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May 25, 2016

10 Things I've Stopped Buying


At first I had to cut our grocery budget by necessity, but then it also became a quest to eliminate chemicals, harmful ingredients and overly-processed foods.

Ten things I've stopped buying

And then, because we are trying to be more self-sufficient, I began to substitute homemade and homegrown products for some of the things we used to buy. Now it's become a bit of a game to see how little I need from the store, and how seldom I have to make that grocery shopping trip.

Here are ten items I've stopped buying. I've either replaced them with a homemade version, produce it at home, or have made a healthier substitution.

Ingredients to make natural cleaners

1. Cleaning products - When I first began reducing our use of chemicals, I started with cleaning products. You can clean just about anything with a few basic, natural ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda, and it costs so much less too. You'll find some natural cleaning recipes in this post from my blogging friend Nancy at Nancy on the Homefront.

2. Personal care products - I make my own whipped coconut oil moisturizer, lip balm with beeswax and essential oils, foot balm for dry, cracked heels, and sugar scrubs.

Goat milk soap

3. Soap - I've made my own goat milk soap for years and I love it. The bars have luxuriant lather and don't dry my skin out like commercial soap. You can read my soapmaking series here.

4. Shampoo - I tried making my own liquid shampoo but didn't like it. I tried using a mixture of baking soda and water but didn't like it either. I've finally discovered what makes me and my hair happy: shampoo bars. Technically, I'm still buying shampoo bars, but I'm working on my own recipe and will soon be making my own. It's the same process as making cold process soap, but with a different combination and concentration of oils. I'll share more about this with you soon.

5. Hair dye - In the past I used to "cover my grey", but one day I asked myself "why am I trying to live a chemical-free life and pouring chemicals ON MY BRAIN?" I haven't found a natural replacement, so I decided to just go grey gracefully. (Well, I hope the journey is graceful.)

Paper plates and cups

6. Paper plates, paper towels, etc. - I stopped buying paper plates on a regular basis many years ago. There are a few packages in my Power's Out box so that in a power outage I don't have to worry about washing dishes, but they aren't our "everyday china". We use old kitchen towels to mop up spills and for cleaning instead of paper towels, and washcloths serve as napkins. I buy packages of ten washcloths in assorted colors when they're on sale, usually for less than $5.

7. Toothpaste - In my quest to avoid ingredients such as sodium flouride and propylene glycol, I stopped using commercial toothpaste years ago. Instead I use baking soda and sea salt. Because baking soda is alkaline, it counteracts decay-causing acids in the mouth, kills germs, and fights bad breath. Its gritty texture removes tarter but doesn't harm tooth enamel. The trace minerals in sea salt strengthen teeth and gums and also fight bad breath. I mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part fine sea salt and store in a small jar. To use, I pour a small amount into the palm of my hand and dip a wet toothbrush into the powder. (See Measuring by Parts for more information on measuring.)

8. Baking mix, cake mixes, pancake mix, etc. - It's so easy to mix up the dry ingredients to just about anything and store in a jar until you need it. I write down the directions and the wet ingredients to be added and tape the paper to the side of the jar. I often take one day a month to fill jars with several different mixes. Many of the recipes are included in my series on Homemade Convenience Food.

A dozen brown eggs

9. Eggs - With a coop full of productive hens I have more eggs than I can use up. I've frozen and dehydrated the extra eggs and should have enough to last us over the winter when production falls off. I cook seasonally - using ingredients when they're in season - so we don't eat as many egg dishes in the wintertime.

10. Seasoning mixes - Making my own taco seasoning and chili seasoning mixes costs just pennies, compared to paying over a dollar for about a tablespoon of herbs, spices and salt. You can find the recipes I use in my Homemade Convenience Food series.

By eliminating certain products and substituting others, I've cut our budget and am making better and healthier choices. It's a wonderful feeling to make fewer trips to the store, and to skip certain aisles in the store completely.

What could you stop buying?


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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44 comments:

Stephen Tuck said...

