Nov. 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM ET
Happy Frugal Friday! How far will you go to get that last smidge of toothpaste hiding in the tube? Or makeup lying tantalizingly out of reach of the applicator wand? If you only use the containers the way the manufacturers designed them, you could be throwing away a few days worth of product.
For instance, Consumer Reports found that 17-25% of a container's lotion is still inside a pump bottle after the pump action no longer works. With a little bit of craftiness, and a good pair of scissors, you can extend the life of your health and beauty supplies, and put off that run to the store by a few days.
At the bottom of a stick of deodorant is a little curved well. When you turn the screw at the bottom, it pushes up the stick of deodorant. The bit of plastic form at the bottom uses some of the deodorant itself to hold up the rest of the stick. Eventually you get to a point where there's some gel left below the applicator lip. What you can do is place this register in the microwave for a few seconds, liquefy the gel, then pour it into a new stick of deodorant that you've screwed down as far as it will go. The gel will harden and you've just buffed up your deodorant supply by a couple of days.
Plastic bottles and squeeze tubes
After the bottle or squeeze tube is "done," after you've squeezed, ironed, and banged it as much as you can, carefully use scissors to cut the bottle or tube across the middle and you'll find a rich vein of product stashed inside. Score. Use, then store the remainder quickly so it doesn't dry out. There's several tactics, like tapping it out into a cleaned jar with a lid, sealing it in plastic wrap, or just drop it in a Ziplock bag. If there's still some clinging into the sides after you scrape it out, zap the container with a hair dryer for 30 seconds so it warms up and flows out more easily.
After the tube seems to stop dispensing, there's still a few uses left, it's just hiding. Stand the lip gloss vertically in a coffee cup of hot water for 30 minutes. The gloss will drip down and give you some extra applications.
Scoop up the extra bits hiding in the crevices of your eye cream pots with a cotton swab.
After the pump action is no longer bringing up lotion or cream, it's time to ditch that top. Swap out the pump with a regular lid or flip-top saved from another empty bottle (Oh yeah, by the way, you're going to start saving tops from other bottles now.) Turn the bottle upside down to let the material flow down. You can also add a tiny bit of water or apply heat to eke out those last drops.
Do you have any great ideas for Frugal Friday? Send us your tips! Or leave a comment below.