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Finances & Money Frugality

Turn off the water!

Growing up, I liked to take long showers. I would just stand there in the hot water, oblivious to the mounting gas bill, wishing I could just go back to bed. I mean, who doesn’t like to be enveloped in warmth, and who likes standing in that cold air once the shower is off (unless it’s summertime and you don’t have A/C)?

But obviously wasting all that water (heated water, mind you) isn’t the most frugal practice, now is it? So here’s a couple tips to keep in mind during your morning routine:

Turn off the shower

When you’re lathering up with soap or scrubbing the shampoo or conditioner into your hair, turn off the water. Granted, if you don’t have much hair to shampoo (like me) or your shower faucet wastes as much water being turned off and on than when they’re running, then this tip might not have as much relevance to you.

I first learned of this technique through my sister-in-law. No, I wasn’t spying on her in the shower. I was informed by my wife that her sister takes very long showers, but she turns off the water for much of it. Whether it be shaving her legs or scrubbing down, she only runs the water when she needs it.

Turn off the water when brushing teeth or shaving

When you’re at the sink shaving your face, it’s easy to just leave the water running since your hands might be tied up contorting your face into weird positions to get the smoothest shave. Or when you’re brushing your teeth, you leave it on because you don’t think you’re really using it for long.

Well I challenge you to do this. Next time you shave or brush your teeth, close the sink drain and see how much water you have when you’re done. Heck, it might even overflow the sink (please don’t do that)! Now you know how much water you waste each day. Depending on your sink size, it could be more than a gallon combined. Do that every day, and that’s 365 gallons per year! Now just think how many other people run the water needlessly. Yeah, it really starts adding up, huh?

So just be more conscious of your water usage during your daily routines. It may be convenient to leave the water running, but if you try turning it off more often, I guarantee you’ll be shocked at your new, lower utility bills. Plus you’ll leave more water in the reservoir for the fishies and stuff 🙂

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I’m not sure how effective turning your shower off while you’re lathering would really be. I think the time spent turning it on and off could be put to better use by taking a quicker shower, or if you’re really concerned, take a bath with limited water. Personally, I try to combine my tasks so I take up less time and use less water. I wash my hair, lather in body soap, and then brush my teeth while I rinse my hair and body. But, at night when I brush my teeth, I do turn off the water.

    Something else you can do to conserve water is fill an empty bleach bottle with water and put it in your toilet tank. This uses less water with each flush.

  • Is it bad that I’d fail before i even *Tried*?! haha…It’s a helluva good idea, but my goodness i’d be shutting on and off that water a good 50-60 times each day.

  • In the shower, I will turn off the water to shave my legs… in the summer. My thermostat is only at 62 degrees! If I turn off the water in the shower, I would freeze.

    I do turn off the faucet when brushing my teeth. My biggest problem with this is leaving the water running when I’m doing dishes. I need to work on that.

  • Mr Chiots and I do this as well (and we often shower together to save water). For JvW, our home is also set at 62, but we have a small plug in heater in the bathroom that we turn on while showering, helps with the freezing!

    We also put a bucket under the faucet when warming up the water for a shower and use that collected water for the plants or flushing the toilet. We dont’ really do it to save money, but to save water. The actual monetary are pretty insignificant, but saving an extra 500-600 gallons of water a month is a big deal.

  • Gotta get the low flow showerheads …

    Living in the desert with water bills that run $70 a month before you even turn on the shower (seriously), you get used to thinking about water usage.

  • Taking a shower uses way less water than even taking a bath. If you have a bathtub style shower, try plugging the drain while you are taking a shower. Unless you are taking very very long showers, you won’t come close to having enough water for a bath.
    I have a valve that is part of my shower head that I can use to turn the flow on or off while the shower is still running, so I don’t have to fiddle with the main nozzle everytime I’m lathering/shampooing.

  • We only pay $20 a month for water and the connection charge is a significant portion of it. In my area (NJ) I doubt there is a opportunity to save a meaningful amount of money by reducing water usage. If you’re frugal in all other areas of your life, you should think about treating yourself to a hot shower…

  • We’ve done all of the normal things to save water. We finally realized some real savings (about $5 a month) when we bought a new front loading washer. This also reduced our electric bill by an undeterminable amount. I can tell because it takes much less time to dry clothes. I was turning off the shower when I soaped up until winter hit. I just can’t manage to cut off the hot water when the exhaust fan is on, the window is open and it’s 24 outside.

  • Great thinking, but it would be freezing! I’m not willing to put up with that, not to mention having readjust water temperature everytime you turn it back on.

    This is a great idea in your head, but not so much in reality.

  • Catching up on older CD posts…

    I’ve spent time in a community with limited water supply and had to take “military showers:” water on, wet yourself down, water off, soap up, water on, rinse off, water off. @klein, it is very possible – BUT it is a lot easier to do if you have the kind of shower head with an on/off toggle switch, so you don’t have to actually turn the water (and therefore temperature) off/on every time. Like all things, you will become accustomed to it in time and it can be no big deal. Now, that I’m back in my apartment though, I have the bad habit of lingering under that hot water spray too long.

  • Hey, it works; done it most of my life. As, a matter of fact, I have developed an all natural herbal shampoo that will be availabe soon. It’s not so common sense directions will include turning the water off because the essential oils are so expensive and precious. Oh, and so is the water. Conservation means more than money. Please, don’t miss the point, we are in this together. We did not inherit this earth, we borrow from our children. – Native American Proverb.

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