Dollar Shave Club

Let”s face it – pun intended – shaving is one of those things that we all just want to get over with each day. Done it for years… Over those years, I’ve tried it all, and learned a thing or two about many of the most popular razors out on the market. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that the price of razor blades has soared over the years. While the razor itself is fairly cheap, the cost of restocking its blades can be incredibly high.

Here’s what I want from my razor:

  1. Don’t slice my face to ribbons
  2. Don’t cost an insane amount of money
  3. Be durable, and not a cheap piece of crap
  4. Oh, and if you could help me avoid going to the store, that would be great

These things (and more) are exactly what Dollar Shave Club (DSC) has done for me! I can have them automatically ship razors to me on my schedule, get a great shave, and only spend a few bucks a month. Score! I’ve settled down with my new best shave razor, the Dollar Shave Club 4X. I can easily get the shave I need for $6 per month! And, I don’t even have to leave the house!

I was an early adopter, and have been a member for over 4 years! I am a marketing/design guy, and I was snagged by their launch video – “DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are F***ing Great”. It made me laugh, and want to give them a try!

So – How does DSC work, exactly?

Well, you have three super affordable choices with DSC.

The Humble Twin

$1/mo + $2 s&h
Keep it simple. Get 5 stainless steel, twin blade cartridges a month. Free reusable handle in first box.

The 4X

$6/mo – ships FREE
A more advanced razor with a wide open back for a fast, easy rinse. Comes with 4 refill cartridges per month.

The Executive

$9/mo – ships FREE
The final frontier. Get 4 stainless steel, 6-blade cartridges a month. Free weighty handle in first box.

Dollar Shave Club Welcome Kit

All come with a free handle, shipped with your first box. Need more blades? Change your shipping options. Need fewer blades? Change your shipping options. You have no obligation and can change quantities or upgrade/downgrade to the other razors at any time. They even have a smartphone app in case you need to make changes to your monthly order on the go, or need to pace a one-time order.

I had used Gillette for many, many years before I gave DSC a try, and I was glad for the savings. I started with the Humble Twin and while it was nice and inexpensive, I did miss having a 4 or more blade system. I right away upgraded to the 4X and found just what I needed.

I had Mrs. Maker give the razor a try, and she loved it as well. Same with our daughters. We ordered a few extra handles, and now we all are on the DSC bandwagon, and saving a TON to boot! We have adjusted our monthly delivery to accommodate the entire family!

My opinion? The 4X razor is great. The handle is a hefty metal body with copious amounts of knobby rubber on the outside. There is little chance you’ll lose your grip on this thing.

The razor head has a lot of space between each blade so that it should not clog up, and the head rotates smoothly and easily for adjusting to the manly contours of your body.

The actual shave with this razor is excellent. The four blades work as expected to give you a gentle and clean shave. This is made possible by the ribs on the rubber hair lifter on the leading edge of the razor head. After the work has been done the orange strip of soothing glides by, leaving your face smooth and fresh. Another great shave, and no nicks.

So – to wrap it all up? If you are looking for a great shave, at a low price – then I strongly recommend the Dollar Shave Club 4X. You’ll always have sharp blades because they ship to you monthly without you having to remember. You’ll get a close shave every time with no fuss. The handle is great to hold and big enough that you won’t feel like it’ll slip out of your fingers.

Take it from me – Give it a try! You won’t be sorry, and could be saving yourself $20 or more EVERY MONTH!

Friday Money Maker

It’s Friday and I like to finish off very week by showing you how to either make or save money…well who are we kidding…I like to show you everyday how to make or save money.

By a show of hands how many people use EBATES? (Crickets)

Just what I thought, like you I hadn’t heard of it either but a few years back a friend of mine said “you guys buy a lot of things online, why not use Ebates?” Well the cynic in me thought this sounds fishy and I have no time for this. What do I have to do surveys or something? Well one day I thought, I would at least check it out.

I literally set up a login, entered my address (so they could send me my money) and installed the prompt on my browser, and BAM just like that every time I shop online I get $$$.

Now I am not talking a few pennies…..in total this past month has netted me $86.72, all for signing up.

If you don’t want it on your browser, you just go through EBATES first then shop at the store you select. It’s not wonder their slogan is  You already do it. Get paid for it!

 

My K-Cup Dilemma

One of the biggest challenges that I have found in writing this blog, is that I want to be genuine. I want people to understand why I encourage them to do what I do. I want to talk about things I have real experience with. I want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I should go back to the beginning of the month for this story. I have an Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save, and hopefully you will too, as we get to that part of the saving money on grocery section. This month though, Amazon sent me a few things I didn’t order, one of them being Brooklyn Coffee Variety Pack of K-cups. Now I am a Dunkin Donuts gal myself, but I have to admit that this has quickly become a new household favorite enough to change our monthly order from Dunkin to Brooklyn.

Lately, I have become the recycling patrol at our house. Showing the girls what can and can not be thrown away. Digging through the trash with gloves on to remove anything that was missed and move it to the big green bin.

We have also forgone the brewing of an entire pot of coffee during the summer for the ease and convenience of one k-cup at a time. Since we all are coming and going at different times with different schedules.

