grandfather used to tell us stories about his childhood and what life was like
during the Great Depression. One thing always rang clear with each and every
story that described how they found ways of making something nourishing for
dinner even when the cupboards were nearly bare, what they would do to make a
few extra dollars here and there, or all of the things they gave up because
they just couldn’t afford them: these people were resourceful and knew that it
was up to them and them alone to get by.
every time I read one of the posts at Andy’s blog, Tight Fisted Miser, I think back to those stories from days gone
by. The world is obviously very different than it was back then, but the extent
to which Andy will go to make or save money, even when most other people would
say it was impossible, displays that same sort of gritty perseverance and
resourcefulness that people had to have when my grandfather was a boy.
Andy’s frugal living lifestyle might not be for everyone, it sure is inspiring
to read about all of the things that he has done and is doing to make and save
money; he generates some income from Tight
Fisted Miser, he does online surveys and mystery shopping trips for cash,
participates in medical studies and invests, just to give a few examples.
creative money making ventures with money saving tips and the fact that Andy
only spends what he can afford, and you have one thrifty individual whose
resourcefulness seems to be relatively uncommon these days.
think people are nearly as resourceful as they used to be,” Andy says. “It
seems that many people aren't willing to make even small adjustments to save
money or make more money.”
than do what it takes to survive and thrive in any situation so many people
throw their hands in the air, give up, and look to someone else to clean up the
mess and help them through tough financial times.
says he’s always been pretty frugal but it was when he recently went back to
law school that he started looking for new ways to save money and creative ways
to make money. A regular nine to five wouldn’t really jive well with law school’s
demands but he says he also didn’t want to take out more money in loans than he
this ex-Vegas blackjack dealer started to get creative, to think outside the
box, and started to do things that paid the bills but that definitely wouldn’t
fall into the ‘traditional’ job category. He participated in the odd medical
study before returning to school, but the mystery shopping and blogging were
When you visit
Andy’s blog, the title, Tight Fisted
Miser—Extreme Frugality—How to Live Well on Very Little, appears at the top of the page and, while Andy says it’s a “tongue-in-cheek take on how
many people view frugality,” it seems to sum up Andy’s personal finance
approach; he has found ways to live well on what today would be considered very
little. In fact, Andy’s income last year was less than $20,000 but he says that
despite what many people would think he didn’t struggle to make ends meet and he’s
that maybe even more than having the right personal finance information or
education, successful frugal living requires a particular frame of mind, a real
willingness to do what it takes. I’d say it takes guts too.
how to take care of your money is important but then you have to actually
implement your knowledge,” Andy says. “I would say frugal living requires
greater resourcefulness. The easy way to solve problems is usually to spend
money. When you're frugal you look for alternatives to spending money.”
right. It is easier to spend and that’s why his posts are good reminders that
if you try to be as frugal and smart with your money as you can, even in the
times when you have more money than usual, this type of mindset sees people
through those situations when money is limited.
what he thinks it will take for people to be more resourceful like they used to
be, Andy says he thinks most people have to hit rock bottom before they change
the way they manage money.
really sure how things got be this way,” Andy explains. “I think people
will start being more personally responsible when they don't have any other
choice. Economic conditions may force many people to be more personally
responsible but otherwise I think most people are content with the way things
I guess our
grandparents’ lessons with regards to ingenuity and thinking outside the box,
or saving money for a rainy day, faded–or never really stuck in the first place—when
the going got good again and the hard realities that were the Great Depression
started to seem like unfathomable fables.
you to check out Tight Fisted Miser.
Even if you aren’t willing to do medical studies or covert shopping trips for
other stores, this site is still a great source of inspiration and ideas.
head in the game and be willing to do what you can to save money and to succeed
in frugal living.
water” is how Paula once described the way in which she and her family were
managing to get through another tough financial period: the bills were paid but
all extras either required a great deal of resourcefulness or were put on hold
has worked as a newspaper journalist in Michigan and Ohio for more than 20 years, knows
what it’s like to have more month than money, only four days worth of food left
in the kitchen cupboard and no way of knowing how much money will be coming in
the following week.
married mother of one credits her family’s frugal living strategies and
resourcefulness for making sure the bills were paid even when layoffs (her
husband has been laid off a few times) significantly reduced their household
income. Paula says the fact that she and her family never really lived an
expensive lifestyle to begin with has certainly made it easier for them to ride
through the hard times too.
