A blog about spending wisely in your twenties, with advice on everything from cooking to saving money on gas; how to teach yourself to save money instead of spending it, traveling without breaking the bank, and much more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Frankenstein's Deodorant

I haven't bought deodorant in almost six months.

Last October, Target had a bunch of Suave brand deodorant on sale for $.97 each. So naturally I bought 5 or 6. This week, the last stick was finally worn down to about half an inch. So I gathered up all six containers, took them apart, and scraped the remains into one tube. I popped it in the microwave for about 30 seconds (just long enough to liquify any crumbles), then I put it in the freezer for about five minutes.

Bam. Full stick of deodorant.

I know it sounds mildly insane to pull a Dr. Frankenstein on a deodorant stick, but every dollar I don't spend is a dollar I get to put into savings where it will earn interest.

We often throw things away without considering whether they might still have some utility left. In my house, sour cream & cream cheese are considered necessities, so we buy them (store brand, on sale or with a coupon) on a regular basis and we save the containers. Six months ago we were hurting for Tupperware, but now we've got more than plenty of containers for leftovers. Paper towel tubes are used for storing plastic grocery bags (much more compact!). Brown paper bags are used to mail bookmooch books. Coffee canisters become pencil cups. We wash & re-use Zip-Loc bags. Almost gone deodorant sticks are combined to make a full stick.

Often we stress ourselves out trying to bring in more money without considering that if we found more ways to hang onto our money in the first place, we might not feel the crunch so acutely. That's not to say that bringing in more income is a negative- but finding little ways to Not Spend $1 or more here and there adds up. Bear in mind that Not Spending $1 is not the same thing as buying a $10 doohickey for $9. Spending $9 to save $1 is not equal to Not Spending $1 in the first place.

Being less wasteful affects more than just your pocketbook. When you're re-using or recycling items that you might normally have just chucked in the rubbish bin, you're keeping stuff out of landfills- going green, as it were (as I said to my roommates last night, "going green" is the new breast cancer.) You can buy 8 million products that are certified to be "gentle on the environment," but one of the best things you can actually do is create less waste.

Now, I'm not advocating that you hoard every bit of non-toxic trash until you can re-use it. But do consider: What are you throwing away that might be re-used or frankensteined back to life? Have you bought something to fill a need that might have been filled just as easily by something you would normally throw away? Can McGuyvering a solution from available materials save you a little bit of money in the long run?

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