Homestead Hints: A Homesteader’s Health and Beauty Budget

by Merissa on October 7, 2011

in Homestead Hints

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Out here in the country, life revolves a little differently than it does in the city. We put hard, long hours into making our homestead a self sufficient haven for our families. Homestead Hints will be a series following things that we’ve learned over the last several years on how to make our homestead living a little better. Welcome to the Little Homestead on the Prairie…

This is a newer thing for us, so bear with me. We've recently started moving our health and beauty items to organic/natural. I used to think organic food was expensive but then I started looking at the costs of health and beauty items and I was blown away. As we've started using up our products we already purchased I've started to collect some ideas of how to keep this part of my budget low each month.

1. Buy vouchers for organic deals. I see more of a advantage in buying vouchers for stores that sell organic health and beauty products than in stores that only sell organic food, however I like getting vouchers for both. I also invite friends to the daily deal sites so I can get credits and I spend these wisely on practical vouchers for items we really need. Buying half price vouchers has really helped this portion of our budget significantly.

2. Make your own. I'm just really starting to get into this with my homemade foaming soap and my hand soap recipes. I've found that by making a smaller purchase (such as an organic soap bar) can stretch into months worth of a product! I still have many more experiments I plan on trying in the future for these kinds of products including homemade shampoo, deodorant, ect.

3. Coupons. There actually is a decent amount of coupons available for organic and natural health and beauty products. I often see sales on herbal or organic meds at the drugstores and deals on things like natural toothpastes and more.

4. Reuse it. Alright guys close your eyes for the next couple sentences, this is a girl thing. Since I hope to cloth diaper someday soon with our babies I wondered how weird it would be to try out cloth pads. I made the initial investment a couple months ago and I'm extremely happy with my decision. Not only is it not as yucky as I thought, it's improved my monthly "down time". Cloth pads are a rather expensive investment to begin with but if you go with a good brand they should last you at least 5 years. Over time, it will save you much more than you invested!

In what ways do you save money on organic/natural health and beauty items?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicki October 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Have you ever looked into “The Keeper” for a replacement feminine product? http://www.keeper.com As you said with the cloth pads, it is an investment, but saves over time.

Reply

2 Merissa October 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I will have to check that out, thanks Nicki!

Reply

3 Lisa November 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I prefer the diva cup to a keeper due to latex allergy.
We actually use cloth diapers instead of pads. They come in many sizes, so there is one perfect for each day of that dreaded week. Yes, I also cloth diaper the babies.
For stains, you can soak in water with borax in it. But after laundering if there is still staining, dry them in the sun (if you are lucky enough to have sun, I’m in the northwest, so we don’t have much of the shiny orb).

Reply

4 Nicki October 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Have you ever looked into “The Keeper” for a replacement feminine product? http://www.keeper.com As you said with the cloth pads, it is an investment, but saves over time.

Reply

5 Merissa October 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I will have to check that out, thanks Nicki!

Reply

6 Lana October 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

We made this switch about 20 years ago. Back then you could only really obtain these things by mail order and they were very expesive with no deals or sales of any kind. It has gotten so much cheaper in just the last 2 years because I can just buy them at the store and there are sales and coupons available. It is so worth it in terms of long term health benefits just like organic foods. The best deal I have found on soap is to buy the 55 bar bulk pack from Sungold Soap. We have been using their soap for many years and I wouldn’t go back.

Reply

7 Lana October 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

We made this switch about 20 years ago. Back then you could only really obtain these things by mail order and they were very expesive with no deals or sales of any kind. It has gotten so much cheaper in just the last 2 years because I can just buy them at the store and there are sales and coupons available. It is so worth it in terms of long term health benefits just like organic foods. The best deal I have found on soap is to buy the 55 bar bulk pack from Sungold Soap. We have been using their soap for many years and I wouldn’t go back.

Reply

8 Barb October 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

A few years ago when I was making a number of personal care products (lip balm, lotion, soap) and household cleaning products, I used ingredients and instructions from mabelwhite.com. I don’t remember if the products were “organic,” but they were natural, high quality and, at least at the time, quite reasonably priced, especially for the quality of the items I received.

Reply

9 Barb October 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

A few years ago when I was making a number of personal care products (lip balm, lotion, soap) and household cleaning products, I used ingredients and instructions from mabelwhite.com. I don’t remember if the products were “organic,” but they were natural, high quality and, at least at the time, quite reasonably priced, especially for the quality of the items I received.

