Friday, October 10, 2008

Finding More Ways to Be Thrifty

"Goodbye, Money!" That's what I've been saying over the past week as I've watched my retirement savings shrink and shrink. Of course, I've got decades to go before I need to use that money. So, it's painful to watch, but I'm confident the market will be in good shape again one day...I'll be okay. In fact, we aren't changing our contributions to our 401(k)s or IRAs. It's actually slightly exciting to know that we getting stocks on sale. (Now, if I could only find a coupon for Target 2045!)

I suppose a lot of people who haven't been super thrifty are at least thinking about it now. As I mentioned in The Same Old Message, I still listen to all of the saving ideas out there in print, on TV, and on the web. However, it's becoming more and more challenging to find new ideas.

My friend Bryan and fellow Save 4 Fun reader emailed me about an idea he got from Clark Howard that he's trying this year. My dad told me about this one believe it or not, it wasn't new to me. However, I haven't actually tried it. But I might now. Here's what Bryan wrote:

Late last year a caller to the on the Clark Howard Show was asking Clark about his shaving razors...Razors are something I bought frequently and aren't cheap (I like the Gillette Sensor 3, which , in my area, typically costs about $12 for 4 or 5 blades and I was replacing the entire pack every two months or so).

The caller and Clark discussed the reasons razor blades become dull. There are two main reasons: the obvious one where the blade gets dulled by contact with the hair follicles, but the other (and most substantial reason) is because of oxidation of the blade after it has been in contact with water. So, they suggested drying the razor after every use. There are three main methods that they mentioned and I've tried all of them: 1) the best, in my opinion, is to use the hair dryer - typically, it's right there on the counter for most people in the bathroom and it only takes about 10 seconds to dry the blade, 2) wiping it off on a towel - again, this is fairly easy, just make sure to wipe in the opposite direction of the blades - you don't want to cut the towel - and thus damage the blades or 3) dip it in rubbing alcohol - this makes the alcohol replace the water and then the alcohol dries out very quickly - I don't prefer this one because I'm just paranoid I'll forget to rinse the blade before the next use and then I'll be cutting my face with alcohol - not pleasant.

SO, the big question: does it work? I started trying it in January of this year. It's now October and I'm on the same blade! My shave this morning was as close as it was 10 months ago! One note: I don't shave every single day - typically every other day. Clark says it works with disposables just as well. This year, I've spent about $2.40 (for one blade) - compared to last year when I spent about $72 (for about 30 blades total). So, spending 10 seconds to dry the blade each day I shave has saved almost $70.

The next best thing to hearing a new saving tip is knowing someone who has made it successful and has actually saved using it. Right now, I have a basket full of razors I've gotten for free or a little bit of money (because of sales, coupons, and rebates). I'm not too picky on my razors. However, I might choose a good one and try this idea. I know it will take a little time for me to remember to do it each morning after my shower. But I'll eventually make it a habit, I'm sure.

This is also a good way to not only save money but create less waste!

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Kate said...

Ugh. I looked at my 403b recently, apparently because I hate myself. I knew it would be ugly, so why did I torture myself? Ah well. I'm trying to focus on the long-term and that my contributions are still before tax, which helps on that level.

I'll have to try the keep-the-razor dry trick.

Erika said...

This is a super great idea, and I'm going to send this post to my hubby, and I hope he will send it around to his coworkers.

Betsy said...

Kate & Erika,

If you/your husbands try the razor drying tip, let me know if it works!