Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to come at the cost of a healthy budget – though I’m sure many people think otherwise. It’s so easy to believe that when you are on a budget, you can’t afford all the good things in life. Today, our guest blogger and Registered Dietician, Lisa Rutledge, is telling us about how we can start making better choices on our frugal budgets (that don’t even have to be boring or hard to find!). Enjoy!

Healthy Body and Healthy Budget - www.diyjahn.com

So many people want to eat well however there is a common myth that makes changing seem harder than it really is! When trying to make healthy changes to their eating habits, one of the most common difficulties I hear from people is how they struggle to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Healthy eating is perceived as expensive (among other things such as time consuming and boring). I think this stems partly from the erroneous belief that certain specialty foods have to be eaten for health (I’m looking at you goji berries and protein powder!) as well as an overemphasis on fresh fruits and veggies.

The good news is that there are ways to eat well while cutting back on food spending and keeping your healthy budget. Before you give up on trying to eat healthy or worse, run into debt buying pomegranate juice and moon dust, hear me out.

Not surprisingly, there is middle ground between eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night and breaking the budget with boxed salad and wild, organic salmon. Sure, it may require a bit more planning and preparation than if you had an unlimited budget, but with time and practice any extra effort it takes now will soon be a thing of the past.

Related: Saving Money on Groceries has Never Been THIS Easy

In fact, money aside, many of these tips can help you eat a wider variety of food on top of eating more antioxidants, fiber and other healthy nutrients.

1.) Buy seasonally and follow the sales.

Sales change from week to week so you can be guaranteed to eat a wide variety of foods if you buy what’s on sale. It is important to keep in mind that variety doesn’t have to be day to day or even meal to meal. One week of eating more broccoli and the next eating more carrots is a cheaper way to eat healthy.
This is a great way to save money on the more expensive foods such as yogurt, breakfast cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables. It may also open your eyes to new products or brands you hadn’t thought to eat before.

Buying produce that is in season means that it will likely be more flavorful and higher quality for a lower price. Check out this chart by SOS Cuisine for what is in season in your area.

Related: Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back on All Your Groceries (Save TONS!)

2.) Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Packaging and freezing techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade. This means that frozen produce is not only equally nutritious and sometimes riper when compared to their fresh counterparts- but the tastes have improved too. They are often more convenient to prepare since they are sold washed, peeled and cut up.

This time save with cooking can increase your chances of actually eating a vegetable at supper or fruit at breakfast. Of course, they spoil a heck of a lot slower than fresh fruits and veg so you can stock the pantry and freezer with all different kinds which allows for more variety. Forget eating broccoli all week to avoid it from spoiling! You could have a different vegetable every night if you’d like.

3.) Freeze individual sized leftovers to make your own microwave dinners.

Rather than buying TV dinners- that leave much to be desired in terms of flavor and satisfaction, make your own. Apart from the obvious save in the sodium and bad fat department, they’ll allow you to enjoy a decadent meal for way less.

Don’t like eating leftovers from last night or a cold sandwich? This is a perfect tip for you! Simply freeze the meal and save it for another week. Added benefits include helping you crawl out of a sandwich or salad rut and enjoy a homemade hot meal in the middle of the day.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Produce (in your DINING ROOM!)

4.) Try eating more plant based protein such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu.

Beans and pulses can be seasoned to match almost any flavour combination. When used as a substitute for meat in your favorite dishes, beans can save you up to 70% of the cost. For example, a serving of boneless chicken thigh costs ~$1.50. 3/4 cup of cooked lentils is a serving of meat and alternatives, and costs about $0.45. So, you could reduce your protein costs by about 70% by substituting beans for chicken.

If meat is a must in your house, try diluting the meat with beans (or tofu or edamame). This preserves the meaty flavor while cutting down on the cost of the meal. This idea works really well in dishes like Sheppard’s pie, Ratatouille and chili.

Of course there are other protein rich foods such as eggs (2 eggs = $0.60), cottage cheese (3/4cup = ~$1.30), canned tuna (1/2 a can = $0.80), and even peanut butter (2 tbsp = $0.17). Even better to keep your healthy budget!

SAve money while eating

 Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Also, one last tip! Throwing out spoiled or uneaten food is a HUGE waste of money. Change your buying habits to better suit what you can actually eat or try using a basket labelled “eat soon” in your fridge to highlight foods to be eaten asap.

There is nothing more frustrating than setting a goal to eat better, buying a ton of fresh food, then having it spoil before all of it can be eaten. Plan out meals in which to use the fresh food then buy only what you need. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect when trying to throw meals together with what is in the fridge!

Looking for recipes that will help you have a healthy body on a healthy budget? Download my recipe e-book for delicious and balanced meals that are quick to make any weeknight.

Simply click here and follow the instructions.

easy and inexpensive recipes

About the Author

Lisa Rutledge is a registered dietitian nutritionist, health coach, and food behavior expert. She works in private practice and specializes in mindful eating as well as chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). Here goal is to help people repair / rekindle their relationships with food.
Lisa takes a non-dieting approach to healthy eating and truly believes that all foods can fit. She believes in feeding not only your body, but also your mind. Her philosophy about food and meals boils down to getting it done, not getting it perfect.
Along with consulting with clients one on one, Lisa loves to spread the word about food and nutrition through presentations and workshops and through her blog and online videos.
You can find her at: www.lisarutledge.ca

Creating a Chemical-Free Home – 30DMDC

Creating a Chemical-Free Home

We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!

When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.

You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.

chemical free - www.diyjahn.com

Last week I was lucky enough to have a guest post featured on my friend Erin’s blog: A Welder’s Wife. If you don’t remember who Erin is, you may remember the challenge that my readers, my wife, and I are taking this month: the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Here’s a fun fact for you, Erin created that challenge for us (and how grateful we are that she did)!

When she was decluttering her own home, she realized the importance of ridding her home of chemicals. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, how to fit it into your budget, why it matters, and what recipes actually do what they are supposed to do. That’s the problem my wife and I had. After a ton of research to create our own chemical-free home, we decided how important it was to make the transition easier for anyone else who may be trying to become chemical-free.

So, we put together this post on Erin’s site explaining why you should be chemical-free and exactly how to get there. I would love, love, LOVE it if you would head over to Erin’s site, read the post, share some love / leave some comments!

Click HERE to read the post: Creating a Chemical Free Home – A Welder’s Wife

Or use this link: http://www.awelderswife.com/2016/03/creating-a-chemical-free-home/

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

So many people are led to believe that essential oils are too expensive for them. However, our guest poster Chantal is here to crack that myth with her list of 5 affordable essential oils (that you can buy for less than $20). Enjoy! 🙂

There is a common perception that essential oils are very expensive. I admit, when my grandma first introduced me to essential oils a few years ago I couldn’t believe she would spend so much money on these tiny little bottles… it just didn’t make any sense to me! However through listening to her and using essential oils myself, I came to realize that they are really quite affordable and well worth the price in the long run! Today I would like to share 5 essential oils which you can buy for $20 or less! I will also break down the cost per use so that you can form an informed opinion about the cost of essential oils for yourself!