When The Monroe Evening News where Paula
works decided to start a community blog network in late 2006, Paula’s own
experiences with stretching her family’s income to make ends meet, and the news
that layoffs would soon be coming to the local workforce, helped shape her idea
for the blog, Monroe on a Budget.
Monroe on a Budget was launched early in 2007 with a
focus on providing the local community with information about frugal living,
budgeting and local services that offer assistance to families who are
struggling to get by.
Paula and the rest of the staff at The
Monroe Evening News know at the time that Monroe on a Budget would offer exactly the type of information that
families in Monroe were looking for.
“Monroe on a Budget was a project that got
started before my co-workers and I knew how much it would be needed,” Paula
Since it’s launch, Monroe on a Budget has become the most
popular blog that the newspaper sponsors and, while the site includes a few
permanent feature sections, like a database of all of the local food stores and
information on their discount programs, coupon and food stamp policies, Paula
also writes about practical money saving tips, public service announcements and
the news headlines that will have some bearing on the community’s household
Paula says she gets inspiration for
stories from regional headlines and other blogs, but she also keeps her ears
open to the issues that people in Monroe are talking about. Her family’s own
experiences and the information or resources that they would have found helpful
during the times when money was tighter than usual also help shape the site’s
Paula and her family know all about
bumps in the road but they have learned how to prepare for and work through those
times when money is tighter than usual. Paula, for example, was a recently
divorced, single parent back in 1990 and she struggled to pay for day care, her
rent, food and gas for her car. When she remarried in 1994, things got a bit
easier because she and her husband could pool their income. Then, between 2004
and 2005, layoffs began and things got rocky again.
“My husband was back and forth
between temporary jobs and unemployment for about a year,” Paula says. “We had
bought our house only three months before he went on unemployment. Any expense
that was not an immediate need was postponed until cash was in hand.”
But Paula and her family got
resourceful and learned ways to save money even when there was little left to
save. She says she and her husband have both reflected on the times when money
was tighter than usual and agree that it was frugal living that got them through.
Paula’s posts at Monroe on a Budget
often contain the money saving tips, like grocery shopping on a budget, that she
uses herself, and there’s no short supply of helpful advice.
“One of the best tips I have is:
pick your battles,” Paula says. “When the income drops, you won’t be able to do
or have everything your family would like. But what would you most like to do,
and how can you do that?”
What’s interesting is that unlike so
many people today who pin America’s debt woes on a general lack of
financial education and awareness about savings and debt, Paula says she doesn’t
think it’s a lack of readily available information that’s the problem.
She says she can remember listening
to Larry Burkett’s Money Matters
radio show back in the 1990s and that there have been Credit Counseling
Services around for just as long. Paula says it’s more that people don’t know
how to have a lifestyle that makes them happy and that they can still afford.
“Here’s my theory: Nobody wants to
hear that they have to cut back on the daily lattes, or dining out, or the
family vacations, to make ends meet,” Paula explains. “People want to know how
they can have the lifestyle they want on the budget they have to live on. That
is why I provide as many perspectives, links, resources and tips as possible so
that my readers can try out and discover the tricks that really will work for
Whether you’re a single parent, you
or your spouse recently became unemployed, or you’re just finding it harder to
get by with rising food and gas prices, Monroe
on a Budget offers the money saving tips and information that people living
on less need.
Every family has different
circumstances and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for frugal living, but
reading about the ways that others have weathered through and thrived in
less-than-ideal situations can provide all of the direction you need to stretch
your budget too.
“I want my readers to be very
resourceful,” Paula says. “A money-saving trick that works for my family might
not be possible, relevant or practical for another family, or vice versa. But
an attitude of resourcefulness is what they will need to help their families
when finances are tight.”
While Monroe on a Budget focuses on the newsworthy topics, practical
information and resources that will matter most to the people living in Monroe, this site is still an amazing source of information for people everywhere.
Even if all of the tips aren’t
applicable to your situation this site can point you in the right direction. With
a little perseverance and the right information it’s possible to get through
even the most seemingly impossible financial situations. Staying afloat takes work,
but it is possible.
always be hiccups in life. They’re those types of events, periods or moments
that stop you in your tracks, even if ever so briefly, and influence your
actions in some way or another from there on out.
opinion, hiccups can be good and bad. Sometimes you need a little change or shift
to shake things up, like marriage or the birth of a child or a job promotion.
Other times, hiccups aren’t so positive and those hiccups, like job loss or
layoffs, illness or injury, will test us and our ability to overcome the
challenges and carry on.
recession took hold in 2008, the downturn of the economy with the thousands of
job losses, foreclosures and bankruptcies that followed suit set off a massive,
almost simultaneous hiccup in the lives of many North Americans. Some recovered
faster than others and many are still struggling to get by and to deal with
their loss of income or insurmountable debts.
sticking to frugal living strategies and fiscal prudence has allowed them to weather
through the tough times. You see, for all of life’s hiccups, whether good or
bad, preparedness is key and, if you’re one of the lucky ones who have been
following money saving tips, stashing money aside for rainy days and working
hard to stay out of debt, you can rest easy knowing that you and your family
can survive and thrive in any sort of situation, and that you will be that much
further ahead when the dust settles.
Kulicki, or Wojo for short, knows all about adjusting and adapting. Having been
born in Poland at the end of the Cold War and
moving to the United States when he was nine, Wojo and his
family adapted to their new environment.
He says his parents and grandparents were frugal people, focused on
saving and knew how to stretch a dollar and he learned many valuable lessons
with regards to personal finance.
Wojo channelled his growing interest in personal finances and frugal living
into the highly-informative blog, Fiscal
Fizzle, where he shares what he’s learned while he and his wife have
prepared for and adapted to their share of life’s hiccups.
“Frugality in recent years has not only been a choice, but a
need,” he says. “As the recession pushed down, we had no means to push back,
other than to adapt the most frugal lifestyle we could muster and hope for the
says that the birth of his son was one of the most positive, life-changing
events he’s experienced thus far, other events, like when his wife was laid off
twice in four years or when the economy spiralled down, have had equally
significant influence on the way in which he and his wife handle their money and
prepare for the future.
have the tools—money saving tips, frugal living strategies—and a solid
understanding of sound money management with minimal debt and adequate savings,
you are better equipped to ride through those big changes. Unfortunately, it seems there are many North
Americans who don’t even know where to start when it comes to managing money.
“At the top of the list, I would say most of us are
completely ignorant of what we should be doing,” Wojo says. “Even more—we simply don't know what questions we
should be asking in the first place to get to where we need to go. Without a
game plan, we're simply trying to float our heads above water and hope luck
comes our way and bails us out. That's not a good way to live. We need to make
basic financial education a part of life growing up, both at home and at
school. We need to read about and practice good money management, investing,
frugality, and more—just like we better ourselves in other areas.”
Whether you know a lot or a little about personal finance or
frugality, Fiscal Fizzle is chalked
full of valuable, easy-to-understand and highly applicable information on
topics like, 11Ways to Stay Positive in a
Bad Economy, 6 Financial Mistakes to
Avoid at All Costs, and 55 Ways to
Simplify Your Finances. Being prepared for whatever life throws at you
isn’t hard, but it does require you to act. Learn from people like Wojo who have
‘been there’ and survived to talk about it. The worst thing anyone can do is do
“Some of us understand what to do, but feel overwhelmed by
it all,” Wojo explains. “Instead of breaking down goals into manageable pieces,
we simply find it easier to ignore reality, and continue on our way. We can't
give into analysis paralysis. We need to make money management simple, easy to
understand, straightforward to follow, and able to adapt to individual people's
situations without losing its essence.”
people find challenging when trying to save more of their money is staying
focused on their long-term financial goals and not giving in to the temptation
to spend. Wojo says that he has a weakness for expensive electronics and, while
it might initially seem hard to go without the new gadgets that interest him,
he says knowing that he can achieve his bigger financial goals with a little
perseverance and patience is a much greater reward.
When life is
going along, tickety-boo, and people start financing their every desire with
credit cards and loans, their ability to get by when the going isn’t so good is
threatened. Wojo says even though he’s lived in America for 20 years the over-indulgence
still astounds him. What people don’t realize is that for every gadget or gizmo
they go into debt to buy, they lose a little more of their freedom and
“…We are a prosperous nation, and we have the ability and
the right to spend as we wish, which is wonderful,” he says. “Given that fact,
it's sad to see that with so much freedom and choice, Americans have largely
chosen over-spending, over-borrowing, under-saving, lack of financial
education, and other poor money habits. This has resulted in actually limiting
the choices we have because we're stuck in an eternal rat race with fewer
and fewer ways out.
