19 Easy Ways to Make Your Stuff Last Longer

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There are all sorts of ways to save money today. You can find deals on food, buy generics instead of brand names and negotiate a better car price.

Those are all great ways to stretch your dollars. But what if you could reduce the number of trips you make to the grocery store? How about squeezing a couple more years out of your car?

Sometimes, the best way to save money is to simply to buy less, or buy less often. You can do that with the following tips for making the stuff you already own last longer.

5 hacks for the kitchen

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Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Store items upside down. After opening items packaged in jars or cartons — such as salsa, spaghetti sauce and cottage cheese — store them upside down to help keep mold at bay. Just be sure the lid is on tightly first.
  2. Wrap your salad greens in a paper towel. This helps keep them from becoming slimy.
  3. Keep the wrapper on blocks of cheese when you cut. Touching the cheese directly can transfer bacteria from your hands to the cheese, which can contribute to the food spoiling faster.
  4. Press plastic on avocados. 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.
  5. Store your flour in the freezer. This helps keep it fresh and avoid any icky bug infestations.

5 ways to stretch cleaning supplies

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Reduce the cost of cleaning supplies by switching to homemade cleaners or buying generics, and by following these tips:

  1. Cut sponges in half. This makes them last twice as long.
  2. Slice your dryer sheets in half. Depending on the size of your laundry loads, you may even be able to get away with using one-third or one-quarter of a sheet.
  3. Try using less laundry detergent. Unless your laundry is heavily soiled, a little soap can go a long way. In fact, some folks have found they don’t need any laundry detergent, as we explain in “3 Easy Ways to Wash Away the Steep Cost of Laundry Detergent.”
  4. Take bar soap out of its packaging and let it sit. Keep it 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.
  5. Spritz cloth with cleaning solutions. 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

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Being beautiful on the outside isn’t particularly cheap. Regardless of whether you buy drugstore brands or splurge on luxury items, make the most of your purchases by following these tips:

  1. Dry your razor. Doing so after each use will help extend its life. One option: Rub it on a piece of old denim to dry it, which can also help keep it sharper longer.
  2. Cut open the toothpaste tube. This helps you use up the last of the toothpaste.
  3. Put cotton swabs to work. They can help you dig out and use up the last of your lipstick.
  4. Use moisture strategically. If your bronzer is running low, mix in a little moisturizer to make it last longer.
  5. 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.

4 tips for other items around the house

Clothes dry on a line
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There are plenty of other items in your home that you may want to last longer. We have hacks and advice for those, too:

  1. Skip the high heat of the dryer. Air dry your clothes to make them last longer. Try washing in cold water, too.
  2. Freeze candles the day before you plan to use them. This will extend their burn time.
  3. Practice proper appliance maintenance. This includes changing furnace filters, cleaning refrigerator coils and descaling your coffee maker. Such maintenance can help extend the life of these home essentials.
  4. Don’t skip regular oil changes. These can go a long way to extending the life of your car.

What can you add to our list? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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