When I first began the quest for a simpler life, I found it easiest to attack things in my life I was spending a lot of money on. I used to visit Target and blow $100 easy in things like makeup, paper towels, a different cleaning agent for every surface of the house, and various fancy tools for scrubbing. These little household items add up fast and unknowingly. On the surface, they seem like necessities, right? You need to be able to maintain your home and yourself. So, I would let these expenses slide under the guise of “something I have no control over.”
Yes, self-sufficiency is all about regaining control in your life. But for me, the reality was I needed the money I was spending on this crap to put towards my debt, and later savings. I started learning about homemade cleaning products and alternatives to costly paper goods. My interest in natural living and less chemicals only came after the monetary concerns. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson was a huge inspiration when I began revamping this corner of my life. There are so many resources on the internet about homemade this and that, but I’ve had to do quite a bit of experimentation to find things that actually work.
I am proud to say I now spend at most $50/ year on household items (big chunk of that is TP). This has opened up my household budget to allow me to invest in awesome toys like a pressure canner and homebrewing equipment. Below is a list of common household goods and whether I have gone without or substituted with something homemade.