Re: How to lower water bill
On saving water: I try to maximize our dishwasher loads as well. One things that has really helped has been doing what I can to make sure the dishes are going to get clean. Not saving water at all if I have to rewash or hand wash dishes that didn't come clean. My personal method: Finish Quantum, a little bit of TSP [liquid phosphate], dumping about 2 cups of hot water into the bottom of the dishwasher to prep the pump, turning the kitchen hot water tap on JUST until the water runs hot, then starting the dishwasher. For me, my dishes have gone from having residue, caked on food etc. to being spotless 99.9% of the time unless we were negligent [ahem, DH was negligent] and didn't properly scrape off hard food.
We also follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down" rule.
DH and I shower every second day, sometimes every third day. On the other days I 'spit shine' myself with baby wipes or a soaped up facecloth. Sometimes I wash my hair in the sink OR I use baby powder to degrease my hair. I try to coincide these "sloppy" days with days that I'm not planning to leave the house and have messy housework to do anyway.
The boys get baths 1-2 times a week. They have skin issues from time to time, so this works best for them anyway.
I do large loads of laundry. Only in cold. I make sure that the clothing and items I buy are able to be washed together easily...I tend not to separate whites/colors and I hate buying anything with serious special washing instructions.
As for CD'ing: I think keeping things at the bare minimum can be a money saver and actually benefit the environment, but in general CD'ing is no more or less thrifty or good for the environment than using sposies. At the bare minimum we're talking an extra few loads of laundry per week [sometimes requiring several washes on different cycles]. Then there is wash to buy, usually special detergent. Then there is the issue of drying CD's esp. in the winter and a lot of people DO turn to the dryer. I think the thought it a nice one and I'm sure CD's are MUCH better on our LO's bottoms, but I'm not so sure that there are really any money savings in CD'ing.
As for disposables, I've used them exclusively on both of my kiddos. I really really intended to CD DS2, but we moved and had no easy access to a washer/dryer. Between the two boys we've used Pampers, Huggies and every major Canadian store brand [Presiden't Choice, Teddy's Choice, Wal-Mart brand]. We've also used Seventh Generation and other 'green' diapers. While some are softer than others, and some are generally more absorbant, they've pretty much all performed the same. I think each child has had a handful of leaks EACH, all at toddler age when more rambunctious and active or when a diaper change has been overlooked by DH. Neither have had a serious diaper rash, in fact the only sort of irritation they've has has been due to something they've ate not sitting well [citrus, usually]. I often hear/read about people complaining about diaper rashes and their poor LO's, but we've never had a problem. Of course all kids are different...some would be more sensitive to the chemicals used in sposies and others would be super soakers and more prone to leaks.
I think anyone interested in CD'ing should read up on it and give it a try if they like what they read, but I don't think it's as big a money/environment saver as it's made out to be.
Ani , Photographer, Anita Marie Photograph
Married for 13 years to Patrick, Youth Pastor
Mama to Oliver
08/06/08 & Eli