Moving to a More Natural Lifestyle: Ramblings of a Former Coupon Queen

Moving to a More Natural Lifestyle: Ramblings of a Former Coupon Queen

I used to be a coupon addict. No…really. I would take my coupon binder camping – in the woods – with all of nature – and no electricity. There I was, in the woods…just me and my coupons with the Sasquatches. A year ago, if I could see myself where I am now, I would have told my husband that I had lost my mind and he needed to commit me to an institution. And yet, here I am – a complete 180 from what I used to be. Why?

Why did I make this HUGE change? It was for my baby girl, Annie…but now it’s turned out to be the best thing for my whole family.

In March 2011, I led my readers on a family journey called Stacy Goes Storeless where I did not shop retail the entire month. I wanted to prove to my readers that stockpiling worked. During that month, we only ate what I had stockpiled and it caused us to take a serious look at what we were putting in our bodies – high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and food colorings, to name a few. Yuck.

And Now

I started reading all I could get my hands on, and we changed our diet. At first, I thought it would only change how we ate….but then everything changed. I started making my own cleaners and buying homemade soaps. My husband jokingly says that I need to wear a tie-dyed skirt (I’m actually wanting one of those!) and drive a VW van (no plans for that purchase, but if you have one you’d like to give me I’ll take it).

I’ve embraced this new, natural lifestyle….but it was a gradual change. I encourage everyone who wants to make this switch to TAKE IT SLOW – or else you’ll end up going crazy and could possibly be relocated to the poorhouse where you’ll live until your mama sends you a cake with a file inside so that you can bust out.

Making the Switch

As we ran out of something in our home, I replaced it with something better: coconut oil for canola oil, butter for margarine, frozen veggies for canned veggies. For the love of Pete! I couldn’t just throw all that food out – I’m frugal all the way down to my undies. So, I would use it and comfort myself with the fact that I would replace it with something better.

I will tell you that I did throw out a good bit of the soy that I found lurking in my shelves. Soy scares me now….and there is good reason to avoid it. I was scared to death that our budget would go to pot and we wouldn’t be able to afford high quality food – but let me tell you something, people….that’s a LIE OF THE DEVIL.

The mindset that we cannot “afford” good food for our family on a modest budget is not true. We just have to prioritize and set goals. I quickly found out that my budget could stay the same by buying in bulk and buying items in season to freeze (I was already doing this since I was raised on a farm – so I have a preserving instinct).

Don’t buy into the lie that you can’t buy good food and you can only afford Twinkies and HoHos…just start slow and begin to replace your food with something better when it runs out.

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Image by Sara Alfred

Out With the Soap

At first, the food seemed to make sense – but I still embraced my body wash and Colgate toothpaste. Don’t touch my Bath and Body Works stuff, dude – I might have bitten your hand off. But then I started to notice a change in Annie’s skin – it was rough and dried out. Depending on what type of soap I used on her, she got red splotches. Weird. Soap is supposed to make you feel clean and beautiful – not red and splotchy like you have the pox.

I immediately switched to natural soap for Annie and saw a HUGE change in her skin….and I slapped myself when I realized that it couldn’t be that great for Barry and I either. Duh.

Your skin is your largest organ – why slather it all over with chemicals? I can’t even pronounce that stuff and here I am smearing it inside my mouth. Doesn’t that seem crazy to anyone else?

So, now I’m buying homemade soap from a wonderful local lady – for our body, hair, and shaving. One product…more room in the shower – no bottles to knock over. Natural lotions and no fluoride in our toothpaste. Has this totally creamed my budget? Nope. I find that by cutting out all the unneeded mess, I had plenty of room to buy nice soap – one thing to do the job of many. Now I have this handy dandy little book from MadeOn called My Buttered Life with EASY recipes for making your own lotions…I can’t wait to dive in!

Do I still use some of that yucky stuff? Yep, I’m phasing it out and we’re almost done – “au natural” here we come! My next step in the bathroom will be to make our own deodorant. Being natural doesn’t mean you have to smell like Pepe Le Pew.

Natural Cleaning

I was already making my own laundry detergent because it was cheap….and I’m cheap (I try to embrace it). So, when I began the switch to natural cleaners, it was pretty easy.

