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Little Changes and a $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

The Arm & Hammer Switch & Save Challenge is in full swing.  I have loved being part of the Switch & Save series, since making conscious choices to save has been a big part of my life over the last few years.

I’ve cut back and tried to simplify in lots of ways.  We are more deliberate about our purchases, less wasteful and we are MUCH more resourceful.

I feel happy….. even a little smug when I find a new inexpensive way for cleaning and taking care of my home.

Like when I used baking soda and vinegar to unclog a slow drain in my kids bathroom.  I used to turn to one of the most toxic products in the grocery store to do the job.  Baking soda and vinegar are simple, inexpensive and healthy and they worked like a charm on my drain.  The difference in toxicity is reason enough for me, but when you calculate the difference in cost savings, I was downright smug at my success.

In the end, these little changes have really added up.  It all means my pocket book, my home and my attitude are all a little healthier.

Now for another $25 Visa Card Giveaway courtesy of the Arm & Hammer Switch & Save Challenge.  To enter leave a comment on this post answering: “What little or BIG changes have you made lately that you are happy about?”

The Rules:

  • Contest closes on Thursday, July 7th, 2011 10:00 MDT
  • Only one comment per person please.
  • Random winner will be announced on Friday, July 8th

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Arm & Hammer Switch & Save site and enter to win $25,000.


This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save 50¢ off two 2lb or 4lb boxes of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. And be sure to visit The Switch & Save Challenge to tap into more resources and enter to win $25,000.

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104 Responses to “Little Changes and a $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway”

  • nin_shark:

    We constantly need things extra cleaned around here…

  • Ellen:

    I have found that a solution of vinegar and water is a great all purpose cleaner. I am going to try Arm & Hammer for cleaning in the kitchen. I love products with multiple purposes and especially when they save me money.

  • Mami2jcn:

    We’ve changed our housecleaning schedule so that we break up the cleaning of the bathrooms and the vacuuming (doing one bathroom each day and vacuuming on a different day). It makes things more manageable.

  • My fiancee and I just bought a real beauty of a foreclosed fixer upper and we’re pretty determined to update it in the most eco-friendly ways as possible.

  • I use hydrogen peroxide now to clean the grout of my shower tiles — works like a charm!!

    And of course, baking soda for the ceramic tub – glorious!

  • I put hooks in the kids closets so they can hang up clothes that have been worn but are not really dirty. The clothes can air out a little and I have less laundry to do!

  • My husband just put up a dry erase board in the pantry! I’m so excited to decorate it and start putting a week’s worth of daily menu’s on it. Plus, he hung a cute chandelier in there for a little something “unexpected”! LOVE IT!

  • To reduce the odor in my washing machine, I soaked the softener dispenser in bleach. It removed the build up and whatever mildew was starting to happen. I also open the detergent dispenser drawer when not in use. It has made a huge difference.

  • Rocio:

    One of the changes I’ve made is to use vinegar instead of fabric softner. I save SO much more money and my clothes comes out so soft! I love it!

  • This is all new to me…guess I will have to try the vinegar thing with Arm and Hammer. Thx

  • Stacy H.:

    I have organized my craft room with the “cube” storage shelves that you put the canvas drawers in. So much more tidy!

  • Tracie Trump:

    We use arm and hammer to keep my washing machine fresh and clean! tracietrump@yahoo.com

  • Laurie:

    I throw some baking soda into my cats litter box. It helps keep the box fresh. It also prevents me from changing the entire litter box every other week! Its safe for my cat in case she licks her paws. I have saved a lot by doing this.

  • I started going to Bikram yoga regularly. Makes me soooo happy!

  • Reb:

    I’ve been learning how to make so many more things from scratch in my kitchen. And I love cleaning with baking soda and vinegar!

  • Jessie C.:

    I start to make our own cleaning products, I’m happy it works like a charm.

  • Ashley:

    I’ve determined that I’m going to use what I have on hand, even if it isn’t *exactly* what I want. Using bar soap instead of my usual liquid, eating the fish in my freezer when I want a nice steak…. There’s lots of things that once they’re gone, they’re not coming back! More afordable substitues (like baking soda & vinegar) will happily take their place.

