Written by Bernie Carr
We’re all trying to save money these days and every little bit of effort helps. My grandfather used to mark the dates with a sharpie whenever he started using a consumable product. I asked him why did he do that. He said he did that to track how long the item lasts so he can try to stretch the usage.
Recalling this made me think about what household products are we likely using too much of, and ways we can cut back.
7 common household products you’re likely wasting
We’ve all seen those toothpaste commercials where the entire length of the toothbrush bristles is covered with toothpaste. I also know people who brush with that much toothpaste. Dentists actually recommend just a pea sized amount of toothpaste for adults. For kids under the age of three, just a swipe of toothpaste on the toothbrush is enough.
Do you toss the toothpaste tube when you can no longer squeeze anything out? Don’t throw it out just yet. Cut the tube and swish your toothbrush around. You’ll find another three brushes worth of toothpaste in the tube.
I used to shampoo my hair everyday, especially during the warm, humid Texas summers. After a few months, my hair started to become dry and lifeless. It turns out I was shampooing too much.
According to this WebMD article, dermatologists say washing every two to three days is fine for most people. Indications that you need to shampoo are oily hair, itching scalp or flakiness due to dirt.
After I cut back to shampooing every other day or less, my hair became more healthy-looking and less prone to breakage.
It’s tempting to use a palm sized amount of shampoo, as that’s what comes out if you tip the bottle. But you only need about the size of a quarter to two quarters.
The best way to save is to use a pump bottle. Transfer the shampoo into a pump bottle, try just one or two pumps worth and see if that’s enough.
Similar to shampoo usage, it is easy to use way too much conditioner. Usage really depends on the type of hair you have, as well as the length. If you have long hair, use the size of two blackberries, for short or medium length hair, an amount the size of one blackberry will do, according to Today.
Whether it’s liquid or powder, the recommended amount of detergent is usually too much. Try cutting your usual amount in half – you will find that using a smaller amount still works.
Another product that is usually wasted is dishwashing detergent. According to this New York Times article, too much soap in the dishwasher will actually make your dishes and glasses filmy.
Try using half the recommended amount of dish detergent. I tried using just half the amount and the dishes still came out clean.
We’ve already experienced a toilet paper shortage. But now that supplies have been restocked, have you gone back to your old habits?
It’s easy to just keep pulling that roll and grab a handful. Here are a couple of tips for using less:
- Flatten the roll so that the inner cardboard bends, making it harder for the paper to roll off the dispenser, or at least slow it down.
- Grab a few sheets at a time and see if using less than your usual works just as well.
I tend to use a lot of body lotion in the cooler months when skin tends to be dry. But now that I am trying to use less, I have noticed I can use half the amount I previously applied and still get the same result.
The best time to apply body lotion is right after a shower when your skin is still damp. Your skin will absorb the emollients better and you will also use less.
The Final Word
You don’t need to start depriving yourself of your favorite products. Just start being conscious of how much you’re currently using and try cutting back a little. If you’re not happy with the result, you can always go back to your normal usage and cut back on something else. On the other hand, you may be pleasantly surprised that you’re able to use less, save money and avoid waste.
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About the author:
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.