As much as I am a true believer in making DIY versions of store-bought products at home, there are a lot of things you just have the bite the bullet and buy. But just because you buy it in a store doesn’t mean you can’t still save money! One of the best ways to save money on store-bought items (apart from spending less on them in the first place) is to find ways to make them last as long as possible. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll also save time by taking fewer trips to the grocery store, and you’ll save resources by producing less waste.
Here are 16 simple ideas for making your store-bought items last as long as possible!
16 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Stuff
1. Make your candles last longer by placing them in the freezer before using them. Freezing will harden with wax so the candle will burn down slower.
2. Cut your sponges in half to get more use out of them. This is especially helpful with magic erasers! (I sometimes even cut them into fourths if I REALLY want to stretch them.) :-)
3. Store jelly and sauces upside down in your fridge to help prevent mold.
4. Wear gloves or use a clean cloth when cutting cheese. The oils on your fingers can contribute to mold growth, so not touching it will ensure you won’t end up wasting any of your cheese.
5. Store flours in sealed bags in the freezer to keep them fresh longer.
6. Cut your dryer sheets in half! Dryer sheets can be expensive, and half a dryer sheet works just as well as a whole one, in my opinion!
7. You can make sure to get every drop out of your toothpaste tube by cutting it open and scooping it out. This also works for hair gel, makeup, sunscreen, or pretty much anything with a bottle that can be cut!
8. Make expensive hand soaps last longer by mixing them with water in a soap container with a foaming pump. Fill the container 1/4 of the way with soap, and the rest of the way with clean water. Your new foaming soap will last a LONG time!
9. Put your very own homemade dish soap in an olive oil bottle to ensure a slower flow. You’ll use a few drops at a time, which cleans just as well and will help your soap last longer.
10. Use a sponge as a soap dish for your bars of soap. Letting the bar dry out between uses on a sponge prevents sliminess and drips, which minimizes waste and makes the bar last longer.
11. Extend the life of your mascara by adding a bit of saline solution directly to the tube. You’ll be saving money over time, and your mascara will look just as good! Get the full details from Make Your Expensive (or Inexpensive) Mascara Last Longer.
12. Test out the “eco-friendly” settings on your dishwasher, washing machine, printer, and other household appliances. Most eco-cycles work just as well as the normal settings, and you’ll save on valuable resources (like water, ink, electricity, etc.) Get more tips for being eco-friendly from How to Make Every Day Earth Day.
13. Preserve your child’s artwork by spraying it with a coat of hairspray. This will preserve the color and prevent smudges. Get more hairspray tips from 12 Clever Uses for Hairspray.
14. Keep your flat iron clean by following these simple steps from How to Clean Your Flat Iron. A clean flat iron works more efficiently, which will keep it working longer (and be better for your hair!)
15. Rust can wreak havoc on metal in your home. Prevent rust from forming by slathering on some Vaseline, (or even better, this DIY “Petroleum-Free” Jelly!) which will help keep moisture out.
16. Keep your blue jeans looking good as new by preventing the color from fading. Adding a cup of plain white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash will help set the dye in your jeans. Get all the details and more laundry tips from Common Solutions to Your Most Vexing Laundry Problems.
What are your best tips for making something last longer?