Monday, May 26, 2014

Let's talk money - cleaning stuff and toiletries

Loosely, anything we can buy at PnP is classified as groceries so things we don't get there and get at Clicks/ Dischem are:
  1. our prescriptions
  2. some vitamins
  3. make-up, etc.
Again, if PnP stocks it, we get it there for three reasons: 1) we don't like the schlep of multiple stores  2) it often costs you more (your time is worth more than paying R1-2 more at PnP, and the inevitable things that land in your trolley from going to Clicks)  and 3) Vitality points are higher at PnP than at Clicks!

(still I get about R360 in Clicks club card points every 3 months so we still shop there quite a bit! note to self - stop buying nail polish!!!)

Right, so onto the cleaning stuff.

I am a marketer's dream. I could walk down that cleaning aisle (and often do, which is why this month I'm doing online shopping to keep me out of the shops!) and buy everything just to try out new products.


Here are the things we do buy:
  1. toilet rolls (obviously)
  2. the stuff in the photo (except the Mr Muscle and the Handy Andy bottle - I'm working through my "stash" of cleaning things). As you can see, D is obsessed with killing insects :)
  3. bleach
  4. toilet cleaner - the gel
  5. washing powder
  6. white vinegar
  7. stuff in the photos below

  1. I buy one Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner that lasts us forever because I dilute it 1 part: 3 parts water... and yes, it's still strong enough to do its thing on my kitchen counters. My current one is from Oct and we still have to use the last bit in the original bottle.
  2. I use white vinegar instead of fabric softener. No, it doesn't make your clothes smell. Your clothes just smell... clean. I use 1/4 cup per load. I haven't made washing powder yet and that's only because I wouldn't know where to buy borax (remember, if PnP doesn't stock it, it mostly doesn't exist for me *the shame*). I'm not fussy with washing powder because I haven't seen a marked difference in results, so I take the PnP brand. Maybe the vinegar makes a difference here?
  3. I use these things. My goal is to transition to just a few essential cleaning products so I don't need a bathroom cleaner, shower cleaner, kitchen cleaner, etc.

You use just 5 ml in a 750 ml bottle of water. Shake it all up and go clean.

We've been using this stuff over a year and my original bottles are still mostly full. They cost about R75 initially (for both) but look how long they last.

(it's also kid-friendly and kind to the environment, etc, etc. if you're concerned about those kinds of things. I am slightly hippy so I am)

Initially I bought these things at work because we were still having toilet training accidents and have I told you I'm obsessed with clean bathrooms?! 

Now I see PnP sells them too so all is good with the world.

The fabric and carpet cleaner I use for the sweat marks on my t-shirts (I know none of you have those!) and other fabric stains before we need to do laundry.

And that's it.

I know that we save a lot of money with this kind of thing.

Years ago I used to buy Handy Andy (the white liquid), the gel for bathrooms, stuff for our clothes, stuff for the carpets, stuff for the windows, etc, etc. Now I have TWO bottles to take care of it all.

Once I finish those two on the top.

I will still have separate toilet cleaner (see clean bathroom obsession above) but that's the aim.

Any shocks?
Any tips you can share with me?
How much do you spend on cleaning stuff in a month?

(I don't know how much we spend but probably if I had to average it out, I'd say R150 a month. We go through a bag of 9 toilet rolls for the kids' bathroom once a month and another bag of 9 rolls in our bathroom once every 6 weeks. It will change now I'm home probably to also once a month)


  1. OK..I buy Domestos, Handy Andy, Sunlight liquid, Mr Min polish....everything can be cleaned with that...from toilets to floors to kitchen counters.
    But I buy everything from Checkers. I do all my grocery shopping from Checkers (except meat). I do this because I bank with FNB and get ebucks. At Checkers you get 15% back in Ebucks. My grocery bill is R 6 500 a month...that equates to R975 back in ebucks...better savings than pnp and clicks card

    1. I'm going to look into that for us too. We get a lot back with Vitality though - yours sounds great!

  2. I need wood polish like Mr Min. And I am so going to try the vinegar thing. My toilet roll secret? I buy on bulk with the office from the office supplier. It means I pay for nice soft double ply what you pay for single in the shops. I just store the lot

  3. Do the vinegar - I love it!

    I have a weird thing - I really don't like stockpiling but I also do... Yesterday I gave myself a talk in the PnP because on the one hand the dishwashing liquid was only R14. On the other hand, "we don't have space and I am not a hoarder. I am operating from a spirit of abundance"... so I took 2 :)

    1. How do you not like stockpiling?

  4. The cleaning isle usually catches me - our big PnP ALWAYS has banded packs and I am a sucker for a banded pack of anything. I used to buy a kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner etc - now I also just buy a multi purpose cleaner and if he remembers D dilutes it. My domestic comes once a week and I think she drinks the stuff so I actually "hide" what she doesn't need and then she makes do.

    I also buy the PnP washing powder OR whatever one is on special. I don't use any fabric softener!

    I am not sure of our spend because of the banded packs some months I buy nothing and others I will buy a lot. But I doubt it's more than R200 if even that!

    OH we have the dishwashing tablets which aren't cheap!

  5. I am surprised by the no sta soft thing. I am doing to try the white vinegar on a couple of loads and see how it goes. We buy too many cleaning supplies as well. It's actually ridiculous!

    Like I said on my message earlier thank you for this series of posts - it has really woken me up to how much money I am wasting!


  6. Domestos for toilet and deep cleaning, handy andy for bath and surfaces sunlight soap, lots of sunlight liquid,bleach and something to clean furniture with - usually Mr Min which lasts me AT LEAST 3 months.
    Joel has eczema so I had to stop using washing powder. He can only use that sunlight washing powder which is expensive. So I now do our laundry using sunlight liquid which is actually the same thing and also cleans out the machine. We use sunlight to clean the windows as well and even to wash the car and the floors (I don't have carpets) so I buy one per month with one or maybe two refills. I use the baby fabric softener but will try the vinegar and save the softener for the towels and bedding. I like the idea of that Nu Kleen stuff - am going to investigate that option. I find that I need to ration my cleaning materials since I have a cleaner. She's extremely wasteful with MY stuff - am sure she's not as wasteful with her own stuff.

  7. PS - will you also be doing a post on stuff like shampoo & conditioner, soaps, toothpastes, deo's etc? I cannot believe how much frigging TOILET paper we go thru!

  8. Wow these are really good ideas. Thanks! Would love you to list your blog on the SA Mom blogs, the money, finance and saving tips would just be for you!!


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