Thursday thoughts, with a free rant included
Leftovers tonight, or cold cereal (for me). I mentioned today in another post elsewhere that I don’t like hamburgers. I don’t like ground beef. But I served the leftover BBQ burger patties the other night in gravy with mashed potatoes, and ate those leftovers today for lunch. It’s chilly today, seemed like a good day for a hot lunch — but blech. Having to eat leftover leftovers was low on the chart of my dining experiences.
And now, today’s product endorsement…not!
Want to save money? Don’t buy stuff. Like — anything from Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Lever Brothers, etc. Especially if you are in reduced circumstances, you can save yourself a huge vatload of money on the so-called grocery bill by staying out of several aisles. For one thing, stop buying cleaning products. STOP. DO NOT BUY. All you need is a gallon of white vinegar ($2) and a box of baking soda. It does not have to be Arm and Hammer. It can be generic, and if you go to Costco or Pak & Save, you can get a ginormous bag of baking soda for about $4 and it will last you for months.
What can you clean with baking soda? Your teeth. Your hair. Facial scrub. Your sink. Your toilet and floors. Your laundry. Your car. Your pool or hot tub. Your pets. Everything. And what about vinegar? Same thing — cleans floors, tubs, toilets, counters, windows, hair rinse, laundry rinse. If you buy a gallon of apple cider vinegar (note — not apple-flavored vinegar, but true ACV), you can use it for all of the above plus as a hair rinse, cure for eczema, dandruff, ringworm, tummy troubles, bee stings and mosquito bites, toe fungus and athlete’s foot. Shower spray. Weed killer. Probiotic supplement. And delicious in coleslaw.
These few ingredients are multi-use and non-toxic. You can eat and drink them (and you do, in baked goods, salad dressings, pickles). Stop buying toxins like ovn cleaner, mildew remover, April Fresh fabric softener. Note that everything with an added chemical scent, including so-called “unscented,” has scent added to it that is cancer-causing. EVERYTHING. Why would you use anything by Glade in your house? Why would you spray such a toxin on your furniture or your pet or in your bathroom? You probably spend half your grocery budget, your “food” budget, I dare to say, on cancer-inducing stuff like Glad Plug-Ins and candles and Airwick Room Fresheners in the scented products aisle and the household cleaners aisle. Consider all of that stuff as poisonous. And bank the savings. Your body will thank you, and the environment will also thank you. Dryer sheets? The scent is toxic and the polyester sheets are garbage after 1-2 uses. Use a ball of foil (recycled) to eliminate static, and use a vinegar rinse in the wash to eliminate stinky smells.
Other items you don’t need? Paper towels. Use old T-shirts and towels and wash them. Paper napkins — cloth napkins are cheaply available at Goodwill, and washable with your regular laundry. You can cut up dishtowels if you prefer “new”. Make your own or spend $50 at Sur La Table. But stop using paper. If you only use it (whatever it is) once, you are throwing money away.
What else? Oh — sponges, scrubbers, and assorted cleaning tools. Try using worn out clothes for rags, yes, but do you need to spend money on a “scrubber”? Nope. Tie knots in a mesh onion or grapefruit bag. I cut them up and sew them into squares, because I like squares. But tying knots is easier and faster and no excuses about not getting to the sewing machine. And no more $2 here and $4 there for a special scrubber. Use what you have, stop being such a scaredy pants about being seen as cheap, and save a tree, the watershed and your budget.
Whew. I could go on,. But I’m tired now. Yes, I’m a hopeless tree-hugger. But if you look at my grocery receipts, I almost *never* buy household products. Toilet paper, yes, recycled only. And if I could persuade my family otherwise, we would stop using that, too. Oh, well. Look at your “food” budget and see what you spend on cleaning, scented, personal hygiene and other supplies. Try the baking soda and vinegar route. Honest.
OK, this wasn’t really about food, but if you can save money at the grocery store, and stay out of Walgreen’s, you would have more to spend on better food. There’s the connection, babes.
Breakfast: Simone: breakfast bar, coffee (free at work). Julia: strawberries, generic raisin bran and milk, yesterday’s coffee. Patrick: 2 hardboiled eggs, green tea.
Lunch: Patrick: work meeting with lunch. Simone: plum, peanut butter sandwich, brownie (free from bread donation site); Julia: leftover burger patties in gravy with mashed potatoes, chocolate chip cookie (OK, I had 2).
Snack: Julia: nectarine, hot tea with milk and sugar
Dinner: Simone: organic box mac and cheese with hot dogs; Patrick: leftover chili (from leftover bean salad) on hamburger bun; Julia: generic shredded wheat and milk. Ice cream cones for dessert (from BBQ).
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.