5 More Ways Our Family Saves Money

5 Frugal Ways Our Family Saves Money - An Island Family By Grace

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Following on from my Ways Our Family Saves Money post, I thought I would share 5 more ways our family saves money. We do not the buy the cheapest possible versions of everything we possibly could, particularly for wholefoods, but we do save money on as much else as we can.

So here are 5 more ways our family saves money:

1. Homemade laundry detergent.

For several years now, I have made homemade washing powder. I don’t think the cost savings on this are massive if you would normally buy a generic value brand washing powder such as Asda Smartprice or Tesco Value, but if you would ordinarily buy a brand name powder, you would save lots of money making your own. It also has the advantage of you knowing what all the ingredients are, and you can choose to add your own fragrance using the essential oil of your choice. However, making washing powder rather than liquid means that you cannot wash your clothes at temperatures lower than 40 degrees C, as the soap will not melt.

Here is my recipe for homemade washing powder:

1 Box (550g) Borax Substitute

1/2 500g Bag of Washing Soda Crystals

2 TBSp Soap Flakes

20 Drops Essential Oil of your choice

2 TBSp Oxygen Bleach (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together well in a plastic box and use a couple of tablespoons per wash.

However, a much improved option for me over the homemade washing powder is homemade laundry liquid. I got the recipe from this post from Jamerrill of Free Homeschool Deals. I have been using Jamerill’s recipe for almost a year now, and am really pleased with it.

Using less than the quantities I used to use to make a small box of washing powder, (although more of the soap flakes), I can now make a huge 16 litre (5 gallon) bucket of washing liquid, which lasts me just over 6  months! It also has the added benefit of being able to be used for low washing temperatures, as the soap is already melted. The only change I make to her recipe is to substitute 500g of soap flakes instead of the grated Fels Naptha soap bar, which is not available in the UK unless you spend huge amounts on Amazon or eBay to import it! Sadly I recently heard that Dri-Pak have stopped making their soap flakes (they now only sell them in liquid form), so I think for my next batch I will have to find a suitable bar soap for grating.

Saving Money by Making Laundry Liquid - An Island Family By Grace

The huge bucket of laundry liquid I am able to make using Jamerill’s recipe.

I also make homemade fabric softener, using the recipe provided by JES at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. It costs me about 50p to make half a litre, and contains no nasty chemicals, just the pleasant essential oil fragrance. JES also a shares a lovely free printable of labels for laundry items, including the Eucalyptus fabric softener.

2. Haircuts at home

We currently do not spend any money on haircuts for our family. When I met my husband (20 years ago!), he had already bought himself a set of Wahl hair clippers, which amazingly still work fine! I use these to cut his and our son’s hair. I will admit that I am a bit limited in the number of ‘styles’ I can do for them (or they have allowed me to do!), but they both insist they would not prefer to go to the barber’s.

Our Frugal Family Ways - An Island Family By Grace

The girls and I all have long, straight hair, so it is pretty easy for me to cut our hair. For the past couple of years, I have found this 5 Minute DIY Layered Hair Cut technique on Practical Stewardship the easiest to use. It seems to work well, and I am able to use this way of cutting my own hair too, in the mirror. I have just recently heard from a friend about the ‘Crea Clip’, which you can see lots of demonstrations of on You Tube, and is similar to this Hair Cutting Tool. I think this would improve the look of our hair cuts, and would not be too much of an outlay, to keep things frugal!

3. Buy reduced produce and meat to freeze

As I mentioned in my Friday Night Curry and Onion Bhajis Recipe, I buy meat from the reduced section at our local Co-op, and freeze it when we get home. I am not able to do this as much as I usually would at the moment, as our small chest freezer is not yet moved to our new house, but I still manage to buy a selection of things every couple of weeks. For meat and fish products, it is a good idea to check that they are about to go out of date, rather than already out of date, as this happened to me a few times, and my money was wasted. If there are fruit, vegetables or dairy products that are reduced (and are freezeable), I may also buy them, and of course the date is not so important on them. A friend let me know that you can even freeze over-ripe bananas, then use them for baking.

4. Get rid of disposable products

Now, I am not going to pretend that we use no disposable products at all. We use kitchen roll for wiping up stuff that I would not want washed off rags or towels in the washing machine, we bought disposable plates, cups and cutlery when we first moved to the island, and although we use cloth hankies, we buy paper tissues for when we have colds. However, it definitely saves more money, the more we can avoid buying things that cannot be reused.

We used cloth nappies (diapers!) for our older three children, although not for our youngest daughter, due to circumstances at the time. There are literally thousands of places you can buy washable nappies, so I will not link to many. My favourite company for them was Twinkle Twinkle. We actually gave our washable nappies away on Freecycle a few years ago, so you could even get them for free!

Washable feminine products is a subject that I personally have no problem with, but I know that not everyone will consider them. If you are willing, they are a huge money saving choice, and of course you are avoiding both toxic chemicals next to your skin, and a lot of extra waste being thrown away. Often the companies which sell cloth nappies will also sell cloth feminine products too.

5. Grow and Make Your Own

As I talked about in My Health Goals for 2016, I want to grow a lot more of our own food this year. Of course, this will be restricted by space, money to build raised beds, and perhaps, like last year, by the weather (who am I kidding?), but even growing just some of the foods that would cost quite a lot to buy will be a help. Things like salad, and berries in particular, I would like to no longer have to buy. I would also like to plant some nut trees, although obviously that will cost more to start off with.