    An aside: I have a dental appliance that I wear nightly. I usually drop it in a cup with denture cleaner (cheap, but why have an unnecessary extra in my cupboard?). I’m wondering if baking soad & vinegar would do the job. Has anyone tried this?

  • Tori:

    I always try to live simply, though with our lifestyle and tastes, it’s sometimes hard. Something I’m noticing more and more is that often, it’s also healthier, greener, AND less expensive to go that route too.
    A couple of our most recent big changes, is that I’ve been trying to rely less on pre-prepared and packaged foods, and cooking from scratch as much as possible. I’ve even started making my own yogurt! :)
    I have also with the warm weather started to dry my clothes and things outside. We have a no clothes line rule in our neighborhood, but I just drape them along the railing of our deck and it works just great!

  • Linda:


  • Patty Gregory:

    I took inventory of my freezer and pantry, started making out menus and sticking to them within the week, we are eating leftovers instead of throwing them out and I started using baking soda for cleaning most everything!!! I’ve used it on baby cloths for years and bug bites but I’m learning new uses all the time.

  • Beth:

    Well, this may seem like old hat to most, but this summer I just started hanging my laundry out to dry. I have only lived in the country for a short while, and in the city it was against the condo assoc. rules. It is a fun thing, to look outside and see nature drying my clothes!

  • Tina K:

    Using white vinegar in the rinse cycle (it works wonders for my towels) and cutting dryer sheets in half. They really do work just as well and you get double for your money!

  • Heidi:

    I’ve started using newspaper instead of paper towels to clean my mirrors and windows.

  • Cari:

    I also love baking soda. Folks in FL use it to clean their pools.

  • LeeH:

    I recently started making my own laudry soap.
    I wash windows/mirrors with vinegar and newspaper

  • I’m getting a clothesline! so the sun can bleach my whites white.

  • Sara:

    We used vinegar to help a clogged sink.

  • Raejean:

    Summer routine is a change around here. I keep hoping to get a few cleaning projects out of the way.

  • Vinegar and newspaper to clean glass!

  • Robin M.:

    Using baking soda to clean my kitchen sink!

  • missy:

    Has anyone ever been told by their kiddos that they LOVE their new chore chart? I about FELL OVER! But that is exactly what I heard after posting 4-5 simple chores for each day on my pantry doors. A little smiley face moves to show which day we are on and the kids know if they are done by 10am then they are free to do whatever comes up the rest of the day. If not, they know they will be sitting inside bored after they have still done their chores. IT IS A MIRACLE! (not to mention my house is cleaner – WOO HOO!

  • Kellybeth:

    I’ve always used baking soda to clean, and now I’ve discovered the wonders of using a mild vinegar solution to clean my gold jewelry (just don’t let it near pearls!). Taking time to clean my jewelry (and actually WEAR it) is a change I’m very satisfied with.

  • I finally got a Shellac mani & pedi! It’s AWESOME! More expensive, but it has lasted sooo much longer. Probably will get double use out of these nails this time around.

  • Lisa Banks:

    I started doing my dishes after every meal instead of waiting even an hour… makes a huge difference and we are all happier!!!

  • I’ve started cleaning using vinegar and Arm & Hammer baking soda. Next step is to clean my oven with this solution.

  • Rachael K:

    We decided to plant more edible plants in our garden, rather than having to go to the store to buy expensive herbs and vegetables.

  • I’ve been using vinegar and lavender oil as my fabric softener. My laundry room smells great, and my laundry is clean and soft.

  • Anne Marie:

    I an addicted to using vinegar and baking soda – to the point where I buy nothing else. I am the only one that likes the smell of vinegar but to me it is a clean smell and I know I am helping save our environment.

  • KristieB:

    I started putting the kitchen scrubber in a bowl of water in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Kills the bacteria and it doesn’t stink anymore!

  • KimD:

    I’m using baking soda to clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks….love that it’s inexpensive and does a great job! Thanks for your tips :)

  • JanT:

    I’ve been using the clothesline to dry now that summer is finally here!

