This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
With food prices increasing almost daily, the additional expense to buy weekly groceries is cutting into other budget items. Start thinking about cutting out certain items that are not absolutely essential. This train of thought got me to start thinking what everyday items can stop buying from the store. Here are some ideas:
Sandwich bags and other zip type bags: These are certainly convenient and I have used them for years, but I can remember my parents did not use them during lean times. I have sandwich size plastic containers that I got from the dollar store and will now pack lunches in these reusable plastic containers.Aluminum foil and plastic wrap: Foil is also very convenient and we have started counting on it as a staple. But if you think about it, you can just use reusable containers to store leftovers, and use unlined baking pans for the oven. Just grease well and food will slide off easily.Paper goods Paper napkins: Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. Paper towels: Although I really liked the super absorbent paper towels like Brawny, but they have gotten quite expensive. I brought out the sponges and old rags and now use those for cleaning instead. I still keep a roll around to drain grease from food after frying (not willing to use newspaper next to food) but the roll now lasts for a very long time. I’d have to figure out another grease absorbing substitute-let me know if you find one! Coffee filters: I got a wire mesh coffee filter and now no longer need paper filters.Cereal Apartment prepper daughter was the one who showed me how to make granola at home. I thought it would be difficult, but it was quite simple if you follow these directions step by step.Soda I stopped drinking soda a long time ago, but I still like sparkling water. Instead of buying Perrier or La Croix, I now make sparkling water and soda at home. I’ve had mySodaStream for a couple of years now and have never gone back.Bottled water: If you don’t like the taste of tap water, just use a water filtration system. Even a water filter pitcher like Brita or Pur will improve the taste of tap water.Laundry Detergent: I enjoy the smell of laundry detergent, but it is so much better to make it yourself. I found an easy recipe and have been making it ever since. It is also useful for other cleaning jobs.Mouthwash I used to buy inexpensive mouthwash from Walmart, until I learned how to make it myself. It is all natural, with no chemicals or preservatives.Liquid Hand Soap It is so easy to make hand soap, and one batch lasted me for over a year.Dishwashing Powder Detergent This is another easy to make recipe and the resulting detergent lasts a long time.Moisturizers and lotions I used to spend a lot of money on buying moisturizers and lotions at the cosmetic counter. I learned you can control the ingredients and save money by making it yourself.Yogurt Make yogurt once and you will never go back to store bought. It contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives and you get all the yogurt goodness. If you prefer Greek yogurt, you can make that too.Cleaning supplies Cleaning supplies are so easy to make. If you reuse containers, you must wash them thoroughly before you refill them. NEVER mix bleach and ammonia – sounds like common knowledge but I still see news reports about people getting overcome by fumes from this.Dog treats I thought my dog would be too picky to eat this, but once he tried it, he loved it! Never went back to buying dog biscuits at the store again.Vanilla I am still using the vanilla I made from this project. And it is as flavorful as the store bought kind.
I used to think giving up on buying stuff meant deprivation. The opposite actually happened. By using a bit of creativity, substituting and making things myself, I felt more abundance. When you stop buying these everyday items, you feel more empowered and more self-sufficient than before.