September 07, 2013

Frugal: Of Paper Plates and Dusting Cloths

I've been trying to be more frugal lately.  Saving money for the sake of saving is okay, but my real goal is to be a better steward of the money my husband works so hard to earn, and the resources that God has given to us.

Now, one big part of our spending every month is the groceries.  We feed a lot of people in this house!  Consequently, this post is not about buying less, going meatless, etc.  (We are carnivores here at the Home Front.  <grin>)  But our grocery budget includes cleaning items.

So, I'm trying to reduce the amount I spend on disposable things.  Some things are no-brainers.  Like using real plates instead of paper when possible.  Sometimes they come in handy, and we use them.  But usually, I'm going to be doing dishes anyway...the pans, serving utensils, cups, silverware...and adding six plates to the pile in the sink is not going to kill me.  :D

Another no-brainer is making my own Swiffer-type cloths.

If you search for patterns for homemade Swiffer cloths, you'll get all sorts of fancy designs, involving lots of sewing and terms like hem, elastic, selvage...  Gives me hives just thinking about it!  All the photos online look sweet and pretty, but they involve way more time and skill than I'm willing to invest.

I just wanted something to pick up the dust and hair from my wood floors.  Solution:  old sweatshirt.

I took an old sweatshirt - and I mean old like too-ragged-to-donate old - and cut it up.  I laid one of my store-bought Swiffer cloths on it and cut around it with pinking shears.  I managed to get 14 cloths from that one sweatshirt.  It took me about half an hour, and that's only because my hands get tired using the big shears.  Just attach it like the store-bought variety, dust away, and wash it with your rags or towels when you're done.

I did some rough calculations (okay, the kids did the calculating, during lunch...there's math being used in real life!), and figured that we will save about $140 a year by using our new washable, reusable, totally awesome because there's no sewing, absolutely free to make homemade Swiffer cloths.

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