Balancing Your Budget with… Toothpaste?

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Cleaning Tips that Save Money

If you’ve set up a budget, you know how important it is to keep your spending on track. Even a few dollars here and there can add up. The creative use of ordinary items you already have in your home can save you money.

Consider, for example, plain white toothpaste. It’s cheap, especially if purchased in a clearance bin or dollar store. In addition to keeping your pearly whites shining and healthy, the humble tube of toothpaste can do the following for you at a fraction of the cost of buying a cartload of specialized products:

Repair small holes in your walls. This works best with drywall, but  it can also be used with plaster. Toothpaste is great for filling in nail holes before you repaint. Just fill the hole, smooth the surface so it’s even with the wall, and let the toothpaste dry.

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Restore a badly scratched CD or DVD. While some damage is beyond hope, a little toothpaste rubbed into the scratched surface can sometimes smooth the disc so you can hear your music or view your movie once again. Be gentle, rinse well under running water, and dry carefully with a soft cloth. (Note: an even gentler restoration, which you should try first, is an all-purpose household surface cleaner sprayed on the scratched surface and then carefully dried with that soft cloth. If this doesn’t work, proceed as above.)

Perk up your bathroom grout. Toothpaste and an old toothbrush make an effective grout cleaner. If your grout is mildewed, use a bleach solution first to kill the active mold growth, then scrub the grout clean.

Treat yourself to a manicure. Apply toothpaste to your nails with a nail brush or an old toothbrush. Gently scrub and rinse. Your super-clean nails will shine!

Remove stains on washable clothing. Toothpaste blasts lipstick and other makeup stains as well as some inks. Always test an inconspicuous area first. Moisten the stained area with water, apply a dollop of toothpaste, and scrub with… yes, that’s right… an old toothbrush.

Garlic hands? Reach for the toothpaste tube. If you’ve been chopping garlic or onions or handling other things that leave a lingering odor, massage a dollop of toothpaste into your hands and then rinse. Your fingers will smell fresh and clean again.

Rejuvenate your athletic shoes. Use toothpaste to scrub scuffs and stains clean, especially on rubber, vinyl and leather.  This works on all colors, but it will be especially impressive on white shoes.

Alternate uses of toothpaste will not bring you financial security all by themselves. The goal is to be financially responsible in saving and spending, while enjoying a quality of life that’s right for you. You can reach that goal through large measures and small.

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