Reply

10 Eileen October 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

The reasons I use cloth diapers are: 1) Thriftiness, 2) Better for the environment, and 3) If something has to be right up against my baby’s soft skin it should be SOFT. It took me a year of loving the softness of my baby’s diapers before I finally realized that logically speaking, that should be an argument for using “mama cloth”, as they call it.
It is WAY more comfortable and surprisingly easy and clean. I still use disposable pads and tampons when I’m going to be out and about or if we’re visiting family, but a box of 24 tampons and 64 pantiliners now lasts me 6 months and 9 months, respectively.

Reply

11 Eileen October 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

The reasons I use cloth diapers are: 1) Thriftiness, 2) Better for the environment, and 3) If something has to be right up against my baby’s soft skin it should be SOFT. It took me a year of loving the softness of my baby’s diapers before I finally realized that logically speaking, that should be an argument for using “mama cloth”, as they call it.
It is WAY more comfortable and surprisingly easy and clean. I still use disposable pads and tampons when I’m going to be out and about or if we’re visiting family, but a box of 24 tampons and 64 pantiliners now lasts me 6 months and 9 months, respectively.

Reply

12 Leta October 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

I love this! The drug store used to chew a hole through our budget. After I started tracking our expenses, I realized that we spent as much on non-food consumables as we did on food! And the landfill guilt- don’t get me started. Here is what has worked for us:

1. Bamboo ear cleaners. Find them on Amazon. They cost $5 for 5. Cuts down/eliminates Qtips.

2. Cloth cotton rounds. Make them yourself, because the commercial versions are insanely priced. Eliminates need for cotton balls/disposable cotton rounds.

3. Menstrual products. I use a diaphragm, a regular old diaphragm that women have been using as birth control for generations. With my health insurance it was free. Other options are the Keeper, the DivaCup, and the Mooncup. I also use Amaz Cloth Padz for backup. There are other brands out there, but I love mine. The fabric she uses DOES NOT STAIN. It is really amazing.

4. Neti Pot. These cost about $15, you won’t need saline or nose sprays anymore, and they make you feel much better when you are ill, so you need less/no meds.

5. Shampoo bars. After a period of transition, all of us love these. They are soap, rather than detergent, which is what commercial shampoos are. I am learning to make my own, but to buy them they cost about $4 each and last our family of 4-5 about a month. You need to wash your hair much less, too, compared with detergent shampoo. I have very long, thick hair, so I rub my ends with coconut oil about once a month. Other than that, only conditioner that’s needed with shampoo bars is a 50-50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water or tea, used below the ears. It sounds weird, but it works!

6. All natural soaps. We don’t need lotion anymore. I use aloe on my legs if they feel tight, and coconut oil on my knees/elbows/hands/feet. As a bonus, my husband and I have both eliminated acne under this regimen, so no more expensive face washes or acne creams.

7. Dental floss holder. On Amazon. My husband was using those Reach flossers with refills- he has giant hands- so this was a great find for us.

8. Shave soap, with mug and brush for him, aloe for me.

9. Old fashioned safety razor bought at antique store for $10. DE blades purchased for 5c each on eBay. Or, if you aren’t brave, try Dollar Shave Club.

10. Homemade sugaring instead of waxing.

11. Homemade tooth powder instead of pricey natural toothpaste.

12. Everyday Minerals. No more drugstore makeup! Great stuff, reasonably priced, lasts forever, my skin loves it.

13. Homemade deodorant.

14. Homemade lip balm.

15. Homemade hair gel (from flax seeds, it’s what flappers used! Google “natural African-American hair care” for lots of good info).

16. Homemade mineral sunblock.

17. Cloth wipees. Basically, we only use TP for the first swipe after poo. Dry wipes for pee, wet for the second swipe after poo. You really feel cleaner, and your toilet paper use plummets.

18. Hankies. Nicer on the nose than any Kleenex. We have some nice old cigar boxes throughout our house that hold scented hankies. They look better than a Kleenex box and are nicer to use. We never buy Kleenex.

19. A good toilet brush, microfiber towels, and a Shmop with extra terrycloth covers. Natural liquid soap and vinegar is all we need to clean the bathroom now that we have these good tools. You do need to do it daily, though.

20. Honeybee Gardens nail polish. Removes with rubbing alcohol, so one less thing to buy, and non-toxic.

22. Not health and beauty, but good anyway: a feather duster, cloth napkins, reusable metal drinking straws, and a Fiskars scissor sharpener.

