Dirty Dishes and Debt Management

by Jill Cooper


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The other day I was asked one of the most common questions that people ask me. "Where do I start to get out of debt?" After telling me of her huge credit card debt and how they eat out almost every night, the lady took a deep breath and said, "How do I save on laundry detergent and cleaning supplies?" Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. Even though saving money on cleaning supplies does help and should be done, that usually isn't where the biggest problem with the debt lies. This woman never once thought to ask me how to stop eating out so much. Most people don't want to face the real causes of their debt. Their biggest problems are the things they like the most. Going out to eat is one of the top five causes of debt. Get those dirty dishes out of the sink!

We go out to eat because we can't face a dirty kitchen. Keeping your kitchen empty of dirty dishes is the key to saving money. This is probably the #1 way to start getting out of debt. Most people are so overwhelmed with piled counter tops and dirty dishes that they would rather go out to eat than face a dirty kitchen. Do the dishes after every meal and keep hot soapy water in the sink while you are baking or cooking. Clean up as you go. If your sink is empty and the dishes are washed, your kitchen always looks good. This helps you save money because you have the time and space to cook.

To get in and out of the kitchen quickly, try these easy steps.

  1. Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Fill the sink with hot soapy water and put the hand washables in it to soak.

  2. Wipe off counter tops and tables with hot soapy water. (This way, if you have unexpected company, at least your table and counters will be clean.)

  3. Sweep the floor and shake throw rugs if needed.

  4. Wash the dishes that have been soaking.

  5. Wipe down the faucets and dry with a towel. (Be sure to wipe any sticky appliances, too.)

  6. Put out a clean dishrag and towel.

  7. Take out the trash.

These simple steps can help you start climbing your way out of debt. You will be amazed how much better you will feel just having the kitchen clean.


Jill Cooper raised two teenagers alone on $500 a month income after becoming disabled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is the inspiration behind her daughter Tawra's frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. To read more of Jill's articles and for free tips and recipes visit notjustbeans.com To order "Not Just Beans"; send $17.95 (free shipping) to Not Just Beans, P.O. Box 4252, Wichita, KS 67204

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