Sunday, May 30, 2010

Homemade stuff

I read a newsletter called "The Everyday Cheapskate".  Over the years I've gotten some great suggestions on saving money by learning to make things myself.  I disagree with the newsletter's emphasis on heavy use of coupons (which invariably mean processed foods) and the recipes that emphasize cheap cheese and starches as staples.  But it's her newsletter so I'll take from it what I want.

I made my own laundry detergent for a while and stopped only because I was unhappy about how grey my white items got.  Colored items were fine.  It's fast and cheap to make your own, so why not?  I'll probably start up again sometime.

G-man got a gallon of Paul Mitchell shampoo for around $20 almost 2 years ago when he happened to be at a community college on the same day their beauty school was having a fire sale on supplies.  We'll be using that shampoo for at least another year!  I just refill a small bottle every couple of months.  I swear that jug o' shampoo is never-ending.

These items are things that I saw in the Cheapskate newsletter bit haven't tried.  It's surprising how many things you can make at home, including things like play-doh.

Have you made any of these?  What do you think?  Do you make anything at home that's not listed here?


6 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons glycerin
15 drops peppermint or wintergreen extract

Mix baking soda, salt, glycerin and mint extract together to form a paste. Store in a container you can get a toothbrush into. Glycerin is available in most pharmacies and health food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods.


1/4 cup grated Castile soap
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons glycerin
5 drops essential oil, any scent (optional for fragrance)

In a small bowl, stir the grated soap into the hot water until dissolved. Add the olive oil, glycerin and essential oil like lavender, peppermint or citrus. Store in an appropriate container with a lid.

Ant Bait

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking yeast
1/2 cup molasses
3"x5" index cards

Mix sugar, yeast and molasses in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of the mixture on index cards with knife or spatula. Place cards, syrup side up, in areas where ants are a problem. This application is safe and nontoxic.

White Glue

1 1/2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup cornstarch

Mix 3/4 cup water, syrup and vinegar in small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. In separate small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 3/4 cup cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture slowly to the syrup and vinegar mixture. Stir constantly. Let stand overnight before using.

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