Reply

13 Leta October 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

I love this! The drug store used to chew a hole through our budget. After I started tracking our expenses, I realized that we spent as much on non-food consumables as we did on food! And the landfill guilt- don’t get me started. Here is what has worked for us:

1. Bamboo ear cleaners. Find them on Amazon. They cost $5 for 5. Cuts down/eliminates Qtips.

2. Cloth cotton rounds. Make them yourself, because the commercial versions are insanely priced. Eliminates need for cotton balls/disposable cotton rounds.

3. Menstrual products. I use a diaphragm, a regular old diaphragm that women have been using as birth control for generations. With my health insurance it was free. Other options are the Keeper, the DivaCup, and the Mooncup. I also use Amaz Cloth Padz for backup. There are other brands out there, but I love mine. The fabric she uses DOES NOT STAIN. It is really amazing.

4. Neti Pot. These cost about $15, you won’t need saline or nose sprays anymore, and they make you feel much better when you are ill, so you need less/no meds.

5. Shampoo bars. After a period of transition, all of us love these. They are soap, rather than detergent, which is what commercial shampoos are. I am learning to make my own, but to buy them they cost about $4 each and last our family of 4-5 about a month. You need to wash your hair much less, too, compared with detergent shampoo. I have very long, thick hair, so I rub my ends with coconut oil about once a month. Other than that, only conditioner that’s needed with shampoo bars is a 50-50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water or tea, used below the ears. It sounds weird, but it works!

6. All natural soaps. We don’t need lotion anymore. I use aloe on my legs if they feel tight, and coconut oil on my knees/elbows/hands/feet. As a bonus, my husband and I have both eliminated acne under this regimen, so no more expensive face washes or acne creams.

7. Dental floss holder. On Amazon. My husband was using those Reach flossers with refills- he has giant hands- so this was a great find for us.

8. Shave soap, with mug and brush for him, aloe for me.

9. Old fashioned safety razor bought at antique store for $10. DE blades purchased for 5c each on eBay. Or, if you aren’t brave, try Dollar Shave Club.

10. Homemade sugaring instead of waxing.

11. Homemade tooth powder instead of pricey natural toothpaste.

12. Everyday Minerals. No more drugstore makeup! Great stuff, reasonably priced, lasts forever, my skin loves it.

13. Homemade deodorant.

14. Homemade lip balm.

15. Homemade hair gel (from flax seeds, it’s what flappers used! Google “natural African-American hair care” for lots of good info).

16. Homemade mineral sunblock.

17. Cloth wipees. Basically, we only use TP for the first swipe after poo. Dry wipes for pee, wet for the second swipe after poo. You really feel cleaner, and your toilet paper use plummets.

18. Hankies. Nicer on the nose than any Kleenex. We have some nice old cigar boxes throughout our house that hold scented hankies. They look better than a Kleenex box and are nicer to use. We never buy Kleenex.

19. A good toilet brush, microfiber towels, and a Shmop with extra terrycloth covers. Natural liquid soap and vinegar is all we need to clean the bathroom now that we have these good tools. You do need to do it daily, though.

20. Honeybee Gardens nail polish. Removes with rubbing alcohol, so one less thing to buy, and non-toxic.

22. Not health and beauty, but good anyway: a feather duster, cloth napkins, reusable metal drinking straws, and a Fiskars scissor sharpener.

Reply

14 Erin D. July 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

My friend has a nationwide janitorial service. He hates feather dusters and says use clean cotton cloths only. The dusters only spread the dirt back into the air, and you have to clean again another day. Use what you prefer best, but that’s my two cents. :)

Reply

15 Pamela January 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Have stopped buying shaving cream for my legs years ago. I use a natural hair conditioner on my legs before shaving. Works great! Could also just buy Sauve hair conditioner intstead of buying natural variety.

Reply

16 krista August 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Melissa,
What brand of feminine cloth pads are you using that you woul recommend? There are so many places, including Etsy.com and I don’t know where to start…other than making my own. But I would love a recommendation.

Reply

17 Merissa August 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I prefer homemade! But if you have to buy you might want to check out Luna Pads. Those seemed the best to me and they didn’t shrink when you washed them like Glad Rags do. Here are 2 more posts on the topic if you want to learn more. Naturalizing Your Feminine Hygiene Routine and Homemade Cloth Pads Tutorial.

Reply

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