These essential oils are all very common and all of them are used in my new essential oil ebook which shares diy diffuser and roller bottle recipes. The best part is that all of these oils are very versatile as they can be used for a variety of different concerns. I have included the price for each 15ml bottle of essential oil as well as the approximate cost per drop for each oil.

Essential Oils - www.diyjahn.com (1)

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

Please note that the prices are based on one company and will vary slightly depending on the company. The prices below are all for a 15ml bottle of essential oil and price per drop is based on the approximate value of 250 drops per bottle.

Lemon ($10)

Citrus oils can be used in so many ways and seem to be the most affordable type of essential oils you can purchase, it costs $0.04 per drop.

Using Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. Cost= $0.12 – $0.16
  • Like all citrus oils, lemon essential oils are wonderful for uplifting your mood. You can add 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16) or you can apply 1-2 drops to the soles of each foot ($0.08- $0.16 to do both feet). Alternatively you can add 1-2 drops of lemon to an essential oil diffusing necklace to take the wonderful uplifting aroma with you wherever you go ($0.04 – $0.08)!
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16)

Orange ($10)

Since orange essential oil is a citrus oil it is very affordable, and like lemon, it breaks down to $0.04 per drop.

Uses for Orange Essential Oil:

  • Orange is wonderful for cleaning your countertops, mirrors and sinks! Add 2-3 drops of orange essential oil to 2-3oz of water and mix in a glass spray bottle (always use glass as essential oils can react with plastic). This breaks down to $0.08 – $0.12 per 2-3oz of water.
  • Orange is also wonderful for uplifting your mood! Use in the same ways as lemon as listed above.
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of orange to your diffuser or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot. These methods range from $0.08 – $0.16.

Eucalyptus ($11)

I absolutely LOVE the smell of eucalyptus essential oil! This oil breaks down to $0.044 per drop.

Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is fantastic for respiratory support! I love adding 2-3 drops of euclayptus to my shower as the aroma combined with the steam from the shower really helps to promote feelings of clear breathing! The cost of this is $0.09 – $0.13.
  • Use Eucalyptus to help you feel relaxed! Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus to your diffuser, sit back and enjoy the aroma! This would cost $0.13- $0.18. You can find diffuser and roller bottle recipes for relaxation in my ebook here.

Tea Tree ($14)

You may also hear Tea Tree essential oil called melaleuca, this will vary depending on the company. The cost per drop for tea tree essential oil is $0.056

Uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Help soothe occasional skin irritations by putting 1 drop of tea tree on a cotton swab and apply to the irritation ($0.05). If you are applying to a large area of skin, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil ($0.11) to a few drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil to make application easier.
  • Support your immune system by putting 3-4 drops of tea tree in your diffuser ($0.17- $0.22) or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot ($0.11- $0.22)

Lavender ($20)

This is an oil that I truly believe everyone should have and it is very helpful, especially if you have little ones in the house. If you use lavender on children always dilute 1 drop of lavender in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or fractionated coconut oil. The cost per drop of lavender is $0.08.

Uses for Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Like tea tree essential oil, lavender works very well in helping to soothe occasional skin irritations! Use as discussed above. The cost for this ranges from $0.08 – $0.16. I often make a roller bottle blend using lavender and tea tree oil to help with skin irritations.
  • Use lavender to help you unwind after a long day by putting 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.24- $0.32).
  • Get a restful night of sleep by applying 1-2 drops of lavender to the sole of each foot ($0.16 – $0.32). Some people also find it very helpful to put 1 drop of lavender essential oil on their pillow before going to sleep ($0.08)

Essential Oils - www.diyjahn.com

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

There you have it, 5 essential oils that you can purchase for $20 or less! Like I mentioned before it may sound like a lot of money for a small bottle, once you break down the various uses and the cost per use, it is easy to see that essential oils really are a very affordable option to help naturally support your family’s health and wellness!

Are essential oils more affordable than you originally thought?

Leave your response in the comments below! 🙂

Guest Blogger Bio:

Chantal Bernard is a social worker by day and an essential oil enthusiast, blogger at Painted Teacup, virtual assistant, wife and fur-baby momma by night. Chantal began Painted Teacup in March 2015 to share information about essential oils and recently wrote an ebook called Essential Oils Made Easy: DIY Diffuser & Roller Bottle Recipes.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Saving Money on Groceries – How We Only Spent $200

Saving Money on Groceries

No matter how you slice it, in order to save money, you have to cut expenses. It’s the unfortunate truth of the world we live in. So many people have come to me exclaiming: “But there’s only so many things we can cut!” And for the most part, they have cut a lot from their expenses. They’re learning to live without shampoo, without cable, without the “luxuries” we normally allow ourselves. However, the area in which people struggle the most to save is when it comes to food. Saving money on groceries is HARD.

Why?

That’s pretty simple: food is an essential item. We need food to survive. We cannot simply cut food from our spending because it would be detrimental to our health.

It’s true. There isn’t a ton we can do to get rid of the expense. However, saving money on groceries is entirely possible and I’m about to tell you how my wife and I spend less than $200 per month for food. Here goes!

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com

Saving Money on Groceries

 There are many strategies to help with saving money on groceries, but I promise this won’t be a list of places to go cut coupons. Okay, I know that coupons could probably save me a ton of money. And I also understand that if you use them right, you can legitimately get free groceries.

The amount of time it takes to get the coupons, learn how to use them, and then drive around to multiple different stores is a turn-off for me though. I can’t help it. I’m sure that I will get to that point someday, where I’m not working a full-time (plus some) job and running my blog while still trying to work some side hustles to pay off debt. I’m sure I’ll get to the point where coupon cutting is worth the time for me.

That time simply isn’t now.

So, I’m here to say, for all you other busy, go-getters, for all you SAHMs / SAHDs, for all you entrepreneurs, for all you college kids, and for all you anybodies out there who simply don’t have the time to devote to coupon-cutting, there’s another way.

Last month, my wife and I spent less than $200 for groceries. This month? It should be the same – if not lower. How are we doing this? How do we feed ourselves, our dog, and buy housing supplies / cleaning supplies / hygiene products all for under $200?

It’s not that hard. Let’s break it down into three steps:

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Make it Yourself

One of the biggest things I notice when I am talking to people about budgets is that they complain that everything is simply too expensive. While I agree that inflation has sky-rocketed the prices of everything we purchase (it’s really hard to say no to that one, right?), I also think that people are paying for convenience more than they like to admit.

A friend of mine came to me and asked how I spent so little on food for the month. I responded with by explaining the three steps in this blog – I live without, I plan ahead, and I learn to make things myself. That’s when I was met with the response that makes me chuckle every time:

“Well, you still buy the basic essentials right? Bread, pasta, veggies, meat, milk…”

The list goes on, but you get the point. Without fail the items “bread,” “pasta,” and “milk” are always on this list. Why? Because our culture has become overwhelmed with convenience. We have been led to believe that convenience is a staple.