  • Jennifer B.:

    I’ve started making my own baby food. It’s so easy and I only need a little bit of time to get a large batch made. I like that I’m saving money and not tossing extra containers into the landfill.

  • We’ve been using vinegar and water to clean with for years and love it. It’s so great to just have to buy a $2 bottle of vinegar twice a year or so.

  • I’ve started using used dryer sheets to dust all around my house and have come to find that I am able to sleep a little better and sneeze a lot less.

  • Audrey:

    I resurrected and then revised my 7 week dinner menu. With two of my three kids gone, I had quit using it and regular dinners were falling by the wayside. I decided I didn’t want my son to grow up with no memory of family dinner time just because his sisters were grown. It’s sure made things easier!

  • CarinaRdz:

    I’m working hard to make two changes in the home, using more fresh fruit and veggies, making my own food, and getting myself into bed at a decent time, allowing some things to go unfinished.

  • heidi s.:

    This is the first year I have ever planted a garden. Knowing that you grew it yourself and its healthy, just somehow makes it taste so much better. Not to mention helping on the pocketbook!

  • aly:

    Cleaning out cupboards is making me real happy!
    Lot’s of great treasures to share with the thrift store and for some reason getting rid of the “stuff” is exhilarating.

  • Nay:

    I am on a mission to declutter the paper in our house. I am going through our filing cabinets and also making sure that whatever paper comes into the house gets dealt with right away. No piles on the counters and tables allowed!

  • Dee:

    I’ve been gardening this year and the little change in my schedule to make time for gardening means fresh veggies :)

  • Sarah Bahm:

    Changes, I suppose I’ve been more focused on the purposeful activities I do with my son lately.

  • My most recent favorite change is doing a big cleaning day once a month. That way I do some cleaning that would otherwise NEVER get done.

  • Beth:

    I think the biggest change I’ve been working on lately is to be REALLY thoughtful about everything. Thinking before eating, buying, reading, watching, etc. Making the most of my time on this earth by doing things that are most meaningful to me. Those things include being earth conscious, health conscious, family conscious, etc. When I don’t spend my days on auto pilot but become very thoughtful I find I spend my time and my money more wisely.

  • Ann:

    with my friend’s encouragement and her recipe, I recently made my first batch of homemade laundry soap. (We’re loving it). Along with that change, I’ve stopped buying commercial fabric softeners and now I just use vinegar! Simple, inexpensive, and above all, it works!

  • If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would make my own soaps and cleaners I would have said no. Now I make my own cleaners, dishwasher soap, and laundry detergent…all using baking soda as part of the ingredients. Love it!

  • nancy nichols:

    We started eating healthier not a diet a lifestlye change. We eat nothing processed or in a package and I have never felt better.

  • Sally P:

    We are starting a new habit. After a meal, you scrap your plate in the trash & put it in the dishwasher. My boys are just old enough now to do this. It keeps my counter clean & frees up time to attend to other needs of the kids. The clean counter really helps me relax & enjoy my kitchen.

  • Ashley:

    We have hard water and it stains our dishes really bad! But what I’ve been doing to make them super sparkly is rinse them in a little lemon juice–it takes the spots right off and smells good too!

  • Shelly:

    I’ve started making my own baby food…It’s saving quite a bit of money!

  • Michelle C:

    I’ve been using vinegar and water for cleaning around the house and have been really pleased with the results. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  • Barbara G:

    I make my own soap and laundry detergent! The latter uses baking soda in the formula.

  • Kelli:

    One of the big changes we’ve made around here is to teach the kids how to do their own laundry!

  • Tracy:

    My daughters (teens) are always looking at the expensive items in the beauty aid aisle at the drugstore. I’ve discouraged them from wasting money on these things when natural products work so much better – lemon juice and sunlight create natural highlights in hair. Vinegar strips hair of chemical buildups. Yoghurt, dry oatmeal, and honey whirled in the blender makes a great mask. Mineral oil is great for gently taking off eye makeup *and* works well as a laxative.

  • MelodyJ:

    I have gotten serious about working out again. I’m seeing and feeling positive changes in my body.


