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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.
Marriage, Mission, Money

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s been an awesome year around True Good and Beautiful.

2015 brought exciting and new opportunities our way, such as guest posting for Dave Ramsey (!!!!) and Mama Needs Coffee among a few others. We also branched into some new content since we were parent newbies (still are, who am I kidding!?) at the start of the year. All in all I am happy to say we continued to blog after Josie’s arrival and I know 2016 will be an even more exciting year around these parts…more to come so stay tuned 😉

Without further ado, here are your favorite blog posts from the past year:

10. The Adoption Puzzle is Here

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received emails from couples wanting to make an adoption puzzle like ours to help offset adoption costs. Jonathan is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop for this very reason so our puzzle can be ordered in a much easier way! We never thought it would bless so many people! 🙂

9. 3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

Groceries continue to be the one category in our budget that we bump up against monthly. Following these three tips helps our family stay on track and not bust the budget.

8. How Motherhood Changed My Infertility

Praise you Jesus that I got to write a blog post like this…I thought I would never get to while we were battling infertility for years on end.

7. New Here? Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Our Dave Ramsey blog post brought nearly 25,000 people to the True Good and Beautiful blog in only a few short days! It was exciting and such an honor.

6. Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!

And oldie but a goodie! Here you can follow our debt-free journey on The Dave Ramsey Show and hear about how broke we were when we got married! Hahaha. Even on a low income we were able to obliterate debt…sometimes I look back and am shocked since I don’t think we could do that now.

5. My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

I am always glad to see this one in the top blog posts for the year. We write about a LOT of topics here on the blog but really infertility is probably the closest to my heart. I am thankful to provide a resource for couples to find quality infertility bloggers to help them in their journey. It’s how I stayed afloat in our battle and I’ll do anything to throw a lifesaver overboard to others in the same fight.

4. The Husband’s Guide to Breastfeeding

God. Bless. Jonathan. Seriously this past year I had some serious breastfeeding anxieties and he stepped up the plate in a big way. He truly had the heart of a servant and supported me every step of the way. I don’t think Josie and I would still be nursing at nearly 14 months if it wasn’t for him.

3. How and Why I Induced Lactation

Another one I have gotten LOTS of inquiries about from fellow adoptive Mommas. I am so glad that my breastfeeding journey has inspired others and given them confidence to try!

2. God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

Hands down my favorite blog post from this past year. We have a father who keeps his promises and I only wished I trusted him far more.

1. I Was About to Leave The Church and Then THIS Happened

Jonathan’s conversion story from his time in college. He was apathetic in his faith and God put a new fire in his heart through some quality friendships.

Happy New Year True Good and Beautiful family!

Tex112

Much Love from Jonathan, Amanda, Josephine, and Wrigley 🙂

Money

The December Budget Breakdown

December 9, 2015

Epic fail.

Yup, this budget post is coming to you a solid week-ish into December because my brain.

Of course this is THE month we didn’t blog on time.

It’s the one month of the year that people blow their budgets out of the water and leave the month with a nasty financial hangover. Hopefully if you were headed for destruction, this post will draw you back to safety!

With that, let’s dive into December’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of November:

  • Immaculate Conception/Our Lady of Guadalupe
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Special menu to celebrate the feast days
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to seriously break the bank if you are booking flights this late)
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (Yes, it’s really December already)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
    • Food
    • Party supplies
    • More gifts (that random gift exchange you forgot about…)
    • Christmas cards (Jonathan designed and ordered ours this year, savings us hundreds for the amount we send out! Woot!)
  • 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
  • End of year donations
  • Life Insurance premiums

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or life insurance premiums.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Money

The November Budget Breakdown

October 29, 2015

Welcome back to the budget breakdown here at True Good and Beautiful!

An expensive time of the year is rapidly approaching and here in this post, we want to help you get your budget ready for what lies ahead. The holiday season is one of the best times of the year but without planning it can wreak havoc on any income level.

With that, let’s dive into November’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of November:

  • All Saints Day
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Saint costume(s)
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to break the bank if you are booking this late)
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Fall Activities
    • Football games
    • Baseball games (World Series anyone?)
    • Football parties
  • Thanksgiving
    • FOOOOOOOOD!!
    • More food
    • Even more food
    • Family activities (football, movies, games)
    • Black Friday Shopping (Not-so-secretly our favorite day to shop for Christmas…gotta get them deals y’all!)
    • Cyber Monday Shopping (introverted version of Black Friday)
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (It’s coming faster than you can imagine!!!)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
  • 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
    • We’ve got a special little lady turning ONE year old on November 10th!
  • Car Maintenance
    • Radiator blew up on the Jeep this week. When it rains in the car world it pours!

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or Christmas.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Money

Why Our Transmission Blowing Up Was The Best Thing That Could’ve Happened

October 6, 2015

There I was, minding my own business, driving along the highway on my way to noon Mass…

That’s when the our new-to-us 2007 Chrystler Town & Country van chose to die an abrupt and sudden death. I pulled off the side of the road to cry hysterically for a few minutes calmly collect myself and call my two Knights in Shinning Armor – Jonathan and my Father.

Minutes later, Jonathan was there to save the day and my dad (who’s a very trusted mechanic) was already calling shops in Denver to scout out the most reliable place to tow the van. Soon after, the van was towed away to the mechanic’s and we were on our way home.

The next morning, I got the call. The transmission needed rebuilding and it was going to cost $2,300.

Ouch.

Why, oh why would I say that this was the BEST thing that could’ve happened?

Because it reminded us just how important having a fully funded emergency fund truly is.

Obviously we saw its importance because we had enough money to actually pay the bill. But there was an even deeper reason…

A year ago we had a comfortable emergency fund of 6 months expenses. But then we had adoption bills come in that exceeded our puzzle fundraiser. We had no option but to dip into our emergency fund.

We should  have then refunded the emergency fund ASAP but we got a little lazy. We kept pushing it off, prioritizing other budget line items ahead.

However, right before the tranny blew up we almost made the biggest mistake of all. 

We’ve been planing on getting granite counter tops in our town home ever since we moved in a year and a half ago. Partly for our style, but mostly for resale value. I know it’s an improvement that will help us get the most equity out of our home purchase and will set our home a part in the crowd. So, we started interviewing different granite stores/contractors/fabricators in Denver for the granite we would get “someday.”

Through seeing all the options, we got really excited about the project. Instead of simply picking who we wanted to work with (like we thought) we decided that we wanted to go ahead with it.

Great, right?

No, because we didn’t have enough funds in the budget to cash flow the project. We waffled back and forth. We even had a conversation where Jonathan said, “What if a car dies and we have to take it to the shop?” to which I replied, “The chances of that are so slim, and we will rebuild the account before we need it anyway.” Despite all that deliberating, we ultimately decided to use part of the emergency fund on the granite.

Ruh Roh.

Now, if the Lord wanted us to hit rock bottom, we would have done the granite AND THEN the car would have broken down. Our emergency fund would REALLY have been in trouble if that was the case. But literally ten minutes after the granite company had taken measurements at our home, we got the mechanic’s phone call with the estimated bill.

Snapping back to reality, we then called and cancelled the granite plans. Almost as soon after we vowed to NEVER EVER use the emergency fund for anything non-emergency related. t’s just not worth it. You never know what could happen or when you will need those funds! We now know that all too well.

Someday we will call that granite company back and set up our install but it won’t be until we’ve built our fully funded emergency fund back up and we are able to cash flow the entire project.

Yet again, slow and steady wins the race, every time. 🙂