Shower With a Friend, to Save Money, Of Course

Bradley Group Showers
Image by thelampnyc via Flickr

Have you been wondering about the impact your morning shower everyday is having on your pocketbook, let alone the environmental and water conservation causes? Of course you have, because you’re on top of stuff like that. That is why you are here.

The average shower busts out 2 gallons of water per minute. The average 10 minute shower will dump 20 gallons of otherwise drinkable water down your drain (with a brief stop-off on your head). That’s intense. And I’m not even going to get into the energy it takes to get that water delivered to you at the precious right temperature (of course you are saving money with an energy efficient hot water tank).

If you’re having trouble visualizing what this means – 20 gallons of drinking water could keep the average male thoroughly quenched for over 20 days in the case or a water shortage. The water used up in that same simple 10 minute shower could keep the average woman hydrated significantly longer. This is, of course, comfortably hydrated. 20 gallons of water could keep an individual alive a month and a half. Think about it. Water needed for a 10 minute shower = water needed to stay alive over a month.

Given the world’s exploding population, particularly in urban areas, and the Earth’s limited resources, your simple daily cleansing routine suddenly merits further consideration. Of course, while you are saving money on your water bill, you can scream at the top of your lungs, “I am saving the planet!”

Now, we’re not about to suggest that you stop showering, because that would be weird, but, there are a few baby steps you can take to minimize your personal impact on what could turn into a water crisis in the next decade (or not, depending on how we collectively play our cards). Here are a few suggestions:

Shower with a Friend

Ah, I wasn’t just teasing you with the title.

Taking a shower? Invite someone special to share it with you. You can double up on your metaphoric water-miles 2-for-1 style and add a little spice to your morning routine (weekly, if you are trying to save the big bucks). You may add a few minutes to the one shower, but it’ll still save the water you would have used in the second.

You can also reduce the amount of soap you use by, you know. . . you know.

Get your back cleaner, too, by having a partner make sure every inch is thoroughly washed.

Showering Cost Saving Bonus Tip – Use a Green Shower Head

So, you like long showers (or when you shower with a friend, the shower actually takes longer, not shorter) but you want to save money and save water. What is a dirty bird to do?

Use a green shower head. No, okay… not that literal.

I’m talking something with on/off flow control or a shower head that reduces the number of gallons that blast through it every minute. So that number I gave you earlier (2 gallons of water per minute in the shower) – not fixed when you use a better, environmentally-more-than-just-friends device. Some shower heads even bring the gallons per minute as low as 0.5. The cost of a water savings shower head will be recovered by the water you save.

I know, I know. Saving the environment is tough stuff… Saving money even harder.

Just don’t go all “Psycho” on your shower mate.

Wash Your Face in the Sink

Another way to reduce your shower time is to wash your face in the sink. So, grab a wash cloth, a towel and your face soap and scrub-a-dub…dink, in the……….sink.

Your face is plenty easy to gracefully clean in the sink without making a mess or using the full force of a shower to get the job done. The water only needs to be turned on minimally to get you squeaky clean.

Just get the wash cloth damp once to get your face wet, lather your suds up, apply, then soak the wash cloth a second time to rinse off the soapy residue. Ta-da – your clean face just got a little more environmentally friendly.

Skip Washing Your Hair Every Other Day

Any girl who has ever dyed her hair probably knows this trick – throw your hair up in a bun before hopping in the shower. Especially for those of us with longer hair, this will certainly shave off several minutes (and subsequent gallons of water) of showering every other day.

If you’re one of the unlucky few whose hair will tell everyone you didn’t wash it this morning, try a hat. Just one day. It won’t hurt, plus there are tons of cute hats out there that can spice up your fashion statement in a way you hadn’t considered before you became all green-friendly and environmentally conscientious.

Be sure to read our cost savings information on how to save money on haircuts.

Shower Every Other Day Altogether

Provided that you don’t sweat too much or roll around in manure, this should be reasonable to pull off without too many negative social repercussions. Try some more cologne. I’m sure it won’t be that noticeable. Of course, watch for this subtle social clues from those you meet (closing eyes, holding breath, turning away rapidly) or those questions they will ask (“Are you doing OK?).

Use a 2-in-1 Shampoo/Conditioner

To save even more water, cut down on the amount of time spent applying and washing out your hair products by buying (on sale, using a coupon, of course) the 2-in-1 version of your favorite brand. Naturally, you’ll cut the time you spend in the shower on your hair in half, along with your water usage (unless you don’t understand the concept, in which case you should have someone helping you with these things).

Now you’re saving water and money in two ways. Go you. And the environment, because… because.

Combining all these techniques – assuming a reduction in showers by half per couple from sharing showers, only showering every other day and shaving off at least three minutes per shower from using the tips above, a family of two that once used 280 gallons of water showering a week could be looking at only 36.75 gallons of water per week (10 minute showers taken by 2 people per day, 7 days a week at 2 gallons per minute vs. 7 minute showers taken once for both people per day, 3.5 days a week at 1.5 gallons per minute).

So, How Much Does a Gallon of Tap Water Cost?

Well (ha ha), a gallon of city tap water varies by community. But figure about a penny a gallon for round numbers. The majority of savings will occur from the hot water you don’t use. Many water savings experts indicate that you can save $250/year for spending less than $20. Also, as an added savings, remember that cities also charge a sewer fee based upon water usage, so you will save a bit more on that utility bill.

I bet when you started reading this article, you had no idea the effects could be so extravagant, did you? I think now both of us feel a little like we did something useful with our time.