Poor Skill: How to Get Every Last Bit Out of a Tube or Container

Did you know that an “empty” tube of toothpaste can be stretched to last one week longer if necessary? When you are poor, every last little bit of something has value. To those with money, the tiny amount of lip gloss in the bottom of the tube is only worth a few useless cents, but when you are poor, you know that every single penny counts! Here are some great ways to save money by making what you buy last as long as possible.

Toothpaste – Get several more uses from your toothpaste by pulling the tube down across the edge of the bathroom counter to scrape all of the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube to the top. Once you can no longer squeeze any more toothpaste from the tube, use a pair of scissors to cut the tube open about an inch or two from the top. Recycle the bottom portion of the tube. Open the top part and use your toothbrush to scrape the toothpaste out of the inside of the tube.

Lip Gloss – When your lip balm has run down to the bottom of the tube, don’t throw it away. There is usually about half a centimeter more of lip gloss left in the bottom of the tube. To get it, use the top of your pinkie nail to scrape a little bit off and rub it off onto your lips. Use your finger to apply it evenly. You can also use a cosmetic brush to apply the lip balm.

Lipstick – When your lipstick has run down to the bottom of the tube, use a small cosmetic brush to dig it out and apply it to your lips. There is usually a few weeks worth of lipstick left in the bottom piece of the tube.

Honey – If your honey has crystalized, open the bottle and set it briefly into a pot of boiling or hot water. The honey will soften and you can get the last bit out more easily. If you drink hot tea, you can get the last bit of honey out of the bottle by pouring your tea into the bottle, swishing it around, then pouring it back into a cup.

Bread – Do you hate eating the heels from a loaf of bread? Save them in the freezer. Once you have enough, you can use them to make a bread pudding. I use them to make what I call “poor man’s cobbler.” You can use berries, peaches, or apples for your cobbler. For the sake of this recipe, I will use apples.

Peel as many apples as you need to fill a casserole dish. Slice the apples into �¼ inch thick slices and lay them down in a single layer on the bottom of a well-buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle liberally with a sugar/cinnamon mix. Add another layer of apple slices, then sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar. Once you have added all of your apples, lay a few thinly sliced pieces of butter on top of the apples. Crumble your bread ends and shake them in a bag with more cinnamon and sugar and pour the crumbles over the top of the apples just so that the apples are barely visible. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shampoo and Conditioner – To get the last bit of shampoo or conditioner out of a bottle, pour a little water into the bottle and shake it a few times. Pour the bottle out onto your head and work the contents into your hair.

Kitchen Ingredients – Whether it’s rice, peas, carrots, or bits of noodle, I often find that I have little bits of ingredients left over after making a meal. Store these last ingredient bits in the freezer and use them to make Stone Soup. Stone soup is simply a large pot of water with all kinds of random ingredients added. Some fantastic things to add to stone soup include: the last bit from a cube of cheese, any kind of vegetable, rice, beans or lentils, potato skins, leftover chicken broth, pan broth from a baked turkey, chicken bones, noodles, meat pieces, and chicken skin. Be sure to remove any skin pieces or bones before serving.

Butter – This is one of my great-grandmother’s tips. She lived through the Great Depression. Once all of a stick of butter is used up, you can save the waxed paper wrapper with butter bits on it and use it to grease the inside of a pan for baking.

Dish Soap – Just like with the shampoo, I put some water into the dish soap container and shake it a little to get all of the dish soap out. This has an added benefit since you must rinse out plastic bottles before recycling them. You can kill two birds with one stone.

Cereal and Oatmeal – If you have a little oatmeal left in the bottom of the can, but not enough to make into cooked oatmeal or if you have a bag of leftover cereal crumbs, you can recycle them into a yummy breakfast by adding them to a bowl of yogurt. Yum!

Crackers and Chips – If you have crumbs left from a package of crackers or tortilla chips, save them in the refrigerator and crumble them later over a bowl of soup or chili. I like to use my tortilla chip crumbs to make tortilla soup.

Lotion – Once you have left the bottle upside down for a day and shaken out all of the lotion from the bottle, use a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut the bottle in half. Use your finger or hand to sweep out the last bits of lotion left on the inside sides of the bottle.

Liquid Products – When you still have some liquid product such as cleaner or hairspray left over in the bottom of a spray bottle, but the tube in the bottle isn’t long enough to reach it, just pour the rest into the new bottle of liquid.

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