Saturday, March 10

Sharp Frugal Instincts

Hand Soap DispenserEarlier today there was an event that clued me in to how finely tuned my frugal instincts are becoming.

As I used the hand soap in the bathroom, I noticed that the soap level had dropped precipitously. Soap in one of the dispenser bottles so common these days does not simply disappear! Oh no, something more sinister must be happening. How did this happen in my own home? Inspector clean was on the case.

Well, the case was pretty easy to solve as there are only two people using my hand soap. It turns out that my girlfriend would simply depress the pump all the way when soaping up her hands. Oh my goodness. Immense wastage. Obviously, it's no big deal, but it only takes about a fifth of a pump to get enough soap to wash your hands effectively.

Don't worry, the point of my post is not about badgering my girlfriend about using a lot of soap. The point of my post is really about the design of consumer products. In particular, consumables and their containers are often designed in a way that allows or encourages a lot more consumption than would otherwise be needed.

If you want to be a card carrying member of the frugality union, use what you need, not what the container will most conveniently dispense. It's a conspiracy I tell you, a conspiracy.

Frugal Guy said...
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Observant -now, how about toothpaste? Have you ever tried to brush your teeth with the amount of toothpaste the ads show? Tried it once - about gagged & spit out most of it. What hair cream ad stated 'a little dab'll do you"? That tag line should be on most products.

Anonymous said...

I used to remanufacture toner cartridges for laser printers for a living. The "toner empty" indicator on all laser printers comes on when you may have up to a 33% full toner cartridge in there! Simply remove the unit with the toner cartridge in it and rock it side to side (careful of static) and replace. Repeat as necessary. Depending on what you print out, you can get literally hundreds more pages before that baby is truly empty.

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

A sneaky trick I learned to trick the kiddos into using less of the pump soap (before I just started using bar soap with them) was to wrap a rubber band around the neck of the pump up near the top. Viola, when they depress the pump, it will only go about 1/2 way in without them noticing. Ha! So you don't have to lecture the lady but she uses less soap. You don't even have to tell her, and if she notices you can just say it was your way of making sure that YOU used less soap.

frugal guy said...

Anons, thanks for the great comments. They really illustrate what I was talking about.

Jenn, that's priceless. What a great idea!

Pat said...

Another way to keep from using too much liquid hand soap is to dilute it with water. It's too thick, anyway and if you pour out about a third into another container and add that much water back in you can hardly tell the difference. (Stir the water in, don't try to shake it!)

It's like "buy two, get one free," when you do that.

frugal guy said...

Pat, thanks for another good idea. I generally end up watering down my dish soap when it's nearly empty... but if I planned ahead I could buy soap in the refill size and mix my own concentration.

DEBTective said...

Great post, bub! Watching your pennies (and soap) and saving dough is the key to building up big-time piles of cash. Thanks for spreading the word!

Toner Cartridges said...

On the topic of printer toner and ink, did you know the original cartridges are only 50% charged, or less. Same size of container, but they call them 'starter' cartridges. I believe to date the only ones who don't practice this are Canon printers.