Frackie's Road to Frugality


Fluffy Mail!!!
April 15, 2010, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Cloth Diapers | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My first fluffy mail has arrived!!! You may be wondering, “what the heck is fluffy mail?”, well, it is my cute, adorable cloth diaper order! Now, that I found the diaper that works with Arianna I made a small order. Here it is…

The orangey color diaper on the top is a bumGenius all-in-one (AIO). This was free with my order! These are great for when I’m out and about or when Arianna is with Ms. Robyn on Wednesday mornings!  The white cloths to the left are my Flip organic prefolds that are super absorbant and soft. Ok, soft is an understatement…these are comparable to a baby’s butt. This is what Arianna will wear to bed or for naps. They absorb a ridiculous amount of fluid. And then the yellow and green covers are Flips. These go over the prefolds, as I have said before.  The Bummis Fleece liners are great for bedtime and will lay against Arianna’s skin. Fleece makes you feel dry so she will be soft and dry all night.

I’m sticking with the neutral theme because of the possibility of having a boy in the future. I don’t want to have to order all new stuff. Trust me, it is tempting with all the cute fluff out there for girls. So, there it is! I ordered this all from www.kellyscloset.com and have also bought used diapers from www.diaperswappers.com . Both are great sites and if you want to learn more about CD you can get lost on those sites!

Oh, and a frugal sidenote: Arianna is 100% in cloth diapers now and I have spent around $130 for her stash. We haven’t used a disposable in awhile. It will take about 3 months for me to break even with the expenses of starting CD, but after that we will be saving money. BUT, with all of our next children, we will be saving money immediately because most of the supplies are already bought!

$$$cha-ching$$$



Tomatoes, Eggplants, & Cucumbers
April 15, 2010, 12:48 am
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: , , , , , ,

After nearly a month of chewing on whether or not to tear up my plot of land for making a vegetable garden, I have decided not to do it. My heart is sad (haha) but I, truly, do need to chose my battles and this is one that I will pass up for now. With my husband being deployed and it being just me and the little one, I don’t think it is worthwhile to do a raised bed veggie garden. So, until next year, I will settle for my little container garden corner.

I decided to just plant tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers. I cheated and bought them already sprouted. I went to our local compost pile today and, boy, was that stuff beautiful. It was the richest, darkest dirt I had ever seen! The best part about it…it was free! I forgot my gloves but that’s what bare hands are for, right?! I filled up my pots right there with my bare hands. I don’t even want to know what was in that compost. So, now I got my little corner on our deck that is dedicated to my vegetables. It costed me $20 for the pots, plants, and tomato wire. Not bad! We’ll see how much vegetables it actually gives me!

In the meantime (till I can make my own big garden), I am signed up for a local CSA group where you get fresh-off-the-farm ORGANIC vegetables and fruit delivered to a location near you! I’m so excited about this. I am so frustrated with the vegetables and fruit from the grocery store. Either they are way overpriced or they turn bad within a day. So, through a local farm I will have 3 different vegetables and 3 different fruits delivered twice a month for only…drumroll please…$18 a box! This is the petite box package because it’s only me and my 1 yr old I’m feeding, but when my husband gets back it will be $10 more. You can go to this website to find a place near you that has a co-op… http://www.localharvest.org/

Another thing I did today that slashed out a huge expense was I washed my own car! My husband would be very proud of me. I usually spend $25 to go to the local car wash but instead I drove into one of those do-it-yourselves one and it only costed me $7! Much better.



Homemade Strawberry Jam – Canning!
April 13, 2010, 6:09 pm
Filed under: canning | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I did the unthinkable. Something our mothers used to do. I bought a canning set from Walmart to attempt to make some homemade strawberry jam. My expectations were low because I have heard that canning is truly an art. But, why not just dive in, right?

The huge canner was $18 at Walmart and the canning utensils were $8 (which turned out to be very useful). This morning me and Arianna went to the local U-Pick strawberry patch called Bamboo Farms and started loading up. I picked. Arianna ate strawberries! I got almost 4lbs of strawberries picked and it came out to $7. I couldn’t wait for nap time to attempt my canning.

