How to Do Laundry Almost Free {Naturally}

According to statistics, an average American family of four spends around $185 on laundry detergent annually.¹ Add another $39 for bleach, and $66 for fabric softener. That’s a lot of money going down the drain. (No pun intended!) And it doesn’t even take into account the toll all those chemical products take on the environment.

But you can do laundry almost free! Just switch to soap nuts! We did years ago, and have never regretted it! Here in Italy, we pay about €15 ($16) for 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of soap “nuts”, which last us almost two years! That’s a great savings!  Continue reading

Where Thrift Reigns {The Italian Village of Thrift}

My husband’s hometown (in the Salerno province) is a village where thrift reigns. The people there have long been used to making do. The current trend toward simplicity and frugality is so normal for them, that they would ask “Is there any other way?”

I’m often amazed at their makeshift contrivances. And their unusual, often ingenious, ways of reusing and up-cycling. Some of the oddest containers employed as plant pots. The strangest objects joined to form fences. Nothing, it seems, goes to waste, but gets reused for something.  Continue reading

Dog Payments, Snowballs and Debt-Free Living!

I’m fond of saying that Hubby and I should have received a financial stupidity award in our early marriage. Armed with credit cards and few brains, we shopped foolishly and extravagantly. Even buying a dog on credit!

If prizes existed for financial stupidity we deserved first place! Yes that’s right, we bought a dog. On credit! A living being, which could get die, run away, or get hit by a car. Or even as happened get stolen, leaving us to pay for something we no longer had. An Old English Sheepdog, Sheba was beautiful but not worth that!  Continue reading

Simple Living for Retirement

Retirement anymore seems just around the corner for us. Yikes! And because of certain life-style choices we’ve made, we’re starting to think they will be interesting years, to say the least. Not that we’ll be alone. It’s fairly common for folks to find themselves in reduced circumstances during retirement years.

And not only with reduced income. Old age and retirement, which eventually arrive despite any efforts to prohibit them, often bring many reductions. Reduced income, decreased energy and stamina, vanishing physical strength, and declining health.  Continue reading

Cultivating Contentment in a World of Stuff

I once read a testimony of a missionary family on a south Pacific island with limited finances, plagued by discouragement and malcontent. Until the day their young son prayed over lunch.

“Thank you Lord,” he prayed, “for everything we have. Thank you for our family, for our house, for our clothes, for this good food. And for our beds, and the table and chairs, and the dishes and the glasses…”  Continue reading