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  • Persistent frugality

    So what got me thinking about persistence and frugality was a tube of moisturizer. I use a moisturizer recommended by my dermatologist called DML Forte. (Yes, that’s really what it’s called.) At $12.99 for four ounces at the medical building pharmacy, it’s more expensive than most over the counter moisturizers, but it’s worth every penny because it’s the only thing that keeps my rosacea in check.

    It comes in a rather hard, not very pliable tube, which makes it extremely difficult to push the dregs out (the way you can with toothpaste, for example). Last night, I was hitting the open tube into my palm to use gravity to force the last of the moisturizer out. After a couple of small dollops flew out, I was ready to give up, throw the tube out, and open up a new one. But then I thought about the cost per ounce and kept pounding.

    But I wondered:

    How hard do most people work to get the last of something out of a container?

    How many people actually think about the pennies they’re saving as they scrape the bottom of a jar or squish a tube?

    And is the manufacturer counting on people not being able to get the last half-ounce of moisturizer out, thereby maximizing their profits?

    I have to admit that I’ll work hard to get the very last of something that’s not perishable, but when it comes to food, I rarely scrape a jar until it’s totally empty – I can’t help but feel that the residue just isn’t fresh!

    What about you?


    1. I have the same problem with Lubriderm’s pump bottles of lotion. When I can no longer get anything out using the pump, I will first dilute the lotion with some water to make it easier for the pump to get to it, then I will cut up the bottle and scrape out the fairly large amount of lotion left in the bottle. That’s the annoying thing about using a pump – the stuff on the sides of the bottle is hard to get to any other way!

    2. I think those same things as I get to the bottom of a tube or whatever container. That comes from years of working 2-3 jobs to put myself through college, having to scrimp and save, and then once I had a good career and decent money, it didn’t seem like a habit to ignore.

      My husband is exactly who the manufacturers are counting on–once any effort is required, he just tosses it. Arrrrgh. 🙂

      My favorite trick is to add a tiny bit of water and swish the bottle around to get the last bits out. I do this with laundry detergent, shampoo, etc.–obviously anything that will be diluted by water anyway.

    3. Father Sez says:

      I love your frankness.

      I have tried using rolling pins to squeeze the last of toothpaste out….shhhh pls don’t tell anyone.


    4. Joy of Frugal Living says:

      Yes! I do this too. And I’m with you on food jars that have been open for a while.

      I have to admit though, with the quantities of toiletries I have from doing the drugstore game, I am starting to let up on those items. Why struggle when I have four more waiting for me in the basement, which were free or better?


    5. I have cut tubes open and scraped the remains out into a spare container to get the most of some of my costly beauty products. No shame in that.

    6. Chief Family Officer says:

      Y’all are brilliant! I’m cutting the tube open 🙂

    7. Suzanne Morris says:

      I use one of these vintage tube keys to get the last bit out of my Toms of Maine toothpaste. I found it works well for all sorts of tubes.


    8. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Suzanne – I’ve never seen one of those in person but it does look very handy! Thanks for the idea – I’ll definitely keep an eye out for one … or two or three 🙂

    9. Twinsmom says:

      A very slender hair clip or barrette might work well too, or, depending on how thick the tube is, a clothespin (the kind without the spring).

    10. Until Debt Do US Part says:

      Persistent frugality is something that I struggle with. Where do you draw the line?

      As for your specific problem I find that if you cut the bottom off the tube and work it out from there!

    11. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Until debt – I don’t know where to draw the line. I think this is one of those times when we all have a little sensor inside that goes of when we get too close to the line.

      And thanks for the cutting tip – it never would have occurred to me on my own, but it really works great!