Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wrapping Up The Questions

What would be the best place to start as far getting a handle on budgeting? To me it seems to be one of those things that is so overwhelming I don't know where to start.

If you are looking for help planning a complete family budget than there is no better book that I can recommend than Larry Burketts The Financial Planning Workbook. It's an easy to use, in depth guide on how to set up a budget and includes all kinds of worksheets and advice to work it all out. If you look in my left sidebar I've got a link to Amazon where you can get these for a discount. If you are asking specifically about where to get started concerning just your grocery budget you can check out my section on "Just How Do I Do This" in the right sidebar and that should give you a good start.

I was also wondering about the homemade laundry detergent. Is it easy to make, and is it safe for use on baby clothes? I'm expecting my second baby and want to make sure anything I use is safe for the kids. My husband looked at me like I had lost my mind when I mentioned making laundry detergent.

The laundry detergent is VERY easy to make. It probably takes me 15 minutes to make a double batch. It is very safe and works well on people with sensitive skin. All the ingredients are non-toxic except for the Borax which is a still a natural occurring compound but the amount in each recipe is minimal.

Do you have any frugal secrets for your homeschool?

THERE IS NO NEED TO BUY BOXED CURRICULUM SETS! Gosh I wish I would have understood that in the early years. I spent hundreds of dollars on stale boring curriculum that we hated. I pull from several different resources for my curriculum and my most frugal sources are e-bay, Rainbow Resource (offers a huge selection at discount) and good ole Paperback Swap for our reading material. (if you decided to sign up please use my e-mail: as your referral. )

Have you ever done a post on whether or not you CVS?

I don't CVS or use coupons. I'm not opposed to either and maybe at some point I'll find the time to invest in this. A lot of you out there are getting some amazing deals. But I've noticed several things. One is that I'm not willing to buy 5 car air fresheners just to get a good deal on toilet paper. I don't need car air fresheners so this really isn't a deal for me. Plus if I were to crunch the numbers I could just buy the TP at one of the liquidators at a cheaper price and not have to pay for the other items that I don't really want. And Second, most coupons out there are for brand name items or convenience foods that I don't normally buy. I can get the same things for good prices if I just buy generic or again, hit the grocery liquidators. When they start making coupons for flour, sugar, eggs, milk, or the basics I'll be all over it. And I sure wouldn't pass up a coupon if I knew I could get it cheaper than my regular shopping. But right now I'm not willing to invest the time to learn the system and track down all the sale ads and double coupons and e-coupons. Maybe someday.

Don't forget that Friday is our big recipe swap. I'll be posting Mr. Linky again if you all want to join in.


Julie said...

I'm not going to tell you that you should start using coupons -- you're doing a fantastic job without them. I just wanted to clarify some things I've noticed. Most non-couponers assume that the coupons are only for brand name junk foods. True, they are for brand names, but not all are for junk foods. Just about all the eggs, pasta, cans of organic tomatoes, frozen vegetables, whole grain cereals in my home were free or cheaper than store brand using coupons.
I do wish, though, that I had access to some of the surplus stores you visit.

Robyn said...

Ah, thank you for that. I've been reading so many blogs about people saving money with coupons and I've tried it. But like you, I try not to buy too much convenience pre-packaged food which most coupons are for. Every once in a while they will have coupons for flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. But I often only come back with having saved $5 - $10. That's cool, but it sometimes makes me wonder if I should even bother. I wish we had a liquidator place like you. I have yet to find one.
Oh, what is the bread recipe you use? My bread never turns out tall enough for sandwich bread, it seems to collapse in the middle and I don't know what to do.

N. said...

I think I may be with you on doing CVS or Walgreens. I look at the pictures of things women have bought and thought, "do they really use those things?" To me, it looks like purchases of items JUST BECAUSE it's cheap. I'm all for it if it's something I would use, like household items or health care .. but I'm like you in that I don't need 5 bottles of Robitussin to get something for free. I think I'm having a hard enough time just planning our meals and shopping for them. It looks fun, however, for those who love a challenge, and I am one of those. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog the other day and I love it!! I do have one question, I saw that you plan your breakfast and dinners to fit in your budget but what about lunch?

Missy said...

Thanks for posting these questions with answers....very helpful information!! :)

Elisha said...

Will the laundry detergent work in a high efficency washer?

Michelle said...

