• Clean Like Grandma Did

    Cleaning supplies have gotten very fancy, convenient, and disposable. In spite of that, I still don't enjoy cleaning. It got me wondering why I was spending so much of our budget on these fancy items when it really did not materially decrease the time it took to do the work nor increased my enjoyment of the activity. Buying these items definitely had a material and negative impact on the financial goal at hand whether it be the the snowball, the emergency fund, the college fund, and/or the retirement fund. I throw out the following questions for you to consider:

    • Is your glass cleaner now a pack of wipes rather than an off brand bottle that requires a rag?
    • Is your furniture cleaner now a wipe?
    • Does your duster and toilet brush now require disposable replacements?
    • How expensive was your mop and does it require expensive refill/replacement products to keep it working?
    • Is that plugin cordless vacuum increasing the electric bill?
    • Where is the broom and dustpan?

    The new generation of cleaning supplies is expensive. For just a few dollars more, you can add environmentally friendly cleaning items to your shopping cart. Some of these products may be worth the premium price to you. The challenge is to evaluate what you are using and determine which ones are not worth it. Think about how your grandmother cleaned windows. She probably used basic ingredients like ammonia, vinegar, and water. She probably used old newspapers or rags. Take a hard look at your cleaning supplies and see how it compares to Grandma's. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Did grandma have this product?
    • What did she use instead?
    • What is the cost/benefit of doing it my way vs. grandma's way?

    My cleaning supplies consist of some very basic items such as ammonia, bleach, soap, and lots of rags made from old t-shirts, towels and sheets. Cleaning recipes can be found on the internet. Most of the time the ingredients are already in your house and many of them are environmentally friendly. When you mix your own cleaning supplies, you know what is in them.

    While you are rethinking cleaning, analyze your trash and see if what you are throwing away tells you something. Are there a lot of paper towels going into the trash? When you throw away an old t-shirt, do you cut it up into rags and only throw away the unusable parts or is that entire t-shirt in the trash? Did you toss out those old gym socks? I dust my blinds with them. I put them on both hands and with my thumb opposing the rest of the fingers, I grab a blind with both hands and wipe down the top and bottom at the same time.

    Take a little time now to get a good grip on what keeping your home clean is costing you. It might be easy to cut by more than half of what you are currently spending. If that half is significant enough to help you realize your next financial goal sooner, consider making some changes.

    If you are new to Debt Free Fanatics, and want to learn more about techniques for getting out of debt, we encourage you to register and participate in our forums. Our members have been managing their money for years and are happy to offer advice and instruction on how you can manage your money better and get out of debt.