Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent - "A Success"

In my efforts to save money, I've decided to try making my own laundry detergent. I thought it might be a chellenge but I gave it a shot. I only have cold water hook-ups to my washing machine and my daughter has sensitive skin so I was afraid it may not suit us, but I was wrong. It's perfect. It works beautifully! It works the same if not better than store-bought laundry detergent.

I never knew that you can actually do this until I saw an episode of TLC's "19 kids and Counting". I'm not a huge fan of this family's life style choices, but they have some great money saving ideas. I guess when you have a family of that size you have to cut down and be creative wherever you can. My family of 4 is nowhere near the size of their family, but we do need to save money in the same respect. Our bills still cost more than our monthly income and with rising gas prices, all I can do is cut back wherever I can. Even if it means making laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar and having it last for months.

Here's my story...

Normally, I would spend about $1.99 every 3 weeks on laundry detergent for 32 loads. It's not a whole lot of money but if I can reduce spending in any way I can....I will! Here is the recipe I followed:

2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
1 cup Baking soda (yes baking soda–not washing soda)
1 cup Borax (20 Mule Team Brand)

    * Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
    * In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
    * Then add the baking soda and borax, stir well again.
    * Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.


I've seen some homemade laundry detergents made with washing soda, but I've been to 3 different stores and still have yet to find "washing soda". So I decided maybe I could find a recipe without it. I was successful in finding one. Baking soda serves as a substitute. In the old days, they used it in their laundry, so why wouldn't I use it now. Also, Arm & Hammer makes a laundry detergent with baking soda so...Why Not?

Luckily, I had Borax on hand so I didn't have to buy that. The price is usually between $2 and $3 dollars. I paid about $2.63 for my box. It's useful for so many things. Here are a few:

  • Cleans Porcelain Surfaces (tubs, toilets, sinks) 
  • Hard Water
  • Cleans and Deordorizes Trash Cans
  • Cleans Refrigerators
  • Cleans Fiberglass
  • Gentle on baby clothes
  • Fine China
  • Deodorizes Humidifiers
  • Getting rid of fleas
  • Cleaning cookware
  • Cleans spills and stains and pet urine
So it's not a waste to buy it. It never goes bad so you can keep it on hand for years!

I bought a 3 pack of soap (Ivory) for $1.50 at Family Dollar. This amount of soap will be for an entire year of laundry soap for my family of four.

I purchased the baking soda at Family Dollar for 80 cents.

Some people prefer to add essential oil (like lavender or citrus), but I like the clean fresh scent of the Ivory soap and it makes my laundry smell extremely clean.

It was easy to make and now I don't have to run out to the store midweek to buy laundry detergent ever again!


Annual Cost of Store Bought Laundry Detergent: $51.74

Annual Cost of Homemade Laundry Detergent: $5.73


It's not a huge savings, but that is definitely $46 that I didn't have before and desperately need.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Need to Make a Little Extra Money?"

Who Doesn't? I started looking into ways to make a little extra income for my family after I had my second child and my husband got deployed. I had to quit my job. I hated not contributing in some way. I've always worked and earned money for the family. I love being a stay-at-home mom and I wanted to keep it that way.

My sister and brother-in-law were using eBay to supplement their income and I thought there was too much involved for me to even think about it. One day after my husband had already been deployed and both my kids were down for a nap, I decided to take a look at what's involved in selling things on eBay.

I went to and created an account. I started thumbing through all the informational guides and tutorials that eBay has to offer. Their site is so informative. You can just log in and learn all about eBay from just looking through their website. It was amazing what I learned so much. So I started selling what I had throughout my house first. I started finding stuff that was new or barely used. I found things that my kids had outgrown. I found things that we bought for something and we no longer needed. I loved digging through everything we had because we live in a 925 square foot house and decluttering is a constant chore, so the opportunity to thin out our belongings was a reward in a way. Plus, that reward becomes rewarded further because you can make money off of these belongings. 

I once read somewhere that an average person has over $3,000 worth of unwanted sellable items in their house. Why not sell them on eBay? So, I gathered everything I could find at the time and kept them in various boxes. I started small as an experiment. I listed one thing at a time and within the first month, I was selling one thing after another. Now I have over 60 items listed at one time. Everything from car parts to baby items, gifts, book, you name is I got it. Go check out my selection on eBay. My seller username is: pekala717.

You will have to open a PayPal account if you do decide to sell on eBay. That is the way mostly every buyer will pay for the item they purchase from you. It's safe and secure and easy to use. You can create an account at

I've been selling on eBay for about a year now and I've brought in anywhere from $100-$700 a month of extra income for our family. It may not sound like much, but I'm doing it as an extreme part-time job. I maybe only dedicate 2 hours a week to it. I'd have to say that working 8 hours total a month can bring you $700, that's not so bad. Some people barely make that much working 80 hours over 2 weeks.

Once I ran out of items in my home to sell. I started looking at buying wholesale and reselling them on eBay. I found that there were too many generic type items and most were too expensive. Then I thought of something that I had actually been doing already. Some of the things in my house that I sold were from thrift stores, dollar stores, clearance racks, etc. and I had sold them on eBay. Then I realized that's what I could do. I live in a town saturated with thrift stores and consignment shops. I find things that are very cheap, yet very desirable or hard to find (designer or unique) and buy them and resell them for a profit on eBay. At my local thrift store I found tuxedos in mint condition, brand new tap shoes, Ralph Lauren crested jackets, etc. All for under $10 and have resold them for much more. The tuxedo for $150, tap shoes for $25, and Ralph Lauren jacket for over $200. It's amazing what you can find and what you can make.

If you are looking to make a little extra money for yourself or your family online, eBay is a great place to start. Then you can go from there. So far I sell items on eBay and   I also do surveys, watch videos, and browse the web for money. My favorite site for this is . I have also started blogging. I find blogging so rewarding and encouraging to myself and others, plus through using Adsense by Google you can earn some income as well. You can find Adsense by Google at: . First, don't forget to start a blog. The free and easy way is through . These are many ways to start making a little extra money. So what are you waiting for? Let's get started with making some cash-ola!