When less is better
I’d bet at¬†some point¬†in everyone’s life they’ve seen the phrase “lather, rinse, repeat” on a shampoo bottle– and then snickered because, unless your hair is really dirty, “repeating” is ridiculous.¬† It is an obvious ploy on the part of the manufacturer to convince people to use more shampoo during each shower, resulting in more shampoo purchases.
The next time you are in a cynical mood (or thrifty mood– whatever works for you!), start looking at other products in your house where the manufacture provides measuring cups (say,¬† in the cap) or instructions on how much to use the product.¬† Then really think about how much you think you need to use.¬† Make a list and start experimenting in reducing the amounts used.
Since a soap-like product¬†makes an¬†easy example, I’ll keep using it.¬† The next time you load the dishwasher, reduce the amount just a little.¬† Keep reducing the amount (slightly) during each subsequent use until you’ve found a level you are comfortable with.¬† Don’t¬†go below the amount you are comfortable with because, after all, if you don’t think your dishes are clean, then you aren’t getting any value from¬†your purchase (and may just run it again, thereby cancelling any savings).
Now you may be wondering if this will really save you money.¬† For your average products purchased at a big box store, it may be a cumulative savings, with little savings on each individual reduction.¬† However, if you can also do this to more expensive items, it makes those expensive items more affordable.¬† My favorite example is a trick I learned from my mom, who learned it from my sister: We love the foaming soaps from Bath and Body Works, but at $5 per bottle, they are a bit expensive.¬† So– surprise!– I only buy them when they are on sale (around $3 per bottle).¬† Then, I stretch them even further by pouring half of a bottle into an empty bottle (from a previous purchase)– then add water to both.¬† Viola, it is now $1.50 per bottle (CVS foaming hand-soap is¬†$1.99 per bottle and generic hand-soap at Target is about $1.50).¬†¬† Not bad!
Here’s a list of things I’ve stretched by using this method:
- laundry detergent (especially if you are also adding stain-remover boosters or fabric softeners)
- dishwasher soap
- shampoo (when I can– this varies depending on the brand and water quality/pressure)
- body wash (also, when the bottle is “empty” I add water to it, shake it up, and then use that for at least another week before cracking a new bottle)
- juice (water it down a little– with the bonus of consuming less sugar per drink)
- powdered drinks