Monthly Archives

January 2016

Money, Parenting

Are Cloth Wipes Cheaper Than Disposable?

January 29, 2016

OK, admit it.

Some of y’all thought we were crazies when we wrote about our cloth diapering venture.

But today I am putting the final nail in the coffin for you because I am going to share why we also make our own cloth wipes. I swear we aren’t turning into Colorado hippies despite how with each passing year we get more and more crunchy…hmmm.

You are also going to get a taste of just how nerdy we are with all our calculations, equations, and measurements. I’ll be honest, we primarily cloth to save money. Sure there are other reasons in there but if it wasn’t going to save us moolah, we probs wouldn’t be doing it. Same goes for cloth wipes. It had to be economical for us to consider it.

Making the leap into cloth wipes sort of happened on accident in the beginning. I bought lots of barely used cloth diapers on Cragslist for a hella good deal from a lady who was so utterly sleep deprived (she had a sleep trainer at her house when I stopped by) that she threw in a bunch of extra baby stuff, cloth wipes being one of them. Then another friend saw we were cloth wiping early on and passed along some she didn’t plan on using. We invested $0 into cloth wipes so it was a no-brainer to try them out.

Eventually we ended up doing some traveling and had to buy disposable diapers and wipes and all I can say is OUCH!!! It was really pricey compared to the virtual nothing we were used to spending on cloth. That got me thinking…I should sit down and figure out in a concrete way just HOW much we’re saving with cloth diapers and wipes.

So today I bring you our cloth wipe geeky cost-savings calculations.

Let’s start with what I use to make wipes: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap from Costco, Kirkland brand coconut oil, Bumkins flannel cloth wipes, and boiling water.

wipesstuff

Now lets take a peek at the cost breakdown is per batch of wipes.

Dr. Bronner’s  Peppermint Soap

This costs $9.79 at Costco. It’s a 40 ounce bottle, which converted is 1183 ml per bottle. We use approximately 1 tbsp (15 ml) of soap per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 79 batches of wipes per bottle. Taking the total cost of $9.79 divided by 79 batches leave us with a grand total of 12.4 cents per batch.

Kirkland Coconut Oil

The oil costs $25.99 for two tubs. Each tub is 1200 grams. We use approximately 1 tbsp (14 grams) per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 85 batches per tub, multiplied by two comes to 170 batches for the set. Taking the total cost of $25.99 divided by 170 batches comes to 15.3 cents per batch.

Bumkins Flannel Cloth Wipes.

These were given to me FREE so really, I don’t need to calculate this in but for the sake of other’s we will pretend we purchased them. The wipes cost $9.79 per pack of twelve. I feel that four packs, or 48 wipes, would be what is needed. The cost of four packs of wipes comes to $37.72, or 78.6 cents per wipe. That seems high per wipe but we will demonstrate the amount of mileage you can get from this inital invesment later.

Boiling Water

The amount of money used on this a few times a month is negligible and not even worth doing math over. This won’t be what makes or breaks cloth wipes for you.

Total Cost

When you add together the cost of the above items, your first batch of 48 wipes will cost you 79.2 cents per wipe. That’s really expensive compared to store bought, but again, we see the savings over the long haul as the wipe cost disappears and cost gets spread out over time.

Subsequent batches (now that the hard cost of wipes is out of the equation) cost 27.7 cents to create a batch, or .58 cents per wipe from that point forward.

Assuming you make two batches of wipes per week, in two years’ time you spend $95.62 total.

Getting a Comparison.

Just for fun, let’s compare this cloth wipe system to Costco’s Kirkland brand pack of 900 baby wipes, which sell for $19.99 or 2.2 cents per wipe…which is a great deal in the ‘sposie wipe world unless you strictly coupon or use some form of reward points.

Let’s also assume, that you use 96 wipes a week to keep the numbers the same. (Which is VERY CONSERVATIVE since disposable wipes tend to disappear MUCH quicker than cloth!) That means the box would last you 2.3 months before you would have to purchase more.

The 11 packs of  9,900 Costco wipes costs $219.89 over the course of 2 years.

The difference saves $124.27 over a two year period…which only increases the longer your kiddo is in diapers. At three years, the difference would be $215.25! Then if you happen to have more than one kiddo the cost savings continue to grow!

