Retirement Remedies: Fighting Back Determining How Much Is Enough

I was cleaning out my Home Keeping Notebook, setting it up fresh for the New Year ahead.  I came across an item I copied from a vintage magazine, Daily Dietary Requirements.  It's not that far off our own modern day food charts...but it started me thinking and I asked myself the question:  How much is enough?

The average adult needs 1 pint of milk daily.  That's 2 cups.  It can come from cooking, cereal, in coffee, be eaten as yogurt or cheese.  How much milk do I drink daily?  I don't know. I have milk in my coffee (three cups over the day).  I drink a coffee mug of milk at night.  Am I getting enough?  Am I getting too much?

We should only be eating 1 egg ea  per day and 1 or 2 servings of meat.  Typically that would be a 3-4 ounce portion of meat for each serving.  Most fruits and vegetable servings are 1/2 cup...Our meat may be on target, but eggs?  I'd daresay we go over that amount on the days we do eat eggs, and have a really high count on the days when we would add in for baked goods.

I recall a Weight Watchers exercise many years ago.  We were to pour out a typical serving of cereal into a bowl.  Then we were to measure the actual recommended serving amount into a bowl set beside the one we'd 'guesstimated'.  Without fail, the majority of us poured out 1 1/2 servings and sometimes 2.  I haven't measured cereal besides oatmeal in a long time.  The Butterscotch Oatmeal we like so well is 1 cup of oatmeal and 1 egg and 1 3/4 cup milk.  That means we are each eating a portion of our daily egg/milk serving and 1/2 cup of oatmeal.  It's always a reasonable portion of oatmeal in our bowl and it's never failed to keep me satisfied until dinner time each day.  But I'll wager that we typically eat far too much overall.

As I've been looking at taming costs in my home and reducing where we might, I've naturally looked over our consumption of foods.  I can see where we might increase (more fruit and vegetable, more dairy) and decrease (learn the proper serving size, less sugar, less meat).  I do think some of the serving portions are ridiculously small.  I've never in my life eaten just one cookie unless it was a large cookie.  I'm more inclined to eat two (teaspoon sized amounts of dough)...but I think there is room for a savings in this area and plan to work out a way to be more careful of ingredients and measurements. 

For months we had pump bottles of shampoo in the shower.  I used one pump of shampoo each day to wash my hair.  A bottle of shampoo lasted me forever.  For.ever.  I think the bottle lasted me over a year.  I was the only one who used that particular bottle and John had his own pump bottle.  Seriously.  Now we're using a bottle of shampoo that we share.  We pick it up and pop the lid and the stuff just pours out.  It's hard to get it to stop at the proper point.  We went through a whole a bottle and have put out a second in less than three months time.  I'm thinking I'm going to go back to a pump bottle, at least for myself.  

Do you realize we should only use a pea-sized bit of toothpaste?  Have you ever actually measured the laundry or dish detergent?  Or do you just pour out assuming you know how much you're using?  I did until I noted how low the normal load mark was on our laundry detergent cap and marked it in red nail polish so we could easily see it.  I confess I'm guilty of filling the dishwasher detergent dispenser full...and who knows how much liquid dish detergent I use to do dishes?

We would not consider opening a window or leaving a door open while running the heat or air conditioning in our homes.   Why are we so unconcerned with waste in the areas I've mentioned above?  Is it because it seems minor compared to the big stuff?  Is it lack of knowledge about what is required, as in the dietary amounts?

My remedies at present are to make a copy of the daily requirements list for nutrition and  look at it every day to remind myself of the limits I should put on our foodstuffs.  I'm going to pour out a pint jar of milk daily and remind myself that is my limit.  I'll warrant I think twice if I find myself getting dangerously low and have to skip my cup of milk at night (I use it as a sleep aid).  To put two eggs in a bowl and remind myself that is our limit for the day.

I'm going to read my manual for the dishwasher and see if there is a recommendation for what measure of detergent should be used.  I'm going to keep a spoon next to the sink and measure in detergent by the tablespoonful until I find the right measurement for our usage.  I'm going to put the shampoo back in a pump bottle to limit myself on usage of that, too.

I recently read a financial page that scorned the small savings one might make in a household.  I've always believed that once you make all the big changes you need to pay attention to the small savings.  They add up to big amounts over time!


annie said...

a great post!
boy do I need to work on this!

doo said...

I agree with you on the pump bottle. Ours seemed to last forever, I just thought it was lasting forever because i didnt really care for the shampoo :-)
same with bathroom tissue..we like the soft kind but i found a clearance four pack of what my husband calls John Wayne paper (tough and true grit lol) and one roll of that would last three times as long as our normal one. Anyway, i saved the pump bottle and will be filling that with a shampoo i like. The bath tissue...well ive been forbidden to buy John Wayne again lol
I also have cut back on the amounts of wash day liquids i use except for my Dawn...i dont know if anyone else has noticed this but the dawn doesnt seem to be working as well the last few years. It seems I need more to cut the grease while washing dishes and it doesnt seem to clean the grease spots on clothing as well. I sometimes have to re wash a piece of clothing three times before the stain will come out.
And I agree with you and im sure many others out there in blog land that YES that small savings DO count. Every little bit helps!

