Thursday, May 19, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I've been making my own laundry soap for over a year and a half now and I love how much money it has saved our family.

This one batch lasts my family of 5 for 6-8 months.

I make the first recipe and love it! I've used the Fels-Naptha and Zote soap before. I prefer the Fels-Naptha over the Zote. It seems to dissolve better than the Zote Soap does.

Remember there is no smell to this soap so if you are used to a highly perfumed laundry soap this might be a change for you. I use the bounce dryer bars so all my clothes come out smelling like that!

The first time I made this it cost me about $5-$6 for the supplies and another $4-$8 for the bucket and a smaller container to put the soap in for easy pouring. At the time I didn't have a left over bottle of laundry soap. I've also used an empty milk jug before and that works well too. Just make sure you mark the bottle clearly as it does look a little like juice. Don't want the kids getting into it.

All these supplies can be found at your local Walmart. I had a little trouble at the local grocery stores not having all the items.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

~ Melinda ~

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

Powdered Laundry Detergent - Top load machine

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Inexpensive Fabric Softener Recipes

Recipe #1
1 Cup White Vinegar
Add vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.

Recipe #2

1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener
4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half

Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Expired Coupons ~ On their way to Turkey!

I'm sending out the first envelope of expired coupons to our Adopted base in Incirlik, Turkey!

$840.69 worth of coupons heading there way!

I'll keep a running total on the right side of the blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Commissary Deals

Today there were a lot of extra coupons at the Commissary. Peel Pad's everywhere!

Here are a few of the deals I got today:

Country Time powdered Juice - $1.25 each after Peel Coupon
8 oz Mustard - $.49 after Peel coupon/I used one from a box of Pretzels that I had purchased
Hormel Kids Meals - $.50 each after coupon from inserts
Wacky Mac - $.79 each after coupon from inserts
Old El Paso Salsa - $2.08 each after printable coupon (had to buy 3 for coupon)
Old El Paso Seasoning Packets - $.18 each after coupon from inserts
Soy Sauce - $.15 after printable coupon
Chex Mix - $.59 each after printable coupon
Lysol Toilet bowl Cleaner - $.79 each after Peel Coupon
Mr Clean Erasers - $.52 per package of 2 after coupon from inserts

All the insert coupons I used came from either the 5/1 or 5/8 coupon inserts.
The Printable coupons came from

I saved about $40 on my trip today and was able to stock up on a few things for my stockpile.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Commissary Deals

I had a 30 minute break between one grocery store trip and having to pick up my kids from school so I made a quick trip to the Commissary.

The Carefree pantyliner's were FREE!! Note the coupon from this past weekend said "Free up to $1 OR $1 off" So there was no overage on these because they were under a dollar they just took off the actual price.

Toothbrushes I paid around $.50 for each of them. The coupon I had was $2 off two and it was a printable I've had in my binder for awhile that was about to expire.

The Propel I paid around $2.50 for all of them! This coupon was in the Pepsi insert on 5/1. It was for $1 off one propel or one 6pk propel zero. The individual propels I was able to get two for under a dollar and the remaining went toward my other purchases. To make a bigger money maker I could have just purchased 6 single bottles. Used my 6 coupons and I would have had made about $3.60 on those. Since my girls like these I just decided to use as much of the coupon value as I could for the Propels.

The pink pull ups I paid $6.95 each and the over nights I paid full price for.

Saved $20.90 in coupons.
Paid under $30 for all the items in the picture. (the pull ups alone full price would have been $27.00)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When the Budget over rides the Stockpile!

When the Budget over rides the Stockpile!

I started this morning with my printed list of deals from Walgreens that are items we would use. I took that list to my coupon binder and started gathering the coupons that went with those deals and marking on my list how many of each I thought I should buy.

Next I went back to my computer to edit my list. Some of the items on the original list I decided we either didn't need this week or I didn't have the right coupons to make it a great deal. After editing my master list I started making my "Transactions" list. With Register Rewards it's very important to understand how each transaction is going to work to your full advantage. So I'm typing away placing each item in the right transaction to get the biggest bang for my buck.

Then I stepped back and did a few "totals" calculations. I totaled up all my OOP (out of pocket) costs vs my over all coupon and RR savings.

And that's where it hit me. 30 minutes into planning my Walgreens shopping trip. The "budget" was going to over rule the good deals that would add to my beautiful stockpile. Even though all these items were things we would use and they were Amazing prices, bottom line, the budget this pay period won't support me spending $20 so I can save $16 on items we probably wouldn't even use for another three weeks or so.

It's OK to NOT take advantage of every good deal there is each week. Know what your budget is, Know your limits, Know your stockpile and how long it will last your family. This is how you will succeed above and beyond with your couponing ventures.

