Cut back on products you don’t need
photo by cherryfluff
As a society, we’re fortunate — so much so that we’ve become gluttonous. Wants and needs have become blurred. We’ve become conditioned to believe we need many things. Some people might even think chocolate is a food group. But in all seriousness, we’ve forgotten that we live in the land of options. Modern life is different from basic life. But many of the convenience products we enjoy have alternatives or aren’t needed at all. Putting your buying decisions into perspective can help you better evaluate your spending. Why are all these small things important? It’s especially helpful if you’re living on a fixed income. You can’t hide from inflation.
So what have you grown to rely on?
Here are a few products we think we need, but we don’t.
SHAVING CREAM: You can use soap and water or cheap hair conditioner, shampoo or baby oil as you shower. Or use inexpensive lotion or even liquid dish detergent.
DRYER: Air-dry inside on a retractable clothesline, drying rack or install a tension rod and hang clothes to dry. When the temperatures are warmer, hang outside on a clothesline. Or simply alternate and use the dryer half the time.
PAPER NAPKINS AND TOWELS: You can opt for cloth and save a considerable amount of money. They don’t take up much space in the washer and are reusable. Check thrift stores and garage sales for these items for greater savings.
GIFT WRAP: There are plenty of options, such as using recycled gift bags. Or reuse paper, such as newspaper or handmade fabric bags and wraps. Visit joybucket.blogspot.com/2008/11/wrappadappadoo-reusable-gift-wrap.html for a wonderful tutorial on how to make gift wrap from a recycled sheet or cotton fabric and ribbon. Or check your local library books on Wrapagami or Japanese furoshiki, which will show you how to take ordinary fabric and create beautiful gift wrap. You can also consider giving gifts where the outer wrap is part of the gift, such as using tins, baskets, jars, bowls, purses, etc.
BOTTLED WATER: Get a reusable bottle, and fill it up with tap or filtered water. You have to admit you feel ripped off when buying it. It creates a lot of extra waste, too.
BEAUTY PRODUCTS: Eat healthy, stay hydrated, cleanse and moisturize and protect your skin with sunscreen, and your skin will look radiant. You don’t need a dozen products with tons of chemicals on your skin. This is, of course, assuming you don’t have skin problems or sensitivities that require specific products.
CLEANERS: Many of your cleaning products can be replaced with vinegar, salt, dish liquid, essential oils, lemon juice, castile soap and baking soda. The exception will be for natural surfaces, such as granite countertops, but for most other surfaces, you can use your own homemade cleaners.