A few years ago, I went through a time where I was living out of one room in a share house and was nearly constantly broke (it's a long story). I found that I was turning back to ways of cooking that would have come from the Great Depression or earlier because it was cheap. So, I made stews up out of chicken necks, which I could buy a couple of pounds of for one or two dollars (they contained a surprising amount of meat, and spitting out the vertebrae was merely a nuisance). Another great buy was smoked ham bones from the stall-holders in the Queen Victoria Market: the smoked meat had mostly been trimmed off and sold earlier in the day, and if I went there late in the day when they were closing, they'd basically give you the bones (or sell them for a dollar or two) rather than have to get rid of them (if I asked nicely, they'd also cut them into sections to expose the marrow). There was always enough meat left on them that made them worthwhile cooking up in a pea soup, and they gave a delicious smoky flavor to things. The other thing I found was that I could make 6 loaves of bread from a bag or two of flour and a sixpack of rubbish beer. The economics of it were probably borderline (The cost worked out about the same) but I certainly found that you eat less bread when you know you're the one that has to make the next loaf!

Kathi said...

Those are excellent tips, Stephen. Thank you for sharing them!

Jamie Jeffers said...

In my less busy season, I was making more homemade items. But you've definitely written about more ideas I could try. (Some day, when I'm in a calmer season of life again!)

Kathi said...

We all go through those seasons of life, Jamie. Maybe make a list so you won't forget when that day comes?

Edye Nicole said...

Love all these ideas! It's amazing how much money we can save by making things ourselves :)

Blessings,
Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

Kathi said...

And so many things are so easy to make ourselves. :-)

Jennifer@MyFlagstaffHome said...

Love these ideas! Good for you! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home.

Jennifer

Kathi said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jennifer. Have a great weekend.

Kathryn Grace said...

Good suggestions all. I tried several homemade toothpaste substitutes, but haven't come up with a combination I like yet. I've stopped buying lots of things, but one I'm still working on is laundry soap. I made my own for awhile and found it satisfactory if not as high-powered-cleaning as I would like, but my grandchildren, who are susceptible to a host of hereditary allergies, broke out every time they wiped their hands on a towel or used a wash cloth. I even tried running everything they might touch through a soapless follow-up wash, and they still broke out, so I'm back to commercial hypoallergenic laundry soaps. That's the one item for which I'd most like to find a viable homemade solution.

Kathi said...

Kathryn, that sounds like the best reason to go back to commercial laundry soap. Someday I hope you'll be able to find a good home-produced substitute.

April J Harris said...

Great post, Kathi! Thank you for sharing these great sustainable living ideas with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop. I've shared your post on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page.

Kathi said...

Thank you for sharing, April.

Rachyl said...

The only things I currently make are laundry detergent and some cleaning products. I might have try a few others things on this list!

(Found your blog on (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop)

Kathi said...

Rachyl, I'm glad you stopped by and hope you'll come back again. Let us know which of these things you try, ok?

Rebecca said...

Funny for me to come across this post! I was just laying in bed last night thinking of all the homemade cleaners and products I could make that would be healthier and cheaper. I'm glad I found you through The Homestead Blog Hop!

Kathi said...

I hope it contained what you were looking for, Rebecca, or at least gave you some ideas!

handmade by amalia said...

I like that ecology goes hand in hand with frugality :-)
Amalia
xo

Kathi said...

That's very true, Amalia. ;-)

Marla Gates said...

Hi Kathi,
Great tips! I haven't used store bought cleaners for years I make mind own and use baking soda, vinegar, orange peels, peroxide and essential oils at times. I not only save money but I sweat it works so much better and sure is healthier without all those chemicals. I also make my own DIY pest garden sprays. Sharing.

Kathi said...

Hi Marla. DIY cleaners smell so good, unlike the chemical-laden ones that are harmful even to smell. Our homes are certainly healthier when we use natural cleaners.

Next to Natural said...

I love this article! There are so many great tips and pieces of advice that I want to incorporate into my household. Thanks for sharing at Simply Natural Saturdays! Your post will be featured this upcoming Saturday at http://nexttonatural.com/category/simply-natural-saturdays/ !

Kathi said...