5 More Frugal Ways - An Island Family By Grace

Our generous neighbours proved you *can* grow peppers in a polytunnel here on the island!

The eggs from our chickens are probably not a cost saving, if you compare them with the cheapest caged eggs you could get from the supermarket, but compared with organic, free range eggs, they probably do not too badly.

Sarah from Delivering Grace has a helpful post on Feeding a Big Family, and you can see my Crofting and Homesteading Board on Pinterest, which has lots of ideas for saving money by growing your own food, here:

Follow Gwen An Island Family By Grace’s board Crofting/ Homesteading on Pinterest.

We also make a lot of things from scratch that we used to buy, such as sourdough bread, naan bread, yoghurt, pizza, and now even baked beans, using the recipe from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions. Yes, it takes longer than opening a tin from the cupboard, but it’s worth it.

These are just 5 more ways our family saves money- do you have any other frugal suggestions to add?

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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing Monday, Modest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Roses of Inspiration, Titus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Hearts for Home , Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up, Faithful at Home Fridays, Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

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20 Comments on “5 More Ways Our Family Saves Money

  1. I always love reading the ways people save money! We do most of these, except for the homemade detergent. I know a lot of people save money that way, perhaps it’s time for me to explore that idea.

    • Thank you for commenting Jamie 🙂 It took me a while to get round to making the laundry detergent- the powder seemed easier at first because I didn’t need to ‘cook’ it, or have space to store a huge bucket, but now I have changed over to that method, I much happier with the results, and making up the liquid once every 6 months isn’t too difficult.

  2. I’ve made laundry detergent for 2 years now and for us it was a big saving. Due to a skin condition we used to buy a high end brand sensitive detergent with no fragrance or enzymes. I also love that when you make it in large quantities you don’t need to make another batch for ages. For $AUS17 I had enough ingredients for a years worth of detergent. I also use soap flakes, here in Australia they sell a box of LUX pure soap flakes. If you end up grating your own you could try using a stain removing soap bar and omit the oxy booster.

    • I remember LUX soap flakes! My mum used to use them for handwashing. Thanks for the suggestion about the stain removal bar 🙂

  3. Thank you for the mention.
    I’ve never mastered the art of cutting hair. My attempt at cutting our eldest’s hair was so bad that I have been banned from making another attempt!
    This frugal tip only works if you like Nutella which I know isn’t the most healthy thing out but their small sized pots make excellent tumblers once the contents are finished.
    sarahelisabeth recently posted…EbenezerMy Profile

    • Ha ha, I don’t know if it could be said that I’ve ‘mastered’ cutting hair either, but I think it is passable! Mmm, Nutella! Actually, we have smashed so many glasses since we moved here (all hard floors), that we actually use empty glass jars now for drinking from, unless it’s a special occasion!

  4. Growing your own food is such a good way to save money, but more importantly to have fresh food without additives. I now have a very small raised bed (rather than the acre we had in France!), but last year raised leeks, runner beans, broad beans, courgettes and potatoes. I fill a couple of big tubs with potatoes also. It’s very satisfying!
    Barbara recently posted…Ups and DownsMy Profile

    • I agree, it is so nice to be able to eat something you have grown yourself. We are hoping to making raised beds too, as the soil tends to get to much water sitting on it, with the bedrock only half a foot below.

  5. We do all those things to. They are really so easy to do and save so much money! Well, gardening isn’t easy but I enjoy it so much and I get almost free organic food out of the deal.

  6. We are a frugal family doing most of these and more. Don’t buy bottled water, use an insulated stainless container to bring coffee to work and always water in the vehicle to drink. When we go to a park, we pack the cooler rather than buy expensive junk food.
    Put up an antenna and cut out cable TV, free local channels. We do a garden annually in a few fenced-in raised beds to get fresh, pesticide free fruits and vegetables that are a delicious money saving treat.
    Make most meals at home from scratch as prepackaged foods are more expensive and full of what my husband calls “non-food” ingredients. Lower cost, more nutritious. I am spoiled that he is a better cook than I, but I have the baking expertise, of course he does make pizza and teaches the boys along the way. We like to involve them in the projects as my husband calls it learning life skills needed to function as an adult.
    I attempted home haircuts for my boys but was fired. My husband who is really very good with the shears started cutting mine when we were first dating, no ponytail hack job, he did the full sectioning, trimming each layer and ensuring it was straight and does not chop off 6″ when I say 1/2″ or less, like the salon stylists did. He was helping me learn to do my children’s haircuts as I had it with bad haircuts at the barbers, when my eldest said he didn’t like my work and he wanted my husband to do it. The younger followed his big brother’s lead. I actually was relieved, I was nervous and afraid I’d screw them up. The cost savings are still there and significant. He has since added colorist to his skills as he does my hair with henna. Having him be the family barber/stylist/colorist saves well over $1600 in all annually and no bad haircuts, can’t say that for the barbershop or salon. My boys prefer his work over going to the barbershop. I joke with him he will be doing their haircuts even after they are grown and out of the house, maybe even pick up doing them for daughter-in-laws and grandchildren too. That’s ok, that means they will be back to see their mom.
    DIY oil changes, tune ups, add fluids, car washes, home repairs, landscaping and painting as well.
    We canned salsa, pickles and multiple varieties of jams. Better quality than store bought and the family looks forward to them as gifts.

    • That’s a good list Cheryl! We also do similar things to your family, but have not added car maintenance to our repertoire yet! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • Thank you JES! Yes, I’ve never added up the savings that we must have made in haircuts over the years, but it must be hundreds of pounds by now!

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