Monday, December 10, 2012

Making more with less

     One great way to save money before you spend it is to stretch what you have to its limits.  I have a way with stretching hair products.  When I was young the Breck girl was the biggest thing, a symbol of the girl next door beauty.  She appeared as a cameo portrait at the back of magazines.  She was air brushed and porcelain skinned, and she used Breck shampoo.  My disappointment that I didn't get that perfect hair with my first bottle of Breck, gave my grandmother a teaching moment.  
     She told me about advertisers and polishing the portraits and hair care and cream rinse and styling gel and hair spray and all it took to be a Breck girl.  Gram read the directions to me and told me I was stripping my hair by following the lather rinse and repeat method.  Following the directions for hair that was sprayed and teased was not right for my fine blonde hair.  Rinse your hair, wash it, she said, then rinse it again and use a cream rinse once or twice a week as needed.  

     Cream rinse was conditioner that you mixed in the shower when you needed it.  You put a cap full of cream in a tumbler and filled it with warm water, stirring it with a comb.  You poured half of it over your head, lathered it in and combed the rest through your hair to detangle and soften your hair.  Then you rinsed the residue out and had shiny tangle free wet combed hair.  After years of commercial television, we stopped that and started using conditioners and leave in conditioners and whatever else was convenient or trending at the time.  What a waste!

     Since I started prepping, I have also looked for ways to save money to make my dollars go farther.  I remembered my Gram telling me I stripped my hair by over shampooing.  I thought this might be a good time to try something new that I learned and forgot.  

     I started by using a measured amount and not the squirt and slap method recommended on the bottle.  I immediately noticed the product lasted longer and my results were the same.  Next, I tried diluting the shampoo in the bottle and found my hair looked better probably by not having all that shampoo residue in my hair.  I also noticed I didn't need to condition as often.  

     Imagine better hair with fewer dollars spent.  I have it down now to one bottle of shampoo thinned into three bottles.  I fill it with distilled water.

     I finished my hair experiment by thinning my conditioner to the same consistency as the cream rinse we used in the 60s.  It makes a bottle of conditioner last four to five times longer than one!  I did the math.  With Breck shampoo and conditioner or Suave shampoo and conditioner both available at Dollar Tree and Big Lots at a dollar each, I spend under $10 for shampoo and conditioner a year.  I get five bottles of shampoo and three bottles of conditioner plus tax and turn it into 15 bottles of shampoo and 12 bottles of conditioner.  I have long blonde hair and I sweat when I work.  I shampoo at least four to five times a week.  Multiply 4.5 by 52 and I can shampoo and condition 232 times for ten dollars. 

     You can start with the shampoo or the electricity bill or look at your water usage and decide where you want to look to save your dollars by spending them more wisely.  Some money can be found by controlling waste.  Some money can be found by controlling bad habits, such as wasteful spending.  

     You may find more money in your wallet by reducing your use of products, making them last, making do with what you have.  You are teaching yourself to be more independent, less dependent on luxury and more dependent upon yourself and your skills to manage your life.   Make do with one item in your life and see the results as you stretch your dollars farther.

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