Frugal Living: Using Substitutions

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Back in the days – the pre-coupon/pre-Dave Ramsey days – I was pretty snobby about my purchases. I thought name brands meant something. And I smugly looked down my nose at my lil’ sister who used cheap shampoo as body wash.

I only bought the best.

Well, come to find out, the best isn’t really the best. And it’s expensive. And, as a result, it just isn’t worth it.

As I’ve tightened my spending and developed little price rules for myself, I’ve found that many products can serve other purposes than the one that they are marketed for. Janel’s use of cheap shampoo for body wash is a good example.

Other things that I have recently subbed include:

* Lots of my favorite baking recipes call for sour cream, but the brand we like rarely goes on a great sale. However, store brand yogurt is super cheap, especially when on special. I usually buy the plain variety for smoothies since it is better for us. Now, I’m subbing it for the sour cream in my baking and it’s turning out great.

* I bought Huggies baby wash for $.50/bottle a few months back and have used that to refill our hand soap dispensers. It works great, smells good, and costs a lot less than Soft Soap or Walmart’s cheap alternative.

* My big stash of baby wipes is not lasting me as long as I anticipated. And I haven’t seen a good deal lately. But, I did have a $3 coupon for Huggies CleanTeam flushable wipes. This made them $.50/package. So, we will be using these for baby wipes until I see a better deal.

How about you? Do you use a product for something other than its “intended purpose” in order to save money? Let us know in the comments section.

For more frugal ideas, visit Crystal’s blog every Friday.

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  1. When I get conditioner cheap we use it for shaving cream. My husband says that he likes it better than shaving cream and it is one lesss thing to need to remember to buy.

    This may not apply, but we use old socks for cleaning rags. They fit perfect on a kids hand when they are dusting, etc.

    I can’t think of any others, but I know there are. Just need to get my brain warmed up! LOL

  2. I’m looking forward to what others write here. I work out at the Y 3 X’s a week which has been a HUGE blessing to me in more ways than I can enumerate here. But, instead of buying small sized bottles of shampoo to take my showers there, I use their shampoo which is totally against my better judgment. But, it’s saving us $. Not really a substitution, but a sacrifice I’m making right now for the sake of our financial goals.

    I have also begun to use an old rag on the bottom of my swiffer to mop my kitchen floor rather than buying the swiffer replacements. I have to admit that I like the swiffer cloths better, but again…it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in this season.

  3. I love the baby wash for soap idea… I had my 4th and last boy recently and people et you a TON of soap, plus you just can’t give it up when it’s super cheap! I am going to use it! Here that was one concern with all of my recent “moneysaving”… Thank you!