Christmas is Not a Surprise

Hey, you.  I have a little secret to share.

Christmas was on December 25th this past year.

Word on the street is . . . it will be on December 25th this year, and the next, and the next, and the next  . . .

You know what else?  Your kids’ birthdays are on the same day each year. Valentine’s Day is always February 14th, Mother’s Day is always in May, and Father’s Day is always in June.

These events should not be surprises where you are suddenly scrambling for money to buy a gift for your loved ones—or worse—you go into debt because you didn’t plan ahead.

As I type this, it is June 25th—Christmas is exactly six months away.  You have roughly 183 days to plan for the biggest holiday of the year.  You should also plan for every other occasion for which you might purchase a gift.  Never again be that person who says, “Things are just too tight around this time of year . . .”  I was that person who used to utter such words—who didn’t budget for gifts and had to dig under the couch cushions come December.  That way of living is stressful and zero fun.  I finally got smart and figured out how to never worry about any gift-giving throughout the entire year.

Here is my super easy guide to help you have a stress-free gift-giving experience.

  1. MAKE A LIST

Sit down and make a list of every person you anticipate giving a gift to for any occasion from January 1st-December 31st—even if it’s just a small $5 gift you give to some of your co-workers.  Those add up and must be included.

Here’s a sample list for you:

  • Birthdays and Christmas {see the next list}
  • Your wedding anniversary
  • Parents’ anniversary
  • Birthday parties your kids will attend {I estimate each of my kids attend seven a year}
  • Weddings {I estimate we attend three weddings a year}
  • Bridal showers
  • Baby showers
  • Engagement parties
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Teacher Appreciation Day
  • Nurse’s Day
  • Administrative Assistant’s Day
  • Graduation parties {I estimate at least five a year for us}
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Grandparent’s Day
  • Boss’s Day
  • Sweetest Day {do people really observe this one?}
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving

Make a separate list of every single person you typically buy a birthday and/or Christmas present for.  Here’s another list to spark some ideas for you:

  • Spouse
  • Kids
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Nieces/Nephews
  • Aunts/Uncles
  • Siblings
  • Cousins
  • Co-workers
  • Teachers
  • Friends
  • Pastor/mentor
  • Doctor
  • Mail carrier
  • Hair dresser
  • Neighbors
  • Child care provider

#2 SET A LIMIT

Now that you have your entire list made, decide how much you plan to spend on each person for each occasion.  It’s important that you plan this NOW so that you don’t go overboard when you see something that you really want to purchase.  If you have decided ahead of time that you will only spend $50 on your cousin’s wedding gift, but you see something you know she’d love for $500, it’s easier to turn away because you have established that it’s not in your budget. If you do want to spend more for a special reason, look at suggestion #4.

Setting a limit is especially important if you have “multiples” in a situation.  For example, we have five kids.  I make a point to spend the exact same amount on each child for Christmas so that it’s fair. Spend the same on your own mother and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day, etc.

#3 ADD, DIVIDE, SAVE

Now that you’ve decided what you plan to spend on each person for each occasion, add it all up and divide by 12.

You now have your monthly budget for gifts.  

See?  It’s really so simple.

I suggest setting up a separate checking or savings account just for this. Every month I have my bank automatically transfer funds into my “gifts” account.  Whenever I need to purchase a gift, it comes out of there and I have the money for it.  No more scrambling.   You may also want to add an additional $20/month or so just in case you forgot someone or a friend suddenly decides to have a ginormous celebration for their dog’s 12th birthday. {Please don’t invite me to a party like that, btw}.

If your monthly amount is too much for you to afford, then you’re going to have to go back and reevaluate what you plan to spend on each person, or sadly, scratch some people off the list.  Sorry.  Life’s hard.

If you can’t afford the monthly costs of gifts throughout the entire year, how are you going to afford it all come December?  

Or what are you going to do when you have an influx of events? {Four of my nieces and nephews have a birthday in July alone.}

Maybe you work a seasonal job during the holidays or typically get a bonus around December.  That’s great, but I wouldn’t count on that to be my only means of Christmas spending.  What if you got laid off or Bath & Body Works is no longer hiring extra help? You’re now screwed and Christmas is just weeks away.  Not to mention, you still have other gifts throughout the year to purchase and budget for.

