Simple Living – The 5 EASIEST Things I’ve Cut From My Life

1. Toothpaste Bottles

This is my all-time favorite cut from my life. Toothpaste.  Don’t worry, I’m not running around with stained teeth and yuck breath, I just make my own toothpaste instead. It’s the simplest recipe, lasts forever, and SIGNIFICANTLY reduces my waste output. I’m a “guestimator”. I rarely writer down recipes and even less often follow them so I’ll just give you approximate amounts for my toothpaste recipe here:

  • 1.5 cups of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of Stevia or preferably Xylitol
  • As many drops as you’d like of Peppermint, Spearmint or other “minty” essential oils  – I use about 20
  • Mash away. Works best if the coconut oil is a little soft. DON’T heat the coconut oil with baking soda in it, it reduces the polishing factor of the baking soda.

I tried some “traditional” toothpaste the other day and thought it was gross. At first, I needed to get used to the fact that homemade toothpaste is non-foaming but now I find foaming toothpaste to be odd.
One more tip, either have a spit jar for the toothpaste or run HOT water down the drain when you spit. Coconut oil can stop up your drain if you don’t make sure to rinse it will.

I started making this toothpaste about 4 years ago and have never looked back. I was using about 2 tubes of toothpaste per month between my husband and myself before. I used to buy the nice Tom’s toothpaste which was about $5 a tube. So, for the fun of it, let’s do the math.

2 tubes per month x 12 months = 24 tubes
24 tubes x $5 per tube = $120 per year
$120 per year x 4 years = $480 saved

But what about the expense from making my toothpaste?  Well, in the last 4 years I’ve purchased 1 bottle of Glycerin, 1 tub of coconut oil (specifically for making toothpaste), maybe a pound of baking soda, 1 bottle of peppermint oil, and have used less than half my box of xylitol packets.  That totals to approximately $60 for 4 years of toothpaste!

It took a little bit of adapting but I can completely customize my toothpaste to be as gritty, or sweet, or pepperminty as I’d like and to top it all off, I’m not tossing toothpaste tubes any longer. Good for me, good for the environment and good for my wallet!

2. Shampoo & Conditioner

This one always gets people to raise their eyebrows. You don’t use shampoo? OR conditioner?! Well, no…and I haven’t in many years. I can’t say that straying from the shampoo/conditioner cycle is right for everyone but it sure was the right way to go for me. I used to suffer from dry ends, dandruff, and unhappy curls. When I first stopped using shampoo & conditioner my hair dried out and was insanely frizzy. But after a few days, it mellowed out a lot and started looking much nicer. At the end of two weeks, it was like having a different head of hair. I’ve never looked back.

So let’s do the math: Let’s say I spent about $6 per bottle of shampoo & $6 per bottle of conditioner. And just as a guess, let’s say I used one bottle of both per month. That’s 2 bottles at $12 per month. So let’s see how much I’ve saved in the last 4 years.

2 bottles per month x $6 each = $12 per month
$12 per month x 12 months = $144 per year
$144 per year x 4 years = $576 saved

How many bottles avoided the landfill/recycling center? That’s 96 bottles that avoided the trash and $576 in my pocket!

3. Lotion

I don’t bother using lotion. Even in the dead of winter, when the wind and cold would crack anyone’s skin, I instead opt for a few drops of lanolin. It goes on greasy but soaks in really well after a few minutes and it is amazing! It makes my hands softer than any lotion I’ve ever tried before and it’s very cheap to buy, not to reiterate that you only use a few drops.

Math time!

I liked to buy Burt’s Bees lotion back in the day. I loved the smell of the Radiance Body Lotion which ran about $8 a bottle. It would last me more than a month if I didn’t use it on my legs, so let’s say it lasted 2 months.

$8 per bottle x 6 (12 months per year/ 2 months per bottle) = $48 per year
$48 per year x 4 years = $192 saved!

I can’t even remember the last time I bought a bottle of lanolin. It would have been more than 2 years ago and is a little under half way full.

3. Deodorant Sticks

There is this glorious product called crystal deodorant. It comes in a small bag, with a small dish to store it on. It’s just a crystal of salts that works as a deodorizer. You apply it wet and is best just after a shower. This product is excellent for me because I don’t have overpowering body odor when I sweat. I’ve known people that say that it just didn’t work for them. I believe that for some people, reapplying throughout the day would be best. For me, though, it’s perfect.  The little crystal ball lasts forever and wears down into nothing! The only thing to dispose of is the little dish which could easily be converted into a small tea light holder. Love it!

All right, so, because I don’t sweat significant amounts, I never went through deodorant very quickly. So let’s say that a bar lasted me 2 months. That’s approximately $6 per bar.

$6 per bar x 6 (12 months per year/ 2 months per bar) = $36 per year
$36 per year x 4 years = $144 saved

5. Tea Bags

This one’s a little odd but it’s true. I’ve tossed hundreds upon hundreds of small, mesh tea bags into the trash or compost in my lifetime. They’re wasteful little creations and they really don’t do much for your tea. So I invested into some quality glass containers and just buy tea in bulk. I either brew it freely in a tea pot or put it in a french press. Tea leaves are supposed to open and be able to mingle with the water fully. Small bags are used for bottom-of-the-barrel tea and aren’t worth the expense. Trust me! Just buy bulk tea, you’ll love it so much more.

I could go through 4 boxes of Lipton or Celestial Seasoning’s pre-boxed teas in a month before. That’s about $3 per box.

$3 per box x 4 boxes per month = $12 per month
$12 per month x 12 months per year = $144 per year
$144 per year x 4 years = $576 saved!

Wowza…that’s a lot of money spent on less than half the tea I get from buying bulk. I’m saving boxes, bags, and I’m getting much better quality tea. Can’t lose!

So those are my top 5 cuts. They were easy to do, saved me boatloads of money over the last 4 years ( about $1,968 from our math ) and it’s saved a lot of TRASH from winding up in landfills or wasting energy being recycled. I feel good about it, wouldn’t you?

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