saving money series! I'm enjoying sharing with you some of the ways our family is able to economize.
Once again, things will look different in your family, so please don't feel like you have to do everything the way we do it!
1. Low maintenance
In some ways, Tad and I are pretty low-maintenance in the toiletries department. I use hairspray four times a year and buy makeup about once a year. I buy cheap shampoo ($3) in huge bottles and it lasts me over a year. I also buy cheap conditioner ($3) and it lasts over two years. (Side note: I'm hoping eventually to switch to a no-poo method, but one thing at a time!) By not using a ton of different hair products, lotions, etc., we are able to spend less in this category. I also don't go to the tanning bed or the nail salon (the former for health and financial reasons; the second just for financial reasons).
2. Homemade body wash
I make Tad's body wash now. I use water and a bar of soap and it ends up being cheaper to make than to buy. I modified this recipe. For me, I just use a bar of organic shea butter soap, so I don't use body wash very often (if I use it it was a gift or a B&BW freebie).
3. Homemade deodorant
I just recently made my own deodorant. I haven't used it for very long (about a week), but so far it's worked great in the 90+ temps we've had lately! I used a simple recipe: coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Easy! It actually has a very pleasant coconut scent. I modified the proportions of this recipe.
4. Oil cleansing
I just started using the oil cleansing method for my face. I've only been doing it for a week, but so far I love it! If I continue to do this, I will no longer have to buy cleanser, toner, or moisturizer. Score! I use this recipe (normal skin version).
5. Stock up
Like I mentioned, I buy my makeup about once a year. I order mineral makeup online and use it 'til it's gone. I purchase mascara in twin packs (it's cheaper that way). We buy toothpaste once a year (Target always puts big packs on sale in January), again, saving money because it's in bulk. I bought a huge amount of hand soap before we got married, and we're still using that stash! Once it's gone, I will probably start making my own.
6. $.59 teeth whitening
I used to buy teeth whitening strips for upwards of $20 a box (before I was married). I have since learned that the active ingredient in those strips is Hydrogen Peroxide, which you can buy by the bottle for around $.59. Swishing with Hydrogen Peroxide for a few minutes each day can brighten your teeth!
7. Free samples
I always sign up for free samples of toiletries and other personal care items. When we're packing for a trip, we always have a travel size toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, etc. ready to go! I know they're only $1 each, but it can add up quickly. We also bring home the complimentary shampoos and soaps from hotels when we travel so that we can use them for the same purpose. All of our sample sized toiletries stay in our guest bathroom so that when guests come they have an assortment of toiletry items to use if they forgot theirs!
8. Cloth pads
Okay, first of all, don't knock it 'til you try it. I use cloth pantiliners for everyday use. I never thought I would use cloth pads, let alone blog about it, but here I am. Check out that link and email me if you have questions (I'm still a little shy talking about it in such a public way)!
9. Dollar store shopping
Many times, dollar stores are great places to find cotton balls, q-tips, etc. for cheaper than you could get them at Wal-mart. I'm sure it depends on your area and what stores you have, but we often find great deals at the Dollar Tree!
I cut Tad's hair (speaking of which, he's due for one!). My mom cut my dad's and brothers' hair, so I learned from her. I don't get regular haircuts (I figured out recently that I've only gotten 4 since we've been married... averaging one every 8 months), but hopefully in the future we'll be able to work it out financially so I can get one every 3 months.
11. Use it up
We try our best to use up even the last little bit of products before opening a new one. For example, we have a little game where Tad and I try to use every possible bit of toothpaste from the tube. It's rather competitive. I'm winning by 3 (not that we keep score or anything). You'd be surprised how long a tube can last after you think it's "out"!
12. Conditioner as shaving cream
Here's one last random tid-bit for you. After I put conditioner on my hair in the shower, I use what's left on my hands to shave my legs. It's quick, easy, and practically free (since you're just using the conditioner that's left on your hands), plus it makes your legs super soft.
I might be forgetting something... but I think this is a pretty thorough list for now!
One place I don't skimp? Toilet paper! I buy brand-name, soft and fluffy toilet paper. Sometimes I use a coupon, but usually I forget. :)
**In case you're wondering why I don't play the "drugstore game," I address that in this post.
So... do tell... how does your family save money on personal care items?
Life as Mom