Save Money: Use Less Stuff in These Rooms

money savingWant to save money? It could really be as simple as using less stuff.

That's the idea posited by Get Rich Slowly's Sierra Black (who happens to be my old co-worker and friend) last week.

But does the 50 percent solution really save you anything?

After all, if I use half the dish washing detergent, won't I just need to run the dishwasher over again? Ditto for the laundry?


I decided to spend a few days in my house seeing what we could cut in half -- and whether it made a difference.

Here's a look room by room.


1. Cotton balls. I use a handful to run my astringent over my face every night, but one works just as well.

2. Shampoo. The half dollop has never been a problem for me -- I cut back significantly when I started shaving my head annually for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Harder: teaching my child to use less. Simple solution: Place the soaps out of her reach and pull them down one by one when she needs them.

3. Toilet paper. We'll go easy on the TMI, but let's just say a lot of refolding goes a long way.

What won't work: There's no cutting medicines, vitamins, etc. in half, and you should already be using most beauty products in moderation (no one needs to smell your perfume from 50 paces).


1. Smaller portions. Food waste is a problem in our house because the 5-year-old tends to eat slowly, and she likes to get up from the table and/or carry her food to other rooms. That gives the dog easy access and suddenly we're stuck refilling the plate. We're working on keeping the food in one room, but doling out smaller portions to begin with means less lost to the dog.

2. Dishes. Cutting the dish detergent is possible -- if you spend a little more time rinsing your dishes before slipping them in.

3. Paper towels. We don't use these much, but for the really disgusting messes (dog vomit, etc.), a half paper towel will work just as well. Great for this are the rolls with the third/half/etc. option.

What won't work: Cooking is an art form and it's really impossible to change up the amount of spices, veggies, etc. used. But packaging leftovers more quickly after dinner can make a difference.


1. Electric. Do you really need the main light on to read? Won't a bedside lamp do? It's the same principle -- half the wattage (and you should be using CFLs anyway).

What won't work: Skipping laundry. You still should wash those every week!

Dining room:

1. Napkins. Why are you giving the kids a pile? Give them one and then use a rag to clean things up!

Laundry room:

1. Detergent. We switched to the high efficiency balls. Made all the difference!

Are you saving money by using less? What are some other ways to do it?

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