Years ago when our kids were young and we were living on one income, I read a lot about frugality and saving money. We did some drastic things that I was happy to give up when money wasn’t so tight anymore (goodbye $10/mo. entertainment budget!). But some things didn’t really hurt that much, and more importantly, they actually made sense and were easy on the environment as well as the pocketbook.
One of these cost-cutting ideas was to cut a lot of things in half that we normally don’t think about. This idea took hold in our family so much that we continue to question everything we do today with “do we really need to use (eat, buy) all of it, or would just a little work?” And while it’s true that cutting things in half saves money (some things more than others), it’s also the idea of lowering our family’s waste output that has made this frugal idea a way of life for us.
10 Things To Cut in Half and Save Money (and maybe our little corner of the planet…and our waistlines!):
- Sponges. Cut them in half when they are dry before using and use only one half at a time- you’ll never miss the other half.
- Dryer sheets. If you’re still using them. Maybe you should see if you really need them at all?
- Dishwasher detergent. Use only 1 Tablespoon (half the recommended amount) – don’t just fill up the compartment. We’ve never noticed a difference in our dishes after we started this practice.
- Hand/dish soap. Fill the dispenser halfway with soap, then fill the rest with water. While you’ll be squirting the same amount, you will be using half as much!
- Laundry soap. Depending on your machine, use 1/2 of what is suggested and see if you notice any difference.
- Paper towels and napkins. Most of the time we barely use these items before throwing them away. Of course, you can save even more by not using them at all – use rags and fabric napkins that you throw in the wash and reuse instead!
- Shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. Use only the smallest amount of these items (a smear of toothpaste or a nickle-sized dollop of hair product). It’s kind of fun, actually, to “see how low you can go.”
- Sugar. Not just junk food (which should go without saying…), but actually try cutting sugar in half in your cooking and baking. I couldn’t believe when I started doing this that I often didn’t notice much of a difference! Sometimes I can’t cut it all the way in half (like our favorite chocolate chip cookies), but I can always lower the amount of sugar. And the sugar called for in things such as tomato sauces can be cut out completely. The bonus here is better health!
- Serving sizes. In our culture, there are probably very few people who wouldn’t benefit from cutting the amount of food they eat in half. Not only will this save a ton of money (kid’s don’t need to drink milk and juice all day long – a glass of each and water the rest of the day is fine), it will save a ton of calories.
- Entertainment. Try cutting what you don’t care as much about in order to do the things you like: instead of cable and Netflix, pay for Netflix only; wait to go to a movie until it’s in the second-run theater at half price; split entrees (or appetizers) and get two salads when eating out. And of course look for any free entertainment you can – picnics, free concerts and, free museum passes are offered in many cities.
What do you cut to save money?