saving money just to waste it

I’m horribly bad with money. So is my husband. It’s a miracle we own a home, really.

When we decided to have kids, we tried to talk about money in an adult way. We planned. We made a budget. Then we had a baby, and the plans all fell to shit. So here we are, almost nine years later, still juggling bills. The basic plan was, he would work, and take overtime and extra shifts (which as a cop he has access to) and I would be full-time child care. It’s a good arrangement, except we’re constantly broke.

One of the ways I try to save money is by making a lot of things myself. I garden and then preserve vegetables and fruits. I haven’t used store-bought jam, or soup, or pizza dough in years. I sew and knit and crochet and make gifts instead of buying them. I bake my own bread and brew my own beer. I raise chickens for eggs. Almost all my family meals are made from scratch. All of this because I generally have more time than money. I also make a lot of household things, like body lotion, lip-balm, deodorant, floor cleaners, and laundry soap. Many of these items I learned to make on blogs like this one.

I know it sounds like I’m some kind of super-mom, but I’m totally not. Right now, my sink is full of dirty dishes, the dishwasher is full, there are four loads of laundry folded but not yet put away, and at least that many loads left still to be done. Yet I’m sitting at my computer, toggling between writing a story and doing this blog post, which only four people will ever read.

The other day I made my month’s supply of laundry detergent, which consists of two bars of (finely grated) fels-naptha soap, two cups of washing soda, and two cups of borax. (if you try this, mix it well and use 2 tbsp per load) It went like this:

laundrysoap copy

It took about twenty minutes, most of which was spent grating the soap. This way, I saved maybe ten dollars for my family. I also line dry my clothes, which takes more time but saves money as well.

Don’t I seem thrifty?

Well, later that day I decided I really wanted to roller-skate. I haven’t been on skates since high-school, but I just could not stop thinking about how totally bad-ass-awesome I would be on skates again! Can’t you imagine me, skating down the bike path, listening to my iPod, just fab-u-los! Without a moment’s hesitation, I ordered purple and white roller-derby style skates from Amazon, spending the equivalent of like four months of laundry soap savings. They came today.

Guess what I learned? I can’t roller skate.

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