(Style on a Dime) Waste not, want not: Squeeze out the savings

tooth-main_fullI want to know if your mama is anything like my mama.  See my sixty-something-year-old mama (who would ’whup me if I gave her actual age), doesn’t believe in being wasteful.  This means when she buys toothpaste, she is able to squeeze out every last drop from the tube.  Her bathroom is always filled with upside-down lotion and shampoo bottles lining the sink.

I recall needing facial moisturizer and asking mama if she had some.  “Oh sure,” she called to me.  “Just look in the Clinique bottle on the left.  The only problem was that the bottle she directed me to was empty.    “No it’s not,” she persisted, as she came into the bathroom and took the jar off the shelf.   I couldn’t believe it, but after mama got finished with that jar, I had moisturizer to spare. 

Mama has always been this way.  As a kid, I found it irritating to have empty-looking bottles throughout the house just waiting to be scraped, rubbed and rinsed.  Well it turns out that all of the extra scraping and squeezing has saved mama big money.  Do you want to get the most out of the products you buy, here are a few suggestions that Mama Bobbie would give you.

If you want to use all the toothpaste that comes in the tube, simply pick up a toothpaste squeezer.  The Dollar Tree sells them for only a buck!  Or you could just cut the tube in half and dig it out. (Always keep scissors handy to use on any soft plastic container.)

Soap and detergent containers can be emptied fully by adding a bit of water and/or poking a small hole in the container’s bottom corner.  Allow the remaining soap to drain into a bowl.

Peanut butter and mayo can be easily retrieved using rubber spatulas of various sizes. 

If you love honey, and want to get the last of it, simply place the jar into hot water.  It will melt and glide out easily.

Rather than abandon the last little bit of olive oil, make a healthy salad dressing right in the bottle by adding ingredients like vinegar and herbs.  Give it a shake to mix it up, and then pour right onto your salad.

Is your lipstick nearly gone?  Use chopsticks to scoop out the remaining amount.

While emptying peanut butter jars won’t necessarily make you a millionaire, the use-it-all-up strategy will save you money over time.  Think about it; you would never leave 10-20% of your paycheck at work because it fell behind your desk.  When you throw away your food and other household products when they are only 80-90% empty, it amounts to the same thing.  Ouch!  

Be like the millionaire-next-door (you know, those seemingly regular people who live just like us, but are loaded!)-she buys used cars, picks up pennies off the sidewalk, and uses every drop of her toothpaste.  My prayer for you is that you will be inspired with ideas of your own ideas on how to use-it-all-up.    Consider applying this same principle as it relates to your natural talents and abilities.  You were placed on the earth by God to make a significant contribution to those around you.  Don’t allow fear (or laziness) prevent you from using all of your talents and abilities to their fullest.  Pour out every ounce of potential that is inside of you and you will surely experience the joy and satisfaction of having emptied yourself for a greater good.  Enjoy!   

Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs.  A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

October 23, 2009
The Journal For Community News, Business and The Arts serving the African American community in Minneapolis-St.Paul. Available on news stands and online at

1815 Bryant Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411
(612) 588-1313


Download our Media Kit (PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Newspaper Deadlines
-Classified: Ad inquiries due one week prior to run date Wednesday
-Display: Space reservation due one week prior to run date and material due Wednesday the week prior to run date.
-Insight News print edition is published weekly on Mondays

For more information call: 612.588.1313