I do buy the “staples” but these are very different on my end than on yours. My staples include yeast and flour for bread and pasta, a box of dry milk which is priced astronomically cheaper than the refrigerated milk, and baking soda and vinegar to cover all of my cleaning supplies and hygiene products (for the most part). Basically, I’ve learned to make it myself and it has made all the difference.

Still not sure? Check out these posts for cost analysis and how-to:

Making Homemade Bread can Save You TONS $$

Homemade Pasta can Help You to Save $100 at the Store

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home (& Essential Oil Usage)

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge (& Homemade Shampoo / Conditioner)

Saving Money on Groceries means Living Without

The next thing people say when they ask about saving money on groceries is: “What about treating yourself?” Then they’ll go on to tell me about how they work such-and-such long, hard hours a week for their money and they deserve to eat this expensive food.

Which brings me to one of the most complicated points I strive to make: It is difficult for us, as humans living within this day and age, to live within our means. 

Why? Well, I could talk about that for another whole blog post, but I won’t. If you want to hear some of my why, I talk about it in another blog post HERE about How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD.

So, whether you deserve to eat fancy, expensive food all the time isn’t really the question anymore. Now it’s about whether you should treat yourself once in a while. Well, here’s my thoughts on this: I want steak. I love steak. Steak is on my top one lists of favorite foods that I can’t live without. In fact, meat in general is just one of my favorite things ever. Yet it’s expensive and I am in debt. So, what does this mean?

Simple: If we want to spend less on groceries and pay back our debt quicker, we have to give up some of our wants – even if that means having more meatless meals and eating steak less often.

Now, I want you to know that it’s okay to treat yourself once in a great while, but don’t go overboard and use your “fun” money to pay for it. Remember: if it’s not in your budget, it’s not worth it.

If you’re interested in more on this topic, visit this post on Huffington Post:

Should You Live in the Moment or Pay Back Debt?

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the most essential way that I can tell you to start saving money on groceries. Keep track of the food you have in your home. Experiment with the food you already have at home and create meals you never imagined. When you run out, plan ahead before you buy more groceries.

Creating a meal plan means that you are more likely to stick to your budget for many reasons. First of all, you are less likely to eat out if you have a meal planned and ready to be made at home. Why? Because it’s easy. One of the top reasons that we grab fast food on the way home from work is convenience, right? We all know it doesn’t taste quite as good as home cooking, so that’s the main reason. So, if you have the food ready in a convenient way, you’re less likely to spend the money on fast food – even if that means doing some meal prepping over the weekend.

Second of all, if you plan your meals ahead and shop for those meals, you’re less likely to make grocery store trips. My wife and I go shopping once every two weeks and pick up the groceries we need for two weeks worth of menu planning and it works for us. The thing is: when you don’t shop for specific meals, it’s easy to say you’ll just run out and grab something to finish the meal which leads to more spending.

Both of these reasons prove the importance of planning ahead, but if you don’t believe me, check out this example:

Let’s say you decide make breakfast for dinner one night on a whim. You get off work and head toward home, but you realize that you don’t have all of the ingredients. You have three choices at this point:

  1. Go home and try to find something else for dinner (GOOD choice, but unlikely because we are conned into believing that convenience is necessity)
  2. Go to the store, head to the back to pick up your ingredients, see a bunch of other things you “need,” spend $30 by the time you leave the store.
  3. Head to the nearest fast food place and buy food for your family for $30.

It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Planning ahead can make all the difference.

Plus, I’ve got this great post on how to make a really cute menu board to plan your meals, check it out HERE: Stylish DIY Menu Board

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Saving Money on Groceries

Overall, remember that it’s important to work on saving money on groceries, but it probably won’t happen all at once and that’s okay. Start with learning how to make something from scratch, then try something new, and work your way up from there. Above all, remember that you can do this. Mindset is everything.

Saving money on groceries isn’t that hard when you implement these steps. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Learning to make things from scratch – like shampoo, bread, pasta, and more!
  • Learning to live without – you may want to treat yourself once and a while and that’s okay, but don’t go overboard.
  • Learning to plan ahead – make a menu for your meals and stick to it!

Follow the Frugal Friday Linkup HERE!

Would it be helpful if we shared our meal plans at some point?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Shampoo is one of those necessities we all think we need. Every day or every other day you hop in the shower and allow the sudsy lather to strip all of the natural oils from your hair. Not to worry, though! We have conditioner to fix that, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. There’s this thing called the no poo challenge and it may just change your life.

Last month my wife and I completed our first No Spend Challenge. Toward the end of the month we started to run out of a few basic needs. We got nervous as we added the last roll of toilet paper to the wall, we held our breath when the butter got used up on the last slice of bread, and we sighed when we hopped in the shower to find the shampoo next to gone.

Of course, we couldn’t spend any money on these because that would go against the rules of the challenge. We just had to find a way to get by without them (and for the record, the toilet paper lasted plenty long enough to get us through to February where we could buy some more).

What did we do about the shampoo, though? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

No Poo Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

So, I guess this blog could have been more appropriately titled How We Took the No Poo Challenge, because the “Why” of the matter wasn’t really a choice. We originally decided to take the challenge because we simply ran out of shampoo and couldn’t buy more. That’s basically all there is to it.

On the other hand, we could have also titled the blog post Why We Continued to Take the No Poo Challenge Even After Our No Spend Month Ended, but that would of course, have been really long and obnoxious and you probably would have been bored before you even began reading the actual blog.

We started looking into the No Poo Challenge when we ran out of shampoo and then we started testing different recipes… Trying new ideas… and even making up ideas on our own. We contacted family members who don’t use shampoo (one who only rinses with water and has the softest hair her co-worker has ever felt). That’s when we came to the realization that shampoo is not a necessity. 

People will tell you over and over that shampoo is needed for good hygiene, but the reality of that matter is that shampoo is not healthy for your hair. It’s also just not cost effective. Do you even realize how much money you spend on shampoo each month? year? I bet it’s more than you care to admit.

So, what if I told you that you could stop using it entirely?

Well, it’s true. My wife and I have for about a month now and we’re loving it. Okay, we didn’t always love it, but we do now. When we first started, it was a struggle. I’ll admit that the first two weeks of losing shampoo is HARD. There’s grease and frustration and annoyance.

Your hair will take time to get used to being without shampoo.

Once you get there though, it’s definitely worth it. My hair is softer and smoother than it ever has been. It took many days to get here and a few mistakes in recipe to find the perfect combination, but I no longer have dandruff, my hair is always easy to brush, and I never need to use a straightening iron. It’s crazy, but it works. It’s just crazy enough to work.

The Recipe to Join the No Poo Challenge

Basically the No Poo Challenge is a chance for you to try not using shampoo for an extended period of time. You set the limits, you determine how long you’ll try it for, and you make the rules. You can even pick your own “no poo” recipe, but I’ll give you the one we use!

If you do decide to complete the no poo challenge – to save money and have healthier hair (without all the chemicals of shampoo products), here’s the recipe my wife and I use:

Mix 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda & 1 Cup of Water in a bottle. I usually also add a few drops of lemon essential oils just because they smell good.

