Saving Money Tip: Make Your Own Fabric Softener

 

Greetings everyone!

Today I’m going to share another tip I use to save money (and increase self-reliance) around the house: making your own fabric softener.  It is very simple to make and very, very cheap.  You may not even need to buy anything!

First, why would I want to do this? There  are a few reasons. I’ll save money, I’ll get all the perfumes, dies and additives (some of which some people are allergic to) out of my fabric softener, I will learn to make something new and useful (always cool) and I’ll become more self-reliant.

FabricSoftener

Now, on to the process.  First, we need to gather our ingredients: vinegar, baking soda and water.  You can also use an essential oil of your choice for scent (I use peppermint).  How do I make it, you ask? Great question, and pay attention cause here we go.

Step 1: Mix together 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a large container (more than 1 gallon).  The baking soda won’t completely dissolve, but don’t worry.  You’ll get an assist from the next step.
Step 2: Slowly add in 6 cups of vinegar. The mixture will fizz, a lot. Stir this for a bit.
Step 3: Add in 6 cups of water and continue to stir until baking soda is dissolved.
Step 4: (Optional) Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.
Step 5: Store.  I used 2 mason jars that I had on hand (one was half gallon size)

Useage: Use 1 cup of this in place of your old fabric softener.  This stuff works great, I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now.  It’s very simple to make and obviously easy to use.  There are very few drawbacks if you use regular fabric softener already, but I must admit that I’m rather fond of the snuggle bear.  I know it’s just an advertisement to make sure I keep buying the product, but seriously, how can you not like this bear?!

That’s all for this saving money tip folks.  Do you plan on giving this tip a try, or is it too out there for you?  Where do you draw the line when trying to save some coin?

Saving Money Tip: Change your own Oil

Oil Change Equipment

There are a lot of ways to save money floating around the interwebs, some common (like using coupons) and some not so common (like buying cloth rags to use instead of toilet paper).  Today I am going to tell you about one of my personal favorite saving money tips, which is changing my own motor oil.  One of the reasons that I do it is I just like to go out side and get a bit dirty, do some work that I can get positive, semi-immediate results from, and there’s something at least a tiny bit manly about being able to work on your own car.  I didn’t always know how to change my oil though so there are a few things that I have learned on the way.   (Materials Pictured Above from left to right: Socket wrench, socket wrench extension, oil drip pan, oil, oil filer, filter wrench, funnel)

Changing your own motor oil saves some money.  The amount saved depends on how much you drive your car.  If you’re like me and drive a lot, you can save quite a bit of coin over the course of a year.  If you don’t drive as much, the savings will be slightly less (~$120/yr).

  1. Make sure to use the proper tools.  You can’t get something done right if you don’t have the right equipment
  2. Make sure you have a spot for the waste oil.  Here at sustainable life blog, we don’t like to waste anything.  Depending on where you live, you can probably call the city or county, and they will tell you how you can dispose of it.  My county (and most of them around here) will collect the used oil.  Some recycle it, and some burn it for heat, but it’s always used.
  3. Check and Double Check Yourself.

Alright, after we’ve got that out-of-the-way, let’s get dirty!  First, you’ll need to figure out what kind of motor oil and filter your car has.  To do this, you’ll need to look in the owner’s manual that (hopefully) came with your car.  Once you do this, you need to take the car that you’re going to change the oil in and head over to your local auto parts store and get some new oil, a new filter, a drip pan (if you don’t have one), and an oil filter wrench.  The first time you pick all this up, it will probably run you about 30 (which is what jiffy lube charges).  Simple cheap stuff, and once you buy it all, you’ll only need a new filter and oil, which will run you about $10/trip.

Get Ready to get Dirty

Once you’ve got all your stuff back home, it’s time to get down and dirty.  Get out your owner’s manual and look for an engine diagram (or there could be a how to change oil guide in there) and find the Oil drain plug.  Get a torque or crescent wrench,  and slowly loosen the bolt. (Dont forget to keep the bolt out of the oil when you remove it completely) Oil will start to leak on you a bit, and it should be warm (unless your trip to the parts store took a while, then give it some cooling time).  Just make sure you have your drip pan ready to try to catch it when you remove the screw completely.  While the oil is draining, you can grab your oil filter wrench and locate your oil filter.  It will be round, and sticking off of the engine somewhere.  If you can’t locate it right away, go back to your owner’s manual and find an engine schematic that will tell you where it is.  Once you find it, take your filter wrench and loosen the oil filter slowly.  Some oil will start leaking out of here as well, don’t worry about it.  Once you get it off, you can set it aside.

Replace what you took out

Now, it’s time to replace what you’ve taken off.  Get the bolt, and screw it back into where you took it out of.  Then get your new oil filter and rub a bit of oil around the rubber seal.  This will make it much easier to get off the next time, and I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than a stuck oil filter.  Then screw it back where the old one came from.  There is no reason to tighten these things down as hard as you possibly can get them, either.  Remember, you’re going to be the one taking them off next time.  So get the snug and give them a bit more and call it good.

Now, you’re almost done, but you need to grab your oil, pop open the hood, and put back the required amount of oil!  Fire up the car, make sure everything works and you’re good to go!

Now, that wasnt so hard, was it?

Here’s a cost breakdown.  This will probably take about an hour of your time, and assuming you drive as much as the normal american (12,000 miles/year) you’ll save about $60 during the first year (due to costs of oil drip pan and wrench), and about $80  every year after that.  Of course, the better you get at it, the less time it will take you.  I change my oil about once every 6 weeks, so I can stand to save a bit more than that.  I wouldn’t trade less driving

But I can guarantee you’ll feel good after having changed your own oil, because there’s nothing like the feeling of a job well done.