Saturday, May 24, 2014
Taking stock and anticipating needs
Summer is just around the corner, which means that soon, my income will stop until Sept. The Summer is planned for, my budget is prorated and evenly allocated to cover the lean months of July and August. Toss in unpaid medical leave, and we took a hit. Fortunately, I live well below my means, so while hard, I can absorb this shortfall.
I now find myself actively planning for Summer. I've reviewed my recent paychecks (since Jan) and alerted HR to several discrepencies. As of close of business Fri, a follow up e-mail was not responded to. I hope to get some answers come Tues, when I return to work after this holiday weekend, and anticipate an adjustment to my upcoming, May 30th check as a result.
I also find myself taking stock. This morning, it was the taxables-real budget busters if one doesn't keep a handle on them.
First up: paper goods. We use few of these, although they are kept on hand for picnics away from home, emergency/power outages. I am set in this department, with enough paper plates, cups, bowls (gifted), paper towels, tissues (recent stock up), toilet paper (although we will need some next month).
Plastic goods: I keep multiple sizes of baggies on hand, as well as plastic wrap, wax paper, foil etc. Fine in this dept for now. I recently purchased a plastic cover for use in the microwave, which will reduce my wax paper use. School/work lunches will stop in another month, and DD who will continue to work, often uses plastic re-purposed tubs to tote leftovers to work. I anticipate few needs in this dept, if any all Summer
Laundry supplies: we are very well supplied, having taking advantage of multiple sale and coupon offers. I don't anticipate needing to purchase any laundry supplies all Summer.
Personal care items: this is a dept that I keep on top of. Grab the last shampoo bottle of the shelf-write it down on the list. I prefer to replace it ASAP before we run out, and this gives me time to find a sale, get to the cheaper, discount shops. We are currently well supplied in this dept, although I anticipate running out of "men's" bar soap. I have a lot of men's shower gel, which the 2 men at home haven't been using, replying that it takes longer to squirt some on a wash cloth and use vs a bar of soap. This is a habit I'd like to break, even if it's just to use up the shower gel on hand before returning to only bar soap as an option. Sigh.
General cleaning supplies: when we moved here, 2 years ago, I brought my stockpile of cleaning supplies with me. Although I have a once a month cleaning service to deep clean, we still clean ourselves, what I'll call light cleaning. The kitchen is cleaned daily, the bathrooms are cleaned once/week, the floors are vacuumed at least 2 times/week, kitchen floor washed as needed. We remove shoes as we enter the home, which helps our allergies and saves on time/money/energy in cleaning the floors. The stockpile is nicely whittled down, and I'd like to see it even further reduced and then perhaps limited to a few products, stored together in a handled bucket. I have one bottle of glass cleaner and an all purpose bottle of cleaner under the powder room sink. The main bath has several bottles of WM "tilex" which I rely on heavily (esp in Summer with no heat on, and high humidity) to keep mold at bay; a bottle of glass cleaner, Comet powder and soft scrub, 2 bottles of disinfecting all purpose cleaner. Under the kitchen sink, I have 1 bottle of glass cleaner, assorted bottles of all purpose cleaner. Rags, brushes, buckets, a mop-we are set. I also have several spray cans of furniture polish, Murphy's oil soap, ammonia, lemon oil, flannel rags, microfiber towels. I have a few liquid soap refills as well as a Dollar Tree bottle of liquid bath soap that I water down before refilling the dispensers at the sinks. This works well for me.
Dishwashing: I have multiple bottles of dish washing soap, nylon pads, dish towels, hand up towels, dish rags, plastic bins, Brillo (will need more), 2 1/2 bottles of liquid dish washer soap, a 1/2 bottle of Wm dishwasher rinse aid (want to switch over to white vinegar next). My go to price for dishwasher tabs is $2.49/20 count pkg from Aldi's-which I prefer over their liquid dish washer detergent (got it free from Freecycle). I am using a marked down liquid currently, again not overly crazy about it. Seems our well water and dish washer prefers the powders. I keep that in mind as I use up what we have.
So, few needs anticipated here beyond Toilet paper, Brillo pads. The TP will come from Aldi's (we'll probably need more tissues over the Summer-either Aldi's or DT usually), the Brillo pads from Dollar Tree. I am finding that many of the DT products are perfectly fine in addressing our cleaning needs, and I continue to use them, happily. Dishwasher detergent will probably also hit our list since 3 will be home daily. The Sun brand powder is very good and found at DT. I don't recall if I have yet calculated a per use cost yet on that. If I haven't, I probably will this Summer and compare that to the 12.4 cent tabs from Aldi.
What are your must haves in the cleaning cabinet?