The person who taught me to add a little water to the soap bottle to get the last bit was my grandmother.
She didn’t waste much. At grandma’s house, we ate all the leftovers. Patched clothes that ripped and repaired most things that broke.
Now, as an adult, I water down the soap too at the end to make sure I get the last bit.
7.5 oz. of soap gives you about 125 pumps. Assuming you wash your hands off one pump and the soap bottle costs about $2.00 – you’re paying just over a cent and a half a pump.
When you get to the bottom of the bottle and it stops pumping well even though there’s clearly still soap in there – if you add some water, you’ll get all the soap out, plus probably about 5-10 more pumps.
Let’s optimistically say 10 more pumps.
You’re now paying just under a cent and a half a pump.
Guys, isn’t it obvious how important this is?!?!
I don’t blame you for thinking that, but the fact is that the importance here isn’t really in the savings.
The importance here is in the rewiring of your brain. It’s in forcing yourself to start looking at everything a little differently.
If you can just squeeze a little extra out of that soap, maybe you can just squeeze a little extra out of dinner by adding some cheap beans to an expensive meat dish. Now you have dinner and lunch for the next day.
Maybe you can patch your jeans instead of replacing them. Now you’ve saved $30.
Maybe you’ll see that dryer balls cost more initially, but they’ll save you a bunch over time because you have six kids and never stop doing laundry.
Maybe you’ll start to wonder what is actually in the local library and swing by and find out there is a ridiculous amount of stuff and events – not just books – in most libraries and cancel your Netflix subscription.
Watering down the soap also has another perk. When you’re just getting started on your personal finance journey (or mountain, if you will), you can fly through the first few steps. You can set up a budget. You can figure out your net worth. You can set up goals for your debt payoff.
But actually paying off debt or building up an emergency fund or figuring out how to earn more can take some time. They’re all marathons and they can be exhausting.
Every once in a while, you just need to sprint. And win at something. Because running is a mental game more than anything else.
Watering down the soap is a sprint you can win. That mental boost from doing something, anything to help you cut back a little and feel more in control is worth it.
Watering down your soap will probably save you around ten cents a year.
Changing the way you think about how you use things will save you a lot more in the long run.