How to Make Things Last Longer

Save Money by Buying Less Frequently

How to Make Things Last Longer
May 11, 2015

Buying items in bulk is a simple and effective way to save money. Bulk prices are usually cheaper, and you will burn less gas on trips to the grocery store.

However, you can take your savings a step further by making sure you get the most out of all your purchases, whether bulk or retail. Adopt the mindset that you will eliminate as much waste as you possibly can and get a few more uses out of every product.

Are you having trouble visualizing the concept? Here are a few ideas to get you going.

  • Turn Bottles Upside Down – Squeeze bottles are convenient, but they also tend to leave a lot of product clinging to the sides of the bottle. This is not only true for shampoos and soaps, but also for viscous food items like salad dressing, catsup, and chocolate sauce.

    Store all of those products upside down as you get to the end of the bottle. You will be amazed at how much material collects in the bottom – usually enough for several more uses/servings. Make a small rack to support the bottles if they will not stay upright.

    For materials that are too viscous to collect, such as mustard and mayonnaise, take off the top and scrape the sides with a knife to get a few more servings – or even better, buy the traditional jar. Typically, squeeze packages cost more and provide less than jars.

  • Avoid Binges – We do not mean alcohol binges – although you should also avoid those – but instead avoid the temptation of the open bag of chips or cookies. You can buy pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks – or you can just exert willpower with the larger container.

    If you just cannot help yourself, use small bags and divide the bag/container into smaller portions yourself. If you are truly determined to overeat, this will not stop you, but psychologically, it gives you a better chance of controlling your appetite.

  • Watch Serving Portions – Keep your meal serving portions right to avoid waste (and also waist). Plan out your recipes so the portion sizes are the right amount of calories and you will avoid both waste and overeating. If you do make a larger meal than you need, embrace the idea of leftovers.

  • Use Soap Efficiently – Nobody suggests that you should skimp on soap – that will promote unrest at best, and decorum prohibits us from discussing the worst. However, people rarely monitor dish soap or hand soap dispensers like they do laundry soap, because there is a penalty for overloading a washing machine: a laundry room full of suds. Use the amount of soap you need to do the job at hand, and no more. People often dispense more soap than they use.

    Hand soap dispensers tend to leave a lot at the bottom. Simply unscrew the top, add a bit of water to remove the soap from the sides, and use the soap/water mix until you are ready for a new container or a refill from bulk.

  • Print Sparingly – Ink for inkjet printers is incredibly expensive. Manage your files to keep printing to a minimum. Save things in electronic format such as PDF files. When you do print, use print preview and proof the job to avoid reprints.

Let these hints put you in a frugal frame of mind, and you will probably be able to spot other areas around the house to stretch your purchases. Remember, you can be frugal without crossing the line into a disorder. However, we were not kidding about skimping on the soap. Don’t do it.

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