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The Frugal Guide to Must-Have Soaps


Amber is a single mom on a fixed income, a couponer, a DIYer, and an accounting student who knows the value of her pennies.

Learn all about soaps and cleaners you need on a budget

Learn all about soaps and cleaners you need on a budget

Consumerism: The mindset that we need to spend, spend, spend. You "need" body wash for the shower, you need hand soap for the sink, and you need a different bottle or package for everything.

I feel like sales are a distraction, making us "feel" like we're saving money when, in reality, we are needlessly throwing it away.

Bars of Soap

I usually make my own soap. But lately, things have been a little . . . extreme . . . so I've been slacking a little bit and buying bars of soap.

My go-to pack of soap is always either Ivory or Dove because I can usually find a coupon for them, and I'm pretty cheap like that.

I found a coupon to save $.75 off a pack of Ivory bar soap at, my favorite coupon site.

Of course, I clipped it, and I purchased my soap at Walmart for $3.96

Then I take my pack of soap, and I make a jar of liquid hand washing soap for the bathroom. I make a bottle of body wash for the shower. And I made some dry laundry soap.

Liquid Castile Soap

Castile soap is named that because it uses olive oil, and is named after a region in Spain where olive oil is life.

It leaves my skin feeling so soft. I have used it in home made shampoo, shower jellies, and hand soap.

I'm actually doing research to learn how to make it myself. Of course. Because it is quite expensive. More on that later.

Liquid Dish Soap

I still always buy my liquid dish soap. I usually use Dawn because that's what I find coupons for. But, a little goes a long way.

Not only for washing dishes, I make my floor cleaner out of it. Can't live without it. I live in probably one of the first apartment buildings ever built in my town, pretty sure the linoleum has been there since the dawn of time.

When I first moved in, it was pretty icky looking. As time went on, my floor cleaner took away that ickiness, and now they're actually getting pretty shiny.


Oh, vinegar, how I love thee.

I use it for everything from laundry softener to floor cleaner to heart burn remedy. And it tastes good on french fries.

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I could probably write an article on 1,000 uses for vinegar, but I'll save you from that. Just know that in a frugal girl's world, vinegar is boss.

Baking Soda, Washing Soda

I'll combine these two, because really, they're almost the same thing.

  • Baking Soda: NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules)
  • Washing Soda: Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules).

So, washing soda is just baking soda on steroids. And it is oh so handy.

Baking soda can be used for everything. Just like the vinegar. I sometimes consider buying it in bulk.

And for more heavy-duty cleaning (laundry, bathrooms), I like the washing soda.


So borax is making headlines in slime. I know right now the safety of it is up in the air. I've never looked into this; we've never made slime.

But I love borax as a replacement for bleach. The cleaning reaction of it in water creates peroxide but without burning holes through my clothes. Also, it doesn't stink like bleach. Instead, it leaves my bathroom smelling fresh. I like fresh.

I use it in my laundry soap, floor cleaner, bathroom, and as an ant eradicator.

Murphy's Oil Soap

I love this simply for the smell.

I inherited a coffee table that's about as old as I am, and I'm scared to sand and refinish it, but I like to keep the top looking shiny and clean.

Murphy's to the rescue! Also, when I had hardwood floors, I used a tiny bit of Murphy's mixed with vinegar and water. And it was a lovely cleaner.

My Final Thoughts

I just can't get behind the "antibacterial" movement. Unless I'm dealing with open wounds or raw meat on the counter, I prefer to stay away from antibacterial.

Aren't some germs kind of good for us? I ate dirt as a child. I'm mostly ok.

Anyway, I have yet to sit down and figure out exactly how much I save per year by using just a few ingredients for everything in my home, though I might start paying more attention.

I do, however, feel like I'm sticking it to the man when I get to spend my money on more important things, like My Dear Little.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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