Breaking Free

My goal is to cut back on my consumption.
I've decided to create list of necessities and attempt to make them myself and be smarter about what I do purchase.
This is my journey.

5. Buying in Bulk

One of my favorite ways to save money while grocery shopping is buying in bulk. This might be hard if you live in a very small apartment like I do. I hardly have any kitchen space and my refrigerator/freezer space is extremely limited. But I try to buy in bulk when I can.

Last time I was at Woodman’s I bought a huge bag of rolls (30 count), and decided to store them in the freezer. The big bag was only slightly more expensive than the smaller bags, but since those bags held less rolls, I paid much less per roll than I would have otherwise.

Buying in bulk is great because it gives me the chance to eat foods I normally wouldn’t be able to eat.

4. Delicious Green and Gold Chili Cheese Salad

If you’re looking for a fresh, light appetizer to make for a luncheon, or just for a snack, look no further! This easy-to-make dish is tasty and pocket book-friendly.

You will need:

1/2 large cucumber diced

1 cup broccoli diced

1 whole green pepper diced

1 can whole kernel sweet corn

6 oz light Daisy sour cream

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

chili seasoning (to taste)

taco seasoning (to taste)

Strain the contents of the can of corn over a sink. Pour the corn into a medium-large mixing bowl. Stir in diced cucumber, green pepper, and broccoli. Stir in 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Add 6 oz of light Daisy sour cream, and stir until all vegetables are evenly coated. Stir in chili and taco seasoning. Let sit in fridge for an hour. Enjoy!

Note: I like to use Daisy sour cream because most other sour creams use gelatin (non-vegetarian) and are filled with preservatives. Daisy does not use preservatives and uses all natural ingredients. Always remember to check labels!

This recipe is loosely based on: http://realmomkitchen.com/2979/chili-cheese-frito-salad/

3. Clothing

I’m not very skilled at sewing, knitting, or anything of the sort, so it would be a waste of resources to even attempt to make my own clothing, but I do have several smart clothing shopping tips that might be useful to you.

1. Thrift stores! I can’t even begin to explain how much I love thrift shopping. Used clothing is almost always more comfortable, because it is already broken in, and you know that it won’t shrink because it’s already been washed (hopefully).

For me, thrift shopping is somewhat of a treasure hunt. It’s sometimes difficult to find a specific style or size, and it’s always disappointing to find something awesome and discover that it’s the completely wrong size or fit, but if you keep searching long enough, odds are you’ll find something to make the hunt worth it.

Oh, and while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the used book section! :)

2. Garage sales! If you’re looking for the best prices in town, your best bet is a garage sale. It’s even harder to find specific styles/sizes at garage sales, but once again: keep looking!

Once in a while you may even come across a neighborhood garage sale, or an ad that specifies the clothing sizes available.

Craigslist and your local paper are both a great places to check for garage sale listings.

3. Your friend’s closet! If you and your friend are similar in size, you might want to try swapping clothing with him/her. This is especially useful for the person who gets bored with his/her wardrobe quickly.

There are also places online that organize clothing swaps such as:

http://clothesswap.meetup.com/cities/us/wi/madison/
http://www.swapstyle.com/

Deodorant Update

The Deodorant has a nice consistency and it has a fresh coconut smell. It looks just like normal deodorant does, but it melts rather quickly and doesn’t go on as smoothly as the store-bought stuff does. I found it necessary to rub it in with my fingers, which wasn’t that big of a deal. On a more positive note, it did leave my underarms (and fingers!) feeling baby bottom smooth!

I think I might experiment with different recipes since there are so many out there! Why stop at the first one I try?

And next time I’ll try adding some Nag Champa oil to give it a unique aroma! :)

2. Deodorant!

So, today I made something that I’ve wanted to try for a while now: my own deodorant! I found the recipe here: http://www.greenmoxie.com/diy-deodorant/ and it was actually really easy to do.


All I did was mix 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp baking soda, and 4 tbsp cornstarch even though the recipe called for 2 (it was a little bit too runny). Then, you empty the mixture into an empty deodorant container and stick it in the fridge to solidify and BAM! Deodorant.

The average American will use 272 sticks of deodorant in his or her lifetime (http://greencontributor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121). Just think about how much plastic waste that adds up to!

Pictures of the process will be uploaded later along with a report of the finished project (once it solidifies).

1. The Miracle of Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is definitely one of my favorite products, as it has many different uses and it’s cheap! I’ve been using the same 16 oz bottle for a little bit more than a year now, and I found mine for $1 at Family Dollar.

It works well on insect bites, blemishes, sunburn, minor scrapes and cuts, under-eye bags or puffiness, and rashes or razor burn.

Consider the cost of: insect bite cream (After Bite Itch Cream for $3.99), redness reducer (Pur Minerals Redness Reducing Primer for $31), sunburn relief (Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother with Aloe for $9), cut/scrape ointment (Nelsons Cuts & Scrapes Hypercal for $4), under-eye puffiness reducer (Sudden Change Under-Eye Firming Serum for $8.99), and razor burn treatment (Murad Razor Burn Rescue for $26).

All of this stuff comes to a total of $82.98 (and a whole lot of plastic waste from all of those little jars and containers), when you could be using a single bottle of Witch Hazel instead!

On the Friday After Thanksgiving

For weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I find my mailbox overflowing with colorful ads from various stores all boasting that their black Friday deals were unbeatable.

This year, early bird specials started as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving (even earlier than the midnight specials of previous years).

I generally try to avoid crowds (and shopping) at all costs, but last year after a few Thanksgiving drinks my curiosity got the best of me.

Destination: Kohl’s.

My experience could easily be compared to a scene straight out of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Hoards of people billowed through the doors of the department store as soon as the clock struck midnight. Normally decent human beings resorted to grabbing, snatching, scratching, and shoving in order to get their desired items.

I witnessed a woman dragging a crying child, who couldn’t have been older than three, through a pandemonium of shopping carts and zombie-people. The look of sheer terror in the child’s eyes was enough to make me feel physically sick. I left without purchasing a single item, and made a vow to never participate in the “holiday” (for lack of a better word) again.

I understand the desire to purchase discounted gifts for friends and family, but what at what cost? In 2008, a Wal-Mart worker was actually trampled to death by a stampede of eager consumers (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?pagewanted=all).

Instead of buying your loved one a brand new television or gaming system, why not plan a camping trip (or road trip, if you don’t like the outdoors) for the two of you to go on together?