I read up on how to can and I am so thankful that I did. I learned that you can only put a canner on a gas stove and not our flat electric stove. Thank God we have a gas grill that worked perfectly!  So, once the little one was down for her nap I started prepping the strawberries. I had picked exactly enough! I used our potato smasher and started crushing them. There is only 3 ingredients to canning strawberry jam: strawberries, pectin, and sugar. I got the pectin at Walmart as well for like $2 a box. This is what makes the jam thicken. So, once I got all the ingredients cooking on our stove and ready to go in the mason jars I made sure that the water in the canner that was outside on the grill was hot and ready to do it’s magic. I thought I was only gonna have enough jam to make (4) 16oz jars but I had enough for 5! Yay! More money saved! The canner is what preserves the jars…so it is the key ingredient if you want to keep you jam for 12 months. So, I filled up the jars and put them in the boiling water inside the canner.

Once they boiled in the canner for 10 minutes, I was done! They just need to sit out for a day and they should set! I was really nervous if they were gonna preserve but I checked the lids a few hours later and none of them popped up when I pushed on the center! They look beautiful and I cannot wait to have them on my waffles in the morning!

I had to make the initial investment on supplies but now I have it for all my future canning projects! My mom used to can tomato sauce and I plan on doing that next. With my husband being deployed I haven’t made our homemade sauce in months, but this gives me the perfect opportunity to can the sauce in perfect portions. Then I could store them for up to 12 months and take it off the shelf when I want spaghetti. I am so excited about this new endeavor! This is truly a lost art that is going to be a huge money saver. If you grow your own vegetables then this is a must! This also gives me the opportunity to make some things for my husband and send them to Iraq without spoiling! I plan on sending him one of the jars I just made.

Here is the recipe and information I used: http://www.pickyourown.org/jam.htm



Homemade Cleaners
April 11, 2010, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Homemade Remedies | Tags: , , ,

This is my next avenue of frugality! I have already started with a few homemade recipes: all purpose cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. I didn’t realize that vinegar and baking soda can clean just about anything! I ran out of our all-purpose commercial cleaner and I decided, ok, I’m gonna try to see how it works and make my own. It was so easy to make. I used the old spray bottle and put 1/4 cup of baking soda in it and 3/4 of white vinegar. Then filled the rest up with water. Next time I’ll do the water first because of the foaming reaction I got! But, it has worked just as good as the store bought chemical one. I just use it around the kitchen mainly.

I also had a dirty toilet and realized I was out of toilet bowl cleaner. What a perfect opportunity to experiment!!! So, I poured 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar into the basin and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I scrubbed it and …perfection! Worked BETTER than my old toilet bowl cleaner! Wow, why haven’t I ever done this stuff before. Here is a website where I got my new recipes from and printed them out and put them on my fridge. I can’t wait to folish my floors with baby oil and use olive oil to clean my husbands boots! And just think of all the money you can save on cleaning supplies!!!

$$$cha-ching$$$

http://www.eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

UPDATE: 4/13/10: I used a gallon of warm water, 1 cup of vinegar, and a few drops of baby oil to clean my linolium kitchen floor and am sooooooo surprised at how shiny and clean it turned out. I always have trouble with this floor because it is a high traffic area and, wow, the vinegar did wonders for it!



What about the poop?
April 10, 2010, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Cloth Diapers | Tags: , , ,

I think this is the most common question a cloth diapering momma gets to answer. Poop is poop. It doesn’t matter if you have to deal with poop in disposables or cloth diapers. Yes, there is an extra step you have to take with a baby in cloth diapers. I wish I would of started cloth diapering when Arianna was still exclusively breastfed because it’s much easier. All you have to do is change the diaper and throw the poop and all into a dry pail. Breastfed poo just disinegrates in water so you don’t even have to worry about rinsing it at all.

