Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reduce Consumption to Save Money

One very simple way to save money is by reducing the amount of various products that you use. For example, use less shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap, body wash and so forth. These are all products that people tend to over use. Try using a little less and see if the job still doesn’t get done just as well. By using just the amount of product that you need, you can help your wallet and then environment.

You can also reconsider the disposable products that you use. I’m always amazed at the people that use paper plates regularly even though they have perfectly good real plates in the cabinet. It’s not that hard to wash a plate people. I haven’t bought paper plates in years and I refuse to. Even when we have family over for things like Easter dinner we still use real plates. I have a large collection of them that I have picked up cheap. When they aren’t needed they get stored in the basement in a storage tote. After the family dinner I run them through the dishwasher and pack them away again. We even have a collection of cheap silverware to go with it so we don’t even use plastic silverware. The real stuff is so much better.

There are some people out there who have even replaced their paper tissues with handkerchiefs. While I think this would be a great idea for a regular daily basis, this might be a bit of hassle when you have a cold. So you may still want to keep a box or two of tissues around.

One product that I am currently working on eliminating from our house is paper towels. The way I see it, you spend money on paper towels just to throw them away. So, for the rest of the year I will not buy any more paper towels. By concentrating on reducing our usage I should be able to wean us off of paper towels before then.

Here are some items that you can use instead of paper towels:

  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloths - These are great for all around cleaning. They are lint free, non-abrasive, and attract dust. The link takes you to Amazon where you can buy a 36 pack for $16.99. That's only $0.47 a cloth. And the cloths are 12" x 16", a great size for cleaning.

  • Dish Towels - I keep one of these hanging on my oven handle. It's very convenient for drying your hands. They're also great for hand drying dishes (obviously). You can pick these up at the dollar store of maybe even find some cute ones on clearance at your favorite store. I just picked up some nice thick ones on clearance at Target for about $1 each.

  • Wash Cloths - Great for wiping up small spills or wiping messy kids. I keep a stack of these in a drawer in the kitchen for wiping off my daughter's face and hands after she eats.

  • Baby Washcloths - If you've had children you know how these just don't get worn out and you probably got a bunch of them as baby gifts. Once your child is no longer using them for baths, why not move them to the kitchen. Then they will be handy for quick cleanups. And since they're small they won't take up a lot of space.

  • Cloth Diapers - Great for general cleaning. They are very soft and typically lint free. Look around and you may be able to find some of these at yard sales.

  • Cloth Napkins - A great alternative to paper napkins at the dinner table. I have a collection of these that I never use because they're too pretty. I know, I need to get over it and use them already. But my suggestion is to not buy ones that you will be upset if they get stained. Stick to plain ones and maybe a set of nice ones for when guests come over.

  • Old T-Shirts - These are super soft and great as rags to clean up spills and messes. You may already have some of these in your closet. If not, check out yard sales and thrift stores for some cheap t-shirts.

What ways are you reducing your consumption to save money?

To check out more tips like this, head over to Tightwad Tuesday.

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