Monday, May 28, 2007

More Things You Don't Need

I ran into an interesting blog the other day (which I completely forgot to bookmark and now can't find, of course) which included a list of things you can cut out and save money, and how much money one could save in a year. It got me thinking about my early blog lists on how to save money. Meanwhile I hit one of those streaks where suddenly I'm really cheap. This is beyond my usual frugality, I'm talking cheap, like I'm saving old twist-ties and bread bags. Usually these follow a time when we're really doing okay, like I'm worried the money will all disappear or something.

There's probably something seriously Freudian going on in my head....

But anyway, I was in Wal-Mart getting cleaning and HABA stuff (HABA is store-talk for Health And Beauty Aids) and looking at the 500 different kinds of hair stuff, and another list developed: more things you don't really need.

Fancy Shampoo: Okay, the last hotel I stayed in had this really nice Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampooand Conditioner, and I just loved it. But the fact is you don't need fancy hair products; most of them are just hype. Unless you have some medical condition, all you need is a simple shampoo and conditioner. I like Suave, because they do the job just fine they really are tremendously less expensive: $1.99 for a bottle of plain-ol Suave versus $10 for the fancy stuff.

Ditto on Conditioner: My hair stylist (back when I used one!) used to say that people really over condition their hair, getting opposite results than what they are trying to achieve because they're gooping their hair up. Again, Suave is a couple bucks compared to five or six, more if you use fancy conditioning treatments. If you like to use those super conditioning treatments regularly try this instead: put a towel in the dryer long enough to get it nice and hot. Wash your hair, squeeze the excess water out, and work in a really generous amount of your regular conditioner. Wrap your hair in the hot towel and leave it on until the towel cools. Rinse.

Fancy Soap: Again, unless your doctor tells your differently for a medical condition, you don't need anything fancy. Kiddo has eczema, and his pediatrician says "creamy white soap." Baby washes and regular body washes have alcohol in them, which makes your skin dry no matter what they put in the soap for moisture. Try Dove. It's not expensive, lasts a lot longer than a bottle of body wash, and it's good for your skin.

Brand-Name Drugs: The only difference, a pharmacist once told me, between Tylenol and generic acetaminophen is what they use for a filler. If that. Compare ingredients on over-the-counter drugs and you'll find the generic brand does the same job for sometimes 1/4 the price.

Brand-Name Feminine Hygiene Products: Yeah, I went there. Now, in my experience the generics in this category are not always as good as the brand names. But try the store brands, because if you find one that works for you you can save serious money. Think about it - does a shimmery piece of pink plastic really help you here? And since women are kind of chained to this need, why pay more than you have to?

Paper Towels: Okay, I keep them around too, but do you really need a $5 roll of paper towels? Buy something less expensive! Then get a pack of bar mops or cheap kitchen towels for general use and use them instead of the paper towels as much as possible. They don't take any room in the laundry and they last forever.

Bottled Water: Oh my gawd, it's water. It comes out of a tap. Almost all brand names come from some tap in some city, completely unchanged. Some add minerals so it tastes healthy. Did you know if you put it in a thermos it will stay cold? If you really gotta have the bottle, buy a couple and keep refilling them from the kitchen sink.

Air Freshener: Maybe in the winter when your house has been closed up and starts to smell stale, but a little fresh air and keeping your place clean works well. Want a nice smell? Put a little cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and water in a sauce pan and let it boil for a while. Bake bread (baking is always nice for comforting odors). Mostly, just keep your place clean.

Fancy Cleaners: A generic all-purpose cleaner (like Pine-Sol), diluted according to directions and put in a recycled spray bottle will clean almost anything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Auntie's favorite. Almost every city has a dollar store. By their multi-pack of kitchen scrubbers and cut them in half before using them. Do you really need a 2x6" rectangle to scrub? The smaller size gets into corners better, too.

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