So in the end ~ I scrapped the entire list. I have item's I'd like to go purchase at Walgreens on Friday but they are not Must Haves so If there isn't enough funds after the regular Grocery Shopping trip than that's ok!

Save where you can and be ok with walking away from a great deal if you need to!

~ Melinda ~

Expired Coupons

I'm so excited I just adopted an Air Force Base to send Expired Coupons to!

In the name of "Stretching the Air Force Dollar" I will be shipping expired coupons to

Incirlik, Turkey!

If you have expired coupons you would like to contribute let me know. I plan to mail them out once or twice a month depending on how many I have to send. They can not be more than two months expired.

If you would like to adopt a base with your blog or organization click Here for more information.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Extra Coupons!

Tip: Check the packages of what you buy! The Noxzema Razors I purchased last week at Walgreens each had a $2 coupon on my next purchase of those exact same razors! (the 2 I purchased from Walmart did not have the coupon in them)

Now, I'm not normally one to open packages until I need them....but I did open those 4 and took the coupons out. If another good deal doesn't come along I can always get cheap ones from Walmart since they are $2.67 regular price there. I used these razors yesterday and I'm happy with them! I'm a little picky when it comes to razors...

The Frozen Pretzels I buy for my girls after school snacks almost always have a coupon for Honey Mustard Sauce on the inside of the box and at the commissary I end up paying less than $.50 for them.

So keep your eyes open and maybe you'll find some extra coupons!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Unexpected Blessings

Have you ever been going through the Grocery Store and found a coupon laying next to a product you want to by? Total excitement for me when that happens. Possibly even a little squeal. I try not to get too excited. After all I don't want anyone thinking I'm a coupon freak or anything.....Well I guess my coupon binder gives that away. But still.

As I go through the store if I have more coupons than I will use of an item before they expire I will leave them by the product on the shelf. I know how excited I get when I find unexpected coupons and it makes me smile to know I might be giving that back to someone else.

So even though this is something little it may be something Huge to someone else! Take time to leave Unexpected Blessings for others in your Store!

~ Melinda ~

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Tip on Shopping Lists

I want to give credit where credit is due. 90% of the deals I'm able to get at the Drug Stores I get from the match ups over at

Here is what I do so I don't get confused when I get to the store.

For today I was going to Walgreens. So I looked up the Walgreens match ups over at and I copy and paste it to a Word Document.

Then I line by line go through and see what items I might be interested in getting. The items I don't need, don't have the coupons for, or don't have the money for I delete. Keeping the items I'm interested in on the page. Going back to the web page when needed to print the printables she has links for.

Then when I'm done I print the list and I'm ready to pull all my coupons and go.

I like this method because she lists the entire deal in detail so when you get to the store you know what items are simply free with coupon and what ones you will be getting RR back for.

Sometimes if I have a lot of items on the list I will set up my ideal transactions list before I go. This helps me not miss something and it helps me get through the checkout a lot faster.

I hope that is helpful to some of you that are new or get frustrated with Drug Store couponing.

98% Savings at Walgreens!

I do think this may be my best trip ever!

All my match ups for this trip came from Hip2Save. Click here. Here match ups are done really well. I never have issues with them being wrong like some of the other sites.

Transaction #1
6 Right Guard body wash (These are on sale BOGO free already. The cashier kind of questioned it but it is in their coupon policy that you CAN use a BOGO Free coupon on products that are on sale for BOGO Free)
2 Tylenol Pain Cream
1 BOGO Razor pack (This was a random one on the shelf at my Walgreens. A lucky find. It's the package on the far right it's basically two packages hooked together.)
1 Razor pack (I needed more on my bill in order to use my $3 RR. Typically I would have done this one separate in order to get yet another $3RR for my next trip.)
3 Bogo FREE Right Guard coupons
2 $5/1 printable coupons for the Pain Cream
1 $3/1 Walgreens coupon for the Pain Cream (took $6 off)
2 $2/1 Coupons from 5/1 inserts for the Razors.
1 $3 Register Reward from my trip on Saturday.
Total Paid: $.96
Received 1 - $3 RR for my next trip from the Razors.

Transaction #2
1 Razor Pack
2 M&M's (Again I needed more on my bill in order to use my RR)
1 $2/1 Coupon from 5/1 inserts for the Razors
1 $3 Register Reward from my trip on Saturday
Total Paid: $.40
Received 1 - $3 RR for my next trip from the Razors

Grand Totals:

Total Cost: $62.51
Walgreens Savings : $19.68
Coupons Savings : $41.47
Total Paid: $1.36 98% Savings
AND I have 2 - $3 RR for my next trip!

Whoot A successful trip to Walgreens!
(not all my trips there are a success so I'm over joyed when they are!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coupon Train

Have any of you participated in a Coupon Train?