Conclusions

No, that amount of money isn’t anywhere close to what you save on cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers…but it’s something! Again, our estimations were very conservative since in our experience cloth wipes are not used anywhere near as fast as disposable wipes…so in reality the savings are likely larger.

A final note: Cloth wipes also just make life easier when you’re already cloth diapering because you can just toss them all in the wet bag together opposed to throwing just the diaper in the wet bag AND then taking the dirty gross wipes to a trash can where they stink things up since they aren’t wrapped up in a disposable diaper. The reverse would be true if you use disposable diapers…what a pain then to have to wash cloth wipes without having to wash the diapers!

A final final note: This post above made me realize we may or may not have a Costco addiction. EEP!

Intentional Living, Money

One Simple Thing to Dramatically Reduce Your Anxiety

January 25, 2016

Your future. Your past. That big decision you’ve got coming up. Work. Holidays. Kids going off to school. Travel. Your living situation. There is no shortage of sources of anxiety and worry and stress in our lives.

What if there was one thing you could do that would affect every aspect of your life and make each one easier? Would you do it?

What if it took a little discipline? A little time? A little saying “no” to one thing so you could say “yes” to another? Would you still do it? Or would you rather keep living a more stressful life?

I hope you’re committed to severely reducing stress and are ready to do this.

The one thing you can do to dramatically reduce the anxiety you feel in every area of your life is:
Budgeting.

That’s right. Budgeting your money affects every area of your life for the better and reduces anxiety, worry, and stress. Here’s how:

Budgeting – creating a plan for your money and sticking to it – takes the guesswork and the worry out of your money. And because money touches every part of our lives, when we make money easier and more pleasurable to work with, we make every part of our lives easier and more pleasurable.

  • If there are money issues from your past, budgeting helps you clean them up and move on.
  • Big decisions to be made? Budgeting gives you the freedom to make the best choice – either by enabling you to save money up or simply using money more wisely – so the best choice – even if it’s something with a financial impact like quitting your job to start a new career – can be made.
  • Stressed out because there’s always more cool stuff to do with your family or roommates than there is money to do it with? Budgeting patches the “leaks” in your wallet so there’s more to use AND trains you to prioritize your activities so you can identify and choose what’s most important for you to do.
  • Big projects at work got you stressed? Budgeting works your planning muscle, which you’ll be able to flex in all sorts of situations!

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of budgeting (or at least interested), here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Budgeting is easier than you think.
    • You can do this.
  2. It’s a simple income – outflow equation.
    • Take the money you have (income) and plan how (groceries, cell phone bill, etc) you’ll spend it (outflow). Your planned spending cannot exceed your income.
  3. Every month is (slightly) different, so every budget you create should be (slightly) different.
  4. Start With Cash
    • While budgeting software like YNAB and Every Dollar can be very handy, it’s probably best for you to start out using cash and the envelope system (grocery envelope, clothes envelope, etc. one envelope for each budget category) so you can feel your money.
  5. Be Ready to Say No
    • Budgeting helps you set priorities and stick to them, which means it involves saying no to some things (like going out with your roommates, again) so you can do other, more important things (like saving for a car, or paying off debt). Your “yes” to better things will involve “no’s” to lesser things. Be ready. (And don’t feel bad about it!)
  6. Be Patient
    • It’s going to take a little while (3 months or so) to get a good handle on the right amount for your budget categories. Don’t get discouraged in the meantime. And don’t feel bad if you need to adjust your amounts. Just make sure it all evens out. (Adding $10 to one category means taking it from somewhere else).
  7. Ask for Help
    • Getting started with budgeting can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you know who’s been budgeting for a while for help. They’ll be glad to help. You’ve always got our contact form, too.
Infertility

Why Infertile Women Sometimes Get Mistaken for Drunk Psychopaths

January 18, 2016

Each day I’ve been fighting to spend time alone with God in prayer.

Part of this time is spent reading the daily Mass readings and last week happened to be about a fellow woman battling infertility named Hannah.

I’ve read the story approximately one billion times before but some aspects of the story hit me in a new way…specifically how her grief was so severe that she got mistaken for being drunk. That’s serious yo. I’ve never seen someone praying and mistaken them as a drunk person and I am betting neither have you.

