Thursday, March 11, 2021

Using Less

 Those who know me or have been here a while know this is the story of my life!!!  LOL
I have always been about using less.  It truly isn't always about saving money - it is just a way of life.  I don't need excess of anything and some things  just aren't that good for you or the environment.
Using less doesn't hurt anything (unless it is medication).

What do I use less off?
  • Electricity - very seldom (if ever) do I have more than one light on at a time.  I may use a light in the room that I am in - but odds are the TV gives enough light.  With daylight hours getting longer, I doubt that I will light a lamp for months.  I also have a couple battery operated candles, solar lights, and candles - if I need extra light
  • When making OJ from concentrate - it says mix w/3 cans of water.  I use 4.  I don't notice a difference and I get a quarter more
  • Meat - if a recipe calls for a pound - I use 1/2 pound.  Meat doesn't have to be used in abundance.  I can add more pasta, beans, rice, veggies, or cheese to fill in a recipe.  Some days are NO meat.
  • Shampoo - I always mix water with shampoo.  I watched a top notch pro years ago, who said no matter the shampoo (even high end) it is too detergent for hair.  I mix 1/3 bottle shampoo to 2/3 of hot water.  Give it a day to 'melt' together and just shake a little before use.  I get tons of suds using it this way
  • Fabric softener - IF I use fabric softener sheets I cut them into thirds.  They work fine and so much less residue left on clothes and drier and vent.  Usually I use a splash of vinegar in rinse water
  • Bleach - rarely use.  I have powdered bleach I keep on hand (Dollar Tree), but instead of bleach I use peroxide for whiting laundry.  It is natural and works
  • Sugar - when making tea or Kool-Aid I use a little less sugar than called for (sweetener).  My drinks are generally just as sweet by reducing by a 1/4 cup.  I often do the same in baking - it hasn't caused a problem yet
  • Paper towels - I keep on hand strictly for cleaning up cat yack when that happens.  Other times I use old washcloths, micro fiber, or rags.  Old socks work great for dusting - place over your hand and go to town
  • Laundry detergent - dish soap.  I use way less laundry detergent than called for.  My clothes never get that dirty, so I don't need a lot of detergent.  I always add water to the bottom of a bottle and swish and get at least 2 more loads.  Dish soap - I do the same as I do with shampoo.  1/3 soap and 2/3 water - with a splash of vinegar added (helps cut grease).  SUDS is not what cleans - hot water does the most good
  • Toothpaste - I use a pea size glob on my toothbrush and that is plenty to do the job.  A couple times a week I mix baking soda and peroxide together in a paste for whitening instead of toothpaste.  
  • Plastic baggies - I wash and re-use as often as possible.  I do that with both zip lock and vacuum seal bags.  I have even been known to wash icky ones in with the kitchen towels (hot water) and peroxide
  • Water - I tend to catch water in jugs when waiting for it to heat up.  I use it for plants and pets or storage for flushing in an emergency.  I have rain barrels for nature's water for the flowers and garden in summer
  • Food - eat less and be healthier!  I have been trying to eat less to lose a few pounds.  I eat one real meal in the late afternoon - so it has time to break down before bed.  No snacks after 6PM.  Three meals a day is a habit.  It isn't necessary
  • Laundry - I don't always wash clothes after one use.  My outer clothes generally don't get dirty (unless working in yard), so I wear them more than once before laundering.  It also makes the clothing last longer and I always wash clothes inside out!!!!!  No pills, no pulls, no lint - yet clean.  I also most always use the QUICK cycle - less water and electricity used and clothes are still clean,
  • Hair dye - I have short hair - so don't need to waste an entire box.  I get the kind where you mix 2 different components together.  Each bottle is the same amount per ounces.  I have kept an old mix bottle and measure out exact amounts of both ingredients and mix (I use an old shot glass to measure).  I can easily get 3 dye jobs out of one mix - more is just touching up roots.
  • HVAC - I open windows as often as possible for fresh air, open blinds for sun/heat during daytime in winter, wear more layers if cold  or lighter clothes in summer.  I use ceiling fans all year
  • Milk - I usually get whole or 2% milk.  When making a recipe or adding milk to something - I always mix water with milk.  2/3 or 3/4 cup milk with balance being water = a cup of 1% or so.  I drink it as it comes from the bottle - but always add water for cooking/baking.
  • Kleenex - haven't bought in years.  I use hankies.  I know some people think it is gross to have to wash them - but think about it - you wash your undies and use again!!!!!  Just think where they have been!!!!  LOL.  If I happen to have a bad cold or allergy symptoms - I might use some TP - just because I can flush.
  • Chemicals - I try to make as many cleaning items as possible.  I use peroxide, baking soda, water, vinegar and orange cleaner (from citrus peels) and blue Dawn.  I make a blend of marigold and mint to spray in the greenhouse and on cat beds to ward off fleas in summer. (Cats lay in the mint a lot in summer).  I make lip balm for daily use - mix together coconut oil and crumbs from an old lipstick (just for color).  Mix together - use a lip brush or Q-tip to apply.  Coconut oil is great on chapped hands and feet.
  • Money - I always look for deals.  Clearance, manager mark downs, sales, coupon deals, yard sales and thrift - even trash pick at times.  My biggest save with MONEY - is talking myself out of leaving the house.  Most times I am just going to be going - I can usually always get by with what I have!

