Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Frugal Rambles


Steve brought home 2 rolls of Viva paper towels for me tonight, and I was grateful to be able to make our home-made wet wipes again.  We've been making them for years and really do prefer them to store-bought wet wipes.  They also save us money.

The original recipe we were given said to cut a roll of paper towels in half, to make two shorter rolls.  Place a half roll into a container with a lid that seals tightly.  In a measuring cup, mix together 1 Tbsp. baby oil, 2 Tbsp. baby shampoo or wash, and 2 cups water.  (You can also add lavender essential oil or tea tree oil to provide extra anti-bacterial properties.)  Stir, then pour over the paper towels, especially down the center where the cardboard roll is.  Put the lid on and let sit several hours. Then remove the cardboard roll in the center and pull the wet wipes from the center.

We prepared it that way for a couple years, but after totally ruining a bread knife, and getting sore hands from all that cutting, I was relieved when someone else told me they quit cutting theirs in half and used a bagel keeper to hold the whole paper towel rolls.  So, we quit cutting our rolls in half, doubled the recipe, and adapted it to suit us more.

Our Current Wet Wipe Recipe
4-5 cups water
1/8 cup baby oil (you can also use sweet almond oil, apricot oil, or jojoba oil)
1/8 cup Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap in Lavender scent (it is concentrated so you don't need as much)
And sometimes we add a few drops of Lavender oil or Tea Tree Oil to the mix.

We pour this over a Viva Paper Towel roll which we store in a plastic bagel keeper.  With the larger roll, we usually have to flip it after several hours and let it soak another couple hours before using it.  I often will prepare it the night before and flip it in the morning. Then I begin using it at the second diaper change.  We've tried other brands of paper towels, but have found the Viva to work best and hold up longest.

We really like the Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap, too.  We buy it by the gallon in the lavender scent from our Buying Club, and it lasts forever!!   We love that it's gentle and concentrated so you use less of it.  And I love the smell of the Lavender scent.  I also like the Peppermint scent, but not for wet wipes.

Foaming Soap Dispensers
Another way we save money is to use the Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap to refill the foam soap dispensers.  We buy a bottle of Foaming Soap at the store.  When it's empty, we add about 1/2-3/4 inch of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap to the bottom of the bottle and then fill with water, leaving about 3/4 inch of air at the top of the bottle.  It works great!  The children waste less soap this way, too.  We use the foam dispenser until it quits working properly, and then we go buy another one at the store.  You can do this with any liquid soap, not just Dr. Bronner's Castile soap.

Cloth Wet Wipes and Diapers
We use cloth diapers at home as much as possible.  We're much more faithful to do this when babies are little and their diapers aren't as nasty.  We're also more faithful to do this when money is tight, and we're trying not to buy disposable diapers too often.  This week, I had used all our store bought wet wipes and didn't have more Viva paper towels to make my own.  At first, I put four cups water and 3 drops of lavender oil into a wet wipe box and filled it with wash rags to use for wet wipes.  But, despite using lavender oil, it would still sometimes get a musty smell before the wipes were all used.  So I found a squirt bottle and filled it with water and a few drops of lavender oil.  Now I can squirt it onto a wash cloth and use it right away.  I am hoping the water and lavender oil will stay fresh longer this way.  Sometimes I add soap and oil to my cloth wet wipes, but I haven't been this week.

Buying Clubs
We looked for a local buying club for several years, but there was not one in our town.  We knew if we had to travel out of town to a buying club, we'd use it less.  We also knew I wasn't the one to start a buying club in our town.  So, we were very grateful when we were told that one was forming in our town.  We  love being members of the buying club, because it saves us money on certain items.  We don't buy much of their grocery items, but we have purchased bulk herbal teas, whole wheat bread flour, bulk whole wheat pasta, bulk spices and seasonings, natural toiletries, healthy snacks, and vitamins and supplements.  Most of what we buy through the club is supplements and vitamins, and it usually saves us money.  If you shop in a health food store or use many vitamins and supplements, it might be worth trying to locate a buying club in your area.

I'm sure we aren't the only family that loves shopping ebay for good deals.  This Spring,  we were able to get new (with tags) dress shoes for Steve on ebay at a wonderful price.  They were very high quality, and his favorite brand/style of shoe.   We also were able to get a pair of brand new Birkenstock leather sandals for my bad feet for $20.  And we bought a pair of new (in box) Robeez leather booties for Baby L, at a savings.

We've often been blessed to find things we need on ebay at good savings.  Now, you do have to be careful and factor in shipping and handling charges before bidding.   You also have to be careful not to window shop too often, because it can lead to impulse bidding, which is hard on finances.  But it can be a great way to save money, if used carefully. 

Our family discovered this Ebay Song the other day and have been having a blast singing along with it and laughing about the lyrics.  It's a Weird Al Yankovic spoof, and you can listen to it at this website.  I  hope you enjoy it, too. 

I think I'm done rambling.  I'm sure some of this is old stuff to many of you, but hopefully there was a new idea you can adapt for your family. 


  1. Just as paper towels, though. We have hated homemade wipes the times we've tried them. Oh well. :)

  2. Wow! These are wonderful ideas! I wish I would have known about the wipe thing a few years ago. :)


  3. Lots of good ideas! You can also use cloth wipes. That's what we use. My sister use to do the paper towel one.

    Thanks for sharing,


  4. I've never heard of that buying club and it says they come to my state. How cool is that?! We always use Frontier for things like spices, essential oils and they even sell dr. bronners...but not sure how the price compares. If you haven't checked out Frontier, go to http://www.frontiercoop.com They offer free shipping if you order $250 or more worth of products which isn't hard if you have more people wanting to order.

  5. oh and I just got back from listening to that song on ebay....and I had to LOL! That is hilarious!! I don't buy much on there, but I've sold some crazy stuff!

  6. Thanks! Gonna go listen to Weird Al.


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