Ready or Not #120: Soap Pieces and Toothpaste

Last week when I wrote about being frugal, I began to think about other things that I do to make sure that I am using everything that I have paid for.

One of the funniest cartoons, that has stuck with me for years, was only three panels long.  The first picture was of a man with his face all screwed up like he was really concentrating on something.  The next panel was of him looking even more intense with his tongue hanging out of his mouth (kind of like a small child really concentrating and trying to figure something out) and in the last panel you saw the whole picture — the cartoon character was trying to get the very last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.  I laughed!  Not because the cartoon had an incredible punch line – but there I was, being depicted in the funny papers.

I don’t really care if you squeeze the toothpaste neatly out from the end or if you just squeeze randomly in the middle (we have both types in my house), as long as you put the cap on and don’t make a mess of the lid.  But when it gets down to the end I do insist that we use all of it.  I have seen those cute little toothpaste tube rollers, but I prefer to use the corner of my cabinet instead.  It doesn’t cost me anything and I think that it does a better job of getting all of the toothpaste to the tip.  Just grip the tube firmly by the end and “scrape” it along the corner of something hard from the end up and you can keep using the toothpaste for another week, or even longer.

If you ever run out of toothpaste (maybe you forgot to stock up in your food storage, tsk, tsk.) you can use a mix of baking soda and salt.  You can use baking soda alone.  My grandpa used the soda and salt mix for years and when he died at 80 something, he had never had a cavity.  I don’t care for the non-peppermint taste, but it works in a pinch.

The next money saving idea that I use is using the soap bar up – completely!  I was talking to a friend the other day about this and the conversation just made me laugh.  I asked her if her mother… and she interrupted and said, “YES!”  I replied, “You don’t even know what I am going to say!”  She said, “Yes I do.  We are talking about bar soap and you are going to ask if we had THE soap jar.”

I laughed because that is exactly what I was thinking.  I can hear some of you out there chuckling while you remember that Mason jar full of disgusting little soap pieces that nobody would ever use.  The thought behind it was that you would fill the jar full of soap ends and pieces and then fill it with water and the soap would melt together and you could scrape it out and use it.  It was a disgusting idea and when my mom wouldn’t even use the contents because it was disgusting, she finally threw it away.

When I started attending college (a.k.a. being poor), I suddenly found that those little slivers of precious soap were very important.  Purely by accident I found a way to reclaim them.  I set a very small piece of the last of the old bar on top of the newly opened bar, when they were both wet, and when I went to use it the next day they had fused together!  My dilemma had been solved.  You might have to experiment a little with your soap as to the optimum time to join the two bars together, but it always gives me a little joy when there is a successful union.

My friend found an easier way to use the soap up by just putting it into her loofah glove.  Brilliant and yet so simple.  You could also put it into those terry cloth bath gloves.  I was also thinking that for small children you could sew a bath rag together in an envelope fashion and stick the small pieces in there for the children to use.  All of these ideas and not one of them is ooey, gooey or disgusting.  AND you are being frugal.

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