The SAVE Program Presents a Reason Not to Pay Back Student Debt

I am staring at my Marcus HYSA account. If we wanted to, we could pay off my student debt when it resumes next month, and be done with it. However, a new student loan repayment plan recently replaced the REPAYE program. Known as the SAVE Repayment program, this new and improved loan forgiveness program presents a reason not to pay back my student debt. It is an AMAZING program. Because of it, we are choosing to hold onto the student debt. Here is why!

What to Know about the SAVE Repayment program

  • The SAVE Plan significantly decreases monthly payments by increasing the income exemption from 150% to 225% of the poverty line. Income exemption means that if you earn less than 225% of the Poverty Line as determined by this chart, then you do not owe anything for your debt. To calculate this, determine the number of family members in your household. Match it with the poverty income level using the chart. Multiply the income level by 2.25. If you make less than that number then you don’t have to make payments.
  • 100% of remaining interest is eliminated after a scheduled payment is made. This is the most important reason why we aren’t paying it off. As long as you make the minimum monthly payment, the interest will not be added to your loan total. This works in the favor of those with massive student debt. Let’s assume you earn $100k per month and your total student debt is $400k. Then you’re monthly payment is around $834. Meanwhile, your interest is $2,267! That means your monthly payment doesn’t cover the interest of the loan. Under the new program, the interest is eliminated! That’s a huge difference! Before SAVE, the loan continues to grow if only minimum monthly payments were made. In fact, when we calculated it back in 2017, my loan would have ended up at $1, 400k after the loan repayment program. With SAVE, my loan will remain at $405k unless I miss my payments!
  • The SAVE Plan excludes spousal income for borrowers who are married and file separately. This is another great change. Especially for whose spouse earns a decent income. Before, the monthly payments were determined using both the borrower and the spouse’s income. Since SAVE only uses the borrower’s income, that minimum monthly payment is decreased! Meaning you need to put in less money in order to keep the loan amount the same.

More changes are promised to take effect July 2024.

I changed my mind again.

In this post, I wrote about how we changed our minds. We chose to take a majority of our savings and put it into a single-family residence for our growing family. I am a homebody who needs a homebase. Currently, there are no plans to pay off the student debt. We will prioritize other assets as we did during the pandemic forbearance. If the repayment program changes once again to something that would cause my debt to grow, I may reconsider. For now, I changed my mind.

I am pivoting based on the information I have. I am not giving up on building wealth. At the same time, it would be foolish to stick to my original payoff plan for the sake of identity. I was The Debtist. I was afraid of money. My debt defined me. But it is safe to say that I’ve found a way to walk away from that past. No longer will I let debt define me. I am letting go, and finding a way through.

I wanted to pay off my debt because I psychologically needed to. But I reached financial independence when I walked away from a job I hated, facing uncertainty during the pandemic. It was the best decision I have ever made. I chose myself and my values over money. By giving myself the space to grow, I changed the way I viewed myself and money. I am not just me, and money is just money.

It’s nice to learn that I can choose over and over again.

Simple Things: Newborn Clothes

I am staring at a pile of clothes Casey has outgrown. There’s a pang in my heart when I realize he was once so small. He entered our lives only four months ago, but it seems longer. At the same time, how could he grow so fast? Luckily, we acquired all of Casey’s belongings as gifts. A handful were new, but most were hand-me-downs from moms in the area. As I await to pass along Casey’s stuff to the next wave of expecting mothers, a wave of thoughts come to me. Companies produce so many newborn clothes and so many mommas buy them for their little ones. But Casey outgrew his in weeks. (Caveat: Our son is on the taller side and is pulling off 9 month clothing before his 4th month-day.) Regardless, how many newborn clothes does a minimalist momma really need?

I believe ten clothes demarcated with NB is aplenty. We were doing laundry frequently enough that seven might have been enough. A few things to note: we did baby laundry with our own laundry (saves water!). And we hardly experienced blowouts with our re-usable Esembly cloth diapers. I heard that disposable diapers runs the risk of more frequent blowouts. And if you wish to launder baby clothes separately, then you’ve got an argument for more. Still, you don’t need much.

