Monday, July 27, 2015

The 27th

So I am still working on the 1-10 loan and made another additional payment today. Here is the breakdown:

My auto debit is still $168.51, but I am still putting back $200 and pretending that this is my actual payment which leaves me with a difference of $31.49 to put extra towards my loans this month.

On 6/30, I put back $224.29 from that paycheck which is my raise over the last 2 years I pretended that I did not get, plus payment for picking up an extra shift in June.

On 7/2, I received a reimbursement from my job for my professional license that they pay for, I like to pretend, so this also went towards my loans. If I didn't have an employer that was nice enough to reimburse for my license fee every 2 years, this would have come out of my pocket anyways.

On 7/15, I put back $124.19 which is my raise over the last 2 years that I still pretend that I did not receive.

Total to put extra towards my loans this month: $454.97

My balance when I made this payment on my 1-10 loan was $3822.14 and after making this payment, it brings the balance down to: $3367.17.

Next month, I am hoping that I get my quarterly bonus (fingers crossed) and I ended up picking up two extra shifts this month in July, so my next payment should be over $900. In September, I plan to use my savings account to pay off the other 6.8% loan. I have thought about this a lot and have developed a baseline savings that I am comfortable with and have made a decision that anything over the baseline will also go towards the student loans. My plan is to get enough over the baseline to just pay one of my loans off in full, instead of paying them off a little at a time. So while I am slowly working away at one, I am saving quickly to pay off another high balance loan.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ways to Stretch Your Dollar On Personal Hygiene Products

I do some of my best thinking when I'm in the shower. As I pour product in my hand and onto my hair and body and watch it go down the drain, I always think of ways to lessen the amount of money that I spend on that product that just goes down the drain. Here are some of the things that I do to lessen the amount of money that I spend on hygiene products.

Shampoo: As a woman with curly hair, I learned a long time ago that you shouldn't "poo" your hair. Which means that you should never use shampoo on your hair, so shampoo is not one of those things that I spend money on. If you do need shampoo, I would recommend buying shampoo in bulk. You can buy a gallon of shampoo on to refill your bottles.

Conditioner: Since I don't use shampoo, I do use a ton of conditioner. Part of the "no poo" method is scrubbing your scalp before conditioner goes in, then "shampoo" your hair with conditioner and then add more conditioner to let soak into your hair while washing the rest of your body. I buy a gallon of conditioner on for $50 then refill my 8 ounce bottle. At this rate, I can refill my bottle 16 times, so if you go through an 8 ounce bottle on conditioner a month, a gallon can last you a year and four months. That's a good deal considering most people can spend $20 for 8 ounces of good conditioner.

Lotion: I buy lotion in bulk. I spend $50 on a gallon of lotion and use it to refill my 16.8 ounce container. I can refill my container 7.6 times. That works out to about $6.57 for a bottle of good lotion which is a good deal considering that some of the good lotions can cost between $10-$12 a bottle when you buy them individually. I go through a bottle at the rate of once a month, so this should last close to 8 months.

Body Wash: I used to buy bar soap thinking that it was the best deal, until I found out how to make your own foaming body wash. I buy hand soap at the Dollar Tree, a 21 ounce refill for a dollar, then add 10 pumps of the soap into a foaming hand soap container (you have to have the container to make it foam) and then add water and shake the bottle and keep it in my shower and use the body wash as a shaving cream to shave my legs and to wash my body. This is a way better deal than buying bar soap, when a 21 ounce container of hand soap can last a few months at the slow rate that you use it.

Foaming Hand Soap: I have to bring this up because ever since I have found out how to do this, I absolutely love it. Buy a couple of foaming hand soaps at your local Dollar Tree and put them in each bathroom and by the kitchen sink and use what you bought. Don't throw those containers away! Instead add 10 pumps of a hand soap into the container and fill the rest of the container with water and shake to mix. If you buy 6 21 ounce containers of hand soap at the dollar tree, you have 126 ounces of hand soap to use for hand soap and body wash, which can last you well over a year. Awesome deal for only 6 dollars for 126 ounces of hand soap!

Shave Gel: I do not buy a separate shave gel. I use my foaming body wash and have also used conditioner that I didn't care for and also other hair products like hair gel and leave in conditioners and other products with a creamy consistency just to use it up.

Deodorant: I recently discovered that you don't need to use traditional deodorant to keep yourself from smelling. You can use clear Aloe Vera Gel which is $3.97 at your local Walmart to put under your armpits. I think that it works a lot better than regular deodorant. You do have to reapply the Aloe Gel if you are going to the gym, but I think that most people reapply deodorant throughout the day anyway. I find that I don't have that "Workout smell" but instead like an earthy smell when I get sweaty, which doesn't reek. The Aloe Vera Gel lasts about a year. I still have a half bottle left and have been doing this for about 8 months.

Leave in Conditioner: Most big companies would have you believe that you need a separate leave in conditioner-you don't. Just add a dime size of your regular conditioner through your hair before you step out of the shower. I have tried about every leave in conditioner known to man and do not notice a difference between using regular conditioner this way and a separate leave in conditioner.

Pimple Control: Feeling a pimple coming on? Buy a bottle of witch hazel and when you wash your face at night, take a cotton ball and put some witch hazel and rub it all over your face. It's an astringent that helps with keeping the bacteria that causes pimples under control. I bought a bottle of Witch Hazel at Deals for $2 and use it every night and I haven't had a pimple in over 6 months since I started doing this.

These are some ways that I keep my costs low for personal hygiene products. I left some things out like face wash and face moisturizer and that is because I buy really good (expensive) products for this because it works for my face. I have tried lots of cheap ways to wash my face which resulted in rashes, pimples, acne and blotchy skin. Since I started using good products and stopped treating my face like a science project, my skin cleared up and looks great. If I do find a cheaper way to care for skin without causing problems, I will let you all know. I hope that these tips help you as much as they have helped me to save money