In cleaning out the bathroom today I suddenly realized how much more money my roommate throws down the figurative drain in the bathroom then I do. He’s got 3/4 of the medicine cabinet filled with various products, and the entire shelf in the shower as well. Meanwhile I have very little there as I’ve realized over the years just how much money gets poured into this tiny room in our house. Here’s my top 5 tips for saving money in the bathroom-
Oral Health – I haven’t actually paid for toothpaste in something like three years. In fact I’ve actually turned a profit on the stuff. And it’s not because I don’t brush my teeth, but rather that I pay a little attention to the saving opportunities around me and take full advantage of them. I don’t think a week, let alone a month, goes by without either Walgreens or Rite-Aid offering name brand toothpaste for free after rebate. Ad in manufacturers coupons (always plentiful for toothpaste) and you can actually earn a small profit each time you buy. Toothbrushes, dental floss, and other oral health care products all follow the same pattens, though they aren’t quite as frequent.
Shaving – The amount of cash people waste on hair removal every year has always disgusted me. In case you haven’t heard yet: shaving cream is a giant scam! Its only purpose is to hold the water and warmth on your face. Simply splashing on more water as you shave will get you better results then shaving cream and you’ll entirely cut out an expense. Better yet, if you have the time, use a hot towel. Aftershave (and preshave lotions) are just another scam. If you were shaving well in the first place you wouldn’t need them.
But shaving cream isn’t the only cash cow in this arena. Disposable razors have to be an even bigger racket. Quit buying into the latest multi-blade, pivoting super disposable advertising hype and get yourself a good old fashioned safety razor.
Conservation – The most frugal minded of you may have read the anti-shaving cream section above and thought to yourself that it would waste a lot of water. Never fear, I’m about to save you gallons upon gallons. When I was a kid in Northern California we were in a sever drought and there were bumper stickers, billboards and PSAs, everywhere with the slogan: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” Toilets use anywhere from 1.6 to 7 gallons of water, so reducing the number of flushes can really ad up, especially for large families. While this may seem icky to many of you, bear in mind that pretty much all of California did this for years in the 70s and no one ever got sick as a result.
How many light bulbs are in your bathroom? I’d hope that by now you’ve converted them all to CFL bulbs instead of using the incandescents, but if not do so now. I’ll wait. Okay, back to saving electricity in the bathroom. My bathroom has two separate light switches – one for the main light and fan, the other for the mirror lights. When you’re just going in to use the toilet, or taking a shower, why do you need the mirror lights on? If you’re just washing your hand, why do you need the fan on? There a re two switches for a reason folx. The habit of always hitting both of them when you enter is costing you money every day.
Hair Care – My roommate’s got, literally, a dozen bottles of hair care products in the bathroom. And he has a crewcut! I’ve got one – shampoo. Which shampoo? Whichever one I was last able to get free the same way I get my toothpaste. Sure, cleanliness is next to godliness and we all like to look our best, but if you feel you need to spend money on shampoo, conditioner, mousse, gel, hairspray and more in order to get your hair to look the way you like, then maybe a better option would be changing hairstyles. Personally I’ve worn my hair tied back in a ponytail for two decades now simply because it’s cheap and easy (I don’t even have to get haircuts!).
Deodorant – I saved this one for last because I know that even if you’ve stuck with me thus far, this is likely where I’ll lose you. Deodorant/Antiperspirant is the only place I splurge in the bathroom. There’s only one brand that actually seems effective with my body chemistry and I can almost never find it on sale or get a coupon for it. So I found a saving workaround. I only actually use it when it’s really necessary. No, I don’t mean I wait until I’m sweaty and stinky then apply it, I just think before hand. Working at home I only come into contact with anyone outside of family or roommates a few days a week. On the days when I’m just at home or have very brief interactions (dropping kids at school, etc) I don’t bother with deodorant. Likewise, I never put it on right before going to the gym. If you can’t be sweaty at the gym you’re doing something wrong. I realize that everyone’s body chemistry is different, but do both of us a favor and at least put a little thought into this one.
There you have it – 5 areas to save some serious cash in the smallest room in the house. A little quick math showed that my roommate spends almost 10 times as much as I do in the bathroom. Multiply this savings out by the number of people using your bathroom(s) and that savings can add up incredibly fast.
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