This brings me to my present dilemma. What can we do to reduce the amount of k-cup waste? After but a few moments of research, I found that while all of the separate components of k-cups are recyclable, its the actual breaking down that is too complex to move them through the recycling process. So every k-cup needs separated from it’s foil top, filter and grounds removed and if you compost, composted and then foil and plastic recycled.  Well if that is what needs done then we will do it and off I began texting on our “family<3” text….”quick quick we need to break apart all the kcups after brewing so we aren’t wasting them”, I even threw in a fact about 13 million cups wrapping the equator or something. Then paused.

If my love of wine has taught me anything, it’s that a seal cutter similar to that of wine opening, must exist and alas it does.

I searched and ordered with a left over gift card I had from a rebate offer and for $10 we will have a recycleacup . This works just like a wine cutter, you attach to the used k-cup, twist, and spin around. Once complete all parts separate. No fuss, no mess. The foil top comes off for recycling, the filter and grounds remove to move to compost, and the plastic cup can meet with the big green bin.

I quickly ordered and in 2-3 business days, this two pack will be mine. This will allow me to continue my new obsession guilt free and the kids will still think I haven’t totally lost it. I can only guess what the look on Mr. Maker’s face will be as he ponders my adventure off the deep end.  I’ll keep you posted on what I think of it, and hey if you have used or have a better way, let me know.

 

 

 

Cloth Napkins

Today I want to share with you one of the easiest ways to reduce a few bucks out of your budget and do something go for the environment. Cloth napkins.

Now I know what you are thinking, she’s nuts. My kids are messy and the last thing I need is more laundry. I don’t have time to wash and starch and iron and fold napkins. Napkins? I thought you said I wouldn’t have to give up on my comforts in life.

Not to fret, The Maker family doesn’t either.

100% cotton napkins are not the way to go, they don’t wash well and after the first laundering they end up rumpled and wrinkled not to mention the manufacturing of cotton based napkins is much more intensive. Limit your purchase of cotton-based napkins although the most prevalent in stores. Instead, opt for organic cotton or another alternative material that has required less manufacturing. My recommendation is Pioneer Woman cloth napkins. They are attractive, wash well, and hold up through a ton of use.

Choose to wash your cloth napkins in cold water to reduce to the amount of energy used in the wash cycle, then hang them out on the line to dry.

If we reuse utensils, plates, cups, and food storage containers, why not incorporate cloth napkins?

Next time you are putting laundry in the washing machine, just imagine how easy it would be to do add a few cloth napkins to your load of towels.

I just wanted to get a few facts for you on why this change in your families life is worth it.

  • Paper products are responsible for more than 28% of all waste in landfills.
  • The U.S. alone uses over 160 billion paper napkins every year, adding up to 4 billion pounds of paper waste.

Another source from a curious blogger found some more interesting environmental impacts for paper napkins as well:

  • 0.07 gallons of water is required to produce a 0.08 ounce paper napkin (not including water to grow the tree).
  • 31,500,000 gallons of water would be used to make the 450,000,000 paper napkins used per day. This is equivalent to 477 Olympic size swimming pools or daily water use for 315,000 to 393,750 people (according to the U.S. Geological Survey, on average each person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day).

As an added bonus, my daughter and nieces think this makes every family dinner “fancy“, that alone is worth it to me.

Let me know if you made a similar switch in your house and how it’s working for your family!!

 

Deviled Eggs

Mrs. Maker here and I have a confession….I have never made deviled eggs before today.  We are heading to a cookout later and I had no idea what to bring. I had 6 eggs in the fridge that were ready to expire and so I thought how hard can it be?


This recipe is perfectly vegetarian and gluten free.

I put the eggs in and brought to a boil- then turned off and went for a run with my daughter- leaving them sit on the stove in the hot water.

Upon returning they were perfectly done and I rinsed and peeled the shells off.

Then, in a measuring cup I added the above ingredients in no particular order- I added the egg yolks and stirred.

Now for the fancy part- in a baggie, I put all the filling, cut the tip and filled the holes left open by the yolks. Added some paprika and chives from my herb garden and voila!

“The deviled egg is in the detail!”

Happy 4th!

Green BEAN Delivery

 

I think I have mentioned, possibly a few times, that Mr. Maker and I both work full-time jobs in addition to running this lovely blog. Why I share this with you is because one of the things I hate is spending my time in the grocery store.

Just a few years back, a friend of mine introduced me to Green BEAN Delivery. I have tried a few other services, but I must say this is by far my favorite.

I like that it’s healthy organic food delivered right to my door.

I love that the farms are either owned and operated by the family or work in partnership with the family. Click Here to Learn More

The best part is I can customize my bin, to make it fit into my recipes for the week. They also offer a ton of recipes using their featured produce.

So how does it work. Well click here, and set up your delivery. Super easy right?

They offer two options:

  • The UPick Prefilled with $20 of fruit & vegetables  *this is the option The Maker house chooses. 
  • The Classic Prefilled with $35 of fruit & vegetables

Plus the option of shopping from their grocery selections to add to your order.

