Being wasteful is easy, especially when everything seems to be so plentiful and simple to replenish. Just order more. Or run to the store, right?
Sure, we love to buy things on sale, but that’s not the only way — or the best way — to cut costs. Discovering simple ways to make things last longer is the surefire way to save time and money.
BLUE DAWN.ope体育 Our favorite degreaser and all-around amazing product, Blue Dawn, typically comes super concentrated. Read the label. It says it right there: “concentrated.”
Here’s a great tip: Don’t use Blue Dawn straight out of its container. Dilute it. I’ve used the same sturdy glass decanter for more than 10 years now. It’s attractive (a recycled wine bottle!) and has no lid or cap, which makes it super easy to dispense.
I keep the jug of Blue Dawn on a shelf in my laundry room. It’s out of sight, and not that easy to grab mindlessly. When the decanter needs a refill, I eyeball 5 parts water to 1 part Blue Dawn.
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER. Store bottles upside down to prevent the shampoo or conditioner from getting stuck at the bottom of the bottle. When you can’t get any more out, add a few capfuls of water, and shake.
TOILET PAPER. It’s human nature to be super wasteful when it appears that we have things like toilet paper, paper towels and other paper goods in abundance. But discover you have what’s left on the roll to last until you can get to the store, and watch how clever you and the family can be to make it last.
The trick to being careful is to create an appearance of scarcity. On purpose. Don’t fill the bathroom cabinet with five rolls of extra toilet paper. Make it one. Then store the rest in a place that’s not exactly convenient — perhaps in the basement or under a bed.
Even the kids will get a sense that they need to go easy when it appears you’re about to run out. Repeat this trick with other things that seem to disappear overnight. Surprisingly, even the person creating this sense of scarcity will naturally be more careful. Out of sight, out of mind. It works like a charm.
TOOTHPASTE. Once you’ve squeezed out as much toothpaste as you can, don’t throw that tube in the trash. Instead, carefully cut the tube open with a pair of scissors, and you’ll have enough for several more brushings. Tip: Store the cut tube in a plastic bag between uses to prevent it from drying out.
RAZORS.ope体育 Carefully dry the razor blade off after each use (use a towel, or, better yet, hit it with a blast from a hairdryer), and it will remain sharp twice as long.
LIPSTICK. When you get to the bottom of a tube, use a lip brush or a cotton swab to get at the remaining lipstick. You won’t believe how much product remains, even when you think you’ve reached the end.
Pro tip: Scoop your lipstick leftovers into an empty lip gloss pot for easy on-the-go use.
HAND SOAP. Purchase a foaming hand soap dispenser, and turn any regular hand soap into foaming hand soap. You’ll be amazed at how far you and the family can stretch one bottle of soap.
Recycling the container of a foaming hand soap product you purchased by prying off the top and refilling with liquid soap is probably not going to work. That’s because, much like the sprayer on a bottle of window cleaner, it is meant to be disposable. It’s one and done.
LAUNDRY DETERGENT.ope体育 If you use the “dump” method of adding laundry detergent to the washing machine, I can nearly guarantee you’re using too much!
Get out the owners manual to see what is recommended. Measure carefully. Every. Time. Unless you have super hard water, chances are you can use even less and still get great results, especially if you have a front-loader, which uses very little water.
Mary Hunt writes this column for Creators Syndicate. She is the founder of , a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living. Submit comments or tips or address questions on her website. She will answer questions of general interest via this column, but letters cannot be answered individually.