One of the smaller rooms in the house, but have you ever thought about how much money you spend on things going on in your bathroom? There's all that water for starters – did you know that 70% of all water usage is in the bathroom. And then think about how much you spend on toiletries too. This week I'm hoping to give you five tips to help you save money in the room where you spend a penny.
1. Reduce the amount you flush
Every time you flush the loo water goes down the drain – literally. If your water is metered (and as an aside, if your water isn't metered request a free water meter from your water company as it WILL make your bills go down) then you are paying for the amount you flush every time you flush the toilet. In an average UK household 30% of daily water usage is from flushing the toilet.
So, how do you reduce this. There is the simple answer of just not flushing every time you use the loo. Not necessarily nice if there are lots of you in the house, but effective all the same. If you have a dual flush toilet just try using the smaller flush option.
If you don't have a dual flush toilet, a preferred option may be to use a Hippo. This is a small bag-like device which fits inside your toilet cistern and reduces the amount of water used in each flush. In just 8-12 weeks you should have saved the amount that the Hippo cost you and in a year you could save about £20. It may not seem much, but every little helps, and as well as saving money you're also helping reduce your household carbon footprint.
2. Buy your toiletries carefully
There are toiletries all of us use daily – toothpaste, soap, deodorant etc – but it is possible to buy these in such a way as to save money. If you have preferred brands then watch out for when they come on special offer, either in the supermarket or at the large chain chemists. Most products usually have a period when they're on a BOGOF deal, or a three for two. If you buy in bulk then and stock up then it will save you money in the long term. These things don't go off, so if you have the space to store them then do. Also, if you can convince the whole family to use the same brands it will reduce the number of special deals that you have to look out for.
Whilst the above may be the case for branded items, many supermarkets and other shops also do their own label toiletries that are cheaper than the well known brands. In some cases the quality may be inferior, but in many it's not. Why not try them for a month and see if you would be prepared to swap brands. Do be careful though as I have found that some own brand shower gel for instance is so watery that you end up using twice as much – so a bit of a false economy!
3. Don't wash your hair
Well what I really mean here is don't use shampoo. Many of us, especially the women, spend a fortune on shampoo and conditioner and also wash our hair pretty frequently. Just think about how much you'd save if you ditched the shampoo. It may sound a bit gross (and I have to admit that I've not plucked up the courage to try it yet) but it can really work.
Lucy over at Lulastic did a full year of living without shampoo and blogged about it as she went along. If you're interested in seeing how she managed then she wrote a fantastically honest FAQ to celebrate her year without shampoo.
4. Save water when you bath the kids
When it comes to bathing kids, once they're too big for a baby bath and instead go into the "big" bath it actually becomes quite wasteful when you think about how much water you use to do so. There's one simple way of reducing this quickly, without spoiling the bath fun for the kids – the BabyDam. This is, as the name suggests, a plastic dam which fits across the bath so that you're only filling a section of it, rather than the whole thing. An instant saving – and yet another green tip too!
5. Alternative sanitary protection
Right – if you're a male friend you might want to stop reading right now as this tip is one for the girls alone.
OK, ladies only? Let's carry on. It's a fact of life that every month we bleed. It's part of being a woman. And as a result, every month we end up giving a whole heap of money to a company that makes sanitary protection. Towels or tampons that end up going into landfill or being flushed into the sea. So in addition to the cost of buying them each month there's also an environmental impact too.
When I recently attended a blogging event I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Joy from Pinkoddy. It has to be said that what Joy doesn't know about Mooncups isn't worth knowing and that night (possibly after a couple of glasses of wine…) the conversation turned to Mooncups and she was in her element. I'd heard of these before – a silicon menstrual cup – but had remained a bit sceptical, but just having the chance to talk to someone about them made everything much clearer.
Mooncups are really quiet simple. They sit inside you and collect the menstrual fluid and then you empty it out and reuse it. And that's it! They don't hurt to insert, you can't feel them when they're in and if you empty it regularly enough there's no chance of leaks.
A Mooncup can last for years and in just a few months you'll have paid for it with the amount you save from buying towels or tampons. There's also no environmental impact and also no risk of TSS either.
If you're not ready for a mooncup then there are other alternatives, Jam Sponge being just one. If you're wanting to be super thrifty and combine it with a bit of crafting then there are even patterns out there to knit your own tampons! Honestly.