Friday, January 6, 2012

Use It Up!

Welcome to Frugal Friday at PFCMom's.

My aversion to not leaving home to work is stronger than my aversion to doing oddball things to not spend money. I've been reading about and practicing frugality since I first read about Amy Dacyczyn and her Tightwad Gazette Newsletter in Parade Magazine in about March 1991 (I don't remember the exact date). We'd just had our second child and were attempting to join the ranks of homeowners. Our first yard sale brought in over $400 and I was hooked. We moved to Mount Vernon, Washington in May and I made friends with several other mothers of young children who were avid thrifters, savers and tightwads. We had lots of fun going yard saling, thrifting in the bigger cities south of us and exchanging tips and ideas.

Over the years I've done many things to not spend; some I still do, others were abandoned as children grew and needs changed. Long ago I made a sign for my fridge to remind and encourage me to keep going.

My Pioneer Motto

Today I'll share a few ways that I "use it up".

First in the bathroom: My husband and children were not disciplined (read lazy) about squeezing the last bits out of a tube of toothpaste so when I found these squeezy things, either at a dollar store or Walmart, I bought a couple of them to help them.

Of course you don't need to buy anything, the flat of a comb is what I used for many years. A once a week smoothing up of the tube works wonders for using every little bit.

Another trick is to turn things upside down when it gets to the end. All the liquid will pool at the end with the opening and be readily available for use. I do this with my contact lens solution, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, bath oil, and any other fluid I use. 

This also works in the fridge for condiments, see the katsup and dressing on the right?
I even serve them upside down, sitting in small glasses, saved from cheese spreads.

Something else I do to use it up is to cut open containers, especially hand and body lotion. Below are two I've been saving for a few weeks. The lotion gets down to a level below the suction of the pump and nothing comes up, but there's lots left down there. I refuse to throw it away.

What you'll need is a sharp knife (serrated work best for me), a spatula, and a container with a lid.

Remove the pump, then carefully cut the container in half.

See how much is left? Amazing!

Pour and scoop with the spatula into your container.

This is how much I got out of two bottles; different flavors, but that never bothers me and the resulting mix has always been a nice new one.

Stir it up until well blended.

Put the lid on it and voila! I can go another month without buying more lotion.

Recycle the old containers: (the sign is for husband and children who aren't as committed to recycling as I am.)

Wash the pump and save for another use, which I'll show in another post. (Stay tuned.)

In the fabric and fiber arts area I have two examples. First up is this collection of my worn and well-used hot pads. I crocheted them using the leftover cotton yarn from my knitting dish cloths for gifts. They aren't the prettiest or most decorative, but they're not for sale or gifts so I don't mind. (I make really pretty ones for gifts.)

Lastly these placemats I made from some gorgeous quilted material my mother bought for me. Notice that they each have a different colored binding. That's because I just used what I had in my stash. I didn't spend a penny on these, (Thank you Mom for the fabric!) and used up a lot of leftover bias binding.

What do you have to use up? Before you buy, think hard, look around and see if there's something lurking that could be put to good use or with a little effort you could get the last drop before buying more. Let me know what you do to "Use it up."

1 comment:

  1. I saw your comment on GRS the other day. You and I are both frugal people with non-frugal husbands! I thought I'd add to this post that you can cut open toothpaste containers at the end -- even with squeezing, it's amazing how much is stuck inside.

    Nice blog!