I hope this gives you an idea of some ways to use less and still live great.  If you can stretch items out - well not only do you save money, you shop less, you help the environment and you will be just as clean, healthy and happy as ever!!!!!

What do you use less of that no one ever notices!


  1. I always keep lights off, except in room being used. But as my husband's eyesight keeps getting worse, I now have to leave a small light on, where I wouldn't have before. I don't want him to trip.

    But it goes drive me *batty,* to see houses, blazing with lights. They can't be in all those rooms, at the same time. -sigh-

    Don't care if they are rich enough to think 'money is no object.' It's using energy, unnecessarily.

    But, not my business. -smile-

    1. Safety first!!!! Of course you want him to be safe. That is just smart.
      I know I see houses ablaze as well - and wonder WHY?

  2. I read yours on meat and thought I do that with sugar and read on down and see you do it with sugar too. It sure does help us to sav money to use less of everything.

    1. I know right? If you can get a couple other cups or servings out of something - why would you not!

  3. What a great post!!
    We all need reminding from time to time.
    One thing lockdown has taught me is that I do not need to go out and buy things. I have most things I need around me already, apart from food and then I limit trips to the store.
    Thank you Cheryl, you are a joy. xx

    1. Good for you for figuring that out. Most important things aren't really even things!
      Food - we can be creative with and substitute things or just use less. Something said for being creative.
      Thank you my friend!

  4. As usual, you have extremely helpful tips! Last year during the paper product shortages you had suggested hankies, so I hand sewed a couple from old pillowcases, then found a multi pack unopened at a yard sale for $1, and haven't looked back!
    After seeing a post in another frugality blog a couple years ago on using regular bar soap for shampooing, I became a "no-pooer"! Long as it's not a super moisturizing bar (leaves hair gloppy), it works great, hair gets and stays cleaner longer. Saving lots of $ on shampoo.

    1. It is amazing the little things that can save money and time. Cool idea on the no-poo! Thanks.
      Love learning new ideas.

  5. I do most of those things and always have.

  6. I do so many of the things you do it makes me smile. But not hankies. Do you know the lives kleenex has saved? Butliving alone or just with Glenn would have helped in not spreading colds with a hankie.

    1. Glad you do a lot of them. Love that.
      I guess I figure Kleenex is a slightly new invention - my grandma never had them. Hankies for both men and women were always used. My Mom and Dad used them too.
      Good enough for them - good enough for me.

  7. Great list! I do a lot of these things, too. I’ve never used peroxide in the laundry water though. How much do you use in a load?

    1. I use probably a half cup or so. It really does work. Been using it for several years.

  8. Great ideas. I'll have to get some peroxide.

  9. My son started chemo this past Monday and was surprised how I was to clean. They don't want me using paper towels but cotton cleaning cloths or microfiber. Both of those scrub surfaces better which in turn lifts germs that could make my son very sick. I also have to be careful of the toilet,sink where he uses to void any bodily fluids since he's purging chemo from his body. The cloths are then laundered in hot water and detergent, dried as usual. I'm a new follower and love your blog. Have a blessed weekend, Patti Ann

    1. Prayers for a complete healing for your son. The cleaner the better for such cases. People don't usually realize that the mist from the toilet flushing spreads upwards and outwards - keep tooth brushes and rinsing glass away from the area as well. No lint or dust with microfiber and it really does clean better.
      I am so glad to have you here. I sure hope you stay around.

  10. Great tips! I use most of them so I guess we come from the same background and have a lot of common sense. (Either that or we are both brilliant! ha!) Years ago I worked for a lady who put ammonia in her laundry. Apparently it is a versatile laundry additive, vanquishing stains and dissolving grease as well as whitening whites and softening bath towels. But its fumes and dangerous reactions when mixed with other household cleaners mean you need to be careful when using it. To start, only use clear ammonia for your laundry -- colored products can potentially stain fabric, especially lighter colors. I never have tried it as I'm not crazy about the strong smell but apparently it dissipates in the wash. I use white vinegar in the softener compartment of the washer.

    I seldom use as much meat as a recipe calls for. Same way with is not necessary to make everything so your teeth stand on edge...ha! It used to be that everyone carried hankies. I have quite a collection and still have the one I had as a child. My mother would tie a dime in the corner and that would be my Sunday School offering. This was in the early '50's and I wish I had the coins!