Here’s a news flash: homemade cleaners are CHEAP, BABY! You can clean your entire house with white vinegar and baking soda. Natural cleaners are just a part of my cheap lifestyle – it’s a beautiful thing. I bought a great book called Simply Clean which has totally revolutionized how I clean now….it’s a miracle book full of cleaning recipes for every room in the house. It’s my favorite eBook of all time.

If you’re cheap, or you want to be cheap like me, then natural cleaners are a great place to start! If the food switch overwhelms you, start with cleaners first. I think it will make your switch a lot easier. Next on my list to make this a huge batch of liquid dish detergent, using the recipe from The Farmer’s Nest.

Where Am I Now

I’m still very new to this lifestyle….but I am excited about it and I’m blessed to have a husband that is on board. I’m now delving into the world of natural medicines and it’s a little slower going – a lot of information to wrap my mind around – but I’m gradually changing out our medicine cabinet.

So, that’s my testimony – I wanted to share it with you because I know a lot of women out there are scared…scared of the switch – afraid they can’t do it. I’m living proof that it can be done – you can put down the coupons and save more money. And let me tell you something, honey – using coupons does not make you frugal. Switching to this lifestyle – making things at home and getting rid of the chemicals – still left us enough money in our budget to pay off our home mortgage balance of $20,000 in eight months on only one income.

You can do it – you can make the change. I’m with you all the way… I’ll be your cheerleader.

What has it looked like for you to move to a more natural lifestyle? What inspired your changes?

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  1. Stacy, I can relate to your story 100%. I too was a coupon junkie and yes it did feel great to get so many products free but our health was changing for the worse. At that point I knew some changes needed to be made. The changes are not only keeping us healthy but was also a huge load off my shoulders. As you know, couponing is very time consuming. Sunday coupon clipping became such a chore that I didn’t enjoy doing it anymore.

    Great post!

    1. Couponing IS time consuming….and like you, I feel like such a weight has been lifted. It’s a BIG blessing.

  2. As always, I LOVE your voice! You educate while making your readers laugh out loud! Love it! You say you’ve made a slow transition, but I’d say it’s been fast! You’ve done almost everything in less than a year! It’s taken me much, much longer! (Hey–I don’t even grind my own flour yet!) Great post!

  3. What a great post! I started the whole coupon thing, but like you, realized really quickly how much more processed stuff I was bringing in. Now I really only clip coupons for the things I actually use, and it’s a whole lot less stress. I’ve been using my homemade laundry detergent for about two years, and actually prefer it to most commercial brands. The thing I’ve been doing for about 3 years now that still makes me shake my head in disbelief is that I wash my face in an olive oil/caster oil mix. Yep, I do. Still makes me laugh, but by golly, my skin looks amazing! I just recently started using a homemade surface cleanser. The bathtubs look great, and the cost savings was awesome! One step at a time! I figure if I don’t like a product that I make, I can always go back to the commercial version. So far, homemade rules!

    1. Your statement reminds me of something my youth pastor used to say. “Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the Devil will always take you back.” LOL

  4. What a great article. I used to coupon a lot more until we got an Aldi’s near my house too. For the record Shaklee has an organic cleaner that is actually cheaper then vinegar. I have been using that now for 2 years.

    I would like to get off my dependence of chemically laden dish soap and laundry detergent. Curiously how long have you been making your own. Sometimes I wonder if there are long term consequences on the machinery or septic using alternatives like that? Otherwise I think I would be all in if I didn’t worry about that.

    1. I didn’t have septic at my townhouse – I had the sewer system. I didn’t see any difference in my washer though…and it was already old to begin with. 🙂 I’ve been using the homemade detergent for a bit over a year now.

  5. Thanks for sharing! This sounds similar to our journey (which was accelerated by the knowledge that I was pregnant and wanting to protect the little life growing inside!). I’m curious, what kind of (bar) soap were you thinking to use to make dish soap? That’s one product I’ve been wanting to replace but can’t get over the $$$$$ of the “natural” dish soaps 🙁 Thanks!

    1. The link that I provided above uses Mrs. Meyers bar soap, but I purchased several bars of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap to try. 🙂

      1. Thanks! I guess I wasn’t sure if the recipe you linked to (which stated it was hand soap) would need to be altered for dish soap or not.

