I must confess to being a little nervous of writing this down. It's not rocket-science, in fact it's probably the simplest thing you can do, but it really has made SUCH a huge difference to me that I had to share.
It occurred to me like a blinding light one night as I was glooping loads of cleanser onto a cotton wool ball, followed by drowning another cotton wool ball in toner so I could clean of the load of foundation I'd previously slathered on that morning.
I was literally throwing money away!
Did you know that us Brits spend £14 million on toiletries each year? That's phenomenal! But what if you could halve your cosmetic and toiletries bill? That would save you spondoolies right? And then do the same with your household cleaning products? And all sorts of other areas of spending. That would be ace right?
The answer was glaringly simple. I need to USE LESS!
Now, wait. Before you click away thinking that's the most banal thing ever written, that's like saying 'how to save money: don't spend it', hear me out.
Take a look around your home right now. How many products do you have? Bathroom cabinets stuffed with make-up; perfume; gels; spray and lotions. Kitchen cupboards with cleaning potions and laundry detergents...
Only the most committed eco-warriors will have the fortitude to give up products completely (yes, I'm looking at you Lucy with your awe-inspiring giving up shampoo shenanigans. By the way, do check out her amazing new thrift blog Wonderthrift).
No, most of us still use lots of products in our daily life. But how much do you really need to get the job done?
I was a serial dolloper. A habitual ladler. Pouring out products with gay abandon. I'm betting many of you do too.
I made the conscious decision the next morning to be more mindful about my usage, and poured out only half my usual amount of shampoo. Then I squirted out half my usual helping of shower gel. And guess what? The world didn't stop turning. I came out clean and fresh, but with half the gloop used. In fact, if anything my hair felt better. Using too much can be counter-productive anyway. We've all heard the expression 'product build-up'. And what's the industry's answer to this? Another product to clear it of course!
Most lotions and potions don't come with a dosage dispenser to show us how much to use. Of course, if they did we'd all be screaming 'nanny state'. But the reality is, brands want us to ladle this stuff out. Of course they do, because we'll go back and buy more, quicker.
Modern beauty and cleaning products are incredibly effective, and you'll be surprised at how little you need to get the job done.
I guess you would call this mindfulness. Changing my mind-set has really drastically reduced the volume of product I consume. It just takes a little while to think about it consciously, and then you form a new, less wasteful habit and reduce the amount of money you're throwing down the drain.
Now, I'm not suggesting you adopt the old skool dad routine and stand outside the bathroom door bellowing "3 sheets is enough" to curb your household toilet roll expenditure - although the way kids use fistfuls of the stuff with every visit, that's perhaps not a bad idea!
But how great would it be not to have the cost of loads of bottles; jars and sprays in your trolley every week? Better still, you could do as Being Mrs C does and make sure you've used up all those unloved bottles languishing in the cupboard before rushing out to buy new ones. If you can just switch your mind-set and be more conscious and present, you can adopt it in all sorts of areas and save yourself loads of money.
Shampoo - Conditioner - Shower Gel - Bubble Bath - Talk - Moisturiser - Body Lotion - Toothpaste - Make-up - Make-up Remover - Hair Styling
Washing-up Liquid - Laundry Detergent - Surface Cleaner - Floor Cleaner - Bleach
Olive Oil - Butter - Condiments and Sauces - Kitchen Roll - Foil and Cling Film
So why not try it today? Use half what you would normally. I bet you won't notice the difference, but your purse will. And the planet will thank you for it.
Other posts you might like:
Extreme Couponing and Mindful Shopping
30 Ways to Save £1
100 Easy Ways to Be a Thrifty Family Book Review