My favorite penny-pinch

By Stew

I am a toiletries miser.

I think we all have our strong points and weak points when it comes to saving and spending money. My weakest point is probably in spending money on food. I spend too much on going out to eat and I tend to spend too much when I go to the grocery store. However, one area where I am a successful cheapskate is in toiletries.

When my wife and I were first married, we shared the same toothpaste tube. Over the years, we have drifted apart . . . and now we each have our own separate tube. I delight in squeezing the tube just so in order to get the very last glob of paste onto my toothbrush while Mrs. Stew just rolls her eyes. One of the reasons that we have separate tubes is because Mrs. Stew does not have the patience or the strength to fight for the last drop. I am pretty sure that I get about two more weeks out of a tube than the average person – and my teeth are only slightly yellow.

When it comes to shampoo, I will use any brand, anytime, anywhere as long as it is cheap. When I travel, I always take the sample sized shampoo bottles with me and there are times when I combine several brands of shampoo into one bottle – they are all the same to me. I also carefully dole out the smallest possible amount that will give my hair a satisfactory cleansing – it is less than you might think.

I get a sample-sized stick of deodorant from every hotel at which I stay. It is not my usual brand, but it doesn’t smell like b.o. and I think I have enough free sticks to go at least a month and a half after I run out of my “purchased” deodorant.

I always try to sweet-talk the eye doctor into giving me a couple extra sample bottles of contact solution. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I also get about three months out of each pair of one-month disposable contacts. I am careful to clean then thoroughly. I do not recommend taking chances with one’s eyesight, but at my check-up last week, my doctor said that other than the fact that I cannot see past my nose, I have extremely healthy eyes . . . maybe I should go for four months . . .

The one area where I am stymied is in trying to figure out how to reduce the amount of toilet paper used in our household. We pretty much purchase that precious commodity by the case, but we still run out at an alarming rate. I have no good solution to this problem. However, I have thought about suggesting that members of the Stew household save activities requiring toilet paper for when we are at other people’s houses, church, the store or work. Too extreme?

In spite of all this, I think that I practice relatively decent hygiene – at least no one has complained about poor cleanliness on my part recently. I am pretty certain that all of this hard work saves me at least ten bucks a year. What is your favorite penny pinch?

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

3 Responses (including trackbacks) to “My favorite penny-pinch”

  1. Derrik Hubbard, CFP Says:

    Thanks for the stories, Stew. Now I don’t feel so weird.

    I used to cut across the bottom and then the side of the toothpaste container and scrape my toothbrush along the inside of the container for an additional couple of days of toothpaste.

  2. Stew Says:

    Ha! That’s awesome! My wife is going to be so glad that you posted that …

  3. Cullen Webb Says:


    I heard about a guy who never ordered a drink other than water when you went out with friends. He instead asked for everyone’s lemons and squeezed them into his glass for lemonade.