Now that the holidays are behind us, I’ve been working like crazy around the house to get all of our glorious decorations tucked away for next year. That sounded really good, but in reality I moved our decorated Christmas trees into our storage room, minus the balls :) I like to work smarter, not harder. Ha! That being said, I’ve also been getting every corner of our house back to tip-top shape. Being a minimalists, it’s very difficult for me to see stuff all over the place. Mission has finally been accomplished! The house is clean and in order and as I put the last load of laundry into the washer today, I realized how little laundry detergent I use compared to the manufacturer’s recommendation. At that moment I coined a new phrase: The Rule of Half.
The Rule of Half, Defined.
The Rule of Half is something we strictly adhere to in our Mad Money house. Manufacturer’s inevitably want you to use more of their product than is absolutely necessary. If you use their product based on their instruction, you will need to purchase more of said product which increases their bottom line. Since we’re in the business of increasing our own bottom line around here, we use only what we deem necessary for each product. Laundry detergent being an excellent example.
It Can Be Used For Anything
We use The Rule of Half in nearly every aspect of our lives. If Mr. MMM and I go out on a date, sometimes we will order one beer and split it. FYI – we’re not big beer drinkers, so obviously this won’t work if you really enjoy a nice cold one. We only occasionally enjoy beer, so this is perfect for us. We will also split a soda at the movies – when we go as a planned date or family outing. This is never a spur-of-the-moment decision. We plan out all of our expenses – especially the fun stuff!
Case in point, last week we had planned to have a nice celebratory dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants for New Year’s Eve. This had been planned for months and I had an envelope with a set amount of cash, not to be used without care. Once there, we carefully made our selections, enjoyed our meal and time together, gave our server a hefty tip, and still left the (very nice) joint with a 20 spot in our pocket. #win This was accomplished by splitting an appetizer and dessert, sharing meals – that meant one person ordered the surf and turf while the other ordered a more reasonably priced dish, and skipping drinks altogether. Our bill was still $100, but it easily could’ve hit the $200 mark had we not controlled ourselves and shared the appetizer and dessert. We always employ this rule when we’re consciously spending money on entertainment – and everything else.
Try it for things like:
-Toiletries – excluding toilet paper, of course – we’re not sickos :)
-Cleaning Products – this one is really a no-brainer
-Internet Speed – you might be surprised that the next level down isn’t noticeable at all
-Cable TV – keep reading
-Wine – try drinking water in a wine glass for your second round – this really only works at home :)
Use A Substitute Or Nothing At All
You can easily take this rule to the next level and substitute a different product or use no product whatsoever. Think: paper towels. We rarely use paper towels. Instead, we use old worn-out clothes that we cut up for rags. Did you know some people actually buy rags? Blasphemy!
Other examples include using half the amount of milk you think you need in your cereal. C’mon, how many of you have milk leftover after you finish that delicious bowl of Fruity Pebbles? It’s okay if you’re drinking it at the end, but if you have kids and you have watched them toss it down the drain, try The Rule of Half.
The point is that you can likely use less of the products you frequently use, substitute something not as expensive, or cut it out altogether. How many of you still have cable TV? This is the perfect substitute item. We substituted Netflix, YouTube, and other free streaming services for cable and barely noticed. Read all about it here.
If you do this for items here and there throughout the year, you’ll notice a difference. Plug in some numbers and see how much you’ll save over 12 months just by using half the laundry detergent you currently consume. Unfortunately, overconsumpsion has a tendency to destroy our world and our wallets. So next time you throw a load of laundry in, try The Rule of Half.
We would love to hear from you in the comments! Let us know what you cut back on to save a buck.
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