One of the biggest problems is debt—while it has allowed us
to afford large purchases which would otherwise be unreachable for years, it
has enslaved us to unforgiving payment schedules and made credit scores king.”
You won’t always make the best decisions or do things right
the first time but children, flooded basements, college funds, braces, layoffs
and injuries are a lot less overwhelming when you’re prepared and able to
adjust. Successful frugal living and good financial planning require continuous
learning and Fiscal Fizzle is a great
site for everyday people to learn how to better equip themselves.
“Most of my readers seem to enjoy the fact that I'm just a ‘regular
guy’ because they are also just ‘regular people,’” Wojo says. “They are looking
for someone to relate to, bounce ideas from, and get inspired by. I don't claim
to have all the answers or be the best role model around, but I understand I
have a responsibility to try my best every day and share what I learn.”
the last time you paid too much money for something, made an investment
blunder, or blew your budget and had to push back a debt repayment goal? Probably
not that long ago, right? You’re still peeved about it, aren’t you?
couple of weeks ago, when our washing machine went on the frizz and there was a
mountain of clothes that needed to be washed, I rushed out to the first store I
knew of and bought the part we needed. No calls made to other stores to see how
much they charged for the part, I just bought the first one I found.
problem was fixed and the laundry crisis diverted, I got to thinking
(regretting, really) that I should have called a couple of other places to see
what they charge for that same part. My gut was right: turns out the store I
bought the part from happens to be the most expensive plumbing place in town. I
paid almost $20 more than I needed to.
it wasn’t a huge amount of money I still kicked myself for days after. That’s
the thing about money; really doesn’t matter how much you lose or miss out on,
you still feel the pain of having less in your wallet.
however, a silver lining to those personal finance mistakes. That’s if you can
get over your frustration and see the valuable lessons that can be learned from
behind the informative and oh-so-true-to-life personal finance blog, Money Beagle, says he knows all about
financial regrets. Years ago, when the tech bubble was just weeks away from
bursting, he got serious about investing and soon experienced the ups and downs
that come with day trading. Looking back, he says there are a lot of things he
wishes he’d done differently and maybe he could have profited more.
advice that led to losses and ignored advice that could have led to big gains,”
he says. “Many of these things individually fall into the 'hindsight is
20-20' but when I step back and look at the mistakes as a whole, I can
certainly see that there has been a definite pattern to how I mishandled
things, and it's caused me to give a better look at investing on a much more
married father of one (but soon to be two), who writes his blog anonymously
and, therefore, goes by the name Money Beagle or Beagle for short, has taken his financial errors in stride. He says that
reflecting on his mistakes, like the ones he made while day trading, has positively
influenced the way he handles money today.
visit Money Beagle you will find
information-packed posts about everything from investing, saving and budgeting,
to do it yourself household repairs and shopping with coupons. The thing I like
best about this blog, besides all of the important information that I can glean
from it, is that Beagle’s posts are so candid; he isn’t perfect and he hasn’t
done everything right the first time with regards to his money, but he doesn’t
of Beagle’s posts feels like chatting with a friend, sharing money saving tips
that you’ve found helpful, fessing up to financial mistakes that have been
made, and talking about issues that matter to everyday people. He offers
personal finance advice that anyone can relate to and use.
comes to the topic of frugal living, Beagle doesn’t pretend that doing your
best to stick to a budget and continuously being on the lookout for ways to
save money is a walk in the park. He openly admits that frugality is hard but
he’s also quick to say that sometimes the hardest things in life provide the
marathon is hard (so I've heard) but people do it anyways because the reward of
crossing that finish line is worth it, knowing that you overcame all the
physical pain and obstacles to get there,” Beagle says. “So, while saving
and being frugal is a tougher decision, the rewards you can achieve by doing so
make it worth it.”
however, it’s the pressure we put on ourselves or, rather, our inability to get
over what everyone else has or is doing that makes frugal living a lot harder
than it has to be. Beagle says that when you validate success through material
things, like so many of us do, you will always spend more money than you need
to. If you measure success by what you own then budgeting or putting money away
in savings can seem like some sort of punishment. Start defining success
through other means and suddenly frugal living is a lot easier.
