Continuing with the Ways to Save Money Series, I’d like to present a method of saving money through what some people consider a disgusting method: Using a Handkerchief.
Growing up, I had horrible allergies. The pets (dogs, guinea pigs, iguanas, etc.), smoking parents, moldy basement and the general type of natural airborne allergens from trees, grass and dust contributed to a virtual never-ending snotfest. I suffered so much growing up, and it wasn’t until I left for college that the battle began to subside, and especially when I moved to D.C. to a now smoke-free state.
Because I constantly had a runny nose, I quickly went through whole cases of Kleenex and my parents just couldn’t keep up with me. I wiped my nose on anything I could get my hands on, whether it was my shirt sleeve, paper towels, toilet paper, or the hood on the kid who sat in front of me on the bus (sorry dude, I needed something soft for my nosey). I can’t stress enough how horrible my allergies were growing up and how much it clouded my brain during those years. Most of my memories of my adolescent and teen years tend to gravitate to the misery of 1) being fat and 2) never enjoying life because of my allergies. It really did create a fog over my daily life.
But growing up with my Gram’s house, I eventually picked up one of her habits: using a handkerchief. Granted, she only carried one for the 2-3 times per month that she blew her nose, but for me, I had found a way to reduce my tissue usage to a tenth of the former amounts.
My parents bought me a 10-pack of hankies from the dollar store and washed them first so they softened (that’s an important step!). I then kept one with me at all times. And this is where people tend to get turned off by handkerchiefs. I’ll be blunt. By using a hanky, it means you’re blowing your nose into the same place that you have already used. That’s supposedly why they invented disposable tissues. However, by using creative folding methods, you can reduce reused areas, and honestly I’m not afraid of my own germs.
To this day, I still use a handkerchief. I still keep one in all my coats, in each vehicle I drive, and next to the bed. I don’t need to use it nearly as often as I used to, but I continue to keep my disposable tissue use to a minimum mostly to reduce the waste I contribute to the environment. I have enough hankies (about 15-20) that I can rotate while the others are being washed. Sure, washing and eventually disposing of worn-out hankies impacts the environment too, but I don’t wash the hankies alone, and the hankies are made of biodegradable material.
So whether you suffer from horrible allergies or just need to blow your nose here and there, think about investing in a pack of handkerchiefs from the local dollar store. It’s good for your wallet AND the environment!