        1. Several people in the comments section said they used it for everything. 🙂 So, I sorta went with that. 🙂

  6. Totally agree! I too use to be a coupon addict and now I am more concerned about our well being then the cheapest item I can get. I first noticed a difference in my youngest health and from there it just got better. Thanks for sharing your accomplishments!

  7. You have inspired me! I do want to eat more healthy. I bought a juicer and now I’m going to start jusicing. And eat more better..I know I’ll loose weight and have a lot more energy. I’ve done a lot of reading and seen many shows on these matters, but I have to tell you after reading about your transition, I starting today..You are never to old to change. Keep writing. Alway learning, always changing. That’s what life’s all about!

    1. You can do it! 🙂 God will bless your efforts…and let me know if I can do anything at all to help you.

  8. Great post! I completely agree. I used to do coupons. But I switched my family to a mostly-vegetarian diet and began buying our produce from a local produce shop. That strategy, paired with making my own household cleaner has saved me so much money (way more than couponing!) that now I can actually afford to buy organic for most of our groceries!

  9. Great post, Stacy! A lot to learn, but it’s all so interesting! I have been enjoying my switch from the SAD and life to traditional foods and more of a crunchy lifestyle. I can’t imagine going back!

  10. What an inspirational story! I love you Stacy:) You’re always so really and just “tell it like it is”…my kind of girl! Thank you for keepin’ it real and helping everyone to see that living this lifestyle is attainable!

  11. Good for you!!!!! I am on this journey too. I am retired with a really small income. So my reason for doing the cleaning products change is $$$$ such a big savings. I use castile soap that I make, it is great for the skin and costs only pennies.
    I live near an Amish bulk store and I save a lot shopping there. I have found some things cheaper at an ethnic store as well. Mexican market has huge bags of rice and beans pretty cheap. The Asian market here has some good buys as well.
    I am into healthy eating as well. I cant really afford the organics all of the way. I do not eat processed food. It takes a bit longer to cook from scratch but I do multiple meals so even a person who worked could manage the change. Planning and a crock pot.
    I am enjoying the challenge of it and I even think its fun to find new ways of doing things.
    Margaret is my go to place for all of these recipes and ideas

  12. Wow – that is incredible on your mortgage pay-off! Congrats! Reading your article, I realize I’m a lot further down the “natural” road than I thought. I don’t even think about it anymore, but we eat very little “processed” food. it is still conventional, for the most part, but it wouldn’t be hard to switch to organic meats, oats, etc. We fall hard, though, for eating out, cereal and soda. 🙁

    But I have hope. I, too, make our laundry soap, (I haven’t found a DW soap recipe I like yet) and have even considered making family cloth (-ahem- for #1 only :/ ) I make yogurt and have a homemade bread recipe I LOVE. I plan on making my own cleaners soon – because I have athsma and know how much I dislike using them – and I can’t bring myself to ask the kids to use them to do the chores that they are more than able to do if it wasn’t for the cleaners.

    I was raised using coupons. I hit them HARD when the kids were in diapers and there were fantastic deals when you hit the sales right. That fueled stocking up on razors (which we still have a stock of), toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Then suddenly, I didn’t need to buy baby diapers, had a stock of non-food items. and no desire for shopping with kids who hated it. Then It made sense to switch to less-processed foods and scratch cooking. And there I am now. My kids didn’t even KNOW you can buy breaded chicken at the grocery store until I had surgery a few months ago and had to get some convenience food to get us by. (and I haven’t bought it since!)

    1. Wow! You’re doing great! 🙂 And I know for sure there are times in our life when we need to extend grace to ourselves (like surgery, etc) when we have to eat processed…I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 principle. 🙂

    2. Jenny, I like the dishwasher soap recipe of 1T baking soda and 1T borax with vinegar added in place of the rinse agent. I think the real difference is that I used vinegar with 20% acidity that I bought at Lowe’s. It is quite a bit more expensive than regular vinegar, but it takes so little per wash load and comes in a gallon jug so it should last a long time. It actually cleans my dishes better than cascade ever did with NO SPOTS! (And we have EXTREMELY hard water.) One tip – you have to scrub the food off of your dishes before you put them into the dishwasher. You can also substitute washing soda for the borax, but I haven’t tried that yet.

      1. I’ve also been told that LemiShine (or citric acid) works well at getting rid of the spots in the dishwasher. 🙂

  13. We started with our household cleaners and it saves money so I can spend a little more on whole, good for us foods. Another great recipe book for household cleaners is Clean and Green. And whipping up a batch of glass cleaner or all purpose cleaner takes less time than a trip to the store.

    1. People are under the impression that making your own stuff takes tons of time….and that’s a VERY false assumption. You’re right – less time than going to the store. 🙂

  14. Great post!

    Being pregnant in 2010 was the catalyst for my move toward natural living. It has been a slow journey here too.
    I am an advocate of balance and I too was not going to throw away everything in our cupboards and go off grid in two months. I made small changes, soaps, cleaners, replacing things as they were used. Switching to raw milk, making my own bread, etc.
    My husband is reluctant to change some things and I honor what he wants to hang on to right now knowing that it will change some day.

    1. We really do have to keep our spouses happy. For me that means that sometimes I let him buy Diet Coke and eat at Long John Silvers. 🙂 We don’t want them to buckle against a new lifestyle, but we DO want them to see how much better they feel.
      My husband’s mind was totally made up when he saw how much better he felt after getting rid of all the processed stuff.

  15. This was a wonderful post, Stacy! I’m all motivated to make the switch. Wait, I already made the switch a few years ago…. But I really am re-motivated! It’s so fun to read others’ testimonies of making the switch. Well done, friend! Well done!

    1. You’ve got a couple years on me. 🙂 I loved learning your little tip about tea tree oil on the feet.
      You’re one smart cookie! 🙂

  16. Nice job Stacy, I love that you mentioned couponing. My friends and family members are raving about couponing. I think it’s a waste of time for me. I dont’ buy any of the products they advertise. Almost all of them are harmful. As a mother who is watching out for her families health, coupons are not for me.

    As for what has inspired me to make a change, good question. I have been asked this before. I think it comes from a mother with many food allergies. A sister-in-law who strives for organic. A mother-in-law who would rather make it herself than pay the big bucks and a husband who loves to save money.

    Also my son is suffering with the same red spots all other his body expect diaper area ( strangely enough). I have just recently made my own soap and am eager to try it out on him to see if it works. Any more suggestions are much appreciated.

  17. So true! I have switched to all natural body care for myself but my husband think it’s all very weird. But I can’t complain; he’s been a good sport with all the other changes I’ve brought to his life:)

    1. Anne, he’ll likely change. I’ve noticed that men just want to make their own decisions about this stuff. 🙂
      And we are “weird’ according to normal standards! 😉

  18. Stacy you are so awesome. And your blog helps everyone realize how easy it can be! You rock!

  19. Great post! And congrats on your mortgage – that is FANTASTIC!!!

    I also used to be a “coupon queen.” Then, I started getting sick a lot, had horrible heartburn and just overall felt terrible. I had always been interested in health and fitness – and loved to cook, so it was natural for me to begin studying those areas. Leads me to where I am today as a Certified Health Coach – with an emphasis on whole foods and natural living! I truly believe in balance in everything, so although you won’t see me buying junk food – if the kids get some at a birthday party, you also won’t see me taking it away from them – 80/20 is my rule too! My next goals are to start investigating essential oils and homemade / natural beauty products – I love learning about all our options – fun stuff!!!

    1. I am learning about oils too…and they are SO interesting. There are several great posts here at KOTH about them!

  20. This is a great journey!

    I, too, am making the switch slowly but surely. I wish I had done some of this back when I was a young wife and mom. Alas, lateis better than never!

    With us it started by doing a fun family activity. We decided to get a community garden plot. Then I moved to essential oils and from then educating myslef, our life has exploded! Medically, food, mindset, FREEDOM!!

    And you are right, replenish more than replace. And I found that it does cost the same, because you are now starting to buy useful things, not loads of junk food. Granted we still get treats, but it is now ever so often as opposed to a need.

    Great post!

  21. I enjoyed this post, although I made most of my changes over many years ago starting as a teen since I had such bad health issues then. Gradual is definately the way to go, especially for the budget hit. I do find that where I live though that good food, no matter how hard I try, really does take A LOT of money and more than processed food by FAR for us. I live in a more rural, semi-isolated area and don’t have a lot of access to lots of good deals, although we do what we can stocking up, picking TONS of berries, growing a garden, part of a buying club (although the deals mostly aren’t better I have to watch that) etc. I noticed even though I am shopping at (albeit smaller) version of the larger Loblaws/Superstore etc chain for a lot of my groceries that the same store closer to the big city where I was recently for a few weeks was $1-2 cheaper per item same thing I am buying where I live. I guess its gas costs to transport it here too. So we do have to make choices at times that I would rather not make (I’d rather buy everything organic) but I just can’t or else we really would go broke. So I try to stick with the best I can afford which might mean non organic food that is still in its most natural state or things like that.

