Use It Up And Make It Last Longer

Two key elements to being truly frugal are:

Make it last longer & Use it all up

Use your things sparingly. See how you can stretch them to make them last even longer.

Dilute shampoo and conditioner with water. It’ll still work just as good and last twice as long! (Don’t try this on the cheapest brands though, it doesn’t work well on them.)

Use less than the recommended amount of detergent in the dishwasher and washing machine.

Only use a pea size amount of toothpaste instead of a whole glob!

Lightly dab on moisturizer instead of saturating your face with it.

And use it all up, completely.

For example: toothpaste is pretty expensive (in my frugal mind). So when we get low on toothpaste, and the tube has been squeezed as flat as it possibly can be squeezed, I don’t stop there. Realizing that there is probably a little more paste still inside, I cut the tube down the side and… BEHOLD! There’s always a bunch of toothpaste still sticking around inside. So, I just scrape some off onto the toothbrush, and put the cut tube into a Ziploc baggie to keep it fresh. It usually lasts for another week and a half!

What else can you squeeze the last drop out of?

Swish water around in containers like shampoo/conditioner, liquid laundry detergent, dish detergent and such. Shake up your empty chocolate syrup container with a little milk, to get the very last bit of chocolate out before you toss the bottle. Cut open tubes of products, and be amazed at how much more stuff is hiding inside!

So, before you throw something away, see if there might be at least one more usage out of it. The savings really add up!

How do you make things last longer around your home? I’m betting some of you are doing something I haven’t thought of yet!

13 thoughts on “Use It Up And Make It Last Longer”

  1. If you use ANY type of bar soap, when you bring home a pack, open one end to the air. The soap will harden and won’t dissolve as easily as a ‘fresh’ soft bar of soap. You won’t believe how much longer they last once hardened off. Also, my mother in law kept the net bag she bought onions in, and when her soap became little chips, she would put them in that bag, and when she had enough that was about the size of a bar, she would tie it off, and hang it in the shower. Soap and scrubby in one.

  2. I do that stretch out thing with mustard. When it gets where I can’t get everything else out, I add water and then when I cook a roast, squeeze some of the watered down mustard into my crockpot. It usually lasts several times of cooking roasts before I actually have to replace it.

    Love your site. I’ve been going through the archives.:)

  3. Hi Kendra,
    Both my grandmother and my mom learned during the Depression just what “frugal” truly meant. (Gotta admit I am glad we don’t use an outhouse and the Sears catalog!…although you never know in this day & age…)
    I grew up in the city but learned how to: make soap, preserves, use every bit of everything, before calling it quits and disposing of a container that had been used well past its prime.
    Now we were not hoarders of plastic/glass, etc. but we found the old cottage cheese containers worked great in the fridge for storing food (prehistoric Tupperware, who’d of thunk it!)
    Our generation is so S-P-O-I-L-E-D. My younger mom friends think anything from a farm is ‘gross’ unless it comes packed/wrapped/washed like they see it in the stores.
    Something new to me: nastursiums like old soil. So I stretch expensive potting soil with worked up yard soil. May not be best for some plants but if they are meant to be here, they will adjust.
    That is something my grandmother taught me. “So it ain’t Home Sweet Home. Adjust!” Boy, that would be hard for a lot of my friends!
    Now, I am not saying use that tea bag until it falls apart. But it’s good for at least twice. As are many things.
    The ‘in’ with my friends right now is hit a dollar-type store and buy all matching containers for pantry/storage. I opted to keep old containers and just cover them with pretty wrapping papers, using my o-l-d labelmaker for them. (When they see and compliment, just say, “Thank you!”)
    If people could only see things from an eternal perspective (i.e. we leave this ol’ world with what we came in with; in the light of eternity it doesn’t really matter).
    Our money is for things of God and to, hopefully, leave some for our kiddo. All the rest – decor, fluff – decays and ends up somewhere else with someone else.
    Yes, I l-o-v-e pretty things, nice things, but they are not where my heart is. So if I can save money by using less expensive off brands and using something until gone/it falls apart/looks bad then I am all for it! Then can I find a different use for it?
    Here our family is still using dial-up (people please close your gaping mouths), cheap cell phones & plans, a landline (all gasp here), same ol’ color TV I bought 15 years ago, etc., etc.
    Our home is beautifully decorated (compliments galore) with things either inherited, given to us used, or things purchased via re-sale avenues (garage sales, flea markets, mission stores, etc).
    I just love me some re-purposing!;)
    Did I mention we also homeschool…

  4. I try to buy only multi-purpose products – especially cleaning products (relying on baking soda, vinegar, basic soap etc.). They’re usually cheaper to buy initially, and since you use them in so many ways, I can buy in bulk.

    Recently I’ve been experimenting with making my own bath/body products out of ingredients like honey and oils, to try to cut expenses there too! (Plus, they smell yummy and I love knowing exactly what’s in them!)

  5. You should check out, commonsensewithmoney and and you’ll never have a problem getting free toothpaste. I was googling a year and a half ago and came across hotcouponworld and it has greatly reduced our grocery bill by teaching me to how to use coupons the right way. I used to pay between a $100-150 a week for my family of five and two dogs, but now that I coupon my budget for groceries is $250 a month and I hardly ever get close to spending that amount. It does take some time cutting out the coupons but alot of blogs will save you time by posting the deals. I know this sounds to good to be true, but it really isn’t. Couponing has helped my family get out of debt and closer towards our goal of independance. It may not be your thing, but thought I would mention it.

    • Sarah,

      Actually, I am quite the avid couponer! I really haven’t had to buy toothpaste in over a year, have even donated about 8 tubes, and still have several in my cabinets! But… I still use them sparingly. Before couponing we used to spend about $100/wk on groceries (not including toiletries). Now, we are spending about $30-$40/wk (for food and toiletries!). Thank you for the links though. For the most part I use,,, and Good job saving your family so much money!!

  6. We use castile soap and shampoo bars which are generally softer than other soaps. I hate how they are easily affected by the shower and tend to disintegrate quickly so I put them in a soap box or jar. They last a lot longer when they are protected from the spray. That was the first thing I thought of…


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