Let’s take a peak briefly at her story:

He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Penin’nah. And Penin’nah had children, but Hannah had no children. Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phin’ehas, were priests of the LORD. On the day when Elka’nah sacrificed, he would give portions to Penin’nah his wife and to all her sons and daughters; and, although he loved Hannah, he would give Hannah only one portion, because the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elka’nah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman sorely troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your maidservant as a base woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 1 Samuel 1:1-16

First off I want to say that I’ve had many hysterical ugly cries throughout our infertility journey that, if witnessed, would have probably had me institutionalized…so I get it, Hannah.

What I want to look at specifically in this post is how a woman battling infertility can get to that point. I think most would understand that it’s a sad thing to not be able to conceive and bear children…but being distressed to the point of not eating, looking drunk, and being borderline psychotic?

In reading Hannah’s story, I just want to go give her a big hug because she had an rival who made fun of her for being infertile. That would be so very hard. Penin’nah actively rubbed her blessings in Hannah’s face year after year.

Daaaaang.

I cannot claim that anyone has directly made fun of me or provoked me (I would have throat punched them) about infertility but I think social media feels like a modern day version of this taunting. It’s the place where people offer up snapshots of their lives to invite others to share in the moment. When battling infertility, Facebook and Insta feel like bragging sites. It’s where women, often unknowingly, post about their pregnancies and children in such a way that leaves anyone experiencing infertility feeling mocked and irritated.

This wears a woman down over time and begins to create an extremely fragile emotional state. I had to leave social media altogether for a season just so I could have days I didn’t cry. Seeing dozens and dozens of others’ blessings day after day left me feeling like the biggest loser on the face of the earth. And when one is feeling completely and utterly forgotten by God, eating is not a high priority either. Sinking into a despair hole and trying to Netflix binge your way through life is more likely.

Then her husband comes along and tries to comfort her but only makes it worse. Bless his heart. He essentiaIlly asks if he is not enough to make her happy…which as anyone who’s battled infertility knows is not the point. You can be so happy with your husband but at the same time terribly sad about the fact you cannot have children together. This seems to be her breaking point. Even though her husband is trying to be there to comfort her, she is still feeling alone in her struggle.

This drives her to go to the Lord where she reaches rock bottom…a place I’ve been many a time before. It’s a place where you are praying so hard that it feels like even your toe nails are praying. It’s a prayer that only extreme suffering can bring about. It leaves you wiped out and in an exhausted heap on the floor before God with nothing left. Drunk is probably a conservative word to describe the hot mess she looked like.

If someone approached me in that state and tried to correct me about being drunk? I don’t even want to know what I would’ve been capable of…but Hannah handles it graciously. She simply tells him she’s been praying out of great anxiety and vexation.

Again, a nice way to phrase it.

One definition of drunk is, “being overcome or dominated by a strong feeling or emotion.” I completely understand why Hannah was mistaken for being intoxicated. She’d been worn down, prayed out, made fun of, lonely, and desperate. That’s enough to drive any sane person completely mad.

So Hannah, thank you for setting such an honest and raw example for the rest of us carrying this cross. I know I am not alone in how I feel so often. I will keep throwing myself before the Lord in prayer, even if I resemble a drunk psycho, and allow him to do with those prayers what he wants to.

Hannah and all you holy women who’ve done this before, please pray for us in this battle!

Uncategorized

The January Budget Breakdown

January 9, 2016

Hahaha.

Apparently we don’t finish strong around our neck of the woods as our last two budget breakdown posts have been a week late. They’re the last ones and from here on out you can find a budget breakdown post for EVERY month of the year! 🙂

If you are only now joining us, in these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month so nothing can sneak up on your budget.

With that, let’s dive into our January post.

  •  Travel
    • Going home after the holidays
    • FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) annual conference travel
    • Weekend winter getaways
  • Fitness
    • Workout clothes
    • Gym membership
    • Fitness DVD’s
    • Supplements, vitamins, protein powder
  • Organizational Items
    • 2016 Planner
    • Storage bins to organize around the house/car
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
  • Car Maintenance
  • Life Insurance premiums

January is a quiet month as everyone typically keeps things simple after the holidays. It’s also a month of getting your New Year’s Resolutions going which you likely need to budget for. As usual some of the above expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or life insurance premiums.

Happy New Year! It’s never too late to start budgeting or change your spending habits so make this year one to remember by getting financially fit!