Thank you so much! I'm glad you found some tips and advice that will help you. :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kathi, first off, you *are* greying gracefully! You sound like me with your efforts to not buy more stuff, though you've taken it a step farther than I have. I've mastered the cleaning products but have yet to find adequate equivalents for my (few though they are) "beauty" products. I've never been a proponent of paper plates but must say I have had a bit of a paper towel abuse issue! I keep a stack of attractive dish cloths in a square plate on the counter, and that helps a great deal. But I still use paper towels for really messy jobs, though I am trying to build a (hidden, not on the counter) stash of rags I can use for many of those. I've never been one to use packaged mixes, but I do like to measure out more than one cake at a time and have homemade mixes on hand (posted my homemade cake mix a week ago). Like you, I can't see buying those expensive little envelopes of seasoning mixes and keep little jars of my own concoctions. I have lots of issues with toothpaste and am tired of spending a fortune on the expensive natural toothpastes, so I'm going to try your tooth powder recipe today; think I have just the perfect little jar for it.

Kathi said...

Jean, I hopped over to read about your vanilla butter cake, it sounds delicious. I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe that I use to make mixes but haven't yet found a vanilla cake that I really like, so I'll be giving this a try.

Good for you for working on that paper towel issue. I hope you are happy with the tooth powder recipe. Change the amount of baking soda:salt if needed and see what you think. Even those natural toothpastes have bad stuff in them, I was really surprised. And the taste, gag!

Kathi said...

And thank you for telling me I'm greying gracefully. :-)

Heather said...

Excellent list! I have also decided to stop coloring my hair...I earned every one of them gray hairs, right? :) Thanks for adding to From the Farm, this is one of this week's favorites!

Kathi said...

Thank you, Heather! And yes, we've earned every one of those gray hairs.

Anya Jang said...

I love this list! I haven't purchased those items in a very long time, myself. well, except for eggs as our layers are still too young and we got rid of our older girls in the winter. But once were back in business with egg production, I'm at full 10! Good for you. Thanks for sharing on Simply Natural Saturdays.

Kathi said...

Good for you, Anya!

Jennifer@MyFlagstaffHome said...

Congratulations! This post will be featured this week at My Flagstaff Home!

Jennifer

Kathi said...

Thank you, Jennifer!

Shane Floyd said...

It is always so wonderful to see others moving themselves to making their own products instead of buying nasty store bought stuff. Thank you for joining us at The Homesteaders Hop, I hope to see you again this week.

Kathi said...

Thank you, Shane. I hope this post helps to inspire others to do what they can!

Jan said...

A.M.E.N! thanks for sharing at Country Fair Blog Party!!! See you in July!
Jan

Jan said...

oh... I forgot to tell you!!! Your post was the most clicked on post from our June linkup at Country Fair blog Party, woop,woop! You will get featured on our July post, and get pinned on our board. I will also be sharing on all my social media pages as well! Thanks for sharing your post! Jan @ Tip Garden

Kathi said...

Woo hoo! Thank you, Jan. I'll be there, as always! Thank you for hosting.

Val said...

Thanks for linking this up last month to the Country Fair Blog Party Kathi! As Jan said - it was the most clicked post last month! Looking forward to seeing more posts this month.

Kathi said...

How exciting! Thank you, Val!

Jean Chambers said...

I've stopped buying almost everything except food and none of it is processed. I do buy eggs from a neighbor who has happy chickens and another neighbor sells me goats milk that I use to make kefir and yogurt. I make my own bread now. I started making soap, then tooth powder, makeup, laundry detergent and now I'm making all sorts of oil infusions. It's all very interesting and makes me feel earthy and healthy.

Kathi said...

You've done really well, Jean! I agree, it gives us a real sense of accomplishment and a knowledge that we are doing what's healthy.

chester41000 said...

You are an inspiration! I am aiming for a 'homestead' lifestyle while in a small suburb. I make my own salad dressings from 2 parts olive oil and 1 part red wine vinegar or lemon juice and a dab of mustard. Just shake and pour. Add herbs if desired. And no need to refrigerate.

Kathi said...

You are inspiring too! Thank you for sharing your recipe for salad dressing, it sounds delicious.

Kim said...

I haven't bought cleaners in years, either. I am happy to keep it that way!! Works better and better for us. Would love to try the soap...

Kathi said...

Good for you, Kim! I agree, it's so much better for us.

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