Monday, July 20, 2009

Baking Soda and Frugal Living

I heard on the radio today that 1 in 10 Americans receives food stamps. They (who are THEY anyway?) say unemployment is down but where we sit unemployment is something we are learning a little too much about. If so many are unemployed or underemployed and receiving food stamps what are they doing to get by? According to the department of human services food stamps can only be used to purchase food items or seeds and plants that produce food. I wonder what people do about the other necessities. How about cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers, feminine products, even tylenol or bandaids? That got me thinking. Which of these necessities can be made at home using food items that CAN be purchased with food stamps? What can be made using inexpensive or recycled household items? How can you buy toilet paper or pain reliever or allergy medicine if you don't have an income or your income is so tight that it all goes to pay for the roof over your head?

I thought I would start gathering these tips and ideas and trying them out to see which ones work.

I read on one blog about using baking soda as shampoo. You make a paste of baking soda and water and massage into wet hair and scalp then rinse. As a conditioner they recommended a rinse using 1:1 vinegar and water. I would probably use apple cider vinegar as I have heard it is good for dark hair like mine. I tried the baking soda shampoo experiment today and I have to say that although it did wash away the greasies my hair felt a bit dry and VERY tangled. This was only the first time to try it and I have heard sometimes the more natural or mild methods take time because of residue and build up on your hair. I might try it again. What I think would work better would be to dissolve the baking soda in some warm water and add a tiny bit of shampoo. I get shampoo for $1 at Dollar Tree. It is not the best shampoo but it is the cheapest unless I find a freebie deal at CVS or Walgreens. The baking soda makes the soap soapier so you can use less. I noticed that by sprinkling a little baking soda on my bath sponge after rubbing it on my bar of soap that I got very enthusiastic suds and the baking soda added some exfoliation properties.

The verdict: Baking soda alone as shampoo doesn't work for me but I think it would work to stretch shampoo and other bath soaps.

Even though it isn't a good shampoo substitute it is still a great ingredient to have on hand. I keep a large bag of baking soda and buy vinegar (white distilled) by the gallon to use in cleaning and laundry. Both items could be purchased with food stamps if needed. Both do double duty in cooking and cleaning.

Other uses for baking soda:
Baking Soda
60 uses for Baking Soda
How Stuff Works

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