Save Money By Using Less: 10 Products You Use Too Much Of

When it comes to saving money, one of the best things you can do is to use less of the products you do buy. Using less means the product lasts longer, which means you buy replacements and refills less often. We can use less of many products and still achieve the same (or better) results. Here are ten things that you can easily use less of without giving up performance.

Laundry detergent: Detergents have come a long way in recent years, yet most people and manufacturers still think you have to use a lot to get good results. You can use less than the recommended amount of detergent and still get clean clothes. In fact, using less detergent is good for your clothes and the washing machine. Too much soap causes build up on your clothes and can gunk up the works of your machine (or septic tank, if you have one). Try using half as much as normal in a couple of loads and then adjust accordingly.

Dryer sheets: You can cut a dryer sheet in half or even in quarters and still get the same results as with a whole sheet. Using less leaves less build up on your clothes and less build up in your dryer.

Shampoo/conditioner: If you ever read the directions on a shampoo bottle, the instructions usually read, “Lather, rinse, repeat.” Unless your hair is filthy, you can skip the repeat part of the program. You can also use far less than the recommended amount and still get great results. In fact, using less may actually make your hair cleaner because you won’t have so much build up on your hair. You don’t have to shampoo your hair every day, either. A couple of times per week is enough for most people.

Dishwasher detergent: Like laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents (and machines) have improved in recent years. Chances are you don’t have to fill the detergent cup to the brim to get clean dishes. Try filling it only half full and gauging the results.

Toothpaste: You don’t have to use the big, curly stripe shown on the toothpaste commercials to get clean teeth. For most people, an amount slightly larger than a pea is plenty to freshen breath and remove plaque.

Deodorant: On deodorant commercials, you often see the actor swiping the stick over their skin five or six times. In real life, one good swipe is usually enough to do the job, unless you are going to be sweating profusely.

Moisturizer: You don’t have to fill your hand with a big glob of moisturizer. In most cases, a little blob will soften your skin. You just need enough to lightly cover your skin; you don’t have to soak your skin.

Juice: Most juice is so full of sugar that you can easily dilute it with water and it will still taste good. Try mixing a glass of half juice and half water to begin with. If it’s too weak, add in a little more juice. Conversely, if it still tastes too sweet, add a bit more water. You can make a bottle of juice last twice as long as normal or longer.

Cleansers: You don’t have to soak the mirror with glass cleaner or flood the toilet with cleanser to get a clean house. In general, a little spray of cleanser applied with a rag or sponge will clean a large area. This applies to furniture polish, window cleaner, toilet cleaner, and all purpose cleaners. About the only time that extra
cleanser really helps is if you have a serious stain or built up dirt. Even then, applying less cleanser but letting it soak in for a few minutes will probably do the job.

Perfume/body spray: A single spritz of most perfumes or body sprays is usually enough to give you the scent you want. Multiple sprays are not only wasteful, they can turn people off because the fragrance becomes too strong. I doubt that in real life you’d want to be close to the actor in the commercial who sprays himself for a solid thirty seconds with body spray.

This list is just a starting point. Try experimenting with other products that you use to see if you can use less and still get good results. The point is to be aware of what you use and don’t take the manufacturer’s directions at face value. After all, the manufacturer wants you to buy more product so they’re likely to encourage you to use more than you really need. You’ll probably find that there are many other products that you can use less of and save even more money.

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17 Responses to Save Money By Using Less: 10 Products You Use Too Much Of

  1. London student says:

    I know this may sound bad to an american website but you could go one step further and remove your dishwasher & dryer. In England these aren’t very common and will save a ton on your electricity bill.

    You could also wean yourself off of juice. Drinking water is far healthier and cheaper.

    You should also use less mouth wash.
    You should switch off the computer for an hour more each day.
    You should take more showers than baths.
    Try and get more than one wear out of clothes before washing. Obviously if it becomes a hygiene issue then don’t bother. I find in winter I can get away with wearing things more before they need washing.
    Cook smaller portions to control what you eat and ensure you don’t overeat.
    Use less washing-up liquid when washing dishes by hand.

  2. Annie Jones says:

    I agree with all of your points, but could take a few even further (I also agree with most of what the previous commenter wrote.)

    I don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener at all.

    I usually don’t drink (or buy) juices, There’s little point in drinking juice other than the flavor. When I do buy it, I don’t add extra water because I think that diluting them reduces what little nutrition they offer per serving even more.

    I rarely use moisturizers and find that in the winter, I don’t always need to use deodorant. These, of course, depend on a person’s individual needs, but the point is that not everyone needs these products on a daily basis.

    I like the idea of perfume, but I don’t wear (or buy) any because they cause some in my family (including me) to have headaches.

    My daughter recently bought me some handcrafted vegan soap. I’ve been using it to wash my hair, also. It may be that in the near future I’ll be adding shampoo to my list of products I no longer use.

  3. Brent says:

    In response to London Student, I just bought a new dishwasher. It’s yearly energy cost is estimated at $33 compared to my previous of around $75. On top of that the new dishwasher uses only 4 gallons of water to clean the dishes versus many other dishwashers using about 10 (still less than hand washing).

  4. snshijuptr says:

    I agree with London that smaller food portions will save you a lot of money and is so much healthier! I always try to pack half of my dinner for lunch the next day, which means no buying lunch.

    On that same note, split meals when you go out to eat or plan to bring the rest home. Those portions are huge!

  5. Monkey Mama says:

    This pretty much applies to everything.

