At our house we try to make the most of what we have. One the best ways to stretch your budget is to use what you have and to use it all. You will be amazed at how much is still left in a bottle or tube long after you were ready to toss it.
· Bottles of soap, shower gel and shampoo – store it upside down to get it all; use a little water to rinse out the last remnants.
· Toothpaste – start at the end and use a rolling pin or something similar to squeeze all the paste toward the top. Some people even cut the tube open with scissors to make sure they don’t miss anything.
· Soap slivers – dampen the sliver and the new bar of soap with water to “laminate” them together. They will fuse together next time you shower.
· Facial cleanser in a pump dispenser – use a little water and shake it well to loosen what is coated along the inside of the bottle and you will have up to two more weeks of cleanser. If your cleanser is super thick, like mine is, you can do this a couple of times. I get a whole extra month of use this way.
· Chapstick and lip balm – once you hit the edge of the tube scoop out the rest with your fingertip or a flat toothpick.
· Dish soap – when you get down to the last of it thoroughly rinse out the bottle and the residue that has accumulated on the cap and you’ll have enough for one more sink of dishes. You can do the same thing with laundry detergent and fabric softener.
· Liquid hand soap refill – I find I can dilute hand soap up to 50/50 with water and it lathers up and cleans our hands just fine.
· We have a rule with cereal and crackers that you can’t open a new one until the open one is all gone. This way we don’t end up with a bunch of open boxes that go stale before they get used up.
· Mayonnaise or peanut butter – get out the rubber spatula and you can usually scrape enough off the sides to make another sandwich or two.
· Mustard, ketchup and salad dressing bottles – store upside down in the refrigerator to squeeze out every last drop.
· Milk just turned – make pancakes, biscuits or bake a cake. A lot of old cookbooks call for sour milk in recipes because in the good old days you didn’t waste it. It imparts the about same flavor as buttermilk I imagine.
· Flat beer (that hardly happens) – make fish and chips or beer bread.
· Leftovers – usually leftovers become a second meal and/or lunches at our house, but not always. If it looks like you aren’t going to get a chance to use something up (or just can’t stomach the idea of eating that one more time) consider freezing your leftovers for a future meal. I like to freeze smaller amounts in individual containers for a quick grab and go lunch when I am rushed in the morning.
· Gift wrap – before you head out to buy more check what you already have and pledge not to purchase anything else until you use up what you’ve got. Get creative with ways to make it work. You may find this year you don’t need anything new at all.
It is not uncommon in this house to see a few upside down bottles here and there. Not using things up makes me think of literally throwing handfuls of change into the trash. Something I’m just not willing to do.
If you haven’t already done so take a look around your house, in your cupboards and pantry, inside the refrigerator. Find all the items that have just a little left in them and decide to use it up.
I did this a few months back and we have been on a mission to use up a lot of forgotten items we found in our bathroom. In the process you will save some money and as and an added bonus clear a lot of clutter.
A lot of this is just common sense ideas we’ve probably all heard before. Sometimes a refresher isn’t a bad idea. If you have any great tips or ideas, please share. We can always use a good tip for saving money.