A study published on statisticbrain.com in 2013 showed that the average American spends around $42 a month on household cleaning supplies and $35 a month on personal care products. That amounts to $924 per year for cleaning and personal care products. Just think about how much that is in ten years and what you could do with that amount of money if you paid more attention to the necessity and quality of the products you put in your basket every time you go shopping. Here are a few simple tips & tricks on how you can minimize spending in the cleaning and beauty departments:
1. Buy only what you need and keep it to a minimum
Do you really need all those eye shadows, lip glosses and nail polishes that you own? How many of them do you really end up using? I know, it’s so tempting and so hard to resist that gorgeous green eye shadow you’ve spotted in a magazine or that cool nail polish color that seems to be trendy this year. But think about it, does the color really flatter you or is it something you’ll end up using more than a few times? Is it really worth it? Women in particular have a tendency to buy product after product on an impulse only to find themselves using a small amount of them. If you have twenty eye shadows but only use two or three of them 90% of the time, maybe it’s time to reconsider your shopping habits. Try to find a few good quality and preferably organic products that are good for your skin & hair and try to stick to those. You probably don’t need more than one shampoo & conditioner, one body wash, one facial cleaning soap & make-up remover, one face cream and some basic make-up products (a mascara & eyeliner if you use any, a foundation and/or powder, a blush, a few shades of eye shadows and one or two lipsticks/lip glosses). Also, if you’re married or live with your partner, try to find shampoos, conditioners and body washes that you both love and feel comfortable using and only buy one bottle of each. This will help you save money as well as space in your shower and bathroom drawers. Plus, clearing up space and downsizing the ten bottles in the shower to only a few can feel truly liberating.
The same goes for cleaning products. Do you really need a different product for EVERY little household chore? Do you need a product for window cleaning, a different one to clean your counters, your floors, stovetop, etc., etc.? How many products do you actually have under your kitchen or bathroom sink? You can save so much on cleaning products and at the same time gain extra space and waste less. There are only two or three products you actually need. You can use a good all-purpose cleaner like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner. Just water it down to clean counters, kitchen and bathroom sinks, floors, tiles and basically everything you can think of. When it comes to doing laundry, you only need a detergent and no fabric softener. Use a cup of vinegar instead of your fabric softener and you won’t even see the difference. It’s natural, the smell dissipates when the clothes are dry and you will avoid the toxic chemicals in fabric softener products.
2. Make your own beauty and cleaning products
There are so many wonderful recipes out there using simple household items like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice that can be used for basically any cleaning task. They are really easy to make, inexpensive, and most of all free of any dangerous chemicals that can usually be found in store-bought cleaning products. Vinegar and baking soda are great disinfectants, deodorizers and stain removers and you can test various recipes by mixing them with water, essential oils (for their disinfecting and therapeutic properties) and/or a few drops of liquid detergent. You can even make your own laundry and dishwasher detergents by using things like borax, baking or washing soda, lemon Kool-Aid or citric acid, and soap. Plus, you can use vinegar instead of the rinse aid in your dishwasher and as a fabric softener, as I’ve mentioned before. Just Google homemade cleaners and you’ll find a ton of interesting recipes.
When it comes to beauty products, you can rely a lot on oils, especially if you want to keep it simple. For example you can pick a type of oil suitable for your complexion (Jojoba oil is amazing for combination skin) and use it instead of a face cream and make-up remover at the same time. It can’t get more natural than this and let me tell you using oil as a make-up remover is fantastic (almond and apricot oil are also great for this, but basically any oil will do) and it will leave your skin hydrated, so it’s like a two-in-one. And it works great on oily and combination skins as well, despite what you might think. Another great oil that you can use is coconut oil, both on your face and as a conditioner. You can apply coconut, olive or castor oil on your dry hair, let it sit for a few hours and then wash your hair with shampoo. It will make your hair glow. Again, there are so many great recipes out there for any beauty product you can think of (including shampoo, face creams, shave creams, body washes and even perfumes). Some are easy, others are more complicated, but there’s a lot to choose from. If you’re into that kind of stuff and you like playing chemist, by all means go for it. It will be relaxing, help you save money and feel great about the natural products you’re putting on your skin. If you want to know more about the products you’re putting on your skin, you can read about their safety or the safety of the ingredients they contain on http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. You won’t believe how many dangerous chemicals there are in some of your favorite products or in products you consider harmless, so this website is definitely worth checking out.
3. Buy microfiber cloths for cleaning and dusting
If you’re in the habit of buying Swiffer Dusters or something similar for dusting, that can add up to quite a lot and produce a lot of waste. You can buy microfiber cloths instead – they work just as well and they’re washable. You can use them to dust or clean kitchen counters (a different one for each purpose, of course), so they will come with a double benefit: you’ll stop wasting those duster pads and you’ll use less paper towels. They hold really well in time, so you will use them like forever.
These are some of the things I use to save money on beauty and cleaning products and to stay as natural and eco-friendly as possible. How about you guys, are there any other methods or products you use to save money in the beauty and cleaning departments? I would love to learn some new tricks, so please comment below.