Tips for stretching a fixed income

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There are all sorts of ways to save money, but the best way to make your dollars go further is to make the things you already own last longer. That way, you can minimise your trips to the supermarket and maximise your pantry purchases. Squeezing a few extra years from your car or essential appliances will also see you save money and extend your retirement income. Try some of these handy tips to make your things last longer and stretch your fixed income. 

Make your food last longer

Practicing proper food storage will reduce your food costs by eliminating the need to throw out things that have gone mouldy. Why not try these great tips?

  1. After opening items packaged in jars, see if you can store them upside down to keep mould away and your items fresher for longer
  2. When you store salad and green vegetables in the fridge, wrap them in a paper towel, or place a paper towel in your plastic container to keep them from becoming slimy.
  3. When cutting cheese, try not to touch the protion you’ll store back in the fridge. Touching the cheese can transfer bacteria from your hands and encourage mould growth.
  4. It may be an old wives’ tale to leave the pip in your avocado or guacamole to keep it from browning. We aren’t going to argue with that one, but a guaranteed trick is to wrap your avocado in cling wrap to minimize its contact with air.
  5. Storing flour in the freezer will keep it fresh and avoid any bug infestations.

Stretch your cleaning supplies

You can reduce your costs by switching to homemade cleaners, buying generic products or following this simple advice. Or, you could consider the following tips: 

  1. Want to make your sponges last twice as long? Then cut them in half.
  2. Dry sponges also last longer. Once you’ve finished washing the dishes, make sure you wring out your sponge and leave it out to dry.
  3. Unless your laundry is heavily soiled, you can try using half the laundry liquid you would normally use. A little bit of soap actually goes a long way.
  4. Remove soap from its packaging and let it sit out for a couple of weeks prior to using it. Dry soap will last longer. And make sure you use a soap dish that lets water drain away between uses.
  5. To avoid waste, spray your cleaning solution directly on to your cleaning cloth or paper towel when cleaning windows or other surfaces.

Making your personal care items last longer

Personal care items can be expensive, but what if you could get lots more from your lipstick, or shake a few more washes from your shampoo? Over time, these tips can save you a bundle: 

  1. A dry razor will last longer than a wet one. Also, once you’ve finished shaving, rub your razor on a piece of cloth in the opposite direction of the blades to keep them sharp.
  2. Cut open that tube of toothpaste when it gets low. There’ll still be a heap of paste in the bottom of the tube.
  3. Cotton tips are perfect for using the last of your lipstick.
  4. Adding a little moisturiser to your bronzer can make it last longer.
  5. Store your shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down in between uses. And when you reach the end of a bottle, pop in a little water and shake to use every last drop.

Tips for other household items

  1. Air-drying your clothes will give your garments longer life, so it’s best to skip the clothes dryer. And try washing in cold water instead of hot, so you’re not paying for the energy required to produce hot water. Save your clothes and on bills.
  2. Freezing candles before using them actually extends their burn time.
  3. Storing rechargeable batteries in your freezer can help them keep their charge longer. Ensure they’re at room temperature before you use them.
  4. Extend the life of your essential appliances by practicing proper maintenance, such as changing filters, cleaning refrigerator coils and descaling your kettle and coffee maker.
  5. Don’t skip the suggested times for your car service either. Even if you only practice regular oil changes, it will go a long way to extending the life of your vehicle and keeping it on the road for less money – and for a lot longer.

Do you have any tips for making your things last longer? Why not share them? Keep an eye out on for more great money-saving lifehacks. 

Watch this video on how to make your things last longer.


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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



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