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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Save Money and Make Things Last – Date It!

The Condo Blues Law of Oops dictates that I will run out of something only when I’m in the middle of using it to do something like cleaning, baking, or in a project.

Just so I won’t run out of something at a bad time I used to think that if it’s something we use daily like shampoo or toothpaste or cleaner then I should just buy it every time it goes on sale to save money. Then I’d have a backup on hand when we run out. In theory that should work just fine.

Problem was that I still seemed to run out of stuff like brown sugar in mid-cupcake baking frenzy while on the other hand I constantly had at least four extra tubes of toothpaste in the linen closet on any given day of the year. There were times when I had so many extra tubes of toothpaste laying around that I considered giving them out as party favors to guests, “Hi how ya doin'? Want something to drink? Snacks are on the dining room table, and oh hey - here you go - have a tube of toothpaste as a parting gift!”

Husband wisely vetoed my bizarre attempts at generosity.

To get a handle on how long stuff lasted, or not, I decided to write the date I opened it on the label of consumable items like toothpaste, cleaners, olive oil, etc. You may think that’s incredibly anal retentive of me, because, I admit it, it is.

But you know what? Well my little born on date experiment also made me realize a few things. Our happy little family of 2 didn’t go through nearly as many bottles, tubes and cans of cleaners, condiments, and health and beauty aids as I thought. For example, we only use about 2 tubes of toothpaste a year even though we brush our teeth a lot.

I found that I really didn’t need to buy that extra bottle of whatever every time it went on sale if I already had a backup item in the pantry or utility room. That saves me money, cuts down on waste, and gives me a little extra storage room around The Condo!

Husband no longer has to worry about me foisting pantry extras at guests in the guise of parting gifts either.

How long do things last at your house? What are your money saving shopping tips?

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday.