Friday, November 16, 2012

Budget Friendly Living: Use less

Lately I have been a little fed up with the excess we are so used to (and EXPECT) in this country.  But really that is not what this post is about.  I am just taking a second to say that I will be hand making almost all my gifts this year, with a few exceptions that I got second hand over the summer.  I urge you to read my post about charitable gift giving if you haven't.  I know I posted it WAY earlier than people wanted to think about Christmas, but it corresponded with my birthday, so yeah. :-)

ANYWAY on to the meat of this post. My husband told me an interesting anecdote a while ago.  The Tabasco makers were trying to figure out a way to increase revenue by 30%, and all the corporate execs were totally stumped.  No amount of cutbacks, outsourcing, and the like would make that kind of difference.  They had no way to squeeze blood out of this turnip.  So they opened it up to all employees.  And lo and behold, a factory line worker came up with the surprisingly simple solution: make the hole in the bottle 30% larger.  WOW.

Aside from being a cute story (which may or may not be true), it exemplifies my point - businesses are in the business of selling their product.  So when it says "lather, rinse, repeat" it may be less for the health of your hair than the health of their bottom line.


Put simply, the manufacturers of soap, detergent, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, Tabasco, or any consumable good want you to go through their product faster so that you have to buy more.  Often the recommended amounts they give are way more than you actually need.  For example, your laundry detergent says "washes 100 loads" on the bottle.  But when you read the back label, it says that for normal loads you only need to fill the cup 1/3 full.  How many of us don't read it and just assume that 1 cup= 1 load?  Most of us.  Break that down further into what is ACTUALLY needed to get your clothes clean (and not have a ton of soap left in them after the wash cycle to boot) may be even less than the 1/3 cup recommended.  My advice to you today: Experiment.  Try using a little less of everyday things. I am not saying skimp and spread germs or don't get things clean, but do you have to have the water on full blast to rinse your hands?  Or even worse, when you are lathering up?  Do you need a full pump of soap to get all happy and sudsy?  I know I only use about a half pump of liquid soap and it is still plenty, plus I use less water rinsing off all the excess.  I know not everyone can get on board here, but I don't flush the toilet overnight.  It started when I was pregnant and I got up at least 3 times a night to pee and it would wake up my husband when I flushed, so I just washed my hands quietly and snuck back into bed.  And it kind of stuck cuz then it would wake the baby.  And now we save water that way.  I wash the toilets every week so it doesn't seem to make any difference in the cleanliness of the bowl, but hey, I understand if you're not on board.  Everyone has their limits.

And don't just do it in your home, either.  Think about how much soap and water and paper towel and toilet paper you use in public bathrooms (though I highly recommend flushing...).  I saw a "bumper sticker" on a paper towel dispenser in a bar in San Francisco once that changed me.  "Paper towels come from trees."  That was it.  And it totally blew my mind.  I think about it literally every time I see a paper towel.

So now my challenge to you.  I use less toothpaste, less soap, less shampoo, less water pressure, less laundry detergent, and less dishwasher detergent.  What can YOU think of to use less of?  I am totally up for new ideas to save both money and the environment.  It's SUPER Green (and yes, that was an obscure nerd reference.  Bonus points to those who caught it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment