 40 year old Western electrics (including model 305s) that still work. The last three cheap "AT&T " 822 and 920 phones that I bought didn't last 5 years. Yeah, they have more features, but they're JUNK.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:54AM
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Designer toothpaste - Any large tube with fluoride for 88 cents works for me, but DH has to have a popular brand. I buy a tube for him and another for everyone else.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:37PM
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cynic - For weed killer, what amounts do you use for bleach and/or vinegar (I assume mixed w/water) or, just straight?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 5:41AM
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Cynic - I'm interested too for the weed killer. Ta!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 9:35AM
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I'd advise against mixing bleach and vinegar. Mixing any acid with bleach releases the chlorine as poisonous gas.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 1:47PM
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To kill weeds in patio/pavement cracks, a teakettle full of boiling water is very effective.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 12:38PM
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Sometimes new clothes - a well known internet auction site is a good source - I have recently bought a 100% wool coat in my size, colour & style for a fraction of new price. Am now looking for a handbag.
Shop bought chicken stock - child of 5 could make it from chicken carcass - freezes well.
Left over wine or wine you open & not quite your taste can be frozen & used for cooking when you need it.
If you have paper napkins left over when you eat out - they will only be thrown away by cafe/restuarant - take them home & use.
Electricity can be reduced by turning off appliances on stand by AND ONLY USE THAT DRYER ON A WET/COLD DAY!!!!!
Electric blankets - a hot water bottle keeps you warm at night (nice partner helps as well - if male preferably hairy for extra insulation - save on the chest waxes guys)
Shop brand aspirin or similar is fraction price of branded ones & works just as well.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 3:36PM
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For killing weeds, you can dilute it if you want, I just use it straight from the bottle. And, no, I don't mix them. Vinegar neutralizes bleach so there'd be no point. But I guess I see how you interpreted it as a possibility, so sorry for any confusion.

That said, let me tell you that ammonia and bleach will rid the place of snakes! I had a nest of them under my front steps and a shot of ammonia got them mad, and a bleach chaser took care of them for good. YES IT MAKES A POISONOUS GAS! And that was the point. It was outside so it didn't affect me and I poured it down their access hole and got out of there. And like I said, it was very effective! Underground moles? Mix 'em a cocktail and that should take care of them. Never tried it but as I recall, the gas will fall so it'll stay underground. Not sure so check on it, but still should be effective. Keep the kids and animals you like away from it while you do it and of course use common sense (if so equipped!)

Back to the weeds. Depending on the weed, you might need it stronger than for others. I use vinegar mostly. Unless I can buy bleach unusually cheap. My cousin dilutes it, probably 50/50? I don't cover a large area and want to give it the best blast I can so I use it full strength. It's best to use it on a sunny and warm day, but will work anytime. The nice thing is that it'll wash away so it won't affect the soil for long. If you want it gone for a long, long time, sprinkle some salt on there too. On my patio, I sometimes take and spread some softener salt on before the snow melts and the salt will disolve in the melting snow and go between the patio blocks and kill off everything. I pour a little vinegar or salt along the fenceline too so there's no grass or weeds growing into the chain link.

If you have some boiled water, dump it on the weeds. That's very effective too. But I think it's kind of spendy to fire up the stove to boil up water, plus the time and then get it out without spilling. But to each their own. BTW, warm vinegar is more effective too, but I've never had trouble just room temp use. Baking soda is also said to be a good weed killer. But again, I think it might be a bit spendy. It's gone up in price around here.

Some people mix dish soap with the vinegar to act as a surfactant and supposedly it's more effective. I've had good luck without it so I haven't tried it. But I guess could take a ladle of soapy dishwater before I pull the plug, and mix it with the vinegar and pour it on. Maybe throw in a fistful of salt too! But again, being naturally lazy, I find it easier to take the bottle of vinegar and do it. Whenever I see vinegar cheap, I buy a few bottles so I always have it around.

BTW, if you have a sprayer and a large area to cover, put it in there. A hose-end sprayer will dilute it for you automatically.

And if you have a lemon tree, lemon juice is a great natural weed killer too!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 4:40PM
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Chlorine bleach can be very dangerous. Chlorine is a highly reactive element. It will react with just about anything to form new compounds, including you. In household bleach it is stabilised to remain in solution as sodium hypochlorite. The main things keeping it contained are the high PH, as well as the binding with sodium ions. Add acid and the PH goes down. This liberates the chlorine as gas, and it's not healthy stuff. It does not fall, it readily disperses in to the air. Chlorine gas has been used in warfare as poison gas.

While the average bottle of household bleach doesn't contain enough chlorine to increase the ppm in an average sized room to deadly levels, the fumes being emitted from the reaction could be concentrated enough to kill up close in a few breaths, and you can certainly experience serious health problems from much lower levels. It will burn your eyes, potentially damaging your sight, and it will burn your lungs too.

Bleach is about 5-6% chlorine, if a litre bottle released all its chlorine at once it would be extremely hazardous.

However, if mixing bleach with acids doesn't sound like much fun, you'll really not want to mix it with ammonia.

The two reactive substances will form several new compounds.

First it produces three flavour of chloramines, all of which have secondary products. Monochloramine boils at -40 centigrade and is poisonous. Trichloramine rapidly decomposes in to nitrogen and chlorine gas, which made it popular as tear gas. Dichloramine can react with another ammonia to form hydrazine, which is very toxic, but it probably won't hang around long enough to poison you as it's dangerously unstable, which isn't a great surprise when you discover it's also used as rocket fuel.

There is a high probability the mixture will explode due to the heat generated and the explosive and flammable substances created.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 6:36PM
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Well, if the probability of explosion is so high, I guess I've missed all the news reports of explosions from people mixing it together. Surely it would make the news, I would think. You hear occasionally of people passing out from mixing ammonia and bleach trying to clean something (usually older ladies who are disgusted with the condition of a place) but I can't recall a death nor have I ever heard of an explosion taking place. Perhaps it's the difference between theory and reality. If you mix the two, put in a plastic bag over your head, you'll probably die. If you mix the two outside and underground, you likely won't.

I'll accept your statement that the gas doesn't fall. Probably should plug off the hole on future use for better effectiveness.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 5:21AM
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The explosive reaction is just one possible outcome. What I should have made clear is that there is a high probability of it exploding if it forms hydrazine - something that doesn't always happen. Of course it's not down to random luck, or just a theoretical possibility on paper, nor is any specific outcome unlikely, it really just depends on the right conditions being met.

For it to explode you need significantly more ammonia than bleach, and ideally (should that be less than ideally?) to mix them without diluting either in water. If you were to get a bucket of ammonia and pour bleach in to it, you would almost certainly discover the explosive reaction.

As for the suggestion it never happens because you don't read about it in the papers. That's similar to saying we shouldn't worry about smoking a cigarette while filling up the car in a petrol station. Is it not seriously stupid and dangerous, would you not feel uncomfortable doing it. However, when was the last time you read an article about someone lighting up a cigarette in a petrol station and turning the place in to a fireball?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 3:20PM
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Cable or satellite t.v. I recently had to cancel my subscription because I simply couldn't afford it anymore, and it drove me crazy for about a week. Now I'm reading more and catching up on movies I've missed. I get all this from the library.

I've tried doing without paper towels, and I have cut back considerably, but nothing else soaks up grease from fried foods as well. I use about 1/4 what I used to use, though.

Dryer sheets. You can take some liquid softener and put a dab on an old rag and toss it in. Works just as well, and doesn't clog up your filter screen.

And my big "do without"....a new, shiny car. I have a 15 year old car that looks like crap and runs really well. I really hate that it looks so bad, but if I have a cheap paint job, the baking willl kill the electrical system. Next summer, I'll probably have it painted and let it sit out in the sun every day. If that doesn't bake it, I don't know what will!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 2:32PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I buy what I want but I do look for sales. Tangible goods usually are ok with me but I rarely pay for services. If someone else can do it, I can learn.
I get a very cheap haircut, (I have an easy style), take few vacations and eat out rarely and never go to movies. It's not as much about what I buy, I get what I want, I just don't buy to buy stuff. I don't collect anything for instance or have expensive golf.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:04PM
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Potato Chips - Good Grief - large size 2/$6 this week. I left them on the shelf.

Junkyardgirl, try a few of sheets of newspaper, under one paper towel or clean rag, for draining grease. It works for me.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 3:30PM
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Give up my new 2007 Nissan, no, no. I am not giving up my luxuries until the rest of the world does. Nooooo! LOL Books: Finally, I can afford to have my own library. Waiting on book shelves to be built. Like new garage sale books and close out books from Sam's club for $4.

If I don't buy things I enjoy what would you suggest I do with my savings.

Most of the things I buy I don't need, I want. All of my life I scrimped and saved, now that I am 70 I am going to enjoy my savings. I scrimp on a lot of things. My husband died, cremated $800, no service, saved at least $6,000. Prepaid my own cremation last month $600, no service, saved another $6,000. I went to the dentist and she wanted $1,500. to fix my teeth. My friend said "see my dentist". I did and I got the work done for $242.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Jonesy, you could save the other $800 if you made an anatomical gift. Check with the Department of Anatomy at the University Medical Center in your area. Your Anatomical Gift might help your grandchildren by promoting medical research and by helping someone become a doctor.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 11:08AM
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Haven't been to a beauty parlor in years. Almost never buy clothes in a department store. Never bought a wrinkle cream and I'm very wrinkle-free for my age. Never wear makeup unless I go out and then only occasionally. Rarely eat out. Bathe and haircut my own dogs; do my own training. Make my own lampshades, curtains, etc. Do my own painting, yard work, upholstering, carpentry, plumbing -- everything I can. If I need to buy I look at craigslist, ebay, thrift stores, yard sales. I don't need the latest electronics, software or gadgets... outgrew that loooong ago. Never go to movies. My idea of a vacation is to do as I please at home or drive a few miles for a picnic somewhere pretty. I make gifts if I can make something good that's going to be treasured. So I can do without a lot of what people pay so much to get.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 8:13AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

What about all the separate appliances such as a popcorn popper, or a rice maker? We grew up popping popcorn in a saucepan on the stove and boiling rice in water in a saucepan, what is so difficult about that? I am sure there are more but I'm sure you get the idea.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:44AM
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Exactly. I make perfect rice every time with just a stainless steel saucepan (not teflon) with a lid. Two parts boiling water, one part rice,a little salt and butter. Simmer 25 to 35 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 2:28PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

jannie, we do the same. I hate to use a teflon pan. Once you have used them awhile, they start flaking and I think you can assume some of that is getting into your food/body. I am going back to non-teflon pans as much as possible. The only thing we have a hard time with is a saute pan. No one likes using a stainless steel saute pan at our house, but I am working on it. [g]

We also cook brown rice now. We use the same proportions, two parts water to one part rice, but we soak the rice for a few hours or overnight before we cook it and I cook it in the water it has been soaking in, so as not to lose the nutrients. The soaking makes the brown rice as soft as white rice usually is and it doesn't have that crunchy texture. Now even my husband will eat it.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I LOVE my rice cooker!!! My cousin got it for ne for Christmas a couple of years ago because I had burned the rice several times while she was here... lol! We cook a potful of brown rice a couple of times a week. I also love my hot air popcorn popper.

Some things I don't need include cosmetics (well, maybe some would think I need them, but I don't buy, fabric softener, dryer sheets, special toilet bowl cleaner, special shower cleaner, grill, convenience foods, snack foods,designer clothes and shoes, movies, the latest electronic toys and probably a lot more that I can't think of right now.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:20AM
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Well, vegangirl, I agree with most of your "don't needs", but I would not want to live without my outdoor grill. It probably depends on where you live. I'm in Texas. It's hot, and then it gets damned hot, for most of the year. We have had the air-conditioner running in December.

When I fire up the grill, I cook chicken pieces, a brisket, some ribs - whatever I can fit. The heat is outside instead of in. I can freeze many meals from one grill session. I probably wouldn't fire it up for two hamburgers, but it certainly makes sense if one plans ahead.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 2:42PM
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The thing I don't have to buy now is weed and grass killer.This is how I kill weeds and grass from my flower beds.

Here is the recipe;

1 litre (U.S.=1 quart) of boiling water (hot tap water
will also work but not
quite as well)

5 tablespoons vinegar

6 tablespoons salt (regular table salt)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons dishwasher detergent

to make a gallon multiply by 4

Put in a garden sprayer and after you spray your weeds will wilt within 2 hours depending how warm it is outside.If you are doing your flowerbeds cover your plants to protect them from the overspray.

(HINT) When I first started using this formula I put the dry ingredients in the sprayer first and my sprayer would clog then I started putting the boiling water first and my dry ingredients would melt then and my sprayer did not clog anymore.

Use this formula it works well and let's make the earth a little greener.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 4:49PM
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I use regular cheap napkins as "kleenex", have for years. I do have a box of regular tissues on hand in case someone comes over that doesn't do the napkin thing.
Don't need to buy hair conditioner, shampoo is enough for me and DH's oily hair.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 5:31PM
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My friend, who came from Russia during very tough times, eats well but cheaply. He's living on a small pension but manages to save money each month. Buys those pre-cooked barbecue chickens from the grocery and uses it for at least 4 meals. Thanks,Alex.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 7:33AM
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Cleaning products...vinegar/baking soda rules!

Paper towels...just use a sponge and dishrags.

No cable. In fact, no TV

We save most of our money by doing things ourselves, i.e. painting, renovating, cooking etc. We don't eat out except for a few splurges. You can easily drop $100 on a mediocre meal. Our motto is "only if we can't make it at home."

Food is a challenge. We live in NYC, have 2 little kids and 2 full time jobs. I hate spending 4.50 a gallon for milk etc.

We also stopped buying books; not because we don't read, but b/c we're paying for the library with taxes, so we might as well use it. That said, we will buy books that we think will have lasting impact.

At this point we've really streamlined our lives vis-a-vis spending. You folks out there in the rest of the country probably won't believe this, but our combined gross income is $175,000, and it's still a stretch to raise a family of four in Manhattan. Yes, we make a lot more than we would in a small city, but holy mother of god, real estate and food are expensive here! About a third of our pretax income goes to mortgage/maintenance payments on a 1,300 square foot apartment in a walkup building. (no elevator, no doorman)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 5:51PM
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When my aunt died in 2002 we discovered she was still "renting" 2 phones from the phone company. I am sure she had no idea she had been renting phones for years. She didn't even have one of them anymore.

Are you sure you aren't still renting one? It might be worth checking.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 7:13PM
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Junk Food - This is a personal annoyance for me.

I'm not saying never indulge (we still do on occasion) but when I see families loading up their shopping carts full of unhealthy junk food instead of cheap sensible foods like cheese, potatoes, frozen vegetables and the like it just makes me mad. If fact what you save on the junk you can spend on the usually more expensive, healthier items like fish or fresh vegetables. And if you buy them on sale, it's a bonus. Sweet potatoes, winter squashs for example - right now since they're in season are on sale and better for you.

You'll save big time on your future hospital and dental bills.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 1:00PM
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Vintagegardener: will your weed killer formula work on clover?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 1:13AM
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WE use paper plates and plastic all the time, but in our defense my 9 year old was in the hospital for surgery then 3 months later I was in the hospital for a whole month. After I came home I couldn't even go to the bathroom with out help and it took months for me to be able to do things for myself.

I won't ever be able to bend at the waist again and I can't load the dishwasher. To make things easier we just started using paper plates and plastic cups. We have been slowly weening our selves but there is still only so much time in the day and DH has to do alot of things that I would normally do, so this is where we save time and energy until our new normal hits and we get in to a better flow.

I know not good on the wallet or the enviornment.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:26AM
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Wanting a large family (we have 7 so far),we sacrificed a few things.
The dryer- we air dry everything (Lots of kids = lots of laundry :) )
Eating out- we have out own burger or pizza nights
Books- we use the library or visit book sales at the library
Movies- we stock up on blank tapes and have neighbours tape them for us.
Food- we buy in bulk!
Water- we grey-cycle. Wash/bath water, waters our yard/garden
Natural gas- we wear sweaters and keep the thermostat down
Vacuum- nope good old corn broom. Uses no bags and no power. (we do have a lot of hardwood)
No hairdryers or salon appts. All of us have long hair- even the boys, which we donate to 'Locks for Love' once a year and get free haircuts to boot!
My husband hunts. Nearly free meat, just a $25 tag.
Just a few things we do.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Fast food. It's unhealthy and expensive.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:17PM
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vintagegardener - I'm going to try your homemade weed killer this spring.

One question - when you say dishwasher detergent, do you use powder or liquid? And do you use white vinegar, or any other kind? Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 8:37AM
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My father never used kleenex.. When he had a cold, he always used toilet paper. He said it's handy, does the job, etc.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 6:18PM
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As for photocopying at the library, around here we have to pay 20 cents/page - part of it relatig to paying copyright owners a flat-rate fee, I think.

I can't borrow current issue of mags, but I can borrow non-current issues, and photocopying elsewhere costs 6 - 10 cents per page.

In one library system that I use, they let me copy material from computer/internet up to 10 pp./day at no cost, after that 10 cents/page, while at two other systems they want 20 cents/page beginning at page one.

Several of you have heard me refer to what I consider Canada's best personal financial management magazine, "Canadian MoneySaver" - no shiny paper inside the cover, carrying no ads, so totally subscriber-driven.

I get a bonus with my subscription - there's a list of about 35 places in Canada where the subscribers meet monthly, where new members are welcomed. The London group meets all 12 months and usually 20 people or so attend, most of them long-term members. I've attended for about 7 years, I think, and have learned a lot from the various approaches to investing and money management in general that the various members follow ... and most of us are fairly candid about the egg on the face as well as the winners, I think.

Last year at one library they had most of last year's 9 copies for sale at 10 cents each (about 5% of subscription price), so I bought the lot and passed them around to folks that I thought might be interested to subscribe on their own.

Good wishes for making your money work well for you, rather than the other guys who make complex plans to move it from your pocket into theirs.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Of course laws vary from country to country, (for that matter, from city to city!) but around here most libraries have a disclaimer sign on the copy machines that there may be copyright infringements by copying certain items. The law basically states the amount and substantiality of the copying, which most interpret as, copying a page, for personal use, is OK, but copying the book (and selling it) would be a no-no. Between those extremes make the money for the lawyers.

Not saying it's not possible but to the best of my knowledge there's no copying fees that go to publishers. Can you imagine the paperwork that would be involved? LOL And how many people would be wanting copies of the paperwork! :)

When I had the store, we figured our cost (as calculated through the vendor for the lease fees, toner, maintence, etc) was 3¢ on one and 5¢ per copy on the other machine. If you figure any labor cost for having an employee do it, 10¢-15¢ a page is reasonable enough. Around here are some self serve copiers in gas stations that run about 5¢-10¢ per copy. When I managed a convenience store we had one that was 3¢. Inflation hits everywhere!

I used to have, well, I probably still have it in the basement, a small copy machine. One that you put the onion skin page over the one you wanted to copy, exposed it and then put it over the other page and ran it through to transfer. Expensive for the paper, but it sure was convenient! Now I use the scanner on the computer and my computer printer to make copies as I need to make them. Ah yes, make three copies, keep one, give one to me, throw one away...

But back to the topic at hand, I've cut back on buying facial tissue, whether it be Kleenex or any other brand, and paper napkins. Although I am torn on the napkins... I'm so used to them, but when I get the "select-a-size" type paper towels, I use far less so 1/2 towel works fine as a napkin. I should get some cloth ones and wash them. Thinking about some plain old washcloths.

Let's see, what else? No washing cars here, I wait for rain and let it sit outside in the rain. Slushy snowfalls make for a very shiny vehicle. I do like the liquid hand soap but I buy the cheap dish soap and use that. Occasionally I'll dilute it but not often. I've read things that suggest problems doing that. And I'm getting hooked on the foaming stuff. Going to make my own when the dispenser is empty.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 12:29AM
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I'm on my third roll of paper towels in almost 2 years! I use them mainly for cleaning up pet messes or really really messy food. I also got a bunch of cloth napkins from antique stores they're super cheap and since they're old I don't feel bad if I stain one.
Can you get soap foam dispensers at any stores? Pampered Chef is the only way I know the get them.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 6:52AM
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Walgreens had the Dial soap with the foaming pump bottle this week for $2.49, buy one get one free so that made the bottle and the soap $1.245 each. I had a "Kandoo" one before that I was given and have somehow lost the bottle. (How could I have lost it? HeckifIknow! Could I have thrown it out? I doubt it, since I wanted to try refilling it... I suppose I'll find it some day) Bought one at Target (of the Target brand) for $1.49 (which is the cheapest I've seen them around here for a foamer) and I'm 1/3 of the way through it now so I bought the B1G1F Dials at Walgreens. Not sure if they're all the same actual formula but the one version said it was for Kitchens and said it would kill e-coli and salmonella bacterias so I thought I'd try that version and see. Maybe it would be worth buying some for the kitchen until I figure out a good formula. I wanted one of the foamers in the kitchen. I have a Dawn Direct Foam in the kitchen and have used that for hand washing but it seems a bit spendy to use that so I'd go with the other bottle for simply washing hands and the Dawn Direct Foam for the dishes. And I'll refill them all anyway using diluted soaps and probably refill the Dawn DF bottle too. Was kicking around the idea of using one of the bottles for in the shower for shampoo and/or body wash. Would work into the hair and spread on the body nicer and likely use less soap on top of it and then require less rinsing to get off the excess.

The "recipe" I found for refilling them said just use 1 Tablespoon of soap, fill with warm water and shake. I was debating about a splash of bleach in there for sanitizing in the kitchen if that doesn't start worldwide paranoia over using bleach. Have to take a look at the contents and see if there's an issue. Although vinegar could even be a good option too. Course that too gets people excited. (sigh) All over just washing hands! LOL

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I am so enjoying this thread, and particularly cynics post I'm all excited about getting a foam hand cleaner bottle so I can use/enjoy it, and then refill it.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 12:27AM
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I haven't bought Washing Detergent in about 2 years now.
I make my own...(see link below)
We do 2 or 3 loads a week and this makes 3 gallons which lasts for months.
As for shaving cream....use olive oil instead.
It give a closer shave than any cream or gel.
Those Romans knew how well it worked.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Ah, it is so nice to hear from folks that are as frugal as I! We try to grow as many vegetables as we can, and eat them fresh or frozen. We rarely eat out--Central Texas is restaurant deprived. We, too, use old clothing as cleaning rags, and use vinegar for more things than Mother Nature intended. Since we have a big garden our main saving is starting plants ourselves. No big set up with heat mats (top of the fridge) or grow-lights (in front of a south facing window) and if there are extras, we can pass them on to neighbors who reciprocate with veggies we don't grow or with seedlings they have started (this is a frugal area). Since we live on a farm, I make one trip to town a week instead of constantly running into town for supplies. The grocery store, library, hardware store, and the local feed store can use up a morning! Planning is probably one of the best money saving strategies that exists.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 11:02AM
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I've wanted to try some of the homemade concoctions for laundry, but when I really calculated costs fairly, the saving wasn't very substantial. For instance, I can buy 35 load cheap liquid laundry detergent, that has to be at least as good as the homemade, for $1.94, which is 5.5¢ per load. That's the regular price so it may even go on sale. All of the recipe sites seem to use 30+¢/load as the comparison for the huge savings. And factor in energy costs for making the liquid version, I'm not sure it's much of a savings. OTOH, if one looks at it as recreation for making it yourself, that's different. Someday I might want to try the powdered version. It's simple but I'd need to find a cheap source for soap flakes rather than grind up my own. Can add some generic Oxi cleaner for a booster too. But right now I started totalling up my detergent supply. I'm in good shape. A friend just gave me a box of leftover samples from a promo from work so I now have 120 more samples, which 1-2 per load will fix me up a long time, coupled with what I have on the shelf, well, I have about a 3 year supply of laundry detergent now! I have a good supply of all cleaners in fact. Pick them up when they're on sale, on clearance, rebates and coupons and I don't pay all that much.

But back to the topic I just have gotten hooked on the foaming hand cleaner. I don't know why but it just works well for me. Don't need to get it, but I will, and refilling makes it cheap after the initial investment.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Air conditioning. Yes, it gets hot for a few months a year where I live. Ceiling fans are much, much cheaper to use and better for the envirnoment.

Cable tv and cell phones. It really is possible to live without both. I don't view talking on the phone as recreation to begin with. And watching TV is just a waste of time.

I love those plug in air fresheners. (NOT!) What a complete waste of money and energy.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 9:18PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. Have to say I also use the library for DVDs, but enjoy using my laptop to go to the library's website & download what I want to watch. Found "Sexy Arms" on there for exercise, so we'll see if I can build up some muscle on these flabby arms!
Have used vinegar, baking soda & diluted liquid soap for long time to clean my home & other's homes. Used to sell cosmetics in the '80's, now use own scrub from kitchen...oatmeal, honey & eggwhite. Gives skin nice color. Like olive oil & vitamin E. As for groceries I do grow what veggies I can in pots on deck, do the Farmer's Mkt. Here in Oregon we have a yr round mkt for winter veggies. Having been over 65 a couple yrs I work parttime for Seniors & they give me their magazines as I haven't subscribed for yrs. Also provide transportation to those now without cars as I have an economy car instead of my Lexus from 3yrs past. No RX's for me as I walk for my personal shopping, library & do my groceries when going for others. Having good health is a priority & leave the toxic products, both cosmetic & household alone. For those interested here's a link to check out toxins in cosmetics, shampoo,etc.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 3:06AM
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househunting - if you ever move or remodel your kitchen, consider having your dishwasher raised. Mine is only raised a foot, and my stiff back really appreciates it. You might need it a few inches higher. Weighed against the cost of your paper and plastic supplies, it might not be so expensive to do.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I am perplexed what some of you are saving your money for.
I can't think of much I would rather have than air conditioning. I'm not really singling you out tg, because I don't relate to most of these posts!
I mean, I do use the library and look for ways to save money all the time but to not have a car or laundry detergent is perplexing indeed.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:18PM
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Bumblebee, you must have money to just throw away.
Regarding the laundry detergent, where to you read that we don't use it?
What I posted was a link on how to make your own.
Now this might not be for everyone, but it works great, is fun to make, and 3 gallons lasts about 3 months for the wife and I.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 2:30PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Happy, no I don't, I'm just questioning the veracity of jumping through hoops to save a little.
Regarding the detergent, are you sure it is cheaper? How many super large loads do you get from the 3 gallon bucket? Does it clean as well as regular detergent? Does it clean as well as expensive brands? Does it smell good and is it good for your washer?