is to break the mold of how we validate and measure success,” Beagle explains. “Looking
at a growing 401(k) balance isn't as 'sexy' as looking at a brand new 55"
plasma TV, but if we really break it down, we can re-program our thinking to
realize that the 401(k) balance is just as sexy (actually, more so) than the
TV. It's just a matter of breaking the conditioning that we've been
we commit ourselves to making frugal living a priority, our old tendencies can
still make it difficult to keep our personal finance priorities in check, and
Beagle says overcoming the common expectation for immediate results can also be
challenging. In his experience, Beagle says personal finance goals are the most
successful when they’re realistic and attainable.
instant gratification and I think many people get frustrated quickly,” says
Beagle. “They commit to tackling their debt, but when it's six months
later and they are only 10% through what they need to do to get it paid off,
they lose interest and decide it's not worth it. That's why I think
financial goals can't be like New Year's resolutions. They can't be these big
extravagant goals, because just like those goals we set every January, they're
too lofty. We have to train ourselves to set smaller goals, all working
toward the bigger goal, and these smaller achievements can keep us motivated
and moving forward towards our financial goals.”
sound financial decisions not only requires you to keep your eyes open and to
learn what you can when the opportunity presents itself, but it also requires
you to be flexible and ready to adjust when needed. For Beagle, parenthood has had
the greatest influence on how he and his wife save and spend their money. He
says it’s also made their priorities much clearer.
our big spending decisions involve looking at what it will mean to our family,”
he says. “Even if we can technically afford something, like a vacation, we
always make sure that we are also keeping our long term goals, like saving for
college, in mind and that we're not putting anything involving our child (and
future children) in jeopardy. Having children made me more focused on the
long-term than ever before.”
being said, you’ve also got to be ready to adjust your frugal living strategy
if it’s making you feel deprived or unhappy. Just because you decide that a 50” TV isn’t high on your list of
priorities doesn’t mean you have to forgo all of the things that make you and
your family happy. It’s possible to save money, have fun and feel totally
satisfied all at the same time.
living is challenging, but the challenge has to be worth the reward,” says
Beagle. “If someone decides to be completely frugal, but they find themselves
miserable, then a change in approach is certainly warranted. We don't
deprive ourselves of everything and that's where I think people often make
mistakes. Many think being frugal is giving up everything. But, it
doesn't have to be that way.”
right. Your frugal living plan is your own and it has to be whatever makes
sense for you and your family. Save money where and when you can, after all,
the rewards can be great. Just don’t sweat the small stuff.
much for a washing machine part is a blip on the radar in life. It’s
inconsequential and will by no means derail my overall efforts to spend less.
Now, making the same mistake twice? That’s just silly.
I get the
impression that a lot of people think a dual family income is a must if you
want any semblance of a ‘good life’ these days. I guess it all depends on what
your idea of a ‘good life’ is. I don’t, however, think that there’s a clause in
the book of life that says “for your family to be happy, both adults must have
a 9 to 5.”
family incomes are not necessarily a thing of the past. There are large numbers
of people and families who are either forced into single income situations
through job loss or injury, as well as the number of families who are choosing
to have one parent stay at home due to child care costs or a shortage of
quality, available child care. For others, it’s a lifestyle choice that's been made based on the
idea that family life will actually be of a greater quality if one parent stays
home. Whatever the reason, there are ways for your family to live well on one
Monique, mother of two and the woman behind the blog, Stretching the One Income Dollar, it was illness that made it more
and more difficult for her to work outside of the house and eventually forced her
to stay home. But, instead of wallowing about the fact that she and her family
would now have to live on less, or going into debt to try and keep up their
dual income lifestyle, Monique adjusted, got resourceful and started writing
about what she learned along the way.
says she’s always been pretty frugal and can remember cutting coupons for
groceries with her mom when she was a kid. While she employed the money saving
tips that she had always known and used, she also started to look for other
ways to save money around the house, make a little cash to supplement her
family’s income and make each dollar go further. Monique’s experiences inspired
her to write a book in 2009 (Stretching
the One Income Dollar) and it was at that same time that she started her
blog. Both Monique’s book and blog are excellent guides for families, full of
the tips and inspiration that can help others learn to live well on one income
says there are a few things she’s learned that have really made a difference in
terms of allowing her family to live on less. Firstly, when she’s grocery
shopping she goes with coupons in hand and often buys sale or reduced food
items to keep her food cost low. Secondly, she and her family stick to the ‘reduce,
reuse and recycle’ motto at their house and, finally, if they don’t have the
cash to buy something they don’t buy it.