#4 SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Momentous occasions are bound to happen . . . your daughter’s sweet 16, your son graduates from college, your parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  You’re probably going to drop a little more cash on these special events than usual.  When you make your lists and set your spending limits, consider if you have a one of these coming up in the near future and plan accordingly.

Many times, these events call for separate planning and budgeting.  If you plan to help your child with buying a car when they turn 16, that will require a few years of planning for most people.  My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary last year.  Instead of gifts, we decided to take the entire family to Disney.  We planned for over three years for that trip so we could pay cash for everything.  This really had nothing to do with our gift budget.

If you’d like to really set a serious budget for all areas of your money, I highly recommend www.everydollar.com.  It’s FREE and the best budgeting tool out there.

I’d love to hear your questions or your own tips about budgeting for gifts.  Please leave them in the comments.

Happy Gift Giving!

Love,

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Seven Everythings I’ve Learned from My Dad

Eating ice cream. Circa 1984.

Eating ice cream with my dad. Circa 1984.

I’m starting a series called “Seven Everythings I’ve Learned.”  Here I’ll feature seven “everythings” {because . . . blog name}  I’ve learned from various people and experiences.  I’ll also feature guests posts from people I find intriguing.   I figured since Father’s Day is today, it was only fitting for my first post in this category to be what I’ve learned from my dad.

I don’t remember my father ever sitting me down and saying, “Courtney, when you grow up, you need to do X, Y, and Z.”  Rachel Cruze teaches when it comes to parenting, “more is caught than taught,” and that is exactly how it’s been with Papa Jack.  He never had to sit me down and have such talks—he was teaching me by my observations.

1. Live Below Your Means

Daddy/Daughter dance at my wedding.

Daddy/Daughter dance at my wedding . . . that he paid for.

My dad is cheap frugal.  Every trip to the grocery store results in him asking for rain checks on discounted sold out items.  He will politely argue with cashier if he was shorted even a penny.   And I was mortified whenever he would make me scalp tickets at KU basketball games so we could get better seats on the cheap.   We never drove new cars, rarely went on vacations (other than visiting family), and the only beverage I was allowed to order at a restaurant was water.

But because my dad was a penny pincher, he was able to pay for my college and my wedding.  He has freedom to be incredibly generous.  He could buy more expensive items if he wanted, and he’d pay cash instead of going into debt. His frugal ways have definitely rubbed off on me as I now see myself putting his tightwad techniques into practice; they pay off in the long run.

2. Work Hard

My pops has always worked, and he’s worked hard.  When I was younger, he had numerous paper routes to put himself through college.   After an MBA, he became a business man and the head of the purchasing department at his job.   I worked in the factory at his business to make extra money in college.  I’ll never forget when an employee pulled me aside one day and said, “You know, if your father ever left this company, it would completely fall to pieces.”  I swelled up with pride at this comment—that was my daddy he was talking about.  His work had become invaluable, and when your work becomes invaluable, you gain purpose and security for you and your family.

Like father, like daughter.  At my graduation for my master's.

Like father, like daughter. At my graduation for my master’s.

3. Education is Important

I was expected to do well in school and go to college.  I wasn’t even allowed to take an easy load my senior year of high school. Before I turned in my proposed schedule, my dad made me switch everything around to take all the harder classes, dang it! Because of his high expectations, I went on to get my bachelor’s, and one of my proudest moments in life was finally being on par with my pops in degrees by attaining a master’s.  Education has stamped out the ignorance in my life and heavily molded me into the person I am today.

It wasn’t just formal education my father emphasized—it was a love for learning.  Before Google, my dad had “The Red Dictionary”–a tattered old thing that seemed to always be within arm’s reach of him.  Whenever we were uncertain about anything, we’d consult said lexicon.   Even though I am now a teacher by profession, my dad has taught me to forever be a student.

4.  Be Cool

If you surveyed 100 people who know my dad well and asked them to describe Jack in just one word, I’d bet “cool” would be used more than any other.  He’s seriously just a cool guy and I’ve never met a soul who doesn’t like him.   So . . . Be Cool = People Like You.

