Entry 455: Save Money With Toilet Paper, Vinegar and Walnuts

There are lots of places on the Internet where you can learn how to use common household items in ways they weren’t intended to be used. Some of these tips are for the obsessively thrifty, others are for folks with lots of time on their hands, and still others can come in very handy if you’re a complete lunatic.

A surprising number of these tips include the use of vinegar.

For instance, if you have a dirty vase, you can toss in a handful of uncooked rice, pour in some vinegar, cover and shake. Not only will your vase be clean, but you’ll have a nice salad dressing.

Not having salad? Then pour the vinegar into your washing machine with some old, smelly towels and run the machine on the warmest setting. When that’s done, throw in half a cup of baking soda and run it again. Your old stinky towels will smell as fresh as the day you bought them…if you purchased them along with a bottle of vinegar that broke on the way home.

Incidentally, for the tip I just described, feel free to use the box of baking soda that’s been sitting in your refrigerator for a couple of years. You won’t need it there anymore because now you can get rid of the stubborn odors emanating from your three-week-old Chinese leftovers simply by soaking a few cotton balls in vanilla extract and leaving them in your fridge overnight. Just be sure to tell the kids that, if they’re making s’mores, the marshmallows are in the pantry.

So far I’ve told you how to save money by keeping your towels longer, cleaning your dirty vases, and not replacing your refrigerator because it smells bad. But what about all that money you spend on wood polish?

Instead, just buy a bag of walnuts and…

Simply take a few nuts out of their shells and run them firmly walnutsacross small scratches. Let it sit for five minutes to let the natural oils from the nuts absorb into the wood. Then polