Saving money involves not just eliminating unnecessary expenses such as Starbucks or cable television. It also means making the most of what you have, and one small but important aspect of that is the principle of using less of the products you already incorporate into your routine. This includes items such as shampoo, laundry detergent, and hand soap. This is not an exhortation to give up doing laundry or to go a week without washing your hair. It’s just advice to not use as much shampoo during each wash. It sounds painfully obvious and overly simple to just use less, but even if you are frugal and careful, you may have some areas for improvement here.
What does it mean to use less?
When we use products like liquid hand soap, body wash, pancake syrup, ketchup, or laundry detergent, we often use more than we need to get the job done. Often, we will have just as good of a result, or possibly better, if we don’t use so much of these products. That means squirting a smaller pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush instead of a marble-sized glob. It means using just enough shampoo to work up a good lather, rather than squeezing a giant blob out of the bottle. Sometimes, appliances like dish washers or washing machines even function better and clean more efficiently if we don’t overdo it on the detergent.
I’m not encouraging you to deprive yourself or your family. Instead, just pay attention to how much of a product you’re using and ask if it’s possible to not use so much. If you try using less and it doesn’t work for you, then just go back to using the amount you previously used. As they say, you’ll never know until you try.
The savings from using less may only add up to pennies or a few dollars, but it adds up and it’s a way to responsibly use what you have and reduce the volume that you put in your trash can or recycling bin. You might make a bottle of shampoo or laundry detergent last twice as long. It also sets a good example for any kids in your family, who often are naturally prone to using too much.
Things you might be able to use less of:
- Body wash
- Hand soap from a pump
- Liquid dish soap
- Mouth wash
- Dental floss
- Hair spray
- Mousse or styling cream
- After shave
- Shaving cream
- Household cleaners (kitchen cleaning sprays, toilet bowl cleaners, dusting spray, window and glass cleaner, etc.)
- Toilet paper
- Laundry detergent
- Fabric softener sheets (Try cutting a sheet in half and only using that.)
- Water (Encourage family members to take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while brushing teeth, turn off shower while shaving legs, etc.)
- Mayonnaise on a sandwich
- Pancake syrup
- Sugar, honey, or creamer in your coffee or tea (Okay, well maybe not those things. But experiment and you may be surprised at how easily you can make do with just a little less, and this has health benefits if you’re cutting sweeteners.)
- Cooking spray
- Salad dressing
- Dip for veggies or fruit
What other things could you use less of? Share your thoughts in the comments.