5. Quality Time Matters

Catching a Boston Red Sox game in Boston

Catching a Red Sox game together in Boston

Some of my favorite memories with my dad are taking road trips, attending ball games, and playing euchre.  Now that he has grandchildren, he makes it a point to spend quality time with them, too. I guarantee those memories will be more significant to them than any gift they ever receive.

6. Invest in Others

My dad was a part of a bus ministry back in the 1970s where he picked up kids for church. Through this ministry he was able to build relationships with numerous boys and become a fatherly figure.  Over the years he’d hire them to deliver newspapers, took them to Royals games, and mentored them spiritually.   He still has a close relationship with many of them, and one in particular says he wouldn’t be the man he is today if it weren’t specifically for my dad in his life. Watching this as an adolescent majorly influenced my decision to become a teacher, a teen leader at my church, and a volunteer.

7. Eat Ice Cream

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Passing on the art of eating ice cream to my kids.

I’m pretty sure there is a direct correlation between ice cream and happiness.  If my dad is visiting, you can bet there will be ice cream in our fridge.  He may even splurge and we’ll go out for some.  You don’t want to live a life full of regrets—a life without ice cream is sure to be regretful.

And . . . Mmmmmmm.  Ice cream sounds #sogood right now.  I think I’m gonna stop typing and fill a bowl.

I love you, Dad.   Thanks for the lessons.

Happy Father’s Day.

Love,

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The Ultimate Guide to Kroger Fuel Points

PTL gas prices have dropped since last year, but the average household is still expected to spend nearly $2,000 at the pump in 2015. What if you could save $35 on one fuel up? Better yet, what if you could save hundreds over the course of a year?

Saving money at the pump is essential for our family because we are not easy on the ol’ odometer.  My husband’s long work commute means at least 25,000 miles on his car alone each year.  The cost of gasoline can put a huge dent in our budget. Because of this, we’ve managed to figure out how to rarely pay full price for fuel.  In fact, we save over $600/year on average and in January of this year, we were able to get gas for as little as $0.73/gallon!

$1.00 off/gallon in January of 2015.

$1.00 off/gallon in January of 2015.

How is this even possible, you ask?

KROGER. FUEL. POINTS.

HOW TO GET STARTED

  • Do you have a Kroger, Dillons, Bakers, or another Kroger grocery chain in your neighborhood?  You must first sign up for a “Plus Card” at the store—it’s FREE and takes about two minutes.
  • Use your Kroger Plus Card in various ways to gain points (details below).  For every 100 points you rack up, you’ll earn $0.10 off/gallon of gas.
  • Each receipt from Kroger will print out your total points.  You can also set up an account to check your fuel points online.
  • When you go to a Kroger gas station, simply swipe your Plus Card and it will give you an option to receive your discount.

FILLING UP — GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FUEL POINTS

  • Kroger allows you to use up to 35 gallons for one fill up.  If you’ve earned 1,000 fuel points in one month, that can be a total of $35 OFF!  If you earn $1.00 off/gallon at least once a month (filling up 35 gallons), you’ll save $420 in a year!
  • In order to take advantage of this, my husband and I coordinate our gas up trips and make sure our gauges are concurrently on E.  It’s a science, really.  My minivan holds 18 gallons and his car holds 12.  We bring along a gas can or two and VOILA—we’ve filled up 35 gallons and saved ourselves some serious dough.  Even if we have only $0.20 off/gallon, we do this.  That’s still $7.00 we’re saving if we fill up together.
  • What if you don’t have 35 gallons to fill?   Let’s say you’re single with a car that only holds 12 gallons.  Bring two or three large gas cans with you.  If you’re getting $1.00 off/gallon, you’re still saving $22-$27.  You could also share with a friend.  Have your bestie meet you at the gas station, use your remaining fuel points, and then write you a check for their amount.

Now, let’s learn how to rack up those points.  Here are my seven best tips for earning the most fuel points possible.

#1 GROCERY SHOPPING558333048_a56ec83123_n

The most common way to earn points is to simply buy groceries.  You know, that thing you do anyway to be able to, um . . . SURVIVE. Every dollar you spend at Kroger = 1 point.

STOP.  I know exactly what you’re thinking: “So, you’re saying I have to spend $1,000 on groceries in one month just to save $35 in gas???   That’s not really saving me anything and I think you’re dumb.”

