Today on Monday’s Money Saving Tips I’m keeping you all clean while saving you money. It’s all about toiletries. And not just any old toiletries – FREE toiletries. That’s right you can travel the world by virtually hardly ever spending money on toiletries – I’ve been doing it for years. In the past 12 months I have bought a grand total of FOUR toiletry products: one deodorant (roll on), one bottle of shampoo (large) and two tubes of toothpaste (with a third free incidentally) and that’s it! The rest of my toiletries have been completely FREE. So I’ve spent less than $12 US Dollars in the last year on toiletries! If you can beat that then I’ll have to assume you own Procter and Gamble, work for Nivea or stole it all. Here’s where travellers go wrong and waste money on toiletries.
First of all, I only carry the bare essentials when it comes to toiletries – 5 items for short term travel and 7 items for long term travel – that’s all you need if you’re male. Remember this post on what’s in my toiletry bag?
Secondly I take ALL the freebies I can from hostels, hotels, inns, guesthouses, planes etc. A lot of my recent travels have been in China and this has certainly helped me save money on toiletries. Almost every hostel and hotel in China gives FREE toiletries. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are free in most rooms in packs. As are bars of soap. Even disposable razors and shaving cream.
Perhaps the best thing about all these free toiletries is that they are small, easy to carry, less than 100ml and will last for a few days and can then be binned. Repeat the procedure and you’ll never have to buy anything except deodorant.
In point form, this is what I do to save money on toiletries:
- I never go into chemists for a start (why browse – you might end up spending money).
- I never carry shower gel ever (unless it’s free).
- I always carry a bar of soap – check out my post here on why I love soap and hate shower gel.
- I always take all free toiletries from every hotel and hostel I ever stay in. Always. I’ve paid for them so I take them.
- On every aeroplane you’re ever on, visit the toilet, open the cupboard and take what you need – normally toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs and soap.
- I carry a small plastic bottle with me at all times and I fill it up with shampoo from those shampoo dispensers (you can do the same for soap and shower gel by the way – fill them up from toilets)
- If I do go to a chemist and really have run out of toothpaste, I just buy a 2 pack or a 3 pack or whatevers on offer. That’s me done for almost a year in one go!
- When I properly travel, I rarely shave often.
I often get asked where I’m based and for the last 2 years or so I have used Hong Kong as my base. I’ve had a few flat shares here. My current flat mate is baffled at how few toiletries I have. I’m a backpacker – he’s not. He happily spends money on toiletries all the time and indeed his entire toiletry section has more products toiletries wise than I have had in the last 7-8 years or so. Incredible but that’s the life of a backpacker.
I wouldn’t change it for the world. Next time you’re in a hotel or hostel, take all that free stuff. You’ve paid for it, it’s rightfully yours. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Or a phrase like that. Happy Mondays, happy money saving. Stay clean while still saving the pennies!