Anonymous said...

An egg a day is 7 eggs a week. As long as you don't go over that in a week, you are still within a pretty safe limit according to the American Heart Association.

I totally agree about the detergent. It can actually harm your machine to use too much. I also think it's not necessary to wash your hair every day unless you have a really dirty job, i.e. construction or something similar.

Cow's milk is not that good for you. It creates inflammation in the body and leaches out your calcium. It is still animal protein. Google it.

It does sound like you are on top of your spending. Kudos for that.

Melonie said...

I started experimenting with the laundry detergent a year or so ago. I was using a powder detergent, then switched to a liquid of another brand. I somehow didn't notice until a good year later that it was a concentrate - and here I was, filling the entire cap full because I was just accustomed to using a whole scoop of powder!

I started reducing immediately, especially on bath towels and bed linens that I was washing in hot water anyway. I do have to use more detergent for my husband's workout clothes, but I've saved so much by using it the right way that a bottle lasts us 3 months or more. (I actually started dating new bottles with a grease pencil to track it.)

I should tackle the dishwasher gel next - we have soft water in this area and the bottle said to use more, but I'll verify how much "more" to use! Thanks for that reminder!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, if one doesn't watch their pennies, will they watch their dollars? I like the old saying that a penny saved is a penny earned. (Did Ben Franklin say that??)

I'll share what I do ... and one must remember that water in different areas requires different amounts of soap due to the quality of it. Also, if one has a water conditioner, they would probably require less.

I like pump bottles in the shower for shampoo, conditioner and body wash. They do seem to last forever. I like body wash over bars of soap due to soap scum.

I fill up my dish washing soap bottle with water about 5/6ths and then put in 1/6 of Ajax or original blue Dawn. When I wash dishes by hand, it does just fine and goes a long, long way.

I measure one tablespoon of Cascade Complete between the two dispensers in the dishwasher for a load. I also use white vinegar. We found out the hard way that too much soap clogs the dishwasher! We took ours apart and it was caked with Cascade. We cleaned it good and now run a cleaner every month to keep it clean and running good.

I'm not quite sure how to state the following ... I know over the years first one food and then another has been labeled bad for a person. Just lately I saw a report that said lard isn't bad for a person like they've said for years. Eggs are another one. For so long reports said because of the cholesterol, one should limit them. But, now reports say they are just about a perfect food. They don't mess with a person's cholesterol like they thought at first. So, all that to say, if it is God's food, if He's made it, it is safe for us to eat! I don't worry about limiting it. Instead, I watch the calories. If eggs are cheap, we eat them. If they get expensive, then I'm much more careful with them.

Amy D., the gal who published The Tightwad Gazette, said if one brushes for 5 minutes, you don't need toothpaste at all. My healthcare person told me to use baking soda with a little essential oil added to keep plaque away. I've heard toothpaste can be toxic, especially to children, so a pea size would be perfect.

For what it is worth, that's my 2-cents worth. ; 0) Pam

Laurie said...

Always lovely to catch up on your blog. I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year. I find your posts very inspiring.

vickie morgan said...

You so right about the small savings they had to big savings in the end. I love your pump idea...need to talk to the husband! As far as the milk...I'm allergic to dairy.LOL

Living on Less Money said...

Very encouraging post. You have me thinking!

Anonymous said...

For some reason I used to love drinking milk and now don't. I have good calcium levels but still wondered how much I was supposed to be getting. Thanks for the information!! Perfect timing. I am so glad you mentioned posting these recommendations to review. I will too. I noticed too that pump bottles of shampoo lasting longer. ...and also put my Dawn in a used pump bottle at the sink. I circled the amount of liquid washing detergent I need per load on the detergents cap as a reminder years back. It is easy to let more go into the cap! :-) Then I got the newer {:(( } washing machine and it recommends Not using too much too to keep the washer working at its best. I was glad I was used to following their recommendations already. Every little bit of savings adds up. The money is earned by hard work and I feel it is up to me to make use of every cent to its wisest. :-) I always wished to be a homemaker and have been able to be so. The inner joy of working and 'playing' round my home can't be overemphasized.
I do love yard work to as for me that is just another room in my home that I can fluff and make pretty. :) Thanks again Terri for finding different slants on saving. I keep reading and thinking too. It is a challenge but part of our job as homemakers. Somehow God always seems to bring new ideas to light for us. Many times I feel I am close to being out of new ideas and is there from left field. Yes homemaking is my dream job! Sarah

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