Dear readers,

First, calling me dumb is not nice.  Second, groceries are just one of many ways to earn fuel points.  You know what our family of four spends on groceries each month?  $300. However, according to the USDA the average low-cost meal plan for a family of four in March of 2015 was approximately $719.30 and a liberal plan went all the way up to $1,287.80!

That’s ONE MONTH of food. 

If this is your budget for groceries, you may not need to continue reading.  You could earn your $1.00 off/gallon with groceries alone.

Look for specials like these to get extra points

Look for specials like these to get extra points

#2 GIFT CARDS

This is quite possibly the most lucrative way to rack up your fuel points.  Kroger has partnered with dozens of chains so you can buy gift cards to just about anywhere during your grocery run. Buying a gift card at Kroger = 2X fuel points. Buy a $25 gift card and you now have 50 fuel points.

About four times a year Kroger will offer 4X fuel points on their gift cards.  This is the perfect time to stock up.   It is now required for you to digitally download this offer to your Plus Card, so make sure you’re getting email updates to stay informed and be proactive.

Don’t limit the gift cards just for gifts.  The key is buying them for yourself and then use like cash.  Here are some scenarios for using gift cards to your advantage:

  • You’re buying a $50 wedding gift for someone who registered at Target.  Run to Kroger first, buy yourself a $50 Target gift card to spend on the gift.  You just earned yourself 100 fuel points.
  • Do you have a large housing project coming up?  Buy yourself gift cards to Lowe’s or Home Depot and then use them at the store to pay.  A few years ago we replaced the carpet in our living room—a $1,200 expense.  We bought $1,200 in Lowe’s gift cards during a 4X fuel points promotion to use on the carpet.  That alone gave us 4,800 points (the equivalent to saving $168 in gas).
  • Dining out?  We try to eat at locally owned restaurants, but let’s face it.  Sometimes you just gotta have the salad and bread sticks from Olive Garden.  Run to Kroger first to buy a gift card to that restaurant before you go.

Warnings about the Gift Cards:

  • You do not get fuel points for purchasing Kroger gift cards.  Yeah . . . tried that one.
  • You CAN get fuel points for pre-priced MasterCard and Visa gift cards, but you’re hit with a $5.95 activation fee.  Unless you purchase this during a 4X fuel points promotion, it’s honestly not worth it.  Here’s why:  A $100 Visa gift card = 200 fuel points (or $0.20 off/gallon).  If you filled up 35 gallons, you would save $7.  With the $5.95 fee, you’re only truly saving $1.05.

#3 DOUBLE POINT WEEKENDS

Get double the fuel points during weekends this summer.

Get double the fuel points during weekends this summer.

Kroger offers double fuel points on weekends (Friday-Sunday) during the summer months (ends August 2nd).  To take advantage of this, you must digitally upload the offer to your Plus Card.  In the summer, we only grocery shop on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to get twice the points.  I don’t care if the only thing we have left in the house are potatoes and a bottle of mustard come Thursday, dangit! (Guess what’s for dinner, kids!)  We’ll make do with what we have until the double fuel point days.

6221802534_602133976e_n#4 STARBUCKS

Just about every Kroger has a Starbucks now, and if you’re going to grab that latte in the morning, you better get it from your neighborhood Kroger.  Why?  Because Starbucks inside Kroger allows you to swipe that Plus Card for fuel points, my friends.  Want to work the system a bit?  Consider this scenario:

You and your sweetie each get a venti frappuccino and a croissant for breakfast.  Total cost is easily $15.  Before you make the purchase, buy yourself a $15 Starbucks gift card.  If you do this during a 4X promotion, you’ll get 60 fuel points.  As you pay for your $15 order, use the gift card you just bought and swipe your Plus Card.  You’ll get one point for every dollar you just spent.  That’s an additional 15 points.  Do all of this on a double-point weekend and you just earned an additional 15 points.  That’s 90 points altogether.

#5 PRESCRIPTIONS5825033712_22ac287bb5_n

For every prescription you fill at Kroger, you receive 50 fuel points (no matter the cost of the prescription).   My family has two prescriptions refilled monthly.  You better believe we always have these filled at Kroger because it earns us 100 fuel points each month.

Kroger also runs two promotions when you transfer your prescriptions.  One is a $25 credit to spend in the store (not for gas).  The other is 1,000 fuel points.  If you have 35 gallons to fill, that’s $35 saved.

Look for this on your receipt to take surveys.

Look for this on your receipt to take surveys.

#6 SURVEYS

This is my new favorite way to gain points because it’s FREE and only takes about five minutes to complete. Every once in a while your receipt will have a code for a survey to complete.  For every survey you fill out, you get 50 fuel points. You can only do one survey per week though.  I try to do my survey every Tuesday.  If there are five Tuesdays in a month, I can get 250 fuel points.  You can also enter a drawing to win $5,000 in groceries each time you do the survey.  A nice extra perk.  Go to http://www.krogerfeedback.com to take the survey.

#7 THE 1-2-3 REWARDS VISA CARD

I personally do not use this one, but it’s worth throwing out there so you know all your options.  Kroger offers their own credit card called the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card.  If you sign up and use this, you get an additional $0.25 off/gallon for every 100 points you earn.  WARNING!  This deal only lasts for the first three months after you activate your card.

Now, sweet reader, if you sign up for this credit card, please never carry a balance.  You don’t want to be paying a 22% interest rate on the hamburger meat you bought six months ago.  Not only is that silly, but you’re really not saving on fuel cost that way.

STINKERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

  • Your fuel points expire, so it’s use ‘em or lose ‘em.  You have until the end of the following month to use your points.  Let’s say I earned 1,000 points in June.  I will have until July 31st before they go away.
  • The maximum amount of points you can use for one fill up is 1,000.  If you have an awesome month where you rack up say, 3,000 points, you don’t get $3.00 off/gallon. You will have to fill up three separate times at $1.00 off/gallon each time.
  • Points do not roll over.  Let’s say you earned 999 points by July 31st; you will only get $0.90 off/gallon while the other 99 points are completely wasted.  If something like this happens, for gracious sake!, please go back inside and buy yourself a pack of gum.  I try to plan so that I am right at a round number or just a little over.  If you’re at 920 points, don’t go back in and drop another $80 just to earn an additional $0.10 off/gallon.  Be smart about the math.

Do you have any other tips about earning fuel points or questions about this post?  Leave them in the comments.  Also, we want to hear about your successes using these strategies.

Happy saving!!!

Love,

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The BEST Recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This week we received rhubarb in our CSA basket and strawberries were on sale at Dillons. This was clearly a sign from above that I needed to make one of my favorites:

Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

My family can’t get enough of this recipe!  I have to keep myself from spooning it straight out of the jar–it’s that good, y’all.  Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy this little heavenly spread as well.

*Fills four small (8-ounce) mason jars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 1 c. rhubarb
  • 1 & 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp. low sugar pectin (powder, not liquid)
  • 1 & 1/4 c. water
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds {optional}

STEPS

  1. Before you begin, make sure thoroughly wash your strawberries and rhubarb and sanitize your mason jars.  Click here to see how to sterilize jars.
  2. Cut your strawberries and rhubarb into small pieces.
  3. Mix strawberries, rhubarb, water, and lemon juice into a large pot and bring to a boil on the stove.
  4. Mix together the pectin and sugar into a separate bowl.  This helps break up the pectin so that it doesn’t get chunky or gooey in the jam.
  5. Once it’s bowling, stir in the pectin and sugar.
  6. Boil for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat and pour into jars using a large canning funnel.
  8. Mix in the chia seeds.  These will gel up after being in the liquid to give it a better consistency + it adds some nutrition.

You can keep this in the refrigerator for two weeks, or if you’d like to preserve these for several months, continue with the canning process.   My family rips through this jam so quickly, we don’t need to preserve it.  This is an awesome tutorial to watch if you want to learn how to can jams.  If you need canning equipment, click here to buy a kit online.

I hope you enjoy this jam as much as we do.  Have a question or want to share a tip of your own? Leave a comment.

Check out some other awesome recipes at http://www.skiptomylou.org.

Love,

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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe – The Why & How

270917_10151447685977424_1227744904_nI’m always looking for ways to save money, save my health, and save the environment. Making homemade laundry detergent helps me accomplish all three of those goals.  You read that correctly, friend.  Besides being expensive, most conventional laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals that seep into your precious skin via those “clean” clothes; it also horribly contaminates our water.  Once you start making your own laundry soap, I promise your wallet will be a little fatter and, let’s be honest, you’re simply going to feel like the planet’s superhero a better person.

