All those are great ways to stretch your dollars. But what if you reduced your trips to the grocery store and minimized your Amazon pantry purchases? How about squeezing a couple more years out of your car?
Sometimes, the best way to save money is to simply to buy less. We can help you do that with the following 20 tips for making the stuff you already own last longer.
5 hacks for the kitchen
You can reduce how much you spend on food by practicing proper storage, thus eliminating the need to chuck rotten food in the trash.
Here are five tips to get you started.
- After opening items packaged in jars or cartons — such as salsa, spaghetti sauce and cottage cheese — store them upside down to keep mold at bay and your items fresh longer.
- Wrap your salad greens in a paper towel to keep them from becoming slimy and inedible.
- Keep the wrapper on blocks of cheese when you cut. Touching the cheese directly can transfer bacteria from your hands and encourage mold growth.
- It’s an old wives’ tale that leaving the avocado pit in half an avocado or guacamole will keep it from browning. What does work is to lightly press plastic wrap on to it to minimize its contact with air.
- Store your flour in the freezer to keep it fresh and avoid any icky bug infestations.
5 ways to stretch cleaning supplies
Reduce the cost of cleaning supplies by switching to homemade cleaners, buying generics and following these tips:
- Cut sponges in half to make them last twice as long.
- Slice your dryer sheets in half, too. Depending on your climate and the size of your laundry loads, you may even be able to get away with using one-third or one-quarter of a sheet.
- Try using less laundry detergent. Unless your laundry is heavily soiled, a little soap can go a long way.
- Take bar soap out of its packaging and let it sit out for a couple of weeks to dry before you use it. Dry soap lasts longer. Get a soap dish that lets water drain away between uses.
- Spraying cleaning solutions directly onto windows and countertops is a surefire way to use too much. Instead, spritz the solution on your cleaning cloth or paper towel.
5 ways to make personal care items last
Being beautiful on the outside isn’t particularly cheap. Regardless of whether you buy the drugstore brands or splurge on luxury items, make the most of your purchases by following these tips:
- Drying your razor will extend its life. Rub it on a piece of old denim to dry it and keep it sharp.
- Use up the last of the toothpaste by cutting open the tube.
- Q-tips are perfect for digging out and using up the last of your lipstick.
- If your bronzer is running low, mix in a little moisturizer to make it last longer.
- Store shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down. When you reach the end of a bottle, add a little water and shake to get out every last bit.
5 tips for other items you have around the house
Finally, there are plenty of other items in your home that you may want to last longer. We have hacks and advice for those, too:
- Skip the high heat of the dryer and air dry your clothes to make them last longer. Try washing in cold water.
- Freeze candles the day before you plan to use them to extend their burn time.
- While you probably don’t want to put your alkaline or lithium batteries in the freezer, storing rechargeable batteries there can help them keep their charge longer. Just make sure they reach room temperature before using.
- Practice proper appliance maintenance, such as changing furnace filters, cleaning refrigerator coils and descaling your coffee maker. All will extend the life of these home essentials.
- Regular oil changes can go a long way to extending the life of your car.
What can you add to our list? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.