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Miserly Moms > Columns > Miserly Moms

Budgeting for Sundries and Homemade Soap

Q. In making your grocery budget, how do you include the non-food products such as toilet paper, paper towels, feminine needs, and baby diapers? I have tried to include this before in my grocery planning/budget; is there a better way?

Ms. J. Weaver

A. I have always included my sundries (non-food) items in my grocery total. I reduce my grocery spending by shopping sales and cooking in bulk, and then use the extra money to pay for the sundries. Some people have a separate budget category called "household expenses" that they use for sundries. Do what works best for you!

Q. How can I make left-over bits of hard soap into liquid soap? I have lots and do prefer to use liquid soap in the bathrooms as it makes less mess. Thank you for the answer if you know it!

Sarah Evans, Australia

A. Below are two ways to make liquid hand soap that you can put into your pump dispenser.

Liquid Hand Soap #1
     1 bar Ivory soap, grated
     1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
     1 saucepan
     1 bucket

Put soap gratings in pan and cover with water. Heat on medium heat until the soap has dissolved. Stir constantly and do not let boil. Add soapy water to 3 gallons of hot water in the bucket. Stir, then slowly add washing soda. Keep stirring until all is dissolved. Put into pump when cool. Shake before using.

Liquid Hand Soap #2 (from Miserly Moms)
     1 bar hand soap (any type), grated
     1 cup boiling water
     1 T. honey
     1 tsp. glycerin (available at drug stores)

Put grated soap and boiling water into a blender and whip. Add honey and glycerin and stir in blender. Let it cool for 15 minutes and whip again. Add cold water until the mixture reaches the 6 cup mark. Whip again. Pour into a storage container, and let cool for 1 hour with lids off. Shake before using.

Other uses for leftover soap bits are marking hemlines (instead of chalk), rubbing gliders on drawers to glide more smoothly, and running over metal zippers to ease the pull.

Other recipes for soap, including shampoos, can be found at:

Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"

Visit the Miserly Moms Website at

Our sincere thanks to Jonni for allowing us to reprint her wonderful work!

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