I love things that are versatile. I have a hard time making purchases of things that are going to be only useful in one specific situation. I would say that this is due to my fear of ever being ‘stuck’ again, but in reality it came along before that. Even when I was spending beyond my means, I was looking for the most versatile motorcycle or even home, with various rental/living arrangement options available. I suppose it was in case my situation changed, which it did. A few times.
Even now, my new home – a modest duplex in Mexico – is something I can live in and still bring in enough rental income to cover my cost of living. However, both sides of the duplex can be rented if I am away as well, with staff and cleaning contractors available to take care of guests. This gives me the option to essentially live and travel wherever I want indefinitely, including there in my home, as long as I don’t spend more than the rental income provides.
So when I find something basic that I know I will essentially always need to buy, and it’s a great, quality, versatile product that doesn’t add unnecessary complexity to my life and is also made in a simple and health-and-environmentally-conscious way, I am fully on-board.
I used to buy the soaps from Lush*. They’re great, but a little pricey and some better than others. They may not necessarily be the most simple of products either, in that they’re very flashy and colorful and aromatic. Ultimately, they were a little frilly for me and my newfound stoic ways. Especially once I had discovered Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap. It really is where it’s at. It’s been around for over a century. You can get it in liquid forms but I like to buy the bar. It is marketed as an “All-One” soap**, so you can use it for laundry and such too, which makes it great for travel (especially in the bar form for carry-on). Where I usually buy it the medium-sized (236 mL/8 oz) bottle of liquid soap is about $10 USD* while the bars are about $5.25. There is also a larger bottle too (944 mL/32 oz. Good for families or those with the space to spare) and a small liquid bottle (59 mL/2 oz) you can buy for about $4.50 for travel but don’t be silly. Why pay more per amount of product while ruining the world just for a little convenience***? The soaps come in various basic scents such as lavender, peppermint and citrus orange. There are also unscented soaps for the particularly stoic amongst us.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the cheapest option for soap. But buying the cheapest option of anything is actually often not the most financially sound option, not to mention the social and environmental costs of some of the cheapest products and retial outlets available these days. So as much as I am preaching frugality, I should make it clear that I am far from stinky and dressed in rags, and have no hesitation to pay a little extra for a good product from a good company to remain that way. Often, I find that the more expensive product actually lasts so much longer than the cheaper version that it is actually cheaper in the end, without factoring the enjoyment-of-use factor that a superior product can offer. Hell, the extra simple satisfaction might even allow me to avoid some other costly activity that I may seek out for entertainment and pleasure that day.
The point is to know what you need, buy it, use it, waste nothing. Too many of us are careless and unmindful of our purchases, leading to more physical waste for the planet to deal with, more time wasted working to pay for the item and ultimately dispose of it, and, of course, a waste of money, which will not help us get anywhere near early retirement if a regular practice of this behavior is established.
It also turns out that one of the Dr. Bronner motto’s jives well with the Financial Independence movement and mindset.
Work hard! Grow!
*I still buy deodorant from Lush, the solid Aromaco version is one of the only deodorants since they eliminated the classic round/short Old Spice stick (which my dad always used). Others seem to actually make me sweat for some reason. I also occasionally splurge on their “Toothy Tabs”.
**All-one refers to their social and environmental philosophy as well, not just that the soap is an ‘all-in-one’ type of product.
***If you want to take liquid soap traveling, get a small re-usable plastic container (get inventive and see what you can find around your house) that you can transfer the soap from your large bottle into for trips.