    Anyways…I totally think that its worth it, and I see the results in our health. One major thing I think about is how my kids have rarely been sick in their young lives (3 and 6) and when they do get sick its hardly long before they are better. I think that is something major and I think it has to do a lot with how we eat/what products we use.

    1. I don’t purchase all organic items either. Would I like to? Sure…but the budget won’t allow me to. And I’ve always said, staying home to take care of my babies trumps buying all organic foods. 🙂

      1. I agree! Sometimes I want something (whether it be more organic food or a couch thats in better condition or whatever…) and then I think that this is much better to stay home with my kids!!

  22. Love the post! I’ve been trying to convince my couponing friends that the way I shop isn’t crazy just because I choose to not let a ton of processed foods into my shopping cart! I think I will be guiding them to this post now 🙂

    1. They’re probably just not ready to hear it yet. 🙂 But if they DO need proof, I can sure give it to them. Our health speaks for itself.

  23. This is wonderful! I agree with you and my journey is very similar to yours. Paying down our mortgage and all! I’d love to hear more about your grocery budget and compare notes! 🙂

  24. Thank you for sharing Stacy. I have a question: are there any natural household cleaners that do a good job of sanitizing and cleaning the jerms? Just getting it to look clean isn’t good enough when it comes to the bathroom, etc.

  25. ok, I followed your link (Back to the Basics: Frugal, Non-Toxic Green Cleaning) and found the answer to my question. peroxide is good for disinfecting.

  26. I loved your line: “a lie from the devil”… so true. People will twist and squirm for years believing their compromising is just, well, necessary. Then when we finally make a change we find it’s often pretty danged simple and straightforward and the only thing making more change so difficult is US. Our own selves just being scared.
    One note about deodorants: I read that if your magnesium level is adequate, body odor is nonexistent. I have been ON magnesium therapy (mostly soaking in tub with magnesium flakes) and OFF any kind of deodorant for a couple months now… no b.o.
    Before that I had been using either liquid crystal or coconut oil, both very inexpensive.

    1. awesome to know!! I know that the more junk food I consume the more smelly I am. As we have cleaned up our diet even my nasty oniony smelling teens don’t have as much problem! Thanks for the magnesium news!! 🙂

  27. THanks for the tips! I love natural stuff and want to go that route but the world makes it so hard… expensive, inconvenient, controversial… uggghhh! Every little bit we can do helps though 🙂

    1. Yes….every little bit DOES add up. Making one little change at a time is how we’re making this journey work. 🙂

  28. i am like you and have to do things a little at a time. i have been at the switch for quite a while and our food is about where i want it… buying seasonally and in bulk has been a key for me. cleaning, i am about half and half at this point as well as in skin care. we make our own deodorant (have for almost 2 years and love it) and have been on the no-poo method for three months as a whole family. my next step is to try oil cleansing on my own face since pregnancy has made my face really dry and sensitive. great post! i love hearing your journey.

    1. It sounds like you’re doing fabulous! I want to be where you are now…maybe in a few months. 🙂 Gradual is my mantra.

  29. Thank you for the wonderful post! I too have been gradually becoming healthier. A good way to get rid of food that you just can’t stand to throw out, (after all, it cost MONEY), is to give it to your local food pantry. I have to admit I do feel a bit guilty about that. After all, that stuff is poison. The mindset that those “food” items are poison has helped me to throw out the rest of the items that I could not donate (opened or expired-but-frozen). Now if I could just convince my husband to stop buying the stuff… have you written anything about THAT?!

    A GREAT way to use up that harmful body soap and shampoo – without further endangering your health – is to use it to clean the toilet. It works like a charm if you clean your toilet regularly. I cannot take credit for this idea, however, it comes form Flylady.

    Thank you for the recipes and ideas. Your point that you can stay within budget and eat healthy is so true. Cooking from scratch greatly reduces your pantry contents. I love the simplicity of a healthy lifestyle!

