This week's Tip of the Week in the newsletter is all about stretching a half measure to do a full measure job and it's a great idea.
I dilute just about everything! Why? Because most things can be diluted up to half and still give the same excellent results.
Case in point dishwashing detergent. I buy the Tandil Ultra Dishwashing Detergent from Aldi. I buy six bottles a year and dilute each bottle 50:50 with cool water, giving me twelve bottles for the price of six - enough to last a year. I also add 500 grams of bicarb soda to the dishwashing powder to stretch it. That 1.5 kilos of powder then does 60 washes (two level teaspoons per load, and yes I measure it, there is a spoon in the detergent container). I only need to buy six boxes of dishwasher powder a year, saving $7.20 (I buy Savings brand dishwasher powder from Coles).
Shampoo and conditioner are diluted 50:50 with water and then dispensed with a pump - one pump for short hair, two pumps for long hair.
I also “dilute” groceries: I use half the quantity of mince in a recipe and bulk it out with either rolled oats, TVP, rice or grated vegetables; I add stock to dilute soup; I add milk to salad dressing and mayonnaise; I add breadcrumbs to grated cheese in a recipe; there are so many ways you can stretch your groceries when you get creative.
Baking is diluted too. Biscuits are no more than two teaspoons of dough, rolled and flattened. I use the smaller cutter to make scones. When I make a slice, it is cut into 3cm squares; that gives me 15 pieces from one slice tray, three more serves than most recipes give.
Diluting groceries saves a lot of money, and no, it's not being mean. It is frowned upon by manufacturers and grocers (I've been told in person that they don't like me sharing the Rule of Half) - that's fine, they're not living on my grocery budget. If they were they'd be diluting too - and loving it just as much as I do.
If I dilute something and it isn't just as good then I don't bother again. But I always try because I just love getting double the groceries for half the cost.