Common Scents

Fragrance is an important part of my life. When my home and I smell good, I feel good. Bad smells do not make me feel good and are often referred to as offensive. I find overpowering, chemically-laden perfumes, colognes, air fresheners, and detergents pretty darn offensive, too. Since I am striving to live a more affordable, back-to-basics, natural lifestyle, I make my own skin and haircare products, laundry detergent, and other cleaning products out of basic, natural ingredients. In the beginning of my DIY journey, I thought my house and I smelled boring, then I was introduced to essential oils.

Not all essential oils are created equal. I did not know this until I attended some classes on the benefits of using essential oils. If you’d like more information on essential oils, I’d suggest doing some research at the library or online. You can probably find a class on essential oils near you. The classes really helped me understand how essential oils work and the benefits I can expect from using them. 

I add essential oils to my homemade cleaning products, laundry detergent, and skin and haircare products. I dab a few drops on my pulse points, on the bottoms of my feet, and on my scalp. I even put a drop of oil in my mouth after I brush my teeth with sea salt.

In addition to using essential oils, I burn quality incense and candles, mull spices, and place fresh flowers around my home. House plants are used in place of air purifiers- and they add natural beauty to any home. These are all affordable ways to replace expensive, toxic fragrances. 

What are some of your favorite fragrances? Have you tried using essential oils instead of perfume and air freshener? 

Specificity Is Everything

Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. Simple enough, right? Of course! But how many of us make decisions based on what it is we truly want, not what we think will happen if we’re lucky?

I’m one of those people that thought life just happened, and that I could never have what I truly want because of the following:

1. I was a ward of the state for 16 years.
2. I was a victim of extreme abuse.
3. I was a gypsy, not because it’s considered “cool” to be one these days, but because I didn’t posses the skills to handle money responsibly.
4. I was a drug addict.
5. I had no solid educational background because, being a ward of the state, I moved around more times than anyone I’d ever met.

I thought good things only happened to white people, rich or middle-class people, lucky people, and anyone who grew up better than me. I know now that anyone- especially in western culture- is capable of making their dreams a reality. The sad news is that most people still believe the lie that good things only happen to certain, lucky people. The sadder news is that most over-privileged people feel even more victimized by life than the rest of us!

Our society teaches us to lack vision. We are not taught to take responsibility for our outcomes. Thus, we are spoiled and dissatisfied all at the same time.

When I decided I no longer wanted to be a homeless junkie, I would write down what I wanted my life to look like instead. I was specific about what I wanted to achieve and then I took the uncomfortable actions necessary to change my reality- I asked former junkies to show me how to get, and stay, clean and sober. I moved into a shelter, got a job, and saved my money. When I had enough saved, I looked for an apartment. My dream of having my own place finally came true at the age of 31 because I finally took responsibility and got specific!

Now I’m pursuing my lifelong dream of being a prolific writer. I only know that I can do it because of what I’ve already accomplished. If I can change my life… anyone can.

What do you really want? What actions are you taking to make your dreams come true? What actions have been keeping you from becoming who you want to be?

And Now About Money…

People are always curious as to how I’m able to live in my own place, pay off debt, save money, and afford certain luxuries. This is my answer:

1. I make my own food, laundry detergent, cleaning products, and beauty products from inexpensive items I buy at the grocery store (or grow myself).

2. I participate in clothing swaps and I shop at thrift stores.

3. I grocery shop once a week, and I don’t go back to the store until I’ve eaten everything in my fridge and cupboards.

4. I never buy frozen, instant, canned, pre-chopped, or pre-made food.

5. I tithe.

6. I budget according to my needs, not my wants, and pay off debt using the money that’s left over.

7. I don’t use credit cards or take out loans.

8. I rent free books, dvd’s, and cd’s from the library, and I don’t have cable.

9. I trim my own hair, I give myself manicures and pedicures (without using nail polish), and I don’t wear makeup.

10. I review my bank statements every month and cut from my budget monthly. 

11. I ONLY seek financial counsel from people who are currently living the way I choose to live. (I mean, you don’t go to the guy who still drinks to learn how to get sober… right?)

This lifestyle takes practice and, although I don’t do it perfectly, my responsible financial habits are becoming more comfortable the longer I practice them.


What are some of your favorite money saving techniques? What do you consider necessities? What do you consider luxuries? Do you tithe? How often are you reviewing your bank statements? Do you know where your money is going every month? Do you spend according to a budget?