    1. I’m very blessed to have a husband who is totally on board. 🙂 I’ve found that if the wife cooks the meals, it’s pretty easy to control that part. BUT, we have to keep our spouses happy so they don’t totally buck the idea. I find that letting Barry have a diet coke now and then and pick what we’re eating for dinner sometimes has really helped.
      If he needs to buy a Twinkie now and then to survive, I really think that’s okay.
      🙂 We try to embrace the 80/20 lifestyle. If I can get my family to eat well 80% of the time, I don’t worry too much about the other 20%.

  30. I am in love with this post. I’m constantly telling people that it’s entirely possible to eat healthy whole foods while being frugal. Processed foods seem cheaper, but they really ugly aren’t and they take a toll on one’s health. When I got pregnant with my son in 2005, I really ugly started to look at what I was putting into and on my body. I started small with natural cleaners and I am still learning. I now make most of our body care products. I am learning a lot about cooking from scratch. I just started making our own butter and yogurt. It’s awesome and I have had a lot of fun learning over the years.

    1. I look forward to learning more about body care products. For now, I’m just trying to buy better things…but making my own would be really nice. 🙂

  31. I tried sharing this with a friend because she’s looking to implement a more natural lifestyle for her family…but she can’t open the tells her it’s forbidden :-(…Any ideas why this might be happening? (I shared both the facebook post and the actual link of the post from the blog, neither worked).

    Thank you for any help and advice 🙂

  32. I’ve made this switch myself over the past 3 years since my daughter was born. I too shun coupons for the frightening products that are usually featured in them. I did want to encourage you about switching to natural medicine. Finding a good naturopath has been very helpful for our family. Also, I buy nearly all of my natural remedies and homeopathic treatments from Also, if you are in an area serviced by Azure Standard farms you absolutely must check them out too. Very good prices on all sorts of natural living products, bulk foods, even produce. Between Azure Standard and I can find most of the products we use regularly for at least half the cost of buying them at my local healthfood store or even from my naturopath.

    Don’t forget about CSA and farmers markets too. Buying good quality produce doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

    It’s so nice to see others who are on this journey. And my family teases me all the time about being a hippy now. My mom recently asked me if she should worry that I was going to stop bathing anytime soon. I know she was joking, but I really didn’t find it funny. I’m focusing on living cleaner all around, not just finding an antibacterial chemical to “sanitize” my skin. It’s definitely a lifestyle. A much simpler lifestyle.

    1. Tara, I just LOVE Vitacost! 🙂 I bought almost all of my essential oils there because of their great prices. I love a good deal.
      I also just switched to a homeopathic doctor and I’m super excited about that.
      I’m blessed that my parents live on a farm and share their garden bounty – I’ve been raised to preserve food – so it’s in my blood. 😉
      And you are spot on sister – it IS a much simpler lifestyle.
      Thanks for stopping by to comment! 🙂

  33. Oh, fabulous post. I’m going to bookmark this, so I can go back and read it later 🙂 🙂 My journey into a natural living/healthier lifestyle started when I read Jordan Rubin’s book “The Maker’s Diet” That was a life-changing moment for me 😉 🙂 I’m so much healthier and happier. As a natural by-product of eating healthier, I’ve also lost a lot of weight. It’s a choice everyone has to make for themselves…for my small family, it’s been a great choice 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

    1. Another book you might enjoy is What The Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell. It changed how we view food.

  34. This was a fun post to read. I’m currently on the same journey, taking it slow. Interestingly, for me it started due to lack of good coupon deals [due to the recession, I assume]. I’ve always been striving for natural food… my husband on the other hand still wants so processed stuff – so we still do use coupons. Once I [finally] run out of couponed cleaning supplies (I don’t think I clean enough) I’m on track for homemade. Bath items are one thing we still use coupons for. No one in my family seems to have sensitive skin, but this is inspiring to read that it can be done. Thanks.

    1. Keep the husband happy. 🙂 Let him have his little treats here and there…as you change your lifestyle, he’ll likely see how much better he feels and jump right on the train. 🙂

  35. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! “I was scared to death that our budget would go to pot and we wouldn’t be able to afford high quality food – but let me tell you something, people….that’s a LIE OF THE DEVIL.” –> SO true!!
    When my husband and I made the 180 switch to a more natural lifestyle we found our shopping and cooking habits changed more than our budget.

