Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Welcome to the Frugal Column, where I aim to inspire you to live your best life without breaking the bank. You can follow my award-winning blog Shoestring Cottage and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I am also the author of Extreme Frugality: Save Money Like Your Grandma.
This month I am looking at ways to save money ink the bathroom.
After the kitchen, the bathroom is probably the busiest room in the home. For the money saver, it is an area that also offers considerable potential to cut your spending. Here are some ideas to save money in the bathroom. Small changes soon add up to big savings.
Bar soap is almost always cheaper than liquid soap, so if you want to save money in the bathroom, switch from the liquid stuff back to bars. These can replace shower gel as well as hand soap. If the bars are too large, warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds, then slice in half.
If you can’t contemplate giving up your liquid hand wash, refill the old bottles with economy sized cheap shower gel or bubble bath to save cash.
Bulk buy whenever you can. Larger packs of anything tend to be much more cost-effective. This is especially the case when it comes to toilet rolls. If you are passing Home Bargains, its large packs of Nicky brand loo rolls are great value.
Another way to save money in the bathroom is to try and save water. Keep a bucket or washing up bowl in the bathroom to collect some of the excess water from your shower or bath. Use this to water the plants in your garden or to flush the loo.
Talking of which, to save water flushing the toilet, remember the frugal saying: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down!”
Take a shower rather than a bath when possible. This saves hot water and you will still have some left for other uses. However, a power shower uses almost as much energy and water as a bath, so keep it as short as possible. You could invest in a timer and challenge your family to keep their showers to, say, three or four minutes. If you just love a bath (as I do in the winter), share the water if you can.
The Energy Saving Trust suggests changing to a water-efficient shower head to save up to £70 a year.
Turn the tap off whilst you clean your teeth, rather than allowing it to run. This may only save a small amount of water, but it all adds up if you are on a meter.
Don’t chuck away containers until you have got all the product out. For example, squeeze as much toothpaste out as possible, then snip the tube in half to get at the rest. You can also do this with tubes containing moisturiser, foundation, etc.
Use all of your toiletries before you buy more. Don’t open a new bottle of shampoo, for example, until the old one has all gone. The same applies to cleaning products. Use what you have.
It’s easy to be tempted by the beautiful cosmetics displays when you are in a department store, but if you already have three eye palettes and 10 lipsticks, you probably don’t need more. They are likely to go off before you get around to using them, as the oils they contain go rancid after a while. Use things up so that they don’t go to waste.
Old towels have a multitude of potential uses. Cut them into small squares to use as makeup remover pads or larger ones for washcloths. You can zig zag stitch the edges to prevent them fraying.
I keep a small basket of cut-up towels to use instead of kitchen roll or for general cleaning. They are also essential for drying muddy dogs here at Shoestring Cottage!
You can save money in the bathroom by purchasing generic supermarket items such as bleach and shower cleaner. I doubt you will notice the difference in their cleaning power, but you will notice the price difference!
Supermarket own-brands can also be good for shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath and so on, so avoid branded items as much as possible.
Swap disposable items for reusables. For example, bamboo washable cotton pads may cost a little more initially, but will save a lot of money on their disposable equivalents. Similarly, invest in reusable sanitary products such as washable pads or a Mooncup. One good reusable razor will pay for itself very quickly when you no longer purchase throw away razors.
Don’t buy shaving cream. All you need is something to allow your razor to glide over your skin and prevent snagging. My daughters swear by cheap conditioner for this, but you could simply lather up a bar of soap.
Wash your hair less. I did this to improve the condition, but it also saves on shampoo and conditioner, and water and energy bills (hairdryers aren’t cheap to run). Talking of which, allow your hair to dry naturally as often as possible to save energy.
Once you begin to introduce some creative frugality, you will probably come up with even more ideas. What do you do to save money in the bathroom?