There is a ton of money to be saved if only you learn how to first detect – and then reject – all those clever marketing pitches.

My shampoo bottle says “use once a day.” And now that I have switched to the format with the little pump dispenser, I have found out that one push does not give me enough shampoo, but two pushes give me way too much.

Since it is very hard to extract one-and-a-half pushes of shampoo, they are pushing me to use more than I need.

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And to rinse and repeat the next day. With the matching conditioner for optimum results. And while I have read several health and beauty articles advocating against washing your hair every day, since your scalp will become greasier, there aren’t many warnings against challenging common wisdom in general and using just what you need.

The moral of the story? Sometimes the status quo is based on opinion or manipulation, not facts.

Falling for the Status Quo

I was a bit embarrassed the last time I visited my dentist.

I hadn’t gone for my check-up in a year, when they usually ask you to come every six months. But when I asked for a cleaning, he refused. “What?” I thought to myself, “I might not come back for another eight months – I can’t go almost two years without a teeth cleaning!” Then he explained that my hygiene was impeccable, and I could go another year without a problem.

I didn’t need a cleaning. I walked off without being billed.

A less scrupulous practitioner would have cleaned my teeth as requested.

I had already challenged the marketing that shows you must put three times more toothpaste on your toothbrush than you actually need, and change your toothbrush every couple of months, so I thought I would have to visit the dentist more. Turns out that if you brush and floss properly, you can be perfectly fine for over a year.

Nevertheless, marketers want you to believe the opposite. They want you to consume as much as possible, and will recommend portions that are way above what you really need. And while using half the toothpaste might save you $10 per year at most, brushing well enough so you don’t need the $150 cleaning takes your savings to a whole other level.

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Every Industry Wants You to Keep Buying

They already know how to manufacture tights that don’t rip and glasses that don’t scratch, but what’s the point of marketing a product people will never have to replace?

Instead, let’s build in some obsolescence to ensure people buy our stuff again in a couple of years.

One of the last products that made me scratch my head was a “healthy” version of orange juice. It had 50 percent less sugar! I was intrigued and had to check out how the brand, which was famous for its 100-percent pure juice managed to take out half the sugar. You want to know?

The juice was 50 percent water! They were now selling half water, half juice for the same price. It was brilliant on their part. Not for me. I used to add 50 percent water to that juice anyway because I found it too sweet. No way was I going to pay for water. But not many see it that way – all they see is the line “50 percent less sugar.”

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I tend to eat products my grandma would identify as food. Because you never know what the marketer has introduced to the market since her youth, along with the increased price tag. Challenge everything. Try to go beyond the message and spend wisely. It's good for your finances, as well as your health.