I am loving your blog! It's inspiring. I am planning on using your recipes for homemade detergents and dryer sheets when my store bought ones run out. We,too,own our own business and are on a tight budget...even tighter now in these hard to do things ourselves (like they did less then 100 years ago anyway!) makes sense and is exciting to me. It's amazing all of the useless junk that suppliers put into our food, our home care products, our beauty much is unnecessary. It's time to simplify...thanks for being so open and for sharing so much with us readers out's nice to know we're in this together!

Chris and Annalisa said...

I've got a question for you! You say you don't use coupons because you generally get better deals shopping liquidators without the hassle/time commitment. What about a local food co-op? Have you ever used one of those and would it save you money do you think?

Great blog, keep up the great work!

Julia said...

I didn't realize that you were doing this without coupons. Now I am doubly impressed at how little you are able to spend.

Kevin said...

My friend tried out her home made laundry soap the week her kids had diarrhea... she said it rocked her laundry world. :)

I used to buy the sunday paper for coupons, but now sometimes its not even worth the $1.50-2.00 for a few bucks saved with the coupons.

momstheword said...

This is the same problem I have with coupon and buying at Walgrens, although I want to look into it a little more before I decide.

I don't buy or use the stuff people seem to buy at Walgreens (like bodywash, etc.) so not sure how much good it would do me to get it for practically free if I don't use it.

Winco doesn't accept internet coupons although they do take regular ones.

I don't do boxed homeschool curriculum either. I buy most of my curriculum at a used homeschool books store. They sale and ship lots of stuff out of state and is still cheaper than buying new.

For the first three years of homeschooling I used "Learning At Home" by Anne Ward, which is a very inexpensive total curriculum that uses library books to supplement. How cheap is that? Awesome!

Love these questions and answers!

Anonymous said...

I was an anti-coupon person for years. Then I found and LOVE IT. It isn't time consuming because they do all of the hard work for you and put it in a database that is simple to use (you can even create a printable grocery list with a few mouse clicks). Everything that's on sale is listed not just the junk, and not just the stuff we have coupons for. This totally helps with the basics - I know which store has the best price on milk, eggs, chicken, etc., all the time. I started using their service about a year ago and have saved over $10,000. We still buy the stuff we always bought, just in a different way. Best of luck :)

4ddintx said...


I use a powdered version of the laundry soap in my HE washer and it works great. Great for kids with eczema, too.

I love all of the ideas on this blog. Thanks!!!

Minda said...

I love FAQ type posts so I enjoyed this.

I'm with you on the CVS thing. I have gotten some good deals but there just isn't enough stuff from there that I need consistently enough to keep going.

I do like coupons though. I try to only clip what we use unless it's a new product that I really want to try.

Terri said...

I've been using the homemade laundry detergent for about 6 months now and it's the bomb!!! Great stuff!!! Very gentle on my babies clothing. I have a 17 month old and 3.5 yr old. I also use it on fuzzy bunz (cloth diapers) and it works great. I keeps my clothing very clean!


Anonymous said...

Someone asked a question about tampons and pads. I wanted to share an item with everyone. The item is called a 'keeper' you can find it at

It costs $35.00. I purchased one 6 years ago and still use it. It is sooo much cheaper then tampons or pads.

I have since ordered a second one so I have an extra just in case. Definitely worth the investment!

Maria D. said...

I own a cup very similar to The Keeper, and I found it at, which also has a great line of cloth menstrual pads. It is better on the wallet and the environment in the long run! I highly recommend GladRags because they are extremely comfortable (disposables give me a bad diaper vibe, lol), and a $45 investment will pretty much take care of me for years on end (and this month, you can get 20% off your entire order of anything if you sign up for their newsletter!). This is definitely worth checking out!

Anonymous said...

A low cost, green eco friendly, healthy natural way to do laundry and is safe for diapers is to put 3 or 4 soapberries in the wash. They grow on the Chinaberry tree and have been used for thousands of years. They work very effectively.

KellyH said...

My best money saving tip for homeschooling is using the library. I know you may not be able to totally teach from there, but we get SCORES of stuff for school there. We live in a rural area, and have to pay $75 a year for a library card (we don't live in the township that taxes for the local library). For that, I have access to hundreds of libraries, via our nearest metro area, and the library system our little library is part of. I can get just about anything for free via interlibrary loan.

This $75 is probably the best money I spend all year.


Christine said...

I just started using coupons along with the sales at Krogers.... I ended up buying 20 boxes of name brand cereal for about $20..all healthy sugary had several other great deals on other products.....