Do you groan every month when your bank statement arrives? You’ve already stopped eating out, canceled your magazine subscriptions and slashed some of the more freewheeling activities from your budget. Luckily, there are additional ways you can save without becoming a hermit. Here are 10 thrifty household items you can use over their traditional alternatives so you’re not spending big on the wrong things.
Instead of exfoliating with a fancy body scrub, make your own with a few baking ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Sugar, honey, coconut or olive oil and a pinch of whichever scent your heart desires can be just as refreshing as anything purchased from a spa or beauty supply store.
Shaving cream cans go too quickly to keep shelling out for them. Use hair conditioner or body lotion instead — many of them (favored by Bustle) are just as moisturizing and soothing as shaving cream. The difference is they’re often cheaper and take up less space in bathrooms already filled with the family’s toiletries. Use it in the shower, and you’ll shave and moisturize at the same time: two birds, one lotion.
Many products branded as household cleaners are basic chemical solutions that you can find elsewhere. Vinegar can disinfect countertops, whereas baking soda is perfect for removing funky odors and clearing clogged drains. Buy these in bulk to save even more money.
This product is a savior for those who don’t want to wash their hair every day, but also don’t want to look like greaseballs. You can easily use cornstarch instead of buying dry shampoo; it can absorb the oils from your hair and keep you looking awesome. And it almost goes without saying, but it bears repeating: As Into The Gloss notes, it is “insanely cheap.”
Water mixes aren’t just expensive; they can be filled with artificial sweeteners, preservatives and other things you don’t want in your water. You can create your own healthy versions by using fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. A lemon and thyme combo can make water so much more interesting, and deliver the same great taste naturally.
Olive oil to the rescue! Did you know this cooking staple is safe for your face? Olive oil can remove mascara and other makeup while also moisturizing your skin.
Who knew baking soda was so versatile? Metal and jewelry polish can languish for years in your cupboard, only making an appearance before special occasions. Baking soda can brighten your baubles in a few minutes.
Like most prepackaged food, you can make your own pet treats at home for less than what you’d pay at the store. If you don’t have any of the ingredients on hand, you can serve your pup the cheapest treat of all: a spoonful of peanut butter. (Just make sure the brand doesn’t contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to dogs.)
Many lip balms have drying agents and can irritate chapped lips. Petroleum jelly can invigorate dry lips and also restore other dry patches of skin at the same time.
Dryer sheets are a laundry standard that you can safely ditch; the perfumes may even aggravate sensitive skin. Fabric softener can be a more frugal replacement — but you can likely do without that as well.
Take stock of what you already have in-house, and you may be surprised by how much you can take off your grocery list — and put back in your checking account.