Frugal Student Tip #15 – Save Money With Less

Save money with less. Use less of everyday items whenever possible.How can you save money with less? By using less.

Did you ever think about the fact that the people who are telling you how much detergent to use are selling you detergent?

Let me put that another way. The folks who come up with the recommended amount of detergent are the ones who make more money the more detergent you buy.

This concept is true for virtually all purchased products with usage recommendations. Save money with less.

I first thought about manufacturer usage recommendations when I compared a recipe for crispy marshmallow rice treats on the cereal box to the one on the marshmallow package. You guessed it — the marshmallow company recommended more marshmallows than the cereal company, and the cereal company called for an entire cup more of cereal than the marshmallow company did.

Does this mean those nefarious manufacturers are out to strip you of your hard-earned money? Of course not. They have to recommend amounts in their instructions, and because they sell to a wide variety of customers, these amounts have to be averages based on tests for potential uses. You may not need the full amount, depending on your circumstances.

So, carrying the detergent example through, the amount of laundry detergent needed to wash your clothes will not always have to be the recommended average amount. If you aren’t a person who has particularly dirty laundry, you may find that your clothes get just as clean with 3/4 or half the amount up to the little line on the cap (or cup).

How about toothpaste? We’ve been shown those pretty swirls from one end of the brush to the other in advertisements since we were kids. Looks great on the commercial, but if you read the instructions you’ll find they usually mention a “pea sized” amount. You may be going through toothpaste at twice the rate needed, which means twice the expense.

Any time you can cut a daily expense by half, you’re doing a good thing for your budget.

Now, I’m not suggesting you go halfway on anything like a recipe (which could end up in a waste of all the ingredients if you change the chemistry of the dish — not recommended); however, if you’re making a nice comfort-food casserole that calls for $6 worth of pecans on top, maybe you could follow the recipe perfectly but leave off the crunchy topping (or go with something cheaper than pecans). That’s just one suggestion, but you get the idea.

Oh, and I always err on the side of more marshmallows.

Think about items you use often. Where can you cut usage a little to save a lot?

Find all the Frugal Student Tips here.


Author: Amy Widner

Amy is Vice President, Operations at Smart College Visit. She found her 20+ years of experience in corporate and higher education communication to be almost adequate preparation for her recent experience navigating the college search and admissions process with her oldest child. She finds joy in helping ease the process for all.

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