    1. That’s great! 🙂 I love debunking the myth that healthy eating is TOO EXPENSIVE.

  36. We are in the process of going all natural and for deodorant I started using Thai Stone. It is a crystal stick that you just dampen and use just like regular deodorant. You can find another kind of it at Walgreens it is called Crystal. It is a purple bottle and in my store it is on the very bottom shelf.

    1. I’ve heard of the stone, but I had no idea they sold it at Walgreens. Cool! 🙂

    2. I have found that colloidal silver makes a great deoderant. The silver will kill any bacteria, and that’s where the odor comes from. And you can make the CS for cheap if you have the equipment. Silver is one of THE best antibiotics on the planet without harming you 🙂

    3. Those crystals are often made of strait aluminum and are worse for you than traditional deodorants. They suck people in with the “all natural” claim. 🙁

  37. essential oils are a must, but please do not buy cheap ones, youngliving oils or doterra. a great book to read to educate yourself on natural health are, “how to raise healthy children in spite of your doctor”. we are learning our self too and its a fun journey. he are alot less sick now

  38. I loved this post! This is just the encouragement I needed today. As of November, we have gone organic for all foods. I am working toward natural items for the household. I started making my own shower cleaner and drain cleaner. As soon as my stockpile of toiletries and cleaners is gone, it’s natural all the way! No more chemicals if we can help it! Thanks so much, Stacy, for this post!

  39. I just stumbled across this post and wanted to say a big THANK YOU!! Reading about being more green or organic seems to add more stress to my life than take it away, as I’m just starting out on this journey and felt judged when I read of how ‘perfect’ others were. You just seem so real and that helped me feel that there’s others out there who are just figuring it out as well. Thanks again!

    1. Yes….I used to let the “perfection” of others get me down. Now I just tell myself “they probably sweep dirt under the carpet and don’t tell anyone.” LOL

  40. Great post!! I seldom use coupons for the reason that I don’t want to buy the products that most of the coupons are for! What you save by buying overly processed foods and chemical-based products, you will eventually spend in doc bills. I grow a garden and support my local farmer’s market. I have almost always made my own cleaners. I stopped making my own soap but really need to go back (just got busy, I guess). And I’ve done natural herbal health for several years now. The natural medicine is more expensive but if you eat right, you barely ever need it. I do NOT compromise on my vitamins/supplements.

    1. Natural medicine is a bit expensive….but I sorta feel like it’s comparable with most prescriptions. 🙂 And you’re right….food can heal very well, so you don’t need meds as often.

  41. OMGosh! That’s exactly where I am right now. Feeling like I got swallowed up by the couponing monster, and wanting to simplify and go back to more natural things. Just getting started, ad my husband thinks I’ve lost my marbles, but that’s what he first thought when I began couponing too, it’s become such a chore though! Baby steps on my way to better health for the family. Almost growing season, so I’m stocking up on seeds and canning and freezing necessities.

    1. You just give your husband time, honey. 🙂 I think when he sees how much better everyone feels, he’ll be in it for life!
      And you just let me know if you ever need encouragement.

  42. Thank you Stacy for your very informative writings. I too made the big change to country living after an ‘inner city’ life for the sakes of my children and health. As I educate at home as well, I can do with as many tips as I can get on living within one’s means and on one income! Thank you for sharing your knowledge in this department. On the topic of alternative health, I thought you may be interested to hear of the simple and very frugal ‘alternative’ to medicine – Natural Hygiene. If you go to the website of you will get some great information and further links. All the best,

    1. Well, thank you very much for sharing that link! 🙂 I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a frugal approach!

  43. I just loved your post! I always struggle with trying to be coupon mom and natural mom. Thanks for the encouragement~

    1. Don’t struggle, honey. 🙂 Do the best you can. Good enough is good enough. 🙂

  44. I’ve never been a fan of shopping… malls make me sooo cranky! By simply not mindlessly frequenting retail establishments, more money is saved than coupons ever could!

