Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Using Less

We all know of many ways to cut back on expenses that can save us many dollars.  We can cut back on groceries, cable, phone, utilities, etc..
We have all brain stormed on the big cut backs.

There are also many ways to cut back in small, maybe even tiny ways.  Why do those tiny things?  Well, pennies make dollars.  If you can cut back and stretch the use of items, why not!  If you do not notice any major difference - then cut back.

Here are several things I do.  They may seem trivial to some, but it makes me feel comforted in knowing that I don't have to be a consumer hound.
  • Shampoo - I keep a bottle that I mix shampoo and water in.  I use 1/3 bottle of shampoo to 2/3 water.  I let it set for a day or so, till the soap actually 'melts' into the water.  I actually think it makes better suds and I am using less chemical on my hair.
  • Dish soap - A tiny squirt will do ya!!!!  Suds is not what cleans - hot water is.  When I get down to the end of a bottle - I add water and continue using.  I can generally get close to 90 days from a normal bottle
  • Laundry soap - same as dish soap.  I am sure I use at least half of what is called for on the bottle.  Remember - their instructions are enabling them to get another sale!  Soap builds up in your clothes and causes damage.  Use less and still be clean
  • Drier sheets - I only use these in the cold winter.  I cut them into thirds and they work perfectly.  They cause a build up on clothes and in your drier.  Better yet, is to use white vinegar in your rinse cycle (if you can catch it).  Is softens and you get no smell.  It also helps clean out the buildup in your clothes.  It is also cheap and natural.
  • Concentrated fruit juices - add an extra can of water.  It doesn't change the taste (sometimes improves it), and you a glass or two more
  • Use less meat.  Healthy diets call for a piece of meat no larger than the palm of your hand.  When making soups or casseroles, I cut meat in half.  Add extra fillers such as rice, beans or more veggies
  • Toothpaste - use a pea size amount on your brush and you will have plenty.  Again it is the action of scrubbing that is the most important, as paste is abrasive.  You can clean your teeth with just a brush and rinse with salt water.
  • Only use deodorant when you need it.  You should know your aromatic ways!  If it's cold and you are not exerting yourself - you may not need it.  Baking soda or cornstarch can be used as well - cheaper and natural.
  • Sweet tea - cut back your sweetener in tea or Kool-Aid.  I have cut back till I finally started to notice a difference.  I am using far less now
  • Oil in baking - can be cut back by using a healthier item like applesauce in place of some of the oil
  • Paper products - I only use paper towels to clean up kitty upchuck!  I use rags for everything else.     **I don't buy paper napkins unless they are practically given to me.  This spring I did get several packs of decorated ones at a yard sale 10/$1.  I could not pass that up.  They can be used for other things too.          **  I don't buy tissues - haven't for years.  We either use TP or I use hankies made from old t-shirts that are soft and washable.            **  Use less TP - cut back until you start to feel uncomfortable.  Many people use washable cloths - I still haven't gone that route.  I just don't feel comfortable with that.
  • I wash and re-use foil (if not too icky) and plastic storage bags (that didn't hold meat).  I keep wax cereal bags to use for wax paper.  I hardly ever purchase baggies, foil or wax paper.  I also re-use my vacuum seal bags.  I am careful to cut right at the seal - wash and re-use.  Those things are pricey!
  • Utilities - can be cut back in many ways.  **Turn down the heat or turn up the AC.   **Keep lights off unless absolutely necessary.     **Change lights bulbs to more efficient ones.      **Unplug items when not in use.      **Make sure all cracks and drafty places are filled and covered.       **Insulate           **Close curtains in the heat of the day and open for warmth.    **Turn the water heater down       **Don't waste water - catch water when letting it heat up.  Use that for watering plants or flushing or pet dishes.  I keep several plastic gallon jugs of "caught" water for the animals.              
  • Use smaller plates - therefore giving small portions.  Not only does it save money it saves your waistline and health
  • Using leftovers and making into new dishes saves on the grocery bill. 
I realize that these tactics are NOT saving hundreds or thousands of dollars, but it does add up over time.  I am not just cutting back just to save money, but it also helps to save the environment.  It also stretches my resources, and hopefully it would be easier to cut back if the dynamics of our world and finances changed drastically.

Do you have any special things that you USE LESS OF?  Let us know.  Helps us all find new ways to cut back and stretch our resources and money!
I look forward to getting some new ideas.


  1. Great post Cheryl! I keep a supply of rags cut from old flannel nightgowns around because they absorb really well and don't scratch things. I use them for cleaning up messes and also for cleaning my glasses, TV screens and computer screen.

    1. Thanks Debbie
      I love using cloth for cleaning. I generally use cut up t-shirts (I am not a flannel person).
      They to are soft, don't scratch, and are dust free.

  2. I just put water in my dish detergent this past week. It definitely made it last longer and I didn't have to buy right away. All the little things can add up that's for sure!

  3. Hi Cheryl, Good list. I am one up on you. I don't use dryer sheets at all. LOL I don't like strong scents and the chemicals. Nancy

    1. You go girl! I only use them once I in a while in the winter - then cut into thirds.
      I hang laundry outside when weather is nice and use no fabric softener.

  4. Thanks for the hankie tip on using old t-shirts. I will use the scraps from my daughter’s t-shirt quilt.

    Can’t wait until I am retired and can save at home with deodorant. Right now I need it for work!but I only shower every other day so that is sort of cutting back, right?!

    We shut the lights off religiously up until June and then I put the AC in the windows and forgot to continue on with the lights. The AC was $30 a month, but the lights were $8 more! Won’t make that mistake any more, and the AC is coming out this week.

    We do keep the curtains closed against daytime heat. I don’t like how dark the room is, so I go outside and work in the yard! Our living room lights are by off grid solar so at night we can burn them without incurring electricity costs on the grid. I was surprised at the savings by doing so.

    I was proud of my husband for consolidating the ketchups and mustards into one bottle each. And especially proud of his adding water to the dish soap bottle to stretch it at the end.

    A little dab will do ya…the dental hygienist told me it is the scrubbing action more than the toothpaste, that has the most effect.