Now here’s the secret for getting started.  Let’s say you select the $20 Upick option. Plus $5 delivery because it doesn’t meet the $35 minimum.

Add this PROMO code 15DPml at checkout and get an additional $15 off.

Making your organic fruit and veggies for the week $15 delivered to your door.

As far as we are concerned, this family-run organization with a far-reaching and important mission, leaves few other things that you should know about Green BEAN Delivery.

Comment or share pics and let me know what you think of your first bin!

Stop Wasting Bags

When I was 8 years old, I started the neighborhood recycling club-we even had a theme song. Our job was to look at everyday things and see how we could reuse, reduce waste, or recycle them. Reducing my footprint and making a difference however big or small has always been important to me.

Our family packs our lunches. As you will learn later in the “saving money on groceries” section, packing lunches makes all the difference to the grocery budget and to ensure we are eating healthy. In an effort to be as green as possible, we are trying lunchskins.

The great thing is these sandwich and snack bags will save 500 plastic bags. They cost equivalent to a box of Ziploc.

Can you see yourselves throwing away less bags and making a difference to the planet? Sing it with me R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle, yah yah recycle

LOLA- Organic 100% Cotton Feminine Care

Have you heard about LOLA? It’s a great new company by women, for women that is totally transforming tampons. Did you know that the FDA doesn’t require tampon brands to disclose a comprehensive list of ingredients, so most of them don’t. WHAT?! The more I think about it, I’m not comfortable not knowing what I’m putting in my body.

That’s where LOLA comes in! LOLA tampons are 100% cotton. Plus, LOLA arrives at your door in a customizable assortment at the frequency you choose. I think you should check them out! Plus, if you sign up using my code, you get $5 off your first order! Shipping is always free so it’s totally a win-win.

 

Sign up here

Use my sign up code: kdefrancisco2

 

Enjoy!

Grove Collaborative- Get Free Stuff

Okay so I know you want to use natural products and let’s be honest this can get expensive. Not to fear, Mrs. Maker is here. Sign up through the above link and not only get $10 off your first order. If you spend $20 you also get:

  • Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap
  • Grove Co. Walnut Scrubber Sponges
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Lotion
  • Free 60-day VIP Trial
  • Free shipping

Now, you can subscribe to get products delivered each month or so to your door, or you can do what I did and cancel the future orders until you decide if these products are right for you and your family, and how often you want them.

Just a little bit about Grove Collaborative, Grove Collaborative is dedicated to helping everyone create a healthy, beautiful home. They grew out of a simple belief: the best natural products for your home and family should be the easiest to get.

At Grove Collaborative, they do the work to find amazing, affordable and effective natural products – from non-toxic laundry detergents that are tough on stains to sustainably sourced argan oil that will make your hair and skin glow.

Life is too busy for last minute errands so they deliver to your doorstep, on your schedule.

They work in collaboration with partner brands that share their values and vision. Everything you’ll find here meets the Grove Standard:

  • Uncompromisingly healthy.
  • Beautifully effective.
  • Sustainably minded.
  • Amazingly affordable.

Welcome to the beauty of Grove Collaborative.

Grove Collaborative is a Certified B Corp. one of just 1,700 companies like Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Etsy, and Ben & Jerry’s that meet the world’s most rigorous standard for businesses supporting social, environmental and community wellbeing.

Monthly Budgeting

Hi, Kathy (Mrs. Maker) here- Today we are kicking off our blog with a very helpful first post. Our plan is to help you live your best HomeSpun life. What do we mean by HomeSpun? Well, we mean making it yourself, finding new and creative ways of being environmentally friendly, and just becoming the best HomeSpun version of you. We are going to show you how to save money, eat better, spend more time with family, and have fun while doing it.

Before we get to the fun stuff, we need to look at the budget. Not just look at the budget, but actually put one together. Do you have a budget? Does your budget include everything? That coffee? The $1 bin at Target? A last minute happy hour? If it doesn’t that’s where you need to begin.

What I share is that before you even begin to look at your savings on groceries and budget you need a gut check. You need to know what you are currently spending and what you are currently eating. You need to save every receipt for an entire month. This will give you a base to start your budget. What I like to do is set our families budgets by pay days. I pay certain things out of each pay. Mr Maker is self employed and since his income isn’t set by certain days his money goes to savings, entertainment, vacation, repairs, and extras. We attempt to live off one income and that way if a major disaster or job loss comes we can manage without losing everything. The same could apply for single income families.

Here, I included the excel template that I fell in love with last year. Its super easy to use and you can add as many line items as you want.

My suggestion is once you list out your expenses for the month-highlight those expenses that aren’t necessity. Can you cover the necessary expenses with one income? This is where we start. When Mr. Maker and I started this overhaul process we were spending most of our incomes and putting very little towards savings. (download link: Get Template)

The point is not to shame you for a $4 latte each morning, but to show you other options that get you the same thing, and show you that the $28 you spend on lattes can be put to better use.

So let’s get this party started. Grab an energy ball, take a seat, and crunch those numbers.

Please share examples of what you have highlighted or what you think are areas of your budget that you can’t get lower. We would love to help.