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Use less to save more

By on May 28, 2012
fabric softener

One way to save money is by using less of a product. It’s easy to use less without compromising quality and results. Some examples include using less sugar, dish soap, shampoo, paper towels or meat. The first reader tip shares her strategy to use less fabric softener, but it can be applied to other products, too:

 

Track usage:

One of my saving strategies (and also a great motivator!) is to keep track of how long it takes to use something up and how long I can make it last. For example, if a bottle of fabric softener says it contains enough for 40 loads, I’ll make a tick mark on the bottle each time I use some in a load and see how many I can get, which is usually between 60 and 70. — Sarah, Massachusetts
Note from Sara, to avoid numerous emails in my inbox: Yes, you can use 1/4 cup of vinegar in your washer instead of fabric softener or completely avoid using fabric softener, too.

Extend the life of an old sweatshirt:

The cuffs of my sweatshirt were really starting to come apart at the ends. Rather than sew the edges together, trim them back or glue them, I got some thin seam binding and sewed it to the ragged edges. Looks pretty good, and I can wear my old sweatshirt for a little longer. The repair didn’t cost much, and it didn’t take much time, either. — Chris D., email

Seed starting:

I have an all-fridge and an upright freezer standing beside each other. They each have a faint warm spot on top that generates a very gentle heat, perfect for starting seeds. I do this every year, just until they germinate. — Andrea, Canada

Popcorn cauliflower (salty and/or sweet versions):

This tasty treat is perfect for snacking. Just like popcorn, you can experiment with different spices and flavors. Do not microwave to reheat. Leftovers from the savory version can be blended into soups, but sweet versions should be eaten immediately.

Savory Popcorn Cauliflower (Basic)
1/2 to 1 full head fresh cauliflower (approx. 1 pound)
2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons oil
Salt, to taste
Seasonings, optional
Pinch of sweetener (Truvia or Splenda, e.g.), optional

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Put pieces in a large plastic storage bag or a large mixing bowl. Drizzle oil over the cauliflower, then sprinkle with seasonings and a little salt. Close bag and shake until florets are coated as evenly as possible, or toss well in a bowl. I usually put in 2 teaspoons of olive oil, shake, then spray with olive oil in a spray bottle to use much less oil than called for. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 50-60 minutes, turning them over every 15 minutes.
You want them to get very dark brown for the best flavor, and turning them is important because the bottoms will get too browned otherwise. Makes about 4 servings. Do not freeze.

Twists:
Caramel Kettle “Korn”: Add 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon caramel syrup when coating the cauliflower with oil. You can also drizzle on after cooking instead of the sweetener.
Salt and Vinegar: Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and a couple of pinches of sea salt when coating the cauliflower. However, if you really want the “popcorn” crisp, add the vinegar to a sprayer and wait until it’s cooked to spray and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Spicy Curry: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons curry and/or chili powder when adding seasoning.
Cajun: Add 1-2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
Thyme and Garlic Delight: Add Thyme, black pepper, fresh garlic and lemon juice. — Diana, Iowa

Dilute shampoo:

When I water down my shampoo or body wash it gets thinned out, so I add some cheap dollar store aloe vera gel to it, shake, and it is thick again! — Julie, Florida

photo by dno1967b

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns Castalia Coffee Roasting Company, Follow me on Twitter

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