find all of these money saving tips throughout Monique’s entries at Stretching the One Income Dollar, but
you will also find information on debt and how to avoid it, product reviews and
giveaways, tips for family fun on a budget and how to make money from
start thinking that a single income household automatically means a lifetime of
scraping and scrounging, coupon clipping and discount diving, all work and no
play, Monique says, in her experience, people often find that the quality of
life for individuals and their families improve when they start to live on less
than they had before. All it takes is team work.
“You both have to be on the same
page,” Monique explains. “It has to be the whole family that works together to
make it work. Just because you live with less, doesn't mean you have to live a
lesser quality of life. Sometimes, it's the opposite actually. You’re less
stressed and your family and your home life is healthy in so many ways.”
or confusing happiness solely with material things that Monique says she thinks
is the reason so many people still spend way more money than they need to and is
probably what’s at the root of the popular belief that you have to have two
incomes to survive in today’s world. It’s true what they say, money doesn’t buy
happiness and if priorities are re-set and families start to define success or
a ‘good life’ differently then there is less pressure for households to have
“I think we tend to compare ourselves to others a lot, and what the ‘Joneses’
have,” Monique says. “I think even children will think the same way if they
have parents that lead them to believe we are more superior because we wear or
buy name brands.”
It’s amazing when you start to look around your house, at all of the
things you own, and to ask yourself just how many of those things actually
enrich your life as a family. Does that 50-inch T.V. bring you closer to your
kids? Improve you or your children’s lives in some way? The monster of an SUV that’s
parked in your driveway, complete with leather seats and sunroof, does driving
it make running errands so much better that you would rather work another
countless number of years at your 9 to 5 to make the payments, fuel and insure
it? When was the last time you thought, “wow, that state-of-the-art,
top-of-the-line dishwasher really makes us happy and was well worth every hour we
worked to pay for it,”?
If you’re suddenly feeling like maybe you too have been caught up in the
pressure to have it all, visit Stretching
the One Income Dollar and you might be surprised to learn how you can get
so much happiness from so much less.
“If you want to try to live on
one income, start by reading all the frugal and thrifty books and web sites
you can on living on less,” Monique says. “Start implementing those ideas now.
Go through all your expenses now and take a look at what you can do without or
how you can make changes in your life to save money. You can do it.”
Life is too short. Get grounded
and start living it.
ever looked at the list of ingredients on a bottle of Pine Sol, Pledge, or
Windex? What about those commercial cleaning products that are supposed to rid
your shower of mildew but require you to put a ‘temporarily out of order’ sign
on your bathroom door for fear that one of your family members inhales the
napalm-like cleaner within two hours of it being sprayed? It’s scary stuff and
yet, week after week, people clean their homes with these dangerous
years of working in the cleaning industry, commercial cleaners started to take
their toll on Leslie’s immune system. She had become severely sensitive to
certain ingredients in the store-bought cleaning products and decided that
enough was enough; she was through with using toxic household cleaners.
old family recipes, those given to her by friends, and creating several
originals, Leslie started mixing up natural, green cleaners and testing them in
her own home. She found them so effective yet their natural scents and
non-abrasive ingredients didn’t leave her gasping for breath and coughing, that
she wanted to share her new-found knowledge with others.
years ago, I realized my mission was to teach and encourage people about the
dangers of toxic chemicals and to give them alternatives,” Leslie explains. “I
decided that people need to know that there is a better way to clean. I started
talking to groups of women—mothers and grandmothers—that were looking for a
healthier way to clean. I work with organizations and businesses trying to get
my message out.”
Leslie, also known as The Cleaning
Coach, has become a popular figure appearing on television and radio shows,
hosting workshops, working as a green consultant and blogging regularly about the
new green cleaning solutions she’s created and answering readers’ questions.
