Healthy living on a steep budget

No one wants to spend a lot of money on living well while they’re in college, and “living well” often extends beyond the obvious. Buying groceries can become overwhelming if you don’t know how to do it properly, but there are other aspects to think about when computing your budget.

For instance: How much do you want to spend on soap? Shampoo? Laundry detergent? Skin care?

Photo from Creative Commons.

The good news is that basically everything, aside from makeup, comes in a generic form and can be bought in bulk. The bad news is that if you have sensitive skin and don’t want a product that tests on animals, you might have a harder time finding a brand suitable for your needs.

Ivory Soap is often touted as cheap soap, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not exactly the best thing to use. If you’re on a budget, using a cheap body wash would be better for your skin than using bar soap of any kind (except for the glycerin variety). It costs about $1.50 a bottle if you go to Walmart, and it’ll last you about a month. You can find the Suave brand of shampoos, which you can buy for about $2 at Walmart, and i won’t leave your hair dry or brittle. It typically lasts about a month with daily use.

Test your soaps, shampoos and body washes first to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the scents. Some inexpensive products use ingredients that aren’t very friendly to sensitive skin.

Baby shampoo is good for sensitive skin (though Johnson & Johnson does test on animals). It costs about $2 a bottle, but depending on how long your hair is and how often you wash your hair, that bottle can last you for a while. A cheap conditioner will run you about $1.50 and will likely last you for a very long time.

You can buy large bulk containers of generic, scent-free laundry detergent for about $11 per container at Target – which is basically the same as All Clean & Clear for less. They likely have these laundry detergents for different prices at different stores, so look around – but buying the larger containers is worth it in the end because that container can last you for months, while a $2 container of detergent might last you, at most, a month. Though brands like Dreft are generally better for the skin, they are also more expensive.

With skin-care, it’s usually better to use home remedies or buy generic brands. For instance, you can make a sweet-scented sugar scrub (recipe below) that’s a lot less expensive than even the generic exfoliators you would find at Walmart. Figure out what works for you. Does an aspirin mask work better for your skin than an acne medication? Do what you think is best for your skin.

Check out this recipe that’s been tweaked and passed down through my family through generations!

Sugar Scrub recipe:

1 peach

1/4 cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of whipping cream (or plain yogurt)

5 tablespoons of Vaseline

A microwave

Cut the peach in half. Crush one half in a bowl or (if available) puree in a blender.

Add the sugar to the peach mush in the bowl. Mix it together, along with the honey. The consistency should be gritty, like tide-water sand.

Stick it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Cover the mixture.

After that, add the Vaseline and the whipping cream/yogurt to the mixture.

After exfoliating, place the mixture in a tupperware container and pop it in the freezer. Thaw for each use.

This mix should only be used once a week. Doing it more often could cause irritation.