Before I dish on the “HOW,” let me elaborate a little more on the “WHY.”

BETTER FOR YOUR WALLET

Not gonna lie.  The only reason I even began making my own laundry soap was because I crunched some numbers and realized there was potential to save a bunch-o-money. Here’s a little math breakdown for ya:

A 50 oz. bottle of Tide costs about $11.99.  You should be able to get 32 loads out of this, making it $0.37/load.  

Making your own detergent:

  • Borax = $5.39/box–used 1 cup = $0.54
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – $3.99/box–used 1 cup = $0.58
  • Fels-Naptha Soap – $1.29/bar–used 1.5 bars = $1.93
  • Water = Basically FREE

That’s $11.31 to get started (with leftovers to use next time) and only $3.05 to make over three gallons of laundry detergent!  You’ll need 1/2 cup per load, which means you’ll get 96 loads out of one batch.  The grand total cost per load:

$0.03.

Wowza.

If your family does four loads of laundry a week, you’re looking at a difference of $76.96/year with a product like Tide vs. only $6.24/year making it yourself.  What could you do with an extra $70?  Besides saving on the cost of the detergent, think about the gas you’ll save with fewer trips to the supermarket.  Nice.

BETTER FOR YOU

You’ve heard that looks can be deceiving.  Well, scents can be deceiving as well.  Turns out, most store-bought laundry detergents, while pleasant to the sense of smell, are extremely toxic.  Once you wear the clothes you washed, your skin absorbs those toxins–your lungs breathe them in too.  Side effects range from respiratory problems, hormone imbalance, infertility, and skin irritation.  Read more about the icky details here.

BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Making your own laundry detergent requires you to pour it into a container.  I opted to clean out our used plastic milk jugs.  This greatly reduces my carbon footprint by reusing plastic.  Let’s say my family averages four loads of laundry a week.  If I bought that Tide I mentioned earlier, I’d have to purchase nearly seven bottles a year.  That may not seem like much plastic, but multiply that with the other 123.2 million households in the U.S alone.  That = Yikes.

Also, as you’ll see in the recipe below, other than the bar soap, the ingredients are all natural.  If you want to go all out and have all natural bar soap as well, click here for a great recipe.   All natural products are, of course, better for the planet . . . and for you (refer back to reason #2).

Here is what’s most horrifying to me about many store-bought detergents.  As mentioned before, they contain a slew of toxic chemicals, one of which is dioxane.  Dioxane contaminates water and once it gets into there, not even water filtration systems can remove it. Did I mention it’s also not biodegradable?  Be sure to read this article and watch the 9-minute video at the bottom about how harmful these detergents are to you and the water system.  You’ll be shocked.  And disgusted.  And mad.  I don’t care how tired I get of making my own soap.  After reading this article, I vowed to never go back to conventional detergents ever again.

THE HOW

Once you’ve read the reasons “WHY” you should make homemade laundry detergent, now I’ll give you the HOW.  Here’s my favorite recipe for liquid soap:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups Fels-Naptha or Ivory soap (grated)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA)
  • 2 gallons of cool water
  • 7 drops of essential oil for fragrance (optional-without this it leaves no scent on your clothes)

STEPS (takes only about 30 minutes)

  1. In a large pot bring 10 cups of water to a boil
  2. As you wait for water to boil, grate bar soap (I use a cheese grater over a plate)
  3. Add grated soap to boiling water until soap is melted
  4. Pour the soapy water into a large clean pail. Add the Borax and washing soda. Stir well until dissolved.
  5. Add 2 gallons of cold water.  Stir until mixed well.  If adding essential oils, do so during this step.
  6. Before it thickens, use a funnel to pour into clean milk jugs (I suggest two people for this job).  Should fill at least 3 gallons.

Add 1/2 cup to each load.  This will gel, so make sure to shake the bottle well before pouring.

There you go, guys.  My family has been using this recipe for years and have been extremely pleased.  I hope you enjoy saving money, your health, and the planet by making some of your own.  Have questions or comments?  Leave them below.

Check out http://www.skiptomylou.org for other great DYI ideas.

Love,

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