  45. Stacey, this is the article that needed writing by someone who had lived the lifestyle. I have long advocated that couponing is for people who absolutely do not care about their health or don’t KNOW how bad all those foods are that they drop coupons on. Less expensive, or even FREE, is smoke and mirrors. It is not FREE if it will eventually make your sick, or lethargic, or cost you the price of medical services and prescriptions. I do not coupon. I have not couponed in a very long time because of these reasons. Someone like you who has truly been a dedicated coupon user will reach LOTS and LOTS of people who will listen to you because you’ve been there. GOOD FOR YOU!! And good for your family because of your decisions! I’ll be stopping back to learn more about what you’re doing. Really interested in the homemade soap you buy and the lotion recipes. I have LOTS of coconut oil. Hope it uses that. 🙂

    1. Thank you Robynn!!! 🙂 That was a very encouraging comment. Thanks so much for leaving it. 🙂

  46. I had a friend keep asking me to teach him how to super coupon like on t.v. he knew I lived on very little and was convenced that was the best way to save money. so many things in coupon ads I would skip over because I would have never bought them in the first place but sometimes I’d see something I didn’t know about-cut the coupon and find it cost more than I imagined. sometimes there are store coupons for whole foods the only thing that was worthwhile was fiminine hygine stuff. i switched to cloth liners and menstral cup about same price as next three year generic brand (got it around 27 birthday you use a different size after child birth or age 30) after 17 years of not being able to function for a day or two a month with out ibprofen I haven’t had it in the house in 3 months. I use to fill guilty that I hated using toothpaste but then I found out most tooth pastes are bad and using a soft brush and water is perfectly fine I know eat one tiny spry “mint” candy after each meal. I use a roll on version of crystal deoderant especially after finding out breast cancer is in the lymphes in the arm pits antipersprent was out of the question. as for shampoo sauve started to be to harsh I switched to baby shampoo but it left build up no tangle spray would made my hair more pron to tangle I tried the generic form of wen it worked awesome but it was too much money I tried many other things like clay, castil soap, vingar, baking soda, cornstarch. not to say they didn’t clean my hair but nothing was as cheap or easy as what I had been use to until I decided to just use water. I bought a boars hair brush I still use the other brushes combs. but I will never use shampoo again I haven’t used it since late in august nor have I used body wash my hair is great and I don’t stink (note that I wened my self slowly off shampoo at the time I stopped I was using a small amont of mild shampoo once a week) . I still use hand soap and dish soap. I recently learned about wool dryer balls for cutting down on drier time it seemed you need 6-8 for large load which is all ever do they cost $5-11 each plus shipping so I looked into making them I found wool roving online at sugarloafwool for one dollar an oz the amount needed for each ball they seemed easy to make so I ordered enough to make 3 sets of 8. My mom’s my sister’s and my house. for christmas. The shipping rates made it logical to buy batting for making new quilt and mattress pad in the same order. the only disposibles I still do are paper towel for grease and truly yucky stuff I don’t want in my wash and rasors from the dollar tree and charmin ultra strong 2 ply is more than twice as good as 1 ply. I still have more to learn for sure but I just want to encourage you in your journey before trying a new product explore what using nothing at all looks like. way to go by the way!

  47. I always enjoy my visits here with you Stacy. Thank you for sharing your journey…it’s always encouraging to read how others (you, in this case) keep a budget on a *real foods* diet. I hopped over from Keeper of the Home today to read this article. What you wrote over at Keeper of the Home was a great read, too. I appreciate your *real* encouragement! 🙂

    Many Blessings,

  48. Stacey, so glad I found this article! Such a relief to hear “take it slow” when wanting to switch to a more natural lifestyle. I like your blog to begin with, and now I know I can utilize your site on links for homemade soap, etc. My biggest hurdle in switching to natural foods is we live in a tiny apartment with NO STORAGE. Between saving the big brother’s stuff for the baby brothers stuff and the books and the hall closet being used as a laundry room, the storage space is maxed out — otherwise, I’d love to buy in bulk! We have one of those refrigerators with a smaller freezer on top and a larger fridge on bottom, and I’m learning to make the most of that freezer with my homemade soups. I console myself with the notion that living and eating even a BIT healthier is better than none at all!

    But, anyway, thank you for writing this! I love stumbling onto your older posts that are some useful for my present day life!

    And PS: if you really want a tie dye skirt, let me know. I do tie dye. 😉

    1. Brandy made me a tie dyed skirt and I LOVE IT! 🙂
      Yes, no space makes things harder, but it’s fun to be creative with the space you do have… stuff in the car. LOL Just kidding.

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