Rinse your hair well in the shower before adding the baking soda concoction. You can use most of it in one shower for cleaner hair. Especially if you notice your hair getting greasy in between showers.

Don’t leave the shower yet though!

The baking soda takes away a lot from your hair in order to get it clean. We want to up the balance again. So, before you leave, pour some distilled vinegar and rub it into your hair.

Rinse the vinegar out and you’re good to go.

A few notes on the vinegar:

  • Be careful not to get it into your eyes, it burns like crazy. Just saying.
  • Rinse it well and your hair will be shinier and detangled!
  • The smell will go away once your hair is dry, don’t worry.

No Poo Challenge- www.diyjahn.com

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

That’s it! Simple as that. I know, it seems crazy. Almost like it shouldn’t be possible, but just think: before shampoo was created, people didn’t just run around with crazy dirty hair. There was something else that came before the chemicals.

Sure, the shampoos in the store are easy to use, not super expensive, and keep your hair fairly decent. Nevertheless, the no poo challenge is unbelievably inexpensive, ALSO super easy to use, and keeps your hair healthier than it’s ever been.

Can you really deny the good it does?

Don’t answer that until you try it.

What is a crazy thing you’ve done to save money?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

Are you looking for new ways to save money in 2016? You’re in the right place! My wife and I have been focused on how to live frugally on a low, low budget (of $0 this month!) and I’m ready to share all of that information with you (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been trying to all month). Today I want to tell you all about how to grow your own food – it’s possible!

One morning, when I was around eight years old, I planted my first tomato plant.

I woke up on a Saturday morning and came downstairs. Ate breakfast, watched some cartoons, and then my dad came into the room.

“Let’s go do some gardening!” He said. He handed me a shovel and we walked out to the side of our house where a small area of dirt sat, as if waiting for us. We got to work right away, pulling weeds, tilling the soil, preparing to plant tomato plants. I still remember the cool, moist feeling of the soil between my fingers as I dug them into the ground.

We planted our tomato seeds and waited. It felt like forever – years upon years of waiting – until finally, I walked outside and noticed the sprout popping out of the ground. Each day was like a new adventure as I watched the tomato plant grow, form green tomatoes, and ripen into fresh, plump tomatoes.

My dad and I went to check every morning and when they were finally ready, we pulled them off and ate them fresh – right out of the garden, tomato seeds dripping from our fingers. These were the best tomatoes.

Fast forward many years and here we are, ready to plant tomato seeds once more, but this time we are creating our own full garden inside. Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

How to Grow Your Own Food - www.diyjahn.com

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.




How to Grow Your Own Food

There are many different foods that you can grow inside your home, but first you must make the decision to grow them. Build a planter to put them in, throw in the seeds, care for them wholeheartedly, and soon you’ll have food growing inside your home! Here are some tips for you on how to grow your own food.

Good Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

There are many reasons for you to grow your own food, but sometimes it can be hard to make the transition. Most people realize that growing food takes a lot of work and if you aren’t ready to make the commitment, it may not be the right thing for you. However, if you’re like us and trying to live as frugally as possible as you work to pay off debt, save your money, or live a healthier life, then learning how to grow your own food can be a real life-saver. Why?

  • Healthier: Growing food in your home means that you can control what goes into your family’s bodies. Much of the produce that you purchase at the grocery store has been grown indoors, sprayed with chemicals, and may not be exactly what you think it is (I’m all for supporting local farmers though, don’t get me wrong – if you buy at a farmer’s market, that’s awesome).
  • Saves Money: What’s the most expensive thing that you buy at a grocery store? I bet your answer probably includes something about produce. Right? Because produce these days is priced outrageously. Unless you’re amazing with coupons and deals, you are probably spending way more than you think by eating healthy (which sucks!). By using some of the scraps from your produce (that you probably were going to throw away anyway) you can save a ton of money and have an unlimited supply (which would be great if you want to learn how to can – click HERE for info on why you should).
  • Live Better: Not only does growing plants in your home produce oxygen and greenery that’s sure to make you happier (there’s research on that), but they also help you to feel more alive. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than growing something with your own hands. When you eat those fresh tomatoes, they’ll taste better than anything you’ve ever eaten – because you created them.

How to Grow Your Own Food - www.diyjahn.com (2)

Deciding Where to Put Them

Once you have decided to grow your own indoor garden, you have to decide where to put them. Building a planter certainly isn’t hard, but sometimes finding the space is. We put our planter in our dining room because we don’t often use it – it also gets a lot of sunlight and heat which helps our veggies to grow! If you don’t have a lot of room, you can even do smaller planters scattered throughout the house (as long as you remember where you put them)!

Some of you may know, but I am creating a course called “Transitioning to a Frugal Life: Living Well on Less” – in this course, I’ll have a detailed module on how to actually build your own garden planter in your home, what plants grow best, and how to harvest seeds from these plants to give them the best shot at growing (everything you need to know). So, look forward to that in the coming months. If it’s something you’re interested in, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you a big discount when the course is released.

As for now, know that you need to put your garden planter in a sunny, warm place where you will remember to water it and care for it. Vegetables do take some care to grow, so keep that in mind as you plant them.

How to Grow Your Own Food - www.diyjahn.com (3)

Choosing the Plants to Grow

So, your garden is all set up and ready to go, all you need now is the plants. The greatest thing about learning how to grow your own food is that you can experiment with so many different types of produce to plant. In my opinion, the best way to decide is by looking in your fridge.

Growing your own food helps to eliminate food waste. All of those pieces of the veggies / fruits that you cut off and throw away? Most of the time, those are the pieces that, if harvested and planted right, can produce crops!

My favorite example is the green onion. This plan is simple: cut off the bottom inch (the white part) of the onion and place it in some clean, lukewarm water. Keep the water clean and filled, keep the plant in the sun, and within a couple of weeks you’ll have a new onion again. Trim off the top and you’ll have a never-ending supply of green onions. It’s that easy!

There are other plants that are great for regrowing too! Look for information on celery, tomatoes, eggs, potatoes, white / yellow / red onions, cilantro, apples, and so much more. Once you harvest and plant the seeds, you’ll have the whole produce section right inside your home!

How to Grow Your Own Food - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Are You Ready to Learn How to Grow Your Own Food?

Now the question is on your table: are you ready to learn how to grow your own food? Are you ready to save a ton of money on your grocery bills each month? Are you ready to eat healthy and live a longer life? Do you want that hands-in-the-dirt, tomato-juice-on-your-fingers-good type of experience?

Now’s the time to learn! If you are excited about learning all the details, let me know that you’re interested in the course! If you just have some questions, leave them in the comments, I’m more than happy to answer. If you’re ready to start now, go for it! You’ve got this! What is life except to experiment, love, and be happy?

Our quote today is by Richard Branson.

Quote - Day 14

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” -Richard Branson

That’s what my new course is focused on: teaching you how to live frugally, by helping you to actually do it so that you can learn. That’s what this whole month of the No Spend Challenge is focused on too. My wife and I have read for months and months about how to save money, but now that we are in the midst of the challenge – we are actually doing the challenge – we are learning so much more than before.

You can change the world.

What is the first vegetable you want to grow?

Leave your responses in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Canning foods seems to be a lost art in today’s culture. However, if you’re looking for some great ways to save money on food, it’s not an idea that should be overlooked. Learning how to can foods can save you a ton of money – especially if you have ample access to fresh produce (perhaps you’re growing it in your home like we’ll talk about in a post later this week). But there’s more to it than that, canning foods can help you to lead a richer life; I’ll tell you why I think that later in this post.

As we do every Christmas, my wife and I made a trip to see her parents just a few short weeks ago. While visiting her parents this year, she decided to ask about how to can foods. We had talked about it before and considered it as an option to save money on food, but were unsure of whether it was something we could do. Knowing that her parents had done it for years, my wife wanted to ask their advice.

After our festivities during the Christmas celebration, her parents talked us through the different ways of canning – using a pressure cooker or a hot water bath. They showed us the tools they used, talked to us about safety, and told us what types of recipes worked with each canning technique. Her parents explained what the startup costs would look like and helped us to think about whether we thought it was worth our time (we did).

We left their home excited to learn to can, but knowing that it was going to be a lot of work. With our Christmas money, we took a trip to the store and purchased a pressure cooker, some cans, and some tools and excitedly went home to try our first ever canning experience. We spent an entire day learning how to use our pressure cooker and enjoying some homemade foods – and it was *hard,* I won’t lie. However, it was well worth it – for our budgets, our health, and our lives.

Save Money on Food

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

If you’re anything like my wife and I, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out if canning is really worth the effort.

The reason I say this is – canning does take a lot of effort and commitment, but I also know that it truly does save you a ton of money. While there is a pretty hefty startup cost, there’s also great reward (and it’s not just saving money, though that’s definitely part of it).

Now, I can’t exactly do a cost analysis because there are so many different things that you can learn to can to preserve. However, when we whipped up our homemade spaghetti sauce using ingredients that we had gotten super cheap, free, or grown ourselves – we saved a ton of money (almost $20) with just one batch.

How crazy is that? $20 for a batch of spaghetti sauce. Now, that batch made about 10 cans of sauce, so we don’t have to worry about making it again for quite awhile, but if we get an influx of veggies again, it only makes sense!

The other thing to note with canning is that it only saves you money if you have access to affordable produce. If your plan is to head to the store, buy a ton of produce at cost, and can it from there – you’re likely going to spend more money than if you had purchased pre-canned foods.

However, if you are great with coupons and can save a ton of money on produce, if you grow your own vegetables, or if you often come upon free produce, canning is an excellent way to preserve these deals and save money on food.

I know what a lot of you are thinking: canning can save money on food, but with the large startup costs, the fact that it only saves money if you have ample access to super cheap produce, and the amount of work / time needed to can, why is it even worth it?

Save Money on Food (1)

Well, much like many things we make here on DIY Jahn, it’s important to realize that money isn’t everything. Yes, I am saying that even though I know that we focus on money a lot here. The thing is: money is something that we are struggling with at the moment, but it does not change the fact that living life to the fullest is the most important thing we can do. Canning foods gives you access to high quality produce without the large intake of sodium and chemicals that pre-packaged, store-bought foods provide.

My theory is this: if there are more words on the “Ingredients” label than the actual ingredient needed (or words I can’t pronounce), it’s probably not something I’m going to buy. When a can of green beans has more ingredients than I can count on my fingers, is that really a healthy way to live? And living life to the fullest (even on a frugal budget), means learning how to live a healthy and rich life physically too – which means watching what we put into our bodies.

I’m not saying that all store-bought items are bad, but I’m saying that canning can give you a chance to save money on food while leading a healthier and happier lifestyle. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, most times I would give you some great tips on how to do exactly what I’ve just said, but I’m going to be honest with you and let you know that we are just learning to can. I don’t know that I know enough yet to teach you, but I do know someone who does. I found this awesome blogger, Mavis Butterfield, who writes for her blog titled One Hundred Dollars a Month, you can find that by clicking (HERE). Anyway, she has a *huge* section devoted to Canning 101 and I learned a ton by listening to what she had to say. I encourage you to do the same!

Finally, here are some products that can help you to get started in the canning arena! Click here to see some canning products you should try from Amazon.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

There you have it, the reasons why you should learn to can. Here’s a little overview in case you want to skim:

  • Canning is hard work
  • There is a hefty startup cost unless someone gifts you what you need
  • You need ample access to produce
  • Canning helps you to save money on food
  • Canning also helps you to live life to the fullest
  • Once you start canning, you’ll love it

Today is DAY 13 of our No Spend Challenge and we are well over a third of the way done. Today’s quote is by the infamous John Lennon.

Quote - Day 13

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Living life to the fullest means understanding that happiness is the key, not saving money, not being healthy, but choosing to be happy. This other stuff – learning how to save money on food by canning, getting healthier by eating your own canned foods, and even paying off debt – it’s all important, but it’s not what makes life special.

What is the most important thing in your life today?

Leave your response in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS – NSC Series

Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS

Making homemade bread is one of those things that everyone should learn how to do at some point in their lives. The benefits far outweigh the work and once you figure out how to make one type, you can make just about everything (I know, I’ve tried)! The taste is amazing, the texture is great, it’s warm, and it can save you tons of money, but don’t take my word for it: I’ve got a couple examples of others who enjoy homemade bread, a cost analysis, and some recipes for you to enjoy!

Imagine enjoying a steaming hot bowl of soup while dipping in a warm, soft piece of freshly baked bread…

Imagine waking up in the morning to the scent of homemade cinnamon rolls smothered in cream cheese frosting wafting down the halls…

Imagine pulling apart a big, soft pretzel – still warm and sprinkled with salt – and dipping it into some melted cheese…

Now, instead of imagining it – let’s make it a reality.

Making Homemade Bread

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.


Why Making Homemade Bread is Important

I know what you are thinking: it’s a lot of work to make homemade bread just because it tastes good. However, don’t let the work scare you away. There are so many reasons why you should make homemade bread.

A good friend of mine, Lisa, outlines them in her blog, Comfortably Imperfect (Click HERE).

She states in her post 6 Reasons Why You Should Make Homemade Bread;

  1. Homemade bread is so much better for you.
  2. Homemade bread tastes so much better than store bought.
  3. It is much easier to make than you think.
  4. Making your own bread will save you money.
  5. There is something deeply satisfying about making food from scratch.
  6. Your friends and family will think you are a rockstar

Go check out the rest of her post (HERE) for a more in-depth explanation of each of these. I promise it’s worth it, she’s an awesome blogger!

Making Homemade Bread (2)

Making Homemade Bread: Cost Analysis

Now, I want to go a little deeper into her point number four about how making homemade bread can save you money. Do you remember when I did the cost analysis on making homemade pasta and discovered you could save over $100? If not, check it out (HERE); How Making Homemade Pasta could save you Hundreds.

Anyway, I plan to do the same cost analysis here with you today so that you can easily see how making homemade bread can save you tons of money!

Let’s take a normal loaf of traditional white bread. In both price examples, we are looking at the cost of one loaf of bread.

Homemade Bread Store-Bought Bread
Ingredients 26 oz Salt: $.75 Store-Bought Bread: $3
48 oz Oil: $2.28
5 lb Flour: $2
4 lb Sugar: $2.38
4 oz Active Dry Yeast: $4.78
Average Cost for 1 Loaf $.38 $3

I know you are probably wondering where these numbers come from. Well, I took the average cost of ingredients for the homemade bread from the stores in my area. These could differ some based on your area.

As for the store-bought loaf of bread, I used a decent-quality loaf of bread on the low-end of the scale. I know that there are breads that you can get for closer to $2 if you sacrifice quality and other breads that you can get for $5+ if you want super high quality (I promise that the homemade bread is higher quality than this, though). I chose to stick in the middle/low end to give you all a decent idea of what this will save you.

Anyway, here’s where the final average cost per loaf comes from for making homemade bread as opposed to purchasing it from the store.

Let’s break it down one ingredient at a time:

  • 26 oz Salt – $.75: One 26 oz container of salt can create 144 batches of homemade bread making it $.005 per loaf.
  • 48 oz Oil – $2.28: One 48 oz container of oil can create 96 batches of homemade bread making it $.02 per loaf.
  • 5 lb Flour – $2: One 5 pound bag of flour can create 10 batches of homemade bread making it $.2 per loaf.
  • 4 lb Sugar – $2.38: One 4 pound bag of sugar can create around 150 batches of homemade bread making it $.01 per loaf.
  • 4 oz Active Dry Yeast – $4.78: One 4 oz jar of active dry yeast can create around 34 batches of homemade bread making it $.14 per loaf.

As you can see, with these ingredients, it costs roughly $.38 to bake one loaf of bread at home. Thirty-eight cents – how awesome is that?!

There is an upfront cost of $12.19 to buy the ingredients in bulk (it’d be pretty hard to buy one teaspoon of salt at a time…), but I promise it’s worth it. Don’t believe me? Check out the numbers below.

Now, I also want you to realize that I am doing this cost analysis based on you eating a loaf of homemade bread two times per week. Remember that you can also save money on this homemade bread by making your own cinnamon rolls, pretzels, crescent rolls, etc. and eat like kings for super cheap. In my house, we use recipes like these almost every, single day – so I know that we save more than we outlined here in this post.

The question is: will you actually save tons of money as I have suggested? Will it be worth your while? Let’s do the math and find out.

If you eat two loaves of store-bought bread per week for 52 weeks, you will spend a total of $312 – which isn’t too bad at all. The cost is $6 per week, which is pretty slim when you consider how many meals you can serve with a loaf of bread.

Now, to take a look at why making homemade bread is so much better. If you eat two loaves of homemade bread per week for the entire year, you’ll spend a total of $39.52.

What?! That’s right. You read that right. Each week you’ll spend less than $.80 and each year you’ll spend less than $40. How cool is that? Now, when I told you about making homemade pasta, I found a way to cut your bill in half saving you over $100. However, as you can tell, making your own bread far surpasses that total cutting your bill by more than SEVEN TIMES.

Over the course of the year, your family will save $272.48 – TONS of money – just by making homemade bread!

My wife and I have chosen not to buy any more store-bought bread – it’s simply too expensive once you are able to make your own. You don’t knead a bread machine to start making your own bread, but even if you purchase a bread maker you’ll make up your expenses within a few short months – how cool is that? Imagine having $272.48 in your pocket every year!

Making Homemade Bread: The Recipe

Now it’s time for the recipe. I know there are many different recipes out there, but I want to make sure that you get the one we did our cost analysis on. Remember, you can also make crescent rolls, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, pretzels, and more once you get the hang of it – saving you even more per year than what you’ll already save with loaves of bread!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Active Dry Yeast

For the full recipe, visit the Oster website. We use the Oster 1 pound traditional white bread loaf recipe that came in our Bread Machine’s cookbook. We found a similar one online from Oster, but it creates a 2 pound loaf, so we cut this in half. Here’s the link (HERE): http://www.food.com/recipe/bread-machine-2-lb-traditional-white-bread-285666

Making Homemade Bread (1)

Thank you for reading!

I hope this post helps you to further your bread-making skills and save tons of money. I know it has helped us. Imagine: over $200 every year! Crazy stuff.

Anyway, it’s day 11 of the No Spend Challenge already and things are going well. I hope the same is true for all of you!

Our quote for the day is by Benjamin Franklin and really encompasses our post for today.

Quote - Day 11

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” -Benjamin Franklin

As I continue through this challenge, I realize how much the little things add up. Like today’s post on bread: sure it’s only $3 a loaf, but that’s $312 per year! I used to go to Starbucks often too, or grab a soda at the gas station, but then I think more about how much those little things add up and how quickly they can sink your financial ship. Just something to keep in mind as we move forward!

What is your favorite homemade food to make?

Leave your responses in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we can lower our bills (as you all may know). While there are many things we can cut out, we always knew that cleaning products were something that we absolutely couldn’t. When we got to thinking about it though, it only made sense to try and make our own homemade cleaning products – because, well, why not? So, today we are sharing some recipes that we have tried and some recipes that we have yet to try to save you money on cleaning products!

Homemade Cleaning Products (1)

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.




Homemade Cleaning Products

First off, I want to let you all know that my wife and I do receive many of our cleaning products for free. The greatest part? You can too! You see, we work with a company called ePantry which helps both our budget and the environment. In fact, if you’re interested, I wrote a whole post about how you can get involved with them and start saving the rainforrest today! You can read it by clicking HERE.

So, because we get some of our cleaning products for free, there are some homemade cleaning products that we have yet to try. We will be trying them, but I won’t vouch for them 100% until we do. Either way, I will give you the recipes and let you experiment to you heart’s content: knowing that you will save hundreds each year by making your own!

Not only will you save money, but your house will be cleaner and filled with less chemicals. You’ll know exactly what is in each product and therefore, you will have more control over the cleanliness of your home.

Remember to test each of these products on a small surface before utilizing them full to ensure that they do not hurt your surfaces! Also, do not use vinegar based cleaners on granite or marble surfaces!

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Kitchen

Surface Cleaner

I’ve got to be honest from the get-go here: most of our cleaning products utilize vinegar, baking soda, and water. That’s it. No, really, that’s all you need to get a clean home (okay, some take a little bit more, but that’s basically it). So, for your surface cleaner, I recommend using a combination of equal parts vinegar and water. Shake together, spray, and wipe down most surfaces!

  • 1 Part Vinegar
  • 1 Part Water

Wood and Other Hard Flooring

For wood floors, a combination of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil will do the trick! But for other hard floors, utilize the surface cleaner mentioned above!

