What do a swiffer, tampons, and disposable foam ear plugs have in common?
They are all products that I have eliminated from my shopping list by finding reusable more affordable alternatives.
When we think about budgeting we tend to create categories, guess how much we need for each category, and then that’s pretty much it. Well, I wanted to do more. I wanted to really question why I buy some of these things all the time without really questioning it. Lately I’ve been on a quest to identify products that I buy on a regular basis to see if that repeat purchase can somehow be eliminated which will save me money.
It started with Swifter. Although the thing is beyond convenient, it feels wrong to put those big plastic pad things in the garbage after a few sweeps through the house. It just feels so WASTEFUL. So I bought a “swifter” that has a reusable cloth base. It’s GREAT at picking up the cat fur and dust. A quick run through the wash and it’s ready to go again. I love this thing.
It’s hard to say how much money this would save as each household has different cleanliness levels and practices. A pack of swiffer refills costs about $10 so that’s $10 less you are spending each grocery trip.
The next item was tampons. Yup, I’m writing about tampons on my blog. There is a really awesome girl, I think from the UK, that has an excellent youtube channel dedicated to teaching women about all the reusable menstrual products that are on the market.
The one that she got me interested in was the menstrual cup. It’s a reusable cup that is inserted to collect menses, and, when full, is removed, washed, and reinserted. The average women spends thousands of dollars on disposable tampons and pads in her lifetime. This is a great way to reduce that cost. Also it’s much more appealing then putting bleached dry cotton up there. No more tampons? CHECK!
Again, every women is different so the savings will vary, but assuming 12 boxes of tampons per year and the associated liners, let’s say the total cost is about $100 per year. The cup ranges in price depending on the brand, but an average of $40 is reasonable. So $60 savings!
Next on the list was sleeping aids. I am a terribly light sleeper. So much so that even if there is nothing happening in the house, I still need ear plugs to sleep. My usual routine is to buy a pack of those orange foam ear plugs from Shoppers about once a month. Although they can be used more than once, they are kind of like socks and your dryer. They just disappear and no one knows where they went. I think my cat might have an idea though, as I have caught her on more than one occasion playing with them.
Something about their unusual shape and squishiness is extremely appealing to cats. Even if it weren’t for the cat though, it’s not something I would want to reinsert into my ear after several uses due to bacteria etc. So I checked out places to buy custom ear plugs, and Costco stepped up to the plate. I have an appointment next week to get my first set of custom made, reusable ear plugs and I am PUMPED. These will be washed on a regular basis, and stored in a safe place, away from kitty. What about cost? They are surprisingly affordable! I think they quoted me $65 on the phone. Other places charge around $100-150, which is still a great deal for something you will wear every night. I was spending $10-15 for a pack of ear plugs every time I would run out, so it’s great to not have that unnecessary expense anymore. And I’m betting my custom ones won’t fall out in the middle of the night! Who can put a price on a good nights sleep…
At the end of the day, whether you choose to buy disposable products or reusable ones will probably not make a huge difference in your overall wealth. However, the little things do add up. The underlying theme here is to be less wasteful which if practiced in multiple areas of our life can translate into greater wealth.
Next on my list will be getting rid of dryer sheets in favour of dryer balls 🙂