Frugal living is a hot topic as everyone tries to stretch their dollars as far as possible, but many frugal tips cause frustration without delivering any monetary savings. Watery soap, do-it-yourself restaurant lemonade and homemade spa products are my picks for the top three frugal living tips to avoid. Learn more about why these thrifty tips can foil your goal of saving resources.
Frugal Living Folly: Water the Hand Soap
Many people dispense too much hand soap, making it difficult to maintain an adequate supply for your family and guests. Thrifty tipsters often suggest adding water to the container as a quick fix. This tip has never worked for me. The soap and water do not stay mixed. Some pumps dispense regular soap and others dispense a watery mess that often sprays the counter, floor and me. How is that frugal living?
Many of the soap bottles have a long neck that causes one pump to dispense too much soap. Invest in a good soap dispenser with a shorter neck. You can also wrap clear rubber bands around the neck to keep it from dispensing too much soap.
Also, consider buying liquid soap in bulk. The large refill bottles save money and create less waste. As for having enough soap available to guests, I put two soap dispensers on the bathroom sink.
Frugal Living Mistake: D.I.Y. Restaurant Lemonade
Have you heard of do-it-yourself restaurant lemonade? You combine complimentary lemon wedges, ice water and sugar or artificial sweetener packets to make lemonade right at the table. It is hard enough to dissolve sugar in a glass of iced tea. How are you supposed to make tableside lemonade that tastes good? How many lemon wedges would it take to get good lemonade flavor? Do you start over when you want a refill?
Enjoying a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice or even a bit of lemon juice and sugar is reasonable, but making tableside lemonade is as tacky and silly as loading your pockets with complimentary toothpicks. Practice frugal living in other ways, such as taking advantage of coupons, Groupons or restaurant specials.
Frugal Living Blunder: D.I.Y. Bath and Beauty Products
Homemade spa products may seem like a thrifty, thoughtful gift, but that depends on the recipe source. I have seen YouTube videos and bloggers casually advising visitors to slap together spa products using materials such as vegetable oil and cooking extracts. (Cooking extracts and essential oils are not interchangeable. Would you flavor your food with perfume?) Common kitchen ingredients may be affordable, but they are not necessarily safe or ideal for skincare. It is important to choose safe materials that will help skin look and feel its best. Wasting your time and materials on dangerous gifts is not frugal living.
Making homemade bath products can be a thrifty project, but you will need to take the time to find a safe, reliable recipe. Homemade lip balm and melt and pour glycerin soap are easy, frugal starter projects. Visit the library, craft stores or manufacturer websites, such as LorAnnOils.com, for free project instructions.
Frugal living is not about being embarrassed, depriving yourself or always choosing to the do-it-yourself option. Frugal living means being conscientious about how you use your time and resources. Be judicious and consider the benefits of your money-saving endeavors.