  • 1 Part Vinegar
  • 1 Part Vegetable Oil

Stainless Steel Cleaner

Cleaning your stainless steal appliances can sometimes be trick. While I can’t say that I have any, I do know some friends who utilize their homemade cleaning products to clean and shine their steel appliances! I’ve heard of using straight vinegar to shine stainless steel, but I think it works best if you add baking soda and water. Try this recipe for your appliances!

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Bathroom

Toilet Cleaner

My wife has been cleaning our toilets with vinegar and baking soda for as long as I’ve known her and our toilets are always sparkling. (I sure do appreciate her doing it, too). She pours a little vinegar in, pours some baking soda in, let’s it sit for a little bit, scrubs it, and flushes – no nasty blue chemicals for us!

  • 1 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda

Drain Cleaner

To clean out a clogged drain, use equal parts baking soda and vinegar, followed by hot water. I recommend 1/4 cup each and a LOT of hot water. Let it sit for a bit before you add the hot water though – it’ll fizz and eat away at the clog!

  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 10 Cups Hot Water

Disinfectant Wipes

My wife and I adore Clorox wipes. We use one every single night to clean off our stove, counter tops, fridge, etc. They also come in handy when spills occur or when deep cleaning. We love them. However, we do not love the price tag. They are so expensive. SO, here’s a recipe to make your own disinfectant wipes that are reusable! I’m so excited to use these.

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Water

Get the full recipe by visiting Living on a Dime – Click HERE!

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Home

Glass Cleaner

For a glass cleaner that makes your windows and mirrors shine, mix one part rubbing alcohol to one part water! You can add vinegar for more difficult scrubbing needs, but it is not necessary.

  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Rubbing Alcohol

Furniture Polish

A good furniture polish is one of the easiest homemade cleaning products to make. All it takes is one part olive oil to one part vinegar. Mix and use!

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Vinegar

Laundry Softener

I haven’t tried this recipe, but Aura Cacia offers an awesome-sounding homemade fabric softener for use during the rinse cycle! Since my wife and I hang-dry our clothes, it would be great to have a fabric softener to use during the washing process.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

For full recipe and directions, visit Aura Cacia – click HERE.

Additions to Homemade Cleaning Products

Homemade Cleaning Products

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be added to any of the above homemade cleaning products for better scent and for a better cleaning quality. What? I know! It’s hard to imagine that the hype over essential oils can be legitimate, but after trying more and more of them – I’m realizing how great they truly are. So, here’s what you can do with some of them (but trust me, there’s plenty more you can do too).

Peppermint Oil – can be used to disinfect and to help keep away pests (mice, spiders, roaches, etc.) I wrote a whole post on how this is the best way to get rid of mice – view it by clicking HERE. It has very power antibacterial properties and therefore, should be used more often during cold and flu season.

Lavender Oil – has been proven to be a calming scent. Add it to your carpet cleaners and laundry detergents for a calmer home. It also has antiseptic and disinfectant properties, so it can be added to many more homemade cleaning products as well.

Tea Tree Oil – use this to add extra disinfectant qualities to your homemade cleaning products (such as sprays, polishes, and wipes). Tea Tree is also great for getting rid of mold or mildew – try it in your bathroom next time you are cleaning.

Citrus Scents (lemon, orange, grapefruit) – these oils can be used as natural degreasers – add them to disinfectant cloths, cleaning sprays, or dish soap for a cleaner and fresher-smelling home! Lemon can also be used to help get stains out of clothing and carpets.

Eucalyptus – can also be a great scent to utilize during cold and flu season for it’s antibacterial properties.

Getting Started with Essential Oils

These are only a few of the many different essential oils that can aid in your cleaning. Now, you make look at these oils and notice that they aren’t exactly the cheapest purchase to make, but remember – only a couple drops is needed in each homemade cleaning products recipe for the properties to take effect.

That being said, if you are unsure of where to start, why not get a starter kit! My wife and I bought one for our stocking for Christmas and have loved experimenting with different scent combinations and how they make us feel.

We are personally fond of the one we purchased on Amazon because we got a lot of oil samples for a low, low cost. Check it out: Essential Oil Variety Set – Set of 14

Day 6 of the No Spend Challenge

There’s your post for the day – all about making your own homemade cleaning products to create a cleaner home on a frugal budget. Now, your quote of the day is one of my absolute favorites by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Quote - Day 6 (1)

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve heard that there is a possibility that F. Scott Fitzgerald didn’t write this line and someone else did – if so, it’s misquoted a lot on the internet (is anyone surprised?). In either case, I love this quote and as I move forward to make changes in my life, I know I need to build my courage to start all over again. I’m certainly working on it – are you?

So, tell me, are you proud of the life you are living
OR
are you working on starting all over again?

Let us know in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions – NSC Series

Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions

When my wife and I first started dating we were both young and in college. We were friends who quickly fell in love and have been together ever since. Many of our dates consisted of simply hanging out in our dorm rooms, watching Netflix. I’m sure many millennials can relate. Which makes me wonder why more people haven’t been cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions.

Today is day FOUR of our No Spend Challenge and we are thinking about our bills. Each month we talk about which bills we have and consider which expenditures are necessary and which aren’t. As we told you before, even though we are completing an NSC, we will still be paying all of our monthly bills. We were looking at some of our subscriptions and realizing that there are a few that we thought we needed, but that would be pretty easy to cut out so that we can put more money toward our debt – which is the ultimate goal.

It can be truly disheartening to look at your budget and then look at your debt and realize that it will be years upon years before it will be paid off in its entirety. I know how it is, I go through it every month when we plan our budgeting. We put aside money for needs, money for bills, and the rest goes to debt. Even so, we are looking at over 10 YEARS of debt payments (at the rate we’re at now) before we finally pay off that last loan.

I read an article yesterday that stated over 75% of millennials are putting off the normal adult milestones because of the amount of debt they have incurred. In fact, student loan debts have increased a whopping 84% since 2008 – it’s the only consumer debt that continues to rise! Millennials avoid purchasing big items (such as houses, cars, etc.) and starting families based on the normal timeline in our society.

Now, I’m not saying that the government owes me money or they should pay off my loans. No. I know that, as an adult, I signed the papers to take on these loans myself – I made that decision. The biggest struggle is the fact that as an 18 year old, I didn’t realize that these loans would affect my decision to start a family, buy a home, or prepare for my retirement.

Of people in my generation, over 25% can’t even afford daily living needs, let alone dreams of having a baby. In the article listed above, one person stated that they hadn’t realized that the decision as to whether they would have a child would be based on a paper they signed as a teenager. My wife and I agree completely. And the thing is: we aren’t the only ones. Over THREE QUARTERS of our generation is suffering from this exact same thing.

Well, anyway, my wife and I have made the decision to work as hard as we can to pay off our debt as soon as possible and start living the life we’ve always wanted. Even if that means getting rid of subscriptions and cutting the cord on cable.

Cutting the Cord on Cable

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC), which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions

My job requires us to live in the middle of nowhere, in a cabin-type building (originally made to be an office), that is run-down and has no way to connect to internet or cable. We are not complaining because we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, but it does make some things more difficult (such as checking emails, blogging, completing school assignments, and staying in contact with the rest of the world).

