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?


saraband said...

I use white vinegar for cleaning most things: undiluted for lavatories & sinks, 50/50 with water for other things including glass - just a light spray and wipe with microfibre cloth for smear-free finish.

CTMOM said...

Thanks for your comment. I hope to use up the general cleaners that I have and limit what I continue to buy. I have a less is more mentality, thinking of the following:
-Murphy's oil soap
-white vinegar
-lemon oil
-a homemade vinegar-water spray with citrus peel for scent

This would be an ecological as well as economical move for me, although the bulk of what still remains here as general cleaning options were purchased very inexpensively-definitely under $2/bottle-more likely, closer to $1.

DW said...

I like a general cleaner, like Fantastik ... have tried the DT version, but it has bleach -- good for counters, not so good for other stuff. I try to use a vinegar/water mix for some things, but find that I still use some glass cleaner (especially for nose prints on glass, LOL)

Angela said...

I know you said all your detergent needs were met for the summer, but have you ever thought about making your own? It is so much cheaper than even DT detergent. And does a decent job of the cleaning as well. Usually comes to less than 20 cents per washer load. Recipes all over the net. Just wondering. Love the blog, visit daily, have learned so much from you. Thanks for what you do. Ang

CTMOM said...

One thing I have never tried, is to make my own laundry soap. I'd choose a powder version over the liquid, which many give "interesting" moniker's to. I currently am paying $2 or less for a 50 oz bottle of liquid detergent. I use 2 of these bottles/month. Still using free to me bottle of liquid fabric softener (used for towels only), and stockpiled dryer sheets (rarely use the dryer anyway), no name bargain store bleach for whites, Dollar Tree amazing orange degreaser for laundry spots, DT qt bottle of hydrogen peroxide for blood stains. This is a very affordable cost for me. Frugal Upstate has a recipe for powdered laundry soap-hers is the one I'd try first.