Saturday, September 03, 2011

How I Shop For Groceries/Supplies

I  am often asked how I shop for my groceries and household items. I have decided to do a few posts to share with you how I get my stuff. I hope that some of you reading will share things that work for you as well!
In this first post, I would like to share about how I get a lot of my vitamins/herbs and some household items online.

One of my favorite sites to shop is I can usually find what I need for a better price than I can pick it up off the shelf at a store. But not always. It always bears checking out.

A simple way for me to save a bit extra when I shop at Vitacost, is to go through the website to also get 6% back on my purchase. It is a very simple and easy way for me to save money on stuff I am already planning to buy.

Here are a few of the items I get from
Dr. Wood's Castile Soap 
Trace Mineral Stamina
Rainbow Light Vitamins
Cod Liver Oil
Hemp Hearts
Chewable Vitamin C
Shampoo Base (I'll write more about my shampoo later! I really stretch this out...)

For my dried herbs/spices, I have two sites I use the most. The Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs. Between these two sites, I can always get what I need in the way of essential oils, spices, herbs, seasonings, oils for lip balm, lotion, etc, and even the containers needed to store the things I have created. So far, neither of these sites are listed on any of my cashback sites. But that's okay, I still like them and I save money by getting my herbs in a larger quantity than what is on the grocery store shelf. And they are sooo much fresher! I also like to shop with a friend on these when I can. It helps both my friend and I out when we can split shipping and even products.

I usually shop at The Bulk Herb Store for most of my bulk dried herbs. I love their herbal mixes, which includes their Cough Tea, Double-E Immune Boost Tea, Mama's Milk Tea, and, one of our favorite, Doctor Cinnamon. I also get Bentonite Clay from them and have recently been using one of the HerbaSmoothie mixes. I also love the fact that you can learn so much about herbs right on The Bulk Herb Store site. Each page is loaded with a ton of info about each product. Many times there are excerpts from several herb books telling about what the herb is used for right on the herb page. They also list whether or not an herb should be used while pregnant or nursing, which is very helpful. There are also simple directions listed on the site telling how to make herbal preparations, such as a tincture, salve, etc. And last but not least, there are numerous how-to videos. These are fun and informative. Bottom line: Go check The Bulk Herb Store out. Even if you are new to herbs, this is a great place to learn.

Mountain Rose Herbs is also an awesome site for learning and shopping. I have not used one thing from them that disappointed me. They usually have good prices and a great selection of high quality herbs, spices, essential oils, carrier oils, clays, teas, bath and body products, etc, etc. It is a really fun site to shop!

One thing I really like about Mountain Rose is the bulk quantity discounts. From their site:
"Bulk Ordering Discounts
Mix and match to receive substantial discounts without having to purchase multiple pounds of the same herb. Accumulate the total whole poundage of your order to receive these discounts
(does not apply to ounce orders)
5-9 lbs - 10% 10-24 lbs - 15%
25-49 lbs - 20% 50-99 lbs - 30%
100+ lbs - 40%"
This can be so helpful when putting in an order! Last time I ordered, it was easy for me to get the 10% discount. I also got some items in my order on sale, and then with the 10% discount it really paid off.

Mountain Rose Herbs also has a large selection of supplies to help with all kinds of herbal projects. Tins, jars, dropper bottles, lip balm tubes, etc.

Thanks for reading about some of my way of shopping. I will share more later, but in the meantime, what are your favorite ways to get the supplies you need?


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Help With Homemade Products

A friend asked me to share some of what I use instead of buying expensive cleaning products/personal care products. I am still learning in this area, but here are a few things I do to save money. This is actually a quote from an email to another friend asking for help...

Here is the laundry soap I am currently using. It is working well.

"Organic Body Care" is a good book I would recommend for recipes for personal body care recipes. It is a great resource. I use her recipe for herbal shampoo. This can also be used as a face wash for oily/combination skin/body wash.
Here is the basic version I use:

 Bring to boil:
2 C. water
Add to boiling water, remove from heat, cover and steep 30 min:
1 T. each of dried herb: Yarrow, Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Peppermint (I get these from Mountain Rose Herbs and the Bulk Herb Store.)
Strain herb mixture, add:
1/2  C. shampoo base or all natural shampoo. (A natural baby shampoo will work as well. I use this one.
Add essential oils to empty shampoo bottle:
5 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops basil essential oil (Unless user is pregnant.)
10 Rosemary essential oil (unless user is pregnant. Rosemary is not to be used by pregnant women!)
5 Lavender essential oil

Add shampoo mix to shampoo bottle and gently mix. Let sit for 24 hrs to fully blend, but I have used it right away many times. =) The book suggests storing it in the fridge or only having a small bottle in the shower and the rest in the fridge...

Yes, it works and we really like this. David asks for it if I run out. We like cinnamon oil in it. Oh, I use the baby toothpaste recipe. This is very easy.  Note: Don't use a metal spoon or container for the clay. I use a plastic measuring spoon to measure the clay and to stir the mixture and I use a small canning jar for the finished product.

A friend and I are about to experiment with soapnuts for handsoap etc. I will let you know how that goes. =)

 Hope this helps!

What are some of your favorite homemade products that work?