Leslie is also the author of The Joy of
Green Cleaning, a cleaning bible of sorts and a must-read for any frugal
living enthusiast. Currently, some of the green cleaning recipes that she has
developed are being tested in a research lab at the University of MA, Lowell
for their ‘cleanability.’ Leslie says so far they’re proving their merit as
great, safe alternatives for toxin-filled commercial cleaners.
interested in making their own homemade green cleaners needs to visit Clean Green Talk (Leslie's blog) where you will find
tons of tips for how to tackle common cleaning dilemmas the natural way; how to
make your own glass and mirror cleaner to homemade deodorizer for Ugg boots,
getting rid of the smell in your front-loading washing machine, to how to keep
spiders out of your house with a natural homemade spray.
amazing about the green cleaner recipes that you will find in The Joy of Green Cleaning is that a large
number of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen cupboard. Like
Leslie says in her book, give just one of these homemade solutions a try and,
before you know it, “you'll be going to your pantry for cleaning solutions
instead of the cabinet under the sink.” Homemade green cleaners are also
significantly cheaper than commercial cleaners.
consider that the homemade, natural cleaning solutions won’t damage your health
and that making and using them will also save you money, switching over to the
do it yourself natural route for cleaning seems like a no-brainer. Using safe
products in your home have the great short-term benefits of saving you money
but the long-term benefits for you and your family’s health are even more
“You can mix
up a cleaner for 1/10 the price of a regular ‘over the counter’
cleaner from a grocery store,” Leslie explains. “Just think: a gallon of
vinegar costs around $3 and will make two gallons of all purpose cleaner. If I
do my math correctly, that’s1 cent an ounce! And will be safe and healthy for
your family and pets! Think of what you would save in medical and vet bills.”
says there are more and more people who seem open to trying natural cleaning
products, she says a lot of people are still skeptical as to whether or not
they actually work. It’s like somewhere along the way we were led to believe
that nothing can be truly clean if it hasn’t been treated with a bright blue
solution or a product that smells so strong your nose and eyes sting and
been programmed to ‘kill’ bacteria in our homes and people don’t believe that
green cleaners will get rid of the bacteria,” Leslie says. “Actually, they do
kill bacteria—you just have to use the correct ingredients and use them in the
right proportions. Vinegar kills 98% of bacteria, tea tree oil is a great
anti-bacterial product and hydrogen peroxide has been used for years in the
medical field. All of these are in my recipes and work great for killing
found, however, that all she needs to do to convince people that you can remove
stains, get streak-free glass, spotless counters and white toilet bowls with a
natural cleaner, is to get them to try just one of her many green cleaner
“When I talk
to a group, I always mix up samples of a DIY cleaner that everyone can take
home and try,” Leslie says. “I also give them directions and ask them to let me
know how it works. I always get positive feedback saying that it worked BETTER
than their store bought cleaner. The trick is getting them to try it!”
If you want
to turn over a new leaf and take a giant leap towards saving money and
protecting your health, Leslie recommends you stock your pantry with a few of
the green cleaning essentials: vinegar, baking soda, salt, borax, lemon juice,
hydrogen peroxide, club soda and maybe an essential oil to give your homemade
cleaners a nice calming scent. She says you should also check out the list of
ingredients that Whole Foods created
for its customers to show them how many grocery store ingredients can be used
in do it yourself green cleaners.
she loves the challenge of finding a new, better and safer way to clean, and
she hopes that people will continue to give her new cleaning challenges so she
can continue to surprise them when she comes up with a natural solution for
even the most seemingly impossible cleaning dilemma.
“People need to know that the things we use in
our homes affect our families and our pets,” Leslie says. “I have seen huge
changes take place for people that make small changes, for example changing to
a homemade laundry soap instead of a detergent. Little changes can make a big
difference—one spray bottle at a time.”
like the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you don’t have to lock the
cupboard under your kitchen sink because your toddler won’t find a stock of
potentially deadly cleaners there, that your tub and shower cleaner or the
solution you use to clean kitchen counters and the sink aren’t damaging your
lungs, or that your laundry detergent won’t cause your children to break out in
time you run out of glass or toilet bowl cleaner, think about how you could
green up your cleaning routine. It’s easy and you owe it to your wallet,
yourself and your family. Take Leslie’s advice and walk past the grocery aisle
that sells the over-priced and harmful commercial cleaners and pick up a jug of
white vinegar, a big box of baking soda and a lemon instead. Happy green