If that's something that makes you happy, I'm happy for you:)
It's one thing to choose to save money by not having a car and air conditioning but seriously, what is more important?
I can't think of anything I would rather have than those. I would cut back on food, clothing, everything, to have a car.

And I'd have to spend more money on laundry detergent because I was sweating so much. But then how would I get those big boxes of detergent home from the store?

I know everyone spends money differently which is why I dislike this thread somewhat. We don't need anything except water, food and possibly shelter so after that everything could be considered a luxury.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:43PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Happy, Thank you for the link to that site. It is one that I was not familiar with and I look forward to perusing it.

I have made the detergent before. I used to store it the leftover vinegar bottles. It was fun to do but I found that my clothes were still stinky after using it so I now just buy Gain and it lasts this family of 6 quite a while. I am glad you reminded me of it though because it may be something fun to do with the kids as a homeschool lesson.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 11:57PM
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Bumblebeez, your first sentence is kind of an interesting comment to make in a Money Saving Tips Forum! LOL

I'll address some of your questions. As far as the cleaning ability, of course it depends on the formula but people who have used it reports it works as well as name brands (with the possible exception of enzyme detergents), and why wouldn't it? It's made from the same types of ingredients. I'm not claiming it's identical but washing soda and soap are in virtually every detergent. Same goes for the smell unless you expect it to have a chemical smell and you can put additives in there for that if you like. Personally I wash clothes to remove stench rather than put stench into them. Oh and is it good for the washer, well, depends on how you define "good" for the washer, but it's laundry detergent so if you're suggesting that it would damage the washer, you can be assured it will not.

I should add that there's a lot of chemistry involved in laundry and the combination of detergent formula, machine, cycle, type of soiling, amount of soiling and even water makes a big difference in laundry results.

And btw, few have quit using the homemade once they started using it. There's been a couple who decided it was more convenient to buy but usually when they get it for the right price. Or they keep a special formula for certain things.

As far as cost, some of the recipes I looked at before weren't cost-effective for me so I didn't make it. I do have a recipe now that is essentially washing soda, borax, soap and baking soda which would compare quite favorably.

"But then how would I get those big boxes of detergent home from the store?"
Not everyone in this country has a car but somehow they get the laundry detergent home. Possibly by walking, taking a bus, a cab, or have it delivered... or maybe make their own? ;)

I will agree with you that I enjoy having a vehicle. I don't drive new vehicles often and it's not a status symbol for me. Often I've thought it would be nice to not have one and when you think about the costs it could be very cost-effective for many people to get rid of their cars. But it's a choice that people make.

Some like to make their own detergent and they do it for a variety of reasons. Some do it because it does save them money. Some do it and don't save much but do it to have it without the additives they don't like. Some do it as a hobby or as a "self-sufficiency" type thing. Some people will butcher a whole animal themselves, freeze it, etc, and some would think that they should just buy it at the store prepackaged. That would not be cost-effective for me, but for some it is.

"It's one thing to choose to save money by not having a car and air conditioning but seriously, what is more important?"
There's no one answer to that question. That's the purpose of the thread I believe. There's a lot of people who simply cannot afford a/c and a car (or a car with a/c! LOL) To many of them, food, clothing and shelter are more important.

I'm not going to challenge the "veracity" comment, since I think perhaps you just misused the word. I see no reason why people would lie about it. I don't think you were trying to say that though.

Mind if I ask what types of things you try to save money on?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:06AM
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