On the other hand, though, it means we never have to worry about cutting the cord on cable (because we’ve never had cable)! The cost of cable is astronomical (as I’ll show you below), but we are saving thousands of dollars by not paying for it. There are other subscriptions, too, that we signed up for (thinking we had access to internet) and can no longer utilize, but are still paying monthly.

Imagine how much we could save without these subscriptions bogging us down?

In either case, here are some reasons why you should consider cutting the cord on cable, a cost analysis, and some other subscriptions you probably don’t realize you don’t need!

no spend 2

Cost Analysis

First of all, let’s look at what these subscriptions are costing us:

  • Cable – After researching many cable companies, I found one of the cheapest in my area for $49.99 / month. For the record, this is for Direct TV – there may be different offers out there, but we will do this experiment on this cost.Cost Per Month $49.99 = Cost Per Year $599.88Now, let’s keep in mind that this is pre-tax, before setup and installation fees, and without any extras added. So, with just a fairly basic cable subscription, you end up paying almost $600 a YEAR!
  • Newspapers – For this cost analysis, I used a nearby city’s local paper cost – your subscription fee may differ slightly, but this can give you a good idea of what to expect.Cost Per Month $37.5 = Cost Per Year $450This subscription fee is pretty standard and takes into consideration that Sunday and holiday issues are more expensive than regular weekday issues.
  • Cell Phone Data – For this cost analysis, I will use Sprint’s cost-per-phone for data subscription. As always, this may differ slightly for your subscription, but is the same general idea.Cost Per Month $30 = Cost Per Year $360Keep in mind that this only considers one person per family. Each additional phone would be an additional $360 fee.
  • Workout Apps & Gym Memberships – There are many apps and programs that try to get away with charging you a subscription fee, such as Map My Fitness and P90x. These are subscriptions that you most likely don’t use, but are spending money on each month.Apps Average
    Cost Per Month $5.99 = Cost Per Year $71.88Gym Average
    Cost Per Month $42 = Cost Per Year $504

    Again, these only consider one person utilizing them per household. Each additional person would be an additional fee.

  • Kindle & Audiobooks – As technology advances, we are getting new opportunities for subscriptions – such as for Kindle Unlimited in and Audible Audiobooks. However, these subscriptions add up quickly.Average cost of either
    Cost Per Month $14.99 = Cost Per Year $179.88This includes any other pay-per-view or unlimited subscription account.

Now, think about this. If you added up all of these subscription fees, you would be paying an unbelievable amount each and every year. This comes to:

$2,165.64

Each month that equals an extra $180.47. What could your family do with almost $200 extra each and every month or $2,000 over the course of a year?

I’m not saying that my wife and I utilize each and every one of these subscriptions, but I know many people who do. So, here are some ideas on what you can do instead!

Cutting the cord on cable (1)

Cutting the cord on cable – what to do instead!

Now you know why you shouldn’t be paying these extraordinary costs for subscriptions, but the tricky part is: when you go about cutting the cord on cable, what can you do instead? What if you enjoy reading the paper every morning and watching television before bed? Should you stop reading and listening to books on your drives? Isn’t exercise important?

I’m certainly not saying that you should give up on anything that makes you feel happy or content with your life. However, I think there are other ways to do these that can cost significantly less (or are FREE). Here are some ideas, but brainstorm yourself as well!

  • Cable – I’m not saying that you should stop watching television entirely. In fact, that would be crazy if it’s something that you enjoy and it isn’t getting in the way of you living your life how you want to live it. However, spending a ton on cable doesn’t have to be the case! Consider cutting the cord on cable and utilizing monthly subscription television programs instead: like Netflix and Hulu!My wife and I watch all of our TV using Netflix and Hulu (and are considering dropping Hulu too). Netflix has been our one-stop-shop for television enjoyment over the last few years and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.In fact, I use a system called a Roku that I absolutely ADORE. You can stream your Netflix right onto your TV using your WiFi connection. Find one at Amazon using the link below!

    I know what you’re thinking: Netflix costs money too. And yes, you could cut out television altogether and crochet or do crosswords instead. It would certainly be cheaper. However, if you truly enjoy relaxing in front of the TV, Netflix can make this affordable. Here’s what it looks like if you use your regular internet service to watch Netflix for one year.

    Cost Per Month of Netflix $11.99 = Cost Per Year $143.88

    Yes, I will admit that I am generally the first one to say $100 is $100. However, think of the money you are saving! By switching from cable to Netflix, you save $456 a YEAR! How crazy is that? Even if you make the one-time-expenditure of purchasing a Roku you will be saving over $300 in your very first year.

    Definitely makes cutting the cord on cable seem worth it, right?

  • Newspaper –  If you’re anything like my parents, reading the newspaper is a must in the house. However, think about this: all of the newspapers and blogs post the same news that the papers read – the only difference? You have to look online to find it! But if you spend a little bit of time bookmarking your favorite spots, you can have free news for the rest of your life – saving you hundreds every year! Even if you print some news from your computer daily, you will be saving money in the long run.
  • Cell Phone Data – I know what many of you are thinking when I bring up getting rid of data on your cell phones. How will you play games, look at Facebook, check out Netflix, and watch your emails? Most phones have the capability of connecting to a WiFi signal without being connected to data. In order to save you hundreds of dollars each year, try disconnecting the data and using your regular internet service instead!
  • Workout Apps and Gym Memberships – This one is especially tricky for people who have just made New Year’s resolutions to “get healthy” and “lose weight” – which is like the majority of the population. Let’s be realistic though – is a gym membership or a subscription to a workout app really going to help you in these adventures? Instead, take a little bit of money and purchase a startup kit of workout materials.Do you like to lift? Buy a cheap / used set of weights!

    Do you like to use the elliptical or treadmill? Find one on Craigslist or your neighborhood Facebook group.

    Chances are, there’s someone looking to sell for cheap and it will ultimately save you big money as you get rid of that hefty, monthly fee. If you are okay with it, there are programs based on things that you have at home – such as Couch to 5k which focuses on running outdoors to build up stamina or workout memes that involve body weight exercises. Working out and staying healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

    Check out my post about how to Live a Healthy Lifestyle while Saving Money for more tips!

  • Kindle & Audiobooks – This subscription is the most simple to get rid of – instead of spending money on subscriptions to these, try visiting your local library! Most libraries have an extensive list of audio books for you to choose from. Some even offer e-books for loan on the internet. Ask your librarian what your library has to offer and support your community!

Quote of the Day

Now, I know I have been talking a lot about cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions, but I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a quote for each day of the No Spend Challenge. Today’s quote comes from Mary Lou Retton.

Quote - Day 4

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” Mary Lou Retton

Make this debt payment into a habit, a serious fun, and you will have such a great satisfaction when your effort pays off in the long run – and we know that it will. Whether you are sacrificing entertainment by cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions or sacrificing elsewhere, you know that this will pay off down the road. Make it fun while you go!

So, tell me, what subscriptions do  you pay each month?
Are there any you can cut out?

Let us know in the comments below!