Friday, May 3, 2013

Fun Friday- Saving Money in the Kitchen- Non food items

Welcome back to my latest Fun Friday series Saving Money in the Kitchen.

 We have talked about meat, breakfasts and lunches, mixes, staples and drinks...on to the "extras."  You know, napkins, paper towels, vitamins, toiletries, and don't forget the pets!  I know that many people have a separate budget for these items but we choose to keep them in the grocery grouping as that is where I buy most of that stuff.  It just makes it easier for me.  I found that the more categories I create in our budget the more complicated I make it for myself.  I do make a separate Walgreens run, but I will get to that in a minute.

So here's the thing.  This seems to be an area that people really tend to overspend in.  I would suggest that you would be surprised if you separated and added up these type items from your grocery bills. Between what we think we need and the fun bottles and advertising, this area can KILL a budget fast!  Trust me.

Let's talk about how we save!

Napkins and paper towels.  Simply put...don't buy them!  About five years ago I decided that enough was enough.  It made me cringe to just throw money into the garbage like there was no tomorrow.  I found several packs of cloth napkins on sale and we use them solely.  I love them!  I personally use dark colors as they show stains less, but I do know that others use white so they can bleach them.  Do what works for you.  We use them until they get dirty and then they get thrown in the wash.  We have acquired enough that it is never an issue to run out.  If you are handy, get out your scrap cloth and make a set.  Same thing goes for paper towels.  Our family could go through some paper towels, I tell ya!  No more.  I purchased some cheap Walmart white dish towels and that is what we now use instead.   It may not seem like a lot, but again, I challenge you to add up the costs.  It may just shock you.

Dog food- Yes, we do feed our dogs.  No, we do not buy expensive brands.  I buy what is on sale and use coupons when I can.  I buy the largest size I can that lasts for the month.  I love my dogs, but they are dogs...I love my family more.  They are healthy (the dogs, that is.  Well, the kids too) and have not complained yet.

Shampoo, toothpaste and soap, oh my!  Oh my is right!  Those things are expensive.  Here's where it helps to not be brand loyal.  If you want to be loyal, but loyal to your friends, not brands!  I buy what is cheap, on sale and has a coupon.  Sorry folks, no fancy things here.  The point is to get clean, not win an award for fanciest products.  Because my husband travels we also use the soaps and shampoos he brings back from his hotel rooms and so often go months without buying extras.  And toothpaste...stop buying it!  No, I do not mean stop using it, but certainly stop paying money for it. Using coupons, especially ones that double, with on sale toothpaste as well as toothbrushes will result in FREE products.  You can't tell me coupons are not worth it sometimes.  Not to mention, if your family is going to a dentist twice a year you should also be given a new toothbrush every six months to supplement.

Vitamins- This is where Walgreens, or any drugstore, comes in.  In addition to the essential oils our family uses, we do take a lot of vitamins.  I buy them when they are buy-one-get-one deals, have coupons and earn "points" on a reward card.  It cuts the cost drastically and earns free money to be used the next time around.  If you do not know how play this little game, there are lots of websites out there that for free will alert you to sales and coupon match ups.  Again, it is worth it.

Tin foil, plastic wrap and other paper products.  We use very little of it.  I do keep tin foil around (usually) for the grill, but not for wrapping up stuff to just stick in the fridge.  Haven't used plastic wrap in a long time.  I did invest in some of those little plastic food covers, you know, like the ones our grandparents use.  You can often find them at the dollar store.  They fit over different sized dishes and work to keep food covered.  I have even heard of people using shower caps to do the same thing. Might have to try that!  Instead of all those plastic containers for food storage, we use mason jars and a few glass pieces that have lids.  Better to wash than to throw out.  And as for those paper plates, at one time I thought that was my answer for lunches with the kids since they eat at home, but I realized it was just an expensive fix to try to save myself from washing dishes. Sure they are good for picnics, but I would save my money for something else otherwise.


And last but not least, cleaning products.  Most of you know where I stand on this, but let me revisit a few things for just a second.  I used to be queen with a capital Q of cleaning products.  I got them for cheap using coupons and sales and I stocked up on them.  With a little hounding (read here A LOT) from my oldest daughter, I stopped buying that stuff.  We now use natural ingredients and I promise, I am pretty sure my house is still as clean.  Most of those ingredients include essential oils and castille soap, (probably the two most expensive things I buy but they last forever), baking soda, and vinegar.  You can check out my  recipes here, here and here for the three I use the most.  Our laundry detergent is also one we make for much cheaper and LOVE!  It only takes a few minutes to mix up any of these and it will save you a ton of money.

Does saving money take thought?  Yes.  Does it take time?  Yes  But so does anything else you do that is worth doing.  By making well thought out decisions and changes you CAN save money.  Give it a try and see if I am right.  If you can only do a few things at once, pick some that sound easy and start small.  You can add things as you go.  Rome was not built in a day.

I would love to hear how you are saving money in the kitchen and what changes you have made already!

Next week we are going to conclude our series with Menu Planning and one of my favorite cookbooks to help you get started.  Hope to see you back!


This post is linked up with Caroline at The Modest Mom!
Linking up with Amy at Raising Arrows!


  1. Great tips! I love my homemade laundry soap and one batch last months in our 6 person family!!! It is so worth it.

    1. I agree Kerry! I would never go back to anything else now!

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm going to try one of your cleaning recipes. I already use vinegar around here a lot, but haven't "progressed" to the castile soap level yet. :)

    1. Hope you like them Kara. The multipurpose one is our favorite. I change what essential oils I use in it everytime I mix a new batch.

  3. i have one more, Use Microwave oven to cook minimum or medium quantities. For large quantities use convection oven or pressure cooker.

  4. Great write up! I have one more, Use Microwave oven to cook minimum or medium quantities. For large quantities use convection oven or pressure cooker


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!