  • Sherri Mintner:

    A solution of vinegar and baking soda is awesome to get residue out of your hair!

  • Cheryl W.:

    I’ve started to us baking soda in my laundry to get rid of the orders that the ineffective detergent I’m using up leaves behind. We’re also adding some white vinegar to our dishwasher with each load to get rid of the ugly spots that are left on the dishes.

  • Linda L:

    Going back to vinegar instead of fabric softener.

  • Leslie M.P.:

    I have switched to using mostly vinegar, baking soda, and a little Dawn dish washing soap for all my cleaning needs. Vinegar for softening laundry. Baking soda for reducing amount of laundry detergent used. Working great and saving money, too.

  • Sharon Teems:

    I love the many ways you can use baking soda. It always makes things so fresh and clean.

  • Sharon Teems:

    I love the many ways you can use baking soda to clean!!! It always makes things smell so fresh.

  • Amy S.:

    I love the cooler idea! I will have to try that! I’m trying to slowly eliminate “convenience foods” from our household. I’m doing my best to make what I can from scratch…

  • Lori:

    The biggest change in my home is replacing cleaners with baking soda, vinegar and sunlight dish soap. I love that I’m not pour toxic chemicals down the drain. Baking soda cleans sinks, tubs and showers. A rinse with vinegar keeps the drains clean. Another idea my mom gave me is, pour about a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the toilet water every morning and let it sit for a few hours or all day to get rid of lime deposits. Once they are gone, vinegar once or twice a week will keep them away. I have a nice bottle filled with vinegar on my toilet tank so I don’t forget. Lemon dish soap and cold water cleans blood out of clothing.

  • Melissa:

    We make all our cleaning products and make as much food from scratch as we can. We freeze and can produce to last us through the winter. We have chickens for their eggs and buy milk from a local farm so I can make butter, yogurt and cream cheese. Love it all!!

  • I have started making mostly homemade gifts instead of buying them at the store. I think people appreciate them more because they were made with love. :)

  • Crystal:

    Our family has made an effort to only go out to eat once a month. This has made a huge difference in not only our pocketbook but it feels like we have become closer as a family that we are trying to all cook together on the weekends.

  • carole:

    Used to use a product from the pool store to get the pH in our pool up. Now I use either 20 Mule Borax or Arm and Hammer baking soda…works quicker and is MUCH less expensive!!!

  • Dayna:

    Cereal has become so expensive lately that we eat only oatmeal or Creamy Wheat during the week and then let the kids enjoy cold cereal on weekends.

  • Great giveaway! I made a little change to one of my kitchen cabinets that store our dry goods just last night.. I ordered some labels off Etsy and put them on jars to help organize our flour, sugar, oats, etc. it looks so organized and wonderful! It will make cooking, baking so much easier!


  • Meg:

    A little change that I have made is that I let the water cool overnight from when I steam vegetables. In the morning I pour it on my thirstiest plants. Saves a bit of water…

  • Meg Steph:

    I wash my floors with a vinegar and tea tree oil solution – I love the smell of clean floors! Plus, I don’t feel like I’m adding toxins into my 11 month old’s system when drops something on the floor and promptly puts it in his mouth!

  • Kadeana:

    White vinegar mixed with a little rubbing alcohol and water makes great window cleaner. Just 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water is great to damp mop floors with. Thanks.

  • Molly K:

    I unfortunately am unemployed right now, so I am using my free time to try new recipes in the kitchen. My favorite new “tip”, is that whatever leftover I have (whether chicken stock, sauce, buttermilk), I freeze in my silicone muffin pan. Then I pop the frozen disks into ziplock bags, and I have a very well stocked freezer (without throwing out extra). Great way to save money, and to keep things exciting.

  • vicki:

    I had a baby! I have changed my priorities as far as work, hpusecleaning…ok, everything!

  • I have been trying to plan my meals out a couple of weeks in advance (instead of waiting until the day of to stand in front of the refrigerator and go uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh????). It greatly decreases stress levels – we have 3 preschoolers so we have enough stress already. :)

  • Jennifer Nuss:

    I adore using the baking soda and vinegar on my clogged drains. I just feel so much better using that than the other cleaners. Plus it is so much cheaper! As a single girl cheap is good!!

