I haven’t really talked about this, but this is something that has saved me a significant amount of money over the years. Use every last drop of anything!
I use my silicon spatulas to scrape out my mayonnaise jars and my coconut oils. I only buy toothpaste every one or two years because not only do I use about 1/4 of what they advertise (you don’t actually need a pretty tv curl – most of that will go down the drain or get stuck in your toothbrush bristles), but I have a (50 cent) plastic, bottle-squeezer that squeezes every bit of toothpaste out.
I actually did this this morning, which is what made me think of it. I buy some expensive lotion (it really helps my sensitive skin) to use on my hands after I wash dishes. When the bottle is “empty,” I don’t throw it away; I cut it open to find about 1/5 of the product at the bottom where the plunger didn’t reach. I transfer this to my next bottle of lotion and continue to use it. If I’m getting an extra 1/5 of a bottle of lotion (for basically free because it’s “empty,” and a lot of people just throw it away), that means that every 6th bottle I buy is free. That’s a big deal, because it’s around $30 per bottle.
I also extend this to other aspects of my life. I have a huge box of trash bags. At one point, I nearly threw them out to get some eco-friendly trash bags. I’m so glad I didn’t! They’re going in the landfill one way or another, so I may as well use them since I already bought them. I also do this with all my cleaning products. When something is getting low or “empty,” I’ll put the last bits into the next container. And it’s not gross – what I transfer is on top, so it gets used first.
The savings from using every bit of anything (whether it be food or a household product) may not seem worth the time. If you’re super-busy and can afford it, then by all means, chunk your “empty” products. But if you’re on a serious budget, doing this means you’ll probably buy one or two fewer of each product per year. If you add up the price of everything you use in your house per year, that’s a lot. I’m not going to go through everything in my house, but if I add up just a few things off the top of my head (bath soap – $3, toothpaste – $2, lotion – $30, dish soap – $4, laundry detergent – $10, oil – $20, shampoo $5) that’s already $74! That’s money for Christmas! (or a different holiday)
The bottom line: save money – use things up.