But, with toddler poop it’s a little different. You have a few options. You can get a hose that attaches to your toilet and can easily rinse the poop off, buy a liner (looks like a fabric softener sheet) that catches the poop and then just gets thrown in the toilet, or you can just shake and dip it off. The later option is what I am currently doing. I find it relatively easy because “most” the time toddler poop is solid and comes right off…especially with our bumGenius’. But, sometimes you do have to shake and dunk. So far, this is working and I haven’t had any stains in 2 weeks. See, not too hard, especially when I remember the money I’m saving!

$$$cha-ching$$$



My journey into cloth diapering…
April 9, 2010, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Cloth Diapers | Tags: , , , , ,

And so begins another blog by me. I have 2 others but just don’t seem to keep up with them. The only reason why I think I “may” be able to keep up with this one is because I actually have something to talk about now. You see, a couple weeks ago I made the decision to be more frugal and to start making wiser choices in my spending. If you know me, you know that I am not a shopper or huge spender…but there are some areas that I can overspend (like when it comes to my 1 yr old daughter!). The road to frugality for me started out of choice, but for others it may be out of necessity.

As I take this road to frugality I wanted to document and share the experiments and changes that I am making. Maybe they can help someone else or just open their mind to some wiser spending options that they may have never known about. I’m taking this road slowly. Once you open the door it is amazing how little you can spend if you just use your resources. So, today I am going to blog about my dramatic switch to cloth diapers

Switching to cloth diapers wasn’t something I did to be more green, though that is a great side effect of it. I decided to switch to cloth to save money. The average family spends around $2,000 on disposable diapers for ONE baby! As I was reading about this I thought about how many other children me and my husband want and just couldn’t fathom spending so much on something that gets pooped in and then thrown away. So, I started reading about cloth diapers and WOW. Ok, so some people are infatuated with cloth. Cloth diapers are not like they were 20-30 years ago with those pins and old school flats. There are several different kinds: the prefolds, pockets, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, and of course flats. I found a 21 day trial package for $10. They sent me various kinds for me to try out and after the 21 days I just have to send back the ones that I don’t like. Here’s the link: http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers/tryclothfor10/tryclothfor10

Testing cloth before you buy is the best way to do it. All babies come in different sizes and poop in different ways, so it only makes sense that trial and error (without affecting your wallet) is the best way to find a good fit for your baby. My favorite out of the pack that they sent me is the bumGenius 3.0 pocket diaper. This diaper is awesome! It contains the pee and poop like it means business. It is so soft and the first time I put my DD in it she looks at me and says, “Yay!”. They are great for at night or naps. My daughter is a heavy night wetter so I just stuff an extra insert into the pocket. You see with the pocket diaper you don’t have to deal with folding those big cloths or pinning. You just stuff an insert into the pocket and “voila” you are good to go. You do have to wash the pocket diaper after every use. So, you will have to get around 10-15 pocket diapers for 1 toddler if you do your laundry every other day. These pocket diapers run around $18. This means you would spend around $250 to diaper your toddler (much more for a newborn). Sounds like alot, I know! BUT, these diapers are one size (fits 8-35lbs)! So, you can use them for mulitiple children all throughout your diapering life.

(above is a picture of Arianna’s bumGenius)

My other favorite was the old fashion prefolds with a Flip cover. I love this cover! A cover goes over the prefolded cloth and when the baby pees or poops you just have to change the prefold and you can reuse the cover(if there is no poop on it). The Flip cover is great because it’s also one size and it has snaps instead of velcro. Snaps are good in the long run as velcro can make snaps and loose it’s durability. So when we are at home I grab a prefold and the Flip cover. The company Flip also makes a biodegradable insert for when you are traveling. These are great because when you are out and about you can just throw the dirty insert in the trash. These inserts are still cheaper than buying Pampers or Huggies, but not a store brand like Walmart or Kroger diapers. Prefolds is by far the cheapest way to go and some mothers swear by them. I love them and have found alot of good used diapers here: http://www.diaperswappers.com/

(above top is a picture a Flip cover and below that is a picture of a prefold opened and then folded)

As I dive into cloth diapering I realize that you can really spiral out of control with all the different styles and prints. You can spend MUCH more than you would for disposables so it’s good to set a budget and stick with it. I spent around $100 getting my 1 year old started and everything I bought for her was neutral and one size so that they could be used with the next child. This is how you could truly save lots of money. As I said before you could spend around $250 on one child, but when your next child comes around you don’t need to spend much of anything.

 $$$cha-ching$$$