  • They’re both little AND big changes :)….. cleaning up my already clean diet to eliminate as many processed ingredients as possible (mainly monosodium glutamate and its many many forms!).

  • Elizabeth McDonald:

    I now use baking soda and a dash of shampoo in a sinkful of water to soak and clean our hairbrushes and combs. I rinse all with hot water and place upside down on paper towels to dry — good as new, and oh so easy!

  • Melanie:

    Using vinegar to clean the toilets! It stays shiny and clean longer :)

  • Samantha Jean:

    Being a newly wed I was all about cooking all types of dishes. It was something new to me and I love cooking! But… then I realized I was spending hundreds of unnecessary dollars on groceries. So, I’ve made a change. I’m trying to cut our grocery budget down by half… making our daily enjoyments homemade (ex: bagels for breakfast) I’ve just started, so I’m not sure how well it’s going to go – but hopefully we start saving more money!

  • Linda:

    What a great idea–I will try the baking soda and vinegar on my drains–thanks…

  • I do all my cleaning with only vinegar and baking soda- it feels so good to know there aren’t any harsh chemicals in my home!

  • Mandy C:

    I have finally (gulp) made the decision to REALLY work on getting healthy and shape! I am doing my first Crossfit class tomorrow

  • I love to clean without chemicals! It is so nice to get tips and advice from you. Thanks!!


  • won:

    With summer comes a change in responsibility….

    My son’s laundry is now his responsibility.

    That gets a wooo hooo from me ;)

  • Jenny:

    I recently got a new job and I’m loving it!

    How did you use the baking soda and vinegar to clear the drain?

  • Angie:

    I’m working on keeping less (I have a tendency to be a packrat!) and throwing out more! A big change coming next week is that we’ll be moving into our first home (non-rental).. it will be our 6th home in our five years of marriage! An even bigger change coming in one month is the birth of our third child! In any case, I’m looking forward to living frugally and simply.

  • Lynn:

    I, too, have been trying to be more resourceful. I use baking soda to freshen my carpet, brighten my laundry, and keep my trash can from stinking. Being resourceful makes me happy!

  • Deanna G.:

    I’ve been doing my best to watch my spending. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. :)

  • Kathy Blue:

    Baking soda is essestial here, we clean, cook, polish, and deodorize with it just to name a few. Saving money has always been a priority in our house, I love all the tips and ideas I find from other folks – - we are all for “making it do”.

  • Mari:

    I’m happy that my dh’s allergies are now diagnosed, so we have started to phase out cleansers that cause flare ups and use products with natural, basic ingredients, like arm & hammer.

  • Alyssa Bohlen:

    I love using baking soda to clean my sinks and in my laundry. This is little but whenever an ice cube falls on the floor, I pop it into one my plants for a little extra water. Once my son outgrew the burping stage, I started using the cloth diaper burp cloths for cleaning. They are amazing!

  • Lauralee:

    I recently helped my daughter-in-law get rid of the “sour wash” smell in all her clothes and washer and dryer. I first ran an empty load in the washer with the hottest water, liquid detergent and 2 cups of vinegar. Next I did it again the same with a box of baking soda. Good start. Then we started in with over 30 loads of wash with an added cup of vinegar in each load.

    And what about the dryer smell fix? For only the first load, I put in the wet towels with one cup of vinegar poured over the towels and ran the dryer. It gets rids of the smell in the dryer that had been previously transferred from the washer and you never smell the vinegar when the load is dry. Worked like a charm.

    I always have a gallon or two of vinegar on hand, it is so handy for so many jobs.

  • Jessica T.:

    The little/big change I’ve made is that I’ve started having my 8 year old son do more around the house. I’ve given him more responsibility to clean up around the house.

  • Jen O:

    As simple as it sounds, we wear our clothes more before washing them. It’s tempting, and sometimes necessary, to just chuck all the kids’ clothes in the hamper at the end of every day. But wearing clothes more than once has cut down on laundry quantity and frequency.


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