    I think we do everything about half as often as recommended. (Or use half as much as recommended). We were just discussing how we probably don’t need to go to the dentist twice a year. Maybe sounds off topic, but it was the only thing we could really think of that we follow the “recommended dose.”

    Americans are definitely nutty when it comes to WAY over cleaning. (bathing too often, too much soaps/shampoo, too frequent clothes washing, etc., etc.)

    Also reminds me when more frugal friends put down my shampoo of choice. So it takes me a year to go through a bottle or 2 – hardly an expensive luxury – my $5 shampoo. 😉

  6. shaabenanizer says:

    Sorry London Student, I know you mean well but I can’t help but roll my eyes every time a foreigner can’t resist commenting and generalizing about American lifestyle. Don’t the UK have it’s own financial savings website?

    As for the article:
    1. Check. Try to use the minimum detergent, can’t stand the residue detergent smell.
    2. Never used dyer sheets in my life.
    3. Don’t use conditioner as it causes breakouts. Use diluted vinegar as rinse instead.
    4. Never used the dishwasher and thinking of getting rid of the one that came with my condo, maybe turning it into extra cabinet/storage.
    5. Okay, I tend to go crazy with the toothpaste.
    6. I’m Asian-descent so deodorant is not necessary due to lack of apocrine glands. However I’ve been on buses and trains with ‘natural’ people and oy, get away from me!
    7. I have skin eczema so excess moisturizer is a matter of life and death
    8. Check. Dilute my 100% juice for years now.
    9. Check. Like detergent, can’t stand the residue cleanser smell.
    10. Check. Sometimes I remember to rub a drop of lavender oil into my hair.

  7. Isabelle says:

    Don’t know which part of England London Student comes from, most people I know have both dishwasher and dryer!

    More people do dry their washing outside if they can, if raining everyone I know uses their dryer.

  8. Isabelle says:

    Yes, I know it says ‘London’ student, but it could well mean studying in London but coming from another area!

  9. Gail says:

    I can give hearty agreement to the use less perfume hint. I wish people who slather it on themselves realized how offensive all that scent is to those of us that are allergic or just hate the smell. Especially health care workers–something I learned in nursing school. They should not wear scents at all as it can cause an ill person to become nauseated.

    I have found except in summer or unless I am under a lot of stress, I don’t have to use deodorant. A very surprising thing to find out after years of using it while working (and the stress of working). If you find that your lifestyle has changed and is calmer now, try to see if you can get away without using it.

    Another thing is using (or buying) less clothes. Most adults stay about the same size and if you wear classic style clothes, most items shouldn’t be going out in the trash 6 months after getting them. I have items in my closet that are close to 20 years old and still wearable and are still frequently worn. I never put my lingerie in the dryer, but hang it to dry and it has lasted years at this point.

    The point is we can get along with so much less than we think we can. Just go to some yard sales and you will really see the difference in some people’s lives when you see the mounds of stuff out for sale.

    By the way, I manually wash dishes as I don’t have a dishwasher (by intention) and I barely use 3 gallons of water if that, and definitely not 10 gallons. I don’t know where this rumor started that dishwashers take up less water. They don’t unless you are running water non-stop the whole time you are washing the dishes which isn’t necessary.

  10. One caveat on the moisturizer tip: If your moisturizer is also your source of sunscreen, you do need to use a lot to get the full sun protection you expect. If your moisturizer is separate, then, yes, a little dab probably will do ya. But don’t skimp on the sunscreen.

  11. Debbie M says:

    @shaabenanizer, you can use your dishwasher as storage. You don’t have to throw it away and buy a new cabinet first. It’s especially good for plates, glasses, and silverware.

  12. shaabenanizer says:

    Thanks Debbie. After I posted I started storing my little used pots in the dishwasher, thus freeing up space to rearrange organizing my cumbersome re-gifted breadmaker and cleaning supplies. My only concern about keeping the dishwasher as permanent storage unit is the lack of air circulation since dishwashers are obviously water tight. Any thoughts?

  13. Joris says:

    @shaabenanizer: so you think foreigners shouldn’t comment?

    I had never heard of dryer sheets before reading about it on the internet.

    About a dishwasher: My husband uses about 1.5 gallons twice a week.
    He doesn’t use electricity, a dishwascher does. Using a dishwasher three times a week would increase our electricity bill by about 10%(+/- 36

  14. shaabenanizer says:

    Golly Joris, where did you pick up that I’m against foreigners commenting??? I’m not against them commenting, but I am against them making silly assumptions. If I got a dime every time a foreigner said to me, “I’ve visited New York City and Los Angeles so I KNOW what ALL Americans are like..” I would be a friggen millionaire! Hello, there are 290 million Americans between NYC and LA.

    Back to the subject on hand, I also use vinegar as a fabric softener, and it’s great for getting rid of any detergent residue smell from clothes. Vinegar is great for so many things, very economical too: cleaner, bug repellent, face toner, acne zapper, skin softener, and help heals sores from scalp psoriasis.

  15. I’m with you on all but the deodorant! Nice post.

  16. Karen says:

    I have to share with all of you that my husband actually makes our laundry detergent, rather buying the average bottle of Tide, Era, etc. I don’t know the exact math on it, but he claims that it costs about half of what even a sale price detergent costs. Of course, Tide smells better, but homemade still gives that “clean” smell that we like, since it is made from different soaps.

  17. Cathy says:

    Thanks for this information. I should be able to use this information to help me shop better in the future.

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