My Dad knows how to squeeze out the last of everything to save a few bucks. Below is a guest post with some of his minor household frugalities. I may sound like a broken record here, but together they add up.
1. If you like liquid hand soap, buy a large container and refill small dispensers instead of buying new small dispensers. Saves money and reuses the plastic containers. In the Bay Area, gallon containers of soap can be bought at Costco and Smart & Final.
2. To use the last bit of a bar of soap, when a bar gets thin, get out a new bar. Use both in a shower, then press them together. They will essentially fuse, and you get to completely use the old bar instead of having the last thin piece break up and go down the drain.
3. I use liquid laundry detergent. When a container is almost empty, I start a new one. When the new one has some space, I put a large plastic funnel in its opening and invert the old container over the funnel and leave it overnight, so ALL of it can drain out, into the new container.
4. The new plastic mayo containers, that you store upside down, are actually not for the frugal. First, it’s so much fun to squeeze it that I almost always get too much on my sandwich (hey, the designers aren’t stupid; they want you to use as much as possible.) Then, because of the shape, it’s hard to get the last of the mayo out of the container. It doesn’t all run down to the mouth, and without a curved knife (or a very long finger), you can’t clean out the container. Stick with wide-mouth glass jars; eschew plastic.
5. When a tube of toothpaste gets near the end,I use the handle of a toothbrush to squeeze the tube flat and force the contents to the end with the opening. (I admit to never having cut open a tube. Squeezing the end flat is good enough for me.
6. For a few months, I’ve been taking my sandwich to work in a square plastic container (like Tupperware) instead of a disposable plastic sandwich bag. Money saving to me is trivial, but it does eliminate the cost of manufacturing, packaging, transporting, etc the bag; and essentially all plastics are made from oil (unless from recycled plastic.)
7. Then, there’s an idea I’ve had for years but never tried to implement, and I’ve never seen anything like it in a kitchen store. If you remember chemistry lab, there were things called ring stands: a flat base with a vertical rod, to which rings of various sizes could be clamped. If this were a kitchen tool, bottles like catsup and salad dressing could be inverted in the ring and allowed to completely drain. I store nearly empty salad dressing bottles upside-down in the fridge, but you can never get that last couple of tablespoons of think ranch dressing out.