I write this post for a few reasons. If you are a family living in a tiny space, count your lucky stars that 10 onesies will get you by. Alternatively, if you are hoping to stay frugal, then ten newborn clothes is easy to gather for free. If you wish to buy the fanciest attire, you’ll save money in your pocket knowing you only need a couple handfuls. Ultimately, know that whatever path you choose (ten or fifty), you will eventually be where I am at. With a bit of guilt, knowing that he didn’t wear any of them nearly enough while realizing that your child is growing up too fast for you to notice until you’ve got a box of clothes at your feet, ready to depart for someone else’s.

If you want to see what we considered for our baby registry, check out the post below.

Photo by Taisiia Shestopal on Unsplash

Scheduling Around An Infant

I sat down during a miraculous bit of down-time to do my weekly planning. Immediately, I felt a wave of laughter bubble up from the abysmal depths of this tired momma. At the beginning of each week I set aside time to write down my to-dos. At the end of each week, I cross off half of them and pray that I have the wherewithal to address the remaining half NEXT WEEK. It drives me bonkers. There is no schedule around an infant. I always think I have enough time to do something, and then realize that that version of me is long-gone. But the part of me that remains is still fighting to stay alive.

This time of my life has been an interesting combination of what was and what I hope to be. I feel like a floating ghost, in limbo between two alternate universes. Nothing is grounding. Nothing is simple. And certainly, nothing is controlled. It’s like riding waves. At some point, one needs to go limp to avoid being drowned by the tide. “Go with it,” I tell myself. “Stop struggling.” Easier said than done.

So here I am, spending what precious me-time I have, writing down next week’s hopes and dreams. Trying to create a schedule for myself. My goals have dwindled from spewing five blog posts a week to finding time to drink water. My husband tells me I should just take this time to rest. But I can’t rest when I feel unrest. Peace for me is balance and structure, boundaries and predictability. I continue to fight for my space, lest I lose my sanity.

Anyone else?

At least I’ve learned some things. That the house doesn’t burn down if things don’t get checked off. That there is always tomorrow. Others, I have re-learned. Like how sleep reigns supreme. And exercise fixes things. I don’t know how I am staying afloat. My parents, for one. A job I love. My sweet husband. Otherwise, I couldn’t keep on.

Speaking of scheduling, I find that the best method is to simply write a laundry list. Check it off as I please. Forget calendars. There isn’t time to look at those. Perhaps a cursory prioritization each morning also helps. There is only so much time in the day. I’ve missed a few crucial tasks. It’s okay. Life goes on. Be forgiving new mamas. You are doing good , I remind myself.

Look to your social network as a form of wealth.

Money is a form of wealth, but not the only kind. Aside from money, one can be rich in options, rich in autonomy, or rich in security. There can be a wealth of time or freedom. But what I favor most is richness in community, Recently, I have been dissecting the notion of our social network as a form of wealth. More importantly, how can we tap into our social networks in order to thrive and live rich and meaningful lives?

Our Social Network

I am hyper aware of our fortune when it comes to our social network. Mike and my ability to be working parents is facilitated by very present grandparents (on both sides). Where some people need to pay for childcare in order to earn money, we are fortunate to have free help. A full-time nanny in our area costs over $4k per month. That’s $48k that we get to save each year!

We are also lucky enough to have the support of co-workers and friends. We have neighbors that host dinners. We have friends who take Casey off our hands so that we could eat properly. My co-workers welcome Casey in the dental office. They have offered to take turns holding him should I ever need the one-off daycare. My colleagues will cover my shifts if I need to stay home to care for a sick child. And I have autonomy over my schedule. Not only can I choose the days and hours, but also how to organize my patients and treatment. This wouldn’t be possibly without understanding, empathetic and family oriented bosses.

On top of that, we live in a community that embraces sharing resources. Our Buy Nothing group supplied all of Casey’s belongings and Facebook threads run strong as mothers offer taking turns watching kids. We share unused and unwanted pantry items. And we network about which cleaner to use, which landscaper is cheapest, and what the heck HOA is going to do about so-and-so problem. For all of these reasons, Mike and I are rich in non-monetary ways.

Creating a social network

Feeling as if you have the short-end of the social stick? The good news is that you have control over how you structure your social circle. The first time I felt isolation was in January 2019 after our second trip to New Zealand. Having traveled to multiple countries by our second year of marriage, I realized that we lack in America the level of community and strong family ties found elsewhere. I wanted to feel like I belonged to something. This is exactly how I phrased it when I first reached out to Sara at Rye Goods asking to be their morning baker.

Since my return from New Zealand, I emphasized building my community. It was around the same time I heard the saying, ” you are as good as the five people you surround yourself with.” While I truly believe the statement, I also found it limiting. Why can’t you be as good as the one thousand people you surround yourself with? Plus the hundred thousand people that surround them? I found five to be a testament to America’s over-valuation of individuality. I wanted to transcend, not follow.

So I started by baking bread. They taught me how to open a bakery. Which led me to meeting restaurant and coffee shop owners. I started to write down the social history of all my patients, remembering what colleges their kids went to, where they grew up, and what they do for work. Afterwards, I started walking dogs. I met neighbors and friends who informed me of programs and groups in our local area. I joined our community workout classes.

Eventually, the people I met started to intersect. As my social network grew bigger, the world grew smaller.

Creating a social network isn’t hard work. But it definitely takes practice and intention. I moved ten times before high school, so meeting people isn’t something new to me. My best tip is to be genuinely invested in being an asset to other people. Come from a place of service and friendship, rather than trying to figure out ways in which they can help you. The latter kind of just falls into place.

On top of that, I made life choices that are aligned with my goal of prioritizing community. I never strayed far from family, choosing to live close to my parents and home. I also act as the communicator and organizer for my social circles. And I tend to connect people from different groups. In essence, instead of isolating, I try to surround.

Tapping Into Your Social Network

It takes practice tapping into a social network. Here are a few ways to benefit from people around you.

  • Finding job opportunities.
  • Finding service recommendations.
  • Asking to borrow things you need.
  • Getting a sitter for the kids.
  • Pulling resources for a project.
  • Searching for advice.
  • Looking for a new home.
  • Learning a hobby.
  • Inheriting hand-me-downs.
  • Getting coverage at work.
  • Getting monetary help.
  • Hearing about good deals.
  • And more!

Some people chase money alone, hoping to get rich and accumulate wealth. But we attain that status much quicker if we have a vibrant community. Don’t forget about building good rapport with those around you. It’s just as important as building your career.

Photo by youssef naddam on Unsplash

Living with Parents is Underrated: How Cohabiting with Grandparents is Harboring a Healthy Lifestyle for our New Family

It wasn’t in the plan for us to move in with my parents. But what I realized these last few weeks of living with mom and dad is that independence is over-valued in this country. Individualism is lacking the benefits community has to offer. And living with grandparents is soooooo underrated. Despite having help from both my parents and Mike’s dad, we are still barely making it happen. I cannot imagine what it would be like going at this alone. Cohabiting with my parents is giving everyone involved (us, our parents and Casey) a healthy, happy, and fruitful lifestyle. And while it won’t last long, I am grateful we all had the opportunity to experience Casey’s first few months together.

We planned to set family boundaries.

Before Casey was born, we talked about not burdening our parents with childcare. But during our leave, we decided to buy a new-build home and sell our current townhome. We were blessed to get multiple offers after the first weekend, something we were NOT expecting. This put our living situation in limbo. Our new home wasn’t going to be finished until two months after the closing date of our townhome. My parents immediately opened their doors to us. From the bottom of my heart, it was the best gift providence gave.

As new parents, we talked endlessly about setting boundaries. We planned to have visitation hours in order to protect our family unit. I was carrying around the traumas from childhood that every child experiences. I didn’t want to translate those traumas to the next generation. I wanted us to start our family on a new (and better) foundation. We planned to build walls but I am so glad I was forced to break them down.

It has been an eye-opening experience to realize that they respect our wishes for raising Casey. This was an opportunity for me to heal from the scars of the trauma I received in my childhood. In essence, I realized that they were doing their best, and that this sh*t is HARD WORK. I will be the first to say that I was wrong. Now, I am so happy that we bought a home close to my parents. A five minute walk is all it takes to be at each-other’s front door.

It Takes A Village to Raise a Child

Nothing prepares you for the amount of work it takes to raise a child. Despite the warnings, books and advice, the experience cannot be summed up in words. I distinctly remember asking everyone during the first few weeks of motherhood how they managed to raise children. I was shocked by their answers:

  • Mike’s parents both went back to work, so his grandma was the one to raise Mike and his sister. At the time, his mom was living with her parents.
  • Mike’s aunt had her mother AND mother-in-law move in with her during the first month after giving birth.
  • My mom had two brothers living with her and the help of a nanny. My mom’s sister was at the hospital with her when I was born.
  • My friend Alex was living with her parents for 3 months, and then hired a full time nanny when she went back to work.

I compare these stories to our friends who have no family close by. In these instances, one parent went back to work while the other one stayed at home.

Living with my parents has been great for everybody. We take turns cooking dinner for the group, washing dishes, and cleaning the house. Four hands is better than two, and someone is available to give their full attention to Casey at all times. We share grocery lists so that one couple can shop at Albertsons while the other makes a Costco run. This saves us time and energy. Mom and dad manage the electricity bills, and I manage the cleaner. Plus it’s cute to see both grandfathers tag-teaming diaper changes.

Because of my parents, Mike and I can work. We have time to exercise and go out on dates (just us two!). Don’t get me wrong, it is still no walk in the park. I no longer write or read as much as I want to. I’ve given up walking dogs and baking bread. We are still tired at night. Yet we get to keep parts of ourselves that we could never have time for without help. Meanwhile, Casey is growing up with grandparents in his life, which means more people he can turn to and rely on.

All of this to say, we are not meant to raise children alone. We are not meant to fill eight different roles at the same time, all the time, every day, for years. I hope we as a society move towards community. I hope young people embrace connectivity and welcome people into their home. Accepting this idea of sharing really makes for a much easier life.

Packing a Hospital Bag

I’ve never given birth before so hospital bag packing advice may not be the most tried-and-true, coming from me. But I’ve gone ahead and packed one anyway, because what else? I have taken the list home from my doctor, listened to advice from mommy friends, and read blogs from minimalists galore. I am taking what I believe to be essential to me, which isn’t above creature comforts such as cozy socks. I’m also not so minimalist as to leave my baby’s attire to the hospital cap and gown (sorry!). The cute stuff I’ve brought, too. But I’ve paired the packing back so it’s light enough that I can toss it into my truck in case I am home alone when it becomes time. So I’ve skipped the personal pillow, the mood candles, the hair drier and massage oils. I have also taken my doctor’s advice to not bother with sani -pads or underwear. Looks like baby and I will be going home in hospital diapers!

What I Am Packing in my Hospital Bag

For Baby

  • One take-home attire for baby. We chose this onesie from Bonsie so we could skip packing socks and mitts.
  • One cute muslin swaddle from Dock-A-Tot.
  • His infant car-seat, gifted from his grandparents and great-grandparents.

For Mom

  • 2 Nightdresses which are really housedresses from Nesting Olive. It is my favorite maternity product!
  • 1 going-home attire – another loose fitting dress from Eileen Fisher.
  • A robe. Instead of taking my pretty one from Parachute, I will be bringing a Target robe that I would sacrifice in a heartbeat to the cause.
  • Maternity pumping/nursing bra from Kindred Bravely (get 15% off your order here!).
  • Cozy socks. My Darn Tough hiking socks will do.
  • A handy dandy water bottle with bendy straw. I am using one of Mike’s old Hydroflasks but this mama bottle from BinkMade would be a dream.
  • Hair tie and a head band. It’s gonna be the workout of my life.
  • A kindle with books to read on it. Because I am under the impression I would get bored, for some reason.
  • Cell phone + charger.
  • Lip Balm.
  • Photo ID, Insurance, Hospital Forms, Birth Plan.

For Dad

  • Non-perishable snacks.
  • Toiletries.
  • An extra change of clothes.
  • Switch, Cell Phone, and Charger

For once, I think I hit middle ground in terms of quantity. I am not bringing a massive bag to the hospital. But I am also not being so spare as to give up creature comforts. Let me know if there’s something I’m lacking. We’ve still got a few weeks left.

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Spend Nothing When Having a Baby

When we found out that our family was growing, I immediately thought about our finances. We had heard projections on how much it costs to raise a child. But my first musing was, is it possible to rear children for less? Blasphemy, amiright? Nonetheless, I quietly set a personal goal to spend nothing when having a baby. It was such a daunting task that it took me a few days to voice the idea to my husband. Aside from hospital bills, I wanted to spend $0 buying the consumerist stuff. And it has been a wild success so far!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not so delusional as to think that this endeavor will be entirely free. (It sounds endearing, though!) We are already projected to spend $8-10k on the birthing itself, even with the help of PPO insurance coverage which covers 80% of the costs of childbirth in the state of California. But with a lot of intention, I think it can be made more affordable. As in, MUCH more affordable.

My personal goal is to spend close to nothing on getting ready for the babe. I’ve been able to stick to my budget, but three months is still a long way to go. I may get cold feet. FOMO might set in. Or the guilt that I am not being a good provider. For now, those thoughts are at bay. I truly believe that children learn through our actions, and this is my first lesson. Do with less, be with less, keep more to spare.

How to Spend Nothing When Having A Baby

Be intentional about what you need.

The internet is full of kid-items ready to sell to anxious moms and dads. As parents, we have a job to do for our children – to provide for and take care of. But we are also the gatekeepers of their worlds, the guardians of their lives and homes. And sellers, they have their goals too – to sell what they make as best they can.

What helps me stay grounded is to think back on me and Mike’s childhoods. We grew up with very little. I grew up in a third-world country and Mike lived in an apartment his entire life, sharing a bedroom with his dad until junior year of high-school. Our happiest joys were the simple moments – both in childhood and in adulthood. I remember collecting lady bugs in the backyard with my sister, catching mussels by a lake, and going to the playground behind the church. I like to think that we’ve already provided enough by situating our family in a beautiful community filled with amenities and outdoor activities.

In exchange for all the toys, Mike’s dad never missed a track meet or soccer game and my mother quit her job and cooked dinner every night. That’s my second motivating thought to being intentional: the less we spend, the less we have to work. The more we can be around for the important stuff. I can keep my part-time job. Mike can work from home whenever I go into the dental office. We hope to have at least one of us home with our kid every single day. In essence, my ability to not spend on non-essential items is my second source of income. AND it’s not taxed!

Be Open to Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-downs for most baby items are perfectly fine. They don’t have to be brand new, especially when newborns outgrow things in 3 months time. Baby stuff costs way too much these days. Rompers and footsies cost $20 each. That is a LOT of money. You could feed a family of three a decent meal with that! Cuter outfits cost twice as much. Remember, little ones aren’t even conscious of what they look like.

Embracing hand-me-downs also reduces waste. So many parents throw out their old stuff – toys, books, plastic dinner utensils, Tupperware, clothes – these could have lots of life left! Not to mention, it’s a bit of a pain trying to decide what to do with old stuff. Old parents may appreciate you offering to take things off their hands. It would spare them the guilt of throwing things away and give them the comfort that their items are going to be of use to someone else.

Already, we have a large number of items being handed down by aunties, co-workers, and friends!

Which brings me to my third point…

Rely On Your Community

In 2019, when we returned from New Zealand, I wrote a post lamenting the lack of community in California. I yearned for what Kiwis had – a rural, farm-life type of dependence amongst neighbors in small towns. I joined a bakery team BECAUSE I was looking for a community. I wanted to be a part of a group, instead of working in isolation as a dentist and writing in isolation as a blogger. Slowly, I learned that community was what you made of it.

I’ve come a long way since then. Despite a pandemic, I developed a community at both dental offices I work at. I connected with people in my area by volunteering at the farms. My work-out crew is the most motivating group of people I have. And I met a lot of dog-owners and cat-parents who have become dear friends.

Most importantly, we moved out of the city. I loved our live-work loft and the convenience of downtown living but we knew it wasn’t a place to raise a family. It also was a more solitary life. At the time, it was fine since we had a roommate living with us. We formed a mini-faux-family. But when we lost our roommate, it was “just us” in a world recovering from a pandemic. So we transported ourselves to the mountains, in a suburban area filled with multi-generational families. We live down the street from my parents, about five miles from where I lived since my teen years. And it was the best decision we made.

Make Use of Your Local Buy Nothing Group

I am really grateful to live in a community filled with families because it makes for a great buy-nothing group. Reminiscent of how moms in the past relied on each other for things such as spare eggs or a loaf of bread, the Facebook Buy Nothing group is filled with graciously gifted goods. We have turned to our Buy Nothing group to get a lot of things we need for our newborn. It is the #1 tool we have to spending $0 when having a baby. We have saved thousands of dollars because of our Buy Nothing community!

So far, we have received the following baby items from the Local Buy Nothing Group:

  • Two boppy pillows for nursing
  • Coterie Diapers for Newborns
  • A Graco High Chair
  • A Graco Baby Swing
  • Clothing 0-3 months
  • Clothing 3-6 months
  • Clothing 6-9 months
  • Clothing 9-12 mos
  • Baby shoes
  • A wooden crib

List the Must-Haves on the Baby Registry and Wait for the Baby Shower

My mom is throwing us a baby shower a month and a half before the baby arrives. We are constantly updating and evaluating the baby registry. As we collect more FREE stuff from relatives and the Buy Nothing Group, we remove items that would otherwise be doubled. In this way, we save the resources of our loved ones and focus in on the necessities. I refuse to purchase anything until after the baby shower. It could be that we receive everything we need!

Have tough conversations with your immediate family.

There are going to be many tough conversations with family members. For us, we started discussing expectations from the get-go. While they want what is best, sometimes, it helps to share what IS best for your family. I had to reiterate our hope to not accumulate a lot of stuff by way of books, toys, and clothes. We hope for our family members to save their hard-earned dollars and avoid buying children’s books (which we can borrow from the library down the street at a moment’s notice) and baby toys (which could be substituted by every day items). Our baby doesn’t need fancy clothes, and hand-me-downs will more than make do. If they could substitute STUFF with baby-sitting help, home-cooked meals, or free advice, we would be happy. These are tough conversations for grandparents, aunties and uncles who want to give your child the world and more. Telling them you don’t want what they wish to buy you may come off as being ungrateful. But it is necessary in order to foster a healthy relationship between you and your baby’s most important community.

Work for It

Lastly, you can do as I do and work for it. I created this blog space to share my story. But I also consider blogging a job. Here, I partner with brands that I believe in and exchange product for reviews, blog posts, creative content, or social media exposure. I think it’s a great gig for expecting mothers who don’t mind sharing their experiences with products! It is flexible, creative, fun, and totally in your control.

If you are interested in growing a blog, check out these posts I have written to get started!

As I said before, I am not so foolish as to think this will be the most frugal venture yet. But just like we’ve travel-hacked our way around the world, leveraged house-hacking to save money to buy our home, and paid my student debt down working part-time through frugal living, I think there are many CREATIVE ways to avoid over-spending when raising children. I believe parenting has gotten away from us. I fear companies and corporations have hijacked our anxious minds and convinced us of our need for yet more stuff. I am curious to see how much of it is truly necessary and am willing to challenge some of today’s assumptions.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Noshinku Hand Sanitizers Protecting Hands That Do

A lot has changed in my life over the past two years. Certainly, a lot has changed in everyone’s lives, but I can only speak for myself. One of the best things that happened to me was gaining enough financial independence to quit a job that I disliked, which then allowed me to pursue my dream lifestyle.

Today, I work as a dentist only three days a week, and spend a majority of my time doing what I love to do. I help a bakery with their wholesale clients, walk and sit dogs and cats in the neighborhood, volunteer at a community farm, write in this blog space, workout everyday with a group, and on my additional spare time, I read books, bake bread, and hang out with friends and family. In order to avoid sick days that would hinder my dream life, I turn to better hand-hygiene with Noshinku, who created a hand sanitizer protecting hands that do.

Portable Pocket Sanitizer for Me and You

Noshinku has turned hand sanitizer into the essential worker for me and you. Perfectly encapsulated in a compact, flat, rectangular box, I can easily carry around this luxurious spritz on-the-go. Thinner than my Iphone 12 Mini, the Noshinku case fits in tiny clutches. It even stashes away in my Lululemon leggings side pocket, which is no minor feat. Et tres necessaire.

The case’s hand-feel is buttery and soft. Everyone on the internet is raving about it! It reminds me of Apple’s grippy Iphone case. Surely it would never slip from my fingers, although now that I’ve published this, all I can think of is: Famous last words. The rounded corners make it fun to constantly rotate in my hand. It’s become the new fidget spinner. Plus, the sleek case profile makes any minimalist swoon.

Catch me spritzing sanitizer in between each daily activity and task. This hand sanitizer is perfect for millennials like me with on-the-go lifestyles; professional enough for entrepreneurs and businessfolk, light enough for travelers and athletes, and strong enough for healthcare and mothers. Don’t leave this travel-sized spray at home. Unless, of course, you work from home.

Natural Ingredients for Healthy Hands

For those concerned about what is actually inside the case, let’s talk about it. Noshinku’s hand sanitizer is made of 100% natural ingredients that are safe and worry-free. The ingredient list is made up of words that I can recognize and pronounce, which is more than I can say for other brands. Efficacy is at its best, with the components eliminating 99.9% of the germs.

These ingredients include 70% ethyl alcohol from organic sugar cane, distilled to eliminate impurities that could cause skin irritation. It also contains aloe vera with soothing and anti-aging properties, jojoba oil to moisturize and protect skin from the elements, rosa canina for its reparative capabilities, argan oil which provides a natural barrier, and coconut oil to retain moisture. I love the light-weight feel of this hand sanitizer. And thanks to its moisturizing qualities, I can say goodbye to red, splotchy rashes and say hello to happy hands!


Can you believe that this sanitizer is equally as good for the planet as it is for the hands? These tiny capsules are refillable in the simplest way. Eco-friendly refill options up to a gallon are available on their site, thereby reducing plastic waste associated with most sanitizers. Even the smaller 500mL refill pouch can refill the capsule 5+ times. Taking into account that it only takes one spray to cover your hands, the refill options really make a huge environmental difference!

Plus, Noshinku has a Recycle Program. Partnering with Teracycle, Noshinku has launched an initiative that promotes recycling. Users can send 6+ empty Noshinku products and Terracycle will recycle them responsibly so that nothing ends up in a landfill. The user will then receive 20% OFF their next Noshinku purchase. Alternatively, one can post a picture of themself recycling ANY single use sanitizer product in a Terracyle bin, tag Noshinku, and Noskinku will send a custom 20% off code for a refillable mister.

Pretty as Perfume

If you think the aesthetics are pretty, wait ’til you try the scent! The spray comes in four fragrances, all of which smell like a bottle of Aesop’s best perfume. There are no alcohol odors here!

Lavendula is floral, sweet and slightly spicy due to a blend of rich lavender and cardamom. It is the perfect Mother’s Day find. Refreshing and clean Eucalyptus has hints of herbal rosemary and marjoram, the perfect final touch after a shower or washing of hands. Woodsy Bergamot smells of citrus, cedar, and black pepper, essential for the avid hiker or your average forest bather.

But the one that surprised me the most, the one I fell head-over-heels for, was the masculine Vetiver, which opens with crisp and sweet wood that settles into a creamy leather with earthy under-tones. I’ll be fighting my husband for this one! To be honest, they all smell really, really good. It is difficult to choose just one. If you are unsure which spray is right, try Noshinku’s discovery pack.

Everyone can get around this new hand hygiene habit with Noshinku at play. In fact, if you’re having trouble developing one, try Noshinku out! Studies have shown that habits are easier developed when tied to a cue or product. Try associating hand hygiene with one of Noshinku’s scents. You may be surprised at how easy it is to develop a hand sanitizer habit!

Nourishing, protecting and rejuvenating hands everywhere, this hand-sanitizer is a blend of substance and style. It is modern minimalism, the marriage of function and beauty. No wonder it won a Best Beauty Product Award from Byrdie in 2021. Noshinku is here to support my busy life, so that I can focus on actually living it.

With that, I leave behind words from Noshinku themselves:

NOSHINKU was founded on the belief that life is lived in the details and that every moment, no matter how small, impacts one’s quality of life. We exist to enable hands that never want to be idle; for hands with a persistent need to do interesting things in the world around them. We exist to keep hands healthy, because healthy hands have the power to change the world. #ForHandsThatDo. You can nominate someone in your life whose hands you admire for a chance to gift them a free NOSHINKU.

These thoughts are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.