Simplify and Save $500

$500?  How?

Well, I've been yammering on about simplifying my beauty and cleaning routines, and it turns out that not only is the process saving my space, sanity and health, it's saving me dough

Scroll down for the bottom line, or read the details. 

I used to spend money on:

Cleaning Products:

  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner - $2.99
  • Glass Cleaner - $3.39
  • Antibacterial Surface Cleaner - $2.99
  • Bathroom Spray Cleaner - $2.99
  • Shower & Tile Spray Cleaner - $3.99
  • Laundry Detergent - $12.99 (53 oz/66 uses)
  • Bounce Dryer Sheets - $9.39 (200 ct.)
  • Air Freshener/Room Spray - $2.99

Cleaning Products Total: $46.45 (tax incl.)

Paper & Single Use Products:

  • Qtips - $2.99 (500 ct.)
  • Cotton Balls $2.24 (200 ct.)
  • Paper Napkins - $4.19 (500 ct.)
  • Kitchen Sponges - $5.89 (6 ct.)

Single Use Total: $16.80 (tax incl.)

Beauty:

  • Shampoo $19.99
  • Conditioner $19.99
  • Nighttime Face Lotion - $14.99
  • Bath Gel - $13.99
  • Shave Gel - $2.64
  • Body Lotion - $15.99
  • Aveda Damage Remedy Hair Balm - $24
  • Thermal Protectant Hair Cream - $25
  • Clearasil Face Wash - $7.79
  • Apricot Face Scrub - $3.04

Beauty Total: $161.79 (incl. tax)

Total for all: $225.  Let's assume I have to buy these things 3 times a year.  

That's $675 per year.

I've replaced the cleaning supplies with a gallon of white vinegar ($3), washing soda ($4), and Sal Suds ($14), the single use items with napkins, rags and rounds made from old shirts (free!), the beauty supplies with a bar of shampoo/body soap ($8), and a bottle of jojoba oil ($7). 

Cost for all of that:  $36.  Assuming I have to buy all that 4 times a year, that's $144 per year. 

Savings?

Cash savings per year: $531

Total time savings from only using a few products.  Immeasurable.  

Total health savings from not having to smear so many chemicals in and around my house, priceless.  

Bath Time!

Is there anything more luxurious than lighting a few candles, pouring in some lavender salts and sinking down into a warm bath? 

I think not. 

But, thanks to this drought, I've been trying to do my part and save water.  Well, it turns out that easing up on the hamburgers and chocolate saves a hell of a lot more water than skimping on a bath time.  So my homework this week, and yours, is to light those candles up and get in that bath.  My aching shoulders can't wait.  Bonus points if you can get someone to bring you a glass of champagne while you're soaking.  ;-)

If you're feeling even a bit squeamish about using that water, just remember that residential water use only accounts for 10% of our state's water usage.  Seriously. 

Until next week, take care of yourself.  It isn't selfish!

Digital Downsizing: Part 4 - Unsubscribing

Unsubscribing from all those damn newsletters (mine included, if it bothers you) is probably the act of downsizing with the biggest bang for the buck. 

You can do it manually, or there are several apps/programs available that do it for you. I have personally used Unroll.me and love it.  It allowed me to unroll from 32 newsletters in about as many seconds.  When you sign up for it, it takes a few minutes to scan your email account and see what you're subscribed to.  Then it lists them in alphabetical order with a delete option for each and just like that, click, click, click, you're unsubbed. 

They do send you a daily "Roll Up" with all of your remaining subscriptions combined in one email.  I suppose that can be a good thing, but if it annoys you, just unsubscribe from it as well. 

I promise this one task of unsubscribing will truly make a difference in your day to day email interactions. 

Herb Gardens

Fresh herbs. 

Have you experienced these?  

The quickest way to add a bit of zip and zing to your salads, roast chickens and whatever else you fancy.  Herbs are super easy to grow inside.  

I don't have much of a backyard, thanks to apartment living, so I've brought my herb garden in.  All the herbs were courtesy of Trader Joe's and most were organic.  The organic ones were only about $3 each.  That's what you'd pay for a pack of snipped organic herbs, but these keep on giving.

The key is to have a bit of sunlight and not water too much.  That being said, I still manage to kill basil within 2 weeks.  Indoors.  Outdoors.  It doesn't matter.  If you can keep it alive for a month or longer, let me know your secret.  

Regardless of the hassle, the benefits are numerous.  Slice and dice them on your salads, meats and snacks.   And let me know your favorites!

Take Out

Sometimes it's Sunday.  Or Monday.

Or Thursday. 

 And it's just exhausting. You've had a long day of childcare or work and the thought of cooking just leaves you cold.  And hungry.

In these instances, it's key to have a good takeout place on speed dial or a frozen meal in the freezer.  Sometimes, we need a break from the 24/7 meal prep hamster wheel.  One of the joys of living in a fabulous country is that we have the privilege of ordering out, not cooking, freezing, calling time out.  

So maybe there's one day this week that you need a time out.  A break.  And to save the 48 minutes that prepping a meal would require.  

Spend that time breathing.  Sit on a couch, the floor, the bed, and just breath.  Close your eyes. Focus on how the moment feels. How nice it feels to just sit and not work. Say thanks.