This is the third in a five part series entitled ‘Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the…’. We will be looking at five different areas of the house and at five different ways to save money in each area. With all sorts of prices on the rise, and the need to make your money stretch even further than before, frugality is more important then ever. Stay tuned for the next installments, or better yet, subscribed!
1. Use less
How much shampoo do you use when you wash your hair? Do you need to use quite that much? Even without taking into consideration the manufacturer’s recommendations to wash your hair twice, most of us are using far too much shampoo. Shampoo and other soaps work largely by making water wetter, which helps strip away dirt. If your hair is already as wet as it can be, then the shampoo is even more effective and you can use less, saving you money.
Before applying shampoo, get your hair wet using motions as if you were applying shampoo; this lifts and separates your hair and allows the water to reach it all. Then apply the shampoo, using at most a dime-sized amount. Halfway through rubbing the shampoo in, briefly duck your head under the water again. You’ll be amazed at how clean your hair gets, frugally too.
2. Clean frugally
Once again, our old friend vinegar comes back to play. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar diluted with water and use it to clean the shower walls. You won’t even need to scrub that hard if you’ve used a squeegee to dry the shower walls and doors immediately after use. Another frugal cleaning idea that will save you time as well as money is to rub the bathtub with an oil soaked cloth after a bath. This keeps the ring-around-the-bath away. Be careful though! The bath will be slippery though, so use caution, or a good bath mat.
3. Wash less
Americans are fairly fanatical about keeping clean. The rest of the world doesn’t hold our standards of cleanliness, something I’ve discovered since moving to Europe. (I’m sure you’ve heard the one about there being a reason it was the French who invented perfume.) Try adapting your bathing routine so that you consume less: cleaning products, water or time. If you really can’t give up the habit of your daily shower (I need mine to wake me up in the morning) then skip a step once in a while: wash your hair every other day, for example. It is possible to cut down on the amount of product we use and the frequency with which we use them without offending others’ olfactory glands.
4. No fuss, no muss
Speaking of washing hair, how much money do you spend on hair products? How much would you save if you changed your hairstyle? I’m not saying that you have to go the ‘long hair pulled back into a ponytail’ routine, just that there are hairstyles that are wash and go. It all depends on your hair and what kind of style looks best on you, but sometimes going to a really good hairdresser and getting a classic, easy to maintain hairstyle that only needs to be cut every four to six months really can be the frugal choice after all.
You also might want to try cutting the hair of your (male) partner and children yourself. (I know it’s a little bit sexist, but there’s no way I would trust my husband with a pair of scissors near my head- I’m frugal, not insane.) I’ve cut my husband’s and sons’ hair now for several years, and it’s not as difficult as one might think. I’ve gone both the scissors and the clippers route and both are easy to master. A basic hair-cutting set cost me â‚¬20 and has more than paid for itself.
5. Splurge versus Steal
Most beauty magazines have this sort of feature, where they compare an expensive product with a more frugal choice. If you do rely on beauty products, pick one that works for you and make it part of your budget, but keep in mind that the majority of the time the frugal beauty product comes up just as good as the splurge. When I was in the United States I washed my face with Cetaphil, a very gentle face cleanser. One day I tried the generic store brand and there was no difference whatsoever; I never looked back.
If you are particularly attached to a brand name product, trying making a conscious effort to save the difference in price elsewhere: a cheaper shampoo, the generic lotion etc. For example, I love the smell of Pantene shampoo and conditioner, so I splurge on myself with these two products. They are about â‚¬2 more than the generic version, so I try to make up the difference by buying generic everything else.
What are your frugal tips for the bathroom? Share them with us in the comments! And make sure to stay tuned for the rest of the week’s installments, or better yet, subscribed!