    I follow Mavis Butterfield's blog and she wrote in one of her posts that her husband threw away what he thought was an empty toothpaste tube. She retrieved it, cut it open and used the excess for several days. Adding water to shampoo or conditioner bottles is always a good idea.

    Enjoy this beautiful sunshine!

    1. Oh heck yes, cutting open a toothpaste container or one from lotion will give you days more usage!
      Ammonia is tricky stuff. You mix it it with about anything and it is dangerous. I haven't had any in years.
      I carried a hanky I was given by Grandma on the bible (given by her) with my flowers when I married my ex. I still have both tucked away.
      Brilliant - I like that one!!!!!!! LOL

  11. You know your stuff when it comes to being environmentally responsible. We really can do with so much less.
    As far as ammonia goes, it is good for cleaning glass fireplace doors; just use it straight on a rag and rub. It is the active ingredient in 'afterbite' so if you keep a small bottle handy you can dab it on itchy bites for relief. It will strip old wax off floors if added to the wash bucket.
    Since you are running ceiling fans you may find that a slower speed will still move the air enough. Low speed uses 1/3 the electricity of high speed; medium speed uses 2/3.
    You probably know this already but if you swish hydrogen peroxide straight for two minutes before you brush your teeth, it softens tartar and whitens teeth; no need for expensive whitening strips.
    I feel that most items that are manufactured can be made at home if you have a formula. So glad you are reminding and encouraging people in frugality.

    1. Thanks. I try.
      I have that Afterbite stuff and yep it is ammonia!! I think you could probably use that thing to wake someone from passing out!!! LOL
      I do use the lower speed and it is enough.
      Peroxide and baking soda - I make a paste and brush with it a couple times a week for that very reason!
      It is a great gargle (mixed with water) when you have strep throat. My doctor used to always have me do that when I got strep back in the day.

      I think we can make much of it too and for cheaper and less toxic.
      Thank you!!!!

  12. I have started to make my own body products and it is amazing how much I can save doing that.

    It is a game to me and something that I have done for so long that some things are second nature now.

    Great list by the way.

    God bless.

    1. Thanks. That is cool. I agree it is kind of a game. Like you, I have done this for so long that it is just what I do. I never think about it being different or odd.
      Be blessed

  13. I have been diluting the milk for baking for years and no one in the family has noticed. I add the water when no one is looking as I am sure the family would “notice” the difference if they only knew!

    1. EXACTLY - what they don't know don't hurt them!!!!!\

      Love it!

  14. Your blog is my favorite! Too many of them start out giving good advice and being enjoyable but then they get too big for their britches and become preachy and their tone changes.

    Your's is like talking with a friend!

    1. That is such a sweet thing to say. Thank you so very much.
      I just tell things I have tried and heard are working for others. No expert - just a gal watching her pennies - like everyone else.
      So glad to have you here!!! Thank you again for your kind words.

  15. I liked this post a lot.
    Very helpful,

  16. Waving my hankie from Nebraska. We stopped buying tissues years ago and now I only get them when the out-of-state kids visit. Those boxes last us sometimes until they visit the following year. We use hankies for ourselves.
    I only use paper towels for nasty spills or to clean out the sink. So a roll lasts several weeks/months.
    I recently found an alternative to normal laundry detergent on FB. Somehow the detergent is formed into sheets and I use one per load. I hope it works well on farm-soiled clothing. I'll be happy to buy the big heavy jugs, if it does.
    I don't buy regular milk anymore. I do have shelf-stable cartons on my shelf for emergencies but normally I use dry milk for cooking/baking. Dh uses nut milk we have on hand for the grandkids.
    We have both agreed on smaller evening meals with little to no leftovers. Dh has decided he no longer likes leftovers for his lunches. This is a big change for me, but I'm happy to learn to cook smaller if it saves money and waste.

    1. I am glad to hear I am not the only one. I have 2 boxes of tissue I got for FREE many years ago. They are tucked in closet - guess it would be handy if no TP!!
      I always keep a little shelf stable milk and I have dry. Never been a fan of the nut milks.
      Doesn't like leftovers???? Oh no! So much of my life has always been leftovers!!! LOL

      Let us know if that detergent really works.

  17. I read an article years ago from an appliance repair person stating that over use of detergent actually is detrimental to your washing machine. You don't need nearly as much as the bottle says. He stated that it was basically just consumerism. Use more detergent, replace your washing's a cycle and we fall for it. I've wished a thousand times that I would've saved the article.

    1. I believe it. I always use less. It also leaves a residue on your clothing, no matter how long you rinse. YUK. So if it leaves that on your clothes, just imagine what it is doing to the machine.

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