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You can afford better food: 10+ ways to get more out of your grocery budget

Let's start with this: I am NOT a picky eater, but I'm choosy about my food. I haven't always been this way: when I first lived on my own, life was full of Pizza Hut and mac and cheese and ramen noodles and nary a vegetable in sight. I thought spending 50 cents on green onions was a splurge.

The first changes in my adult eating habits happened when I read Micheal Pollan's rules for eating. That link is a LONG article, and well worth the read, but I'll summarize: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. And don't eat food with more than five ingredients. He goes on to say that if you're confused, you should stick to foods your grandmother would recognize. That's pretty simplistic. In real terms, how do you get there?

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Make your own citrus enzyme cleaner

Let me start out by saying I AM NOT A PATIENT PERSON. Just ask anyone in my family. No wait, don't. Just trust me on this one.

So when I read about making this enzyme cleaner that takes 3 MONTHS to "mature"…I just knew I could never stand the waiting! So I ALMOST passed on this idea….until I read a way how to speed the process up from 3 months to TWO WEEKS!

I thought about it long and hard….and after some DEEP soul searching…I decided I COULD do 2 weeks.

A month after making my batch of cleaner, I hadn't even gotten around to trying it — so I decided the bathroom would be my first "test subject".

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Stop using plastic baggies: replace them with this homemade reusable fabric alternative

Like a good enviro-conscious Seattleite, I've been trying to reduce my usage of plastics and non-compostables. I realized the majority of plastic baggies we use are to hold dry snacks, and it seems like an awful waste to keep buying them, using them, and throwing them away. My friend stumbled upon some fabric reusable pouches on the internet, and per usual, I decided to try my hand at making a few!

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Make your own homemade dishwasher detergent

I fear my hot water bill is going to be SKY HIGH next month! For the last couple of weeks I have washed and re-washed and re-washed AGAIN load after load of dishes trying to figure out just the right "recipe" for clean and CLEAR dishes! After taking a good, long look at my own dishes, I had to admit that the homemade version wasn't doing quite as good a job as the stuff in the green box I'd been using for years.

Of course the store-bought stuff hasn't been doing as good a job as IT used to do either since the ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergent went into effect. It took us MONTHS to figure THAT one out.

Anyway, I've got it sorted now — and I'm pleased to share.