They have always been of interest to me but I've never been able to get in on one.

If you are interested in being part of one or have any tips on doing one e-mail me at

I'd love to get one started if there is enough interest.

~ Melinda ~

Walmart 5/3 - 90% Savings

I made a Walmart run today. I don't do this often but I got so many new coupons this weekend I wanted to see what prices were at Walmart on a lot of them.

Ivory Soap $.03 each Money Maker - $.97 used $1/1 coupon from 5/1 inserts
(note the coupon says limit of 4 of these coupons per Shopping trip! Please read the coupons and follow the rules!)

K-Y $.38 each Money Maker - $2.62 used $3/1 printable coupon

Travel size Shampoo & Conditioner $.47 each after coupon - $.97 each used a save $1 on conditioner when you buy shampoo coupon that came in a booklet I got in the mail.

Travel size Deodorant $.03 each money maker - $.97 used a $1/1 coupon that came in the same booklet as the Shampoo

Razors $$.67 each after coupon - $2.67 used the $2/1 coupon from the 5/1 inserts. There is a moneymaker deal at Walgreens this week. It was reported that some Walmarts had them for $1.67 so check yours and see. You could get them for free at Walmart. (I still think $.67 is a good deal)

Gauze Pads $.56 each after coupon - $1.56 used $1/1 printable coupon (Great to throw in your emergency bin....)

Toothbrush $.47 each after coupon - $1.97 used $1.50/1 coupon from 5/1 inserts. They only had two on the shelf or I would have picked up more. There may be a better deal on these between now and when they expire.

My total trip:

Pre Coupon total was $24.43
Coupons used $22.00
PAID : $2.43
90% Savings

Stockpile Rotation

Do you have a method on rotating your stock pile or your emergency bins?

I've never had a rotation issue with my stockpile mainly because I've never had too much stockpile. I stick strictly with about a 3 month supply when it comes to food items. And usually within that three months there is at least one paycheck where something comes up financially and we use part of our Grocery money for an unexpected bill of some kind. (It's ok Real life happens sometimes and we just roll with it!) This is why I love my stockpile. When things like this come up my family still has a ton of food and they typically don't know that I didn't spend as much on groceries that week.

However, if you do have a large stockpile, make sure to put new items behind the ones you already have. I take a black marker and write the expiration date on the box or bottle big enough that I can see it easily. So if I see I have salad dressings that need to be used up this month I can either plan them into my menu or donate them to someone that can use them within that time frame.

I've seen some ladies that will have a shelf that is designated for items that will expire in the next month or two. As they are putting away their weekly groceries they will move those items to one shelf and then when they are planning their weekly or monthly menu they will start with those items on the menu so they use what needs to be eaten first.

The things that I feel are a MUST when it comes to rotation are the items in my Emergency bins. I don't want to be in an emergency situation and realize my batteries are four years old and no longer work or the food expired 6 months ago. Here is my method of rotation. If I have batteries in my Emergency bin than when I purchase new batteries for my "normal" stockpile I will swap them out for the ones in the bins. Moving the ones from the bins into my pantry for the family to use.

Another way is to mark your calendar every couple of months and set aside time to go through your emergency bins and check the dates. I don't have many things in my bins that will expire anytime soon so I will probably only do this once a year. A good reminder is twice a year when the time changes they say change your smoke detector batteries. You could make it a habit to check your emergency kits at the same time. Just a thought.

Just a side note. My current emergency bins are mainly for toiletries, soap, cleaning supplies, paper products. I don't have a food emergency bin yet so if you do have a food emergency bin you could put a list of the items and expiration dates on the side or top of the bin and then rotate accordingly. My plan for a food emergency bin is to have a bin available and ready to throw food into it if we needed to evacuate again.

These are clearly just my thoughts and what has worked for me and my family. I'm always getting idea's and tips from others who do things differently from me and I love it! There is no Wrong way to do these things. It's a lot of trial and error. Find what works for you and stick with it. Oh and SHARE! Share your ways with others and ask lots of questions if you are trying to solve a specific problem. You'd be surprised how much you could bless someone else by just sharing with them how you organize your crazy stockpile!

I'd love to hear your stories or solutions for crazy storage and rotation of of your stockpile!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Walgreens: *HOT* Cottonelle Bathroom tissue

Wow did I get a good deal at Walgreens today!

I was able to pick up 4 - 12 roll packages of Cottonelle Bathroom Tissue for about $1.50 Each!
The deal I have linked below will get you them for $2 per package. I used my $3 RR from my trip yesterday to make the deal even better!

I saw the deal over at Kansas City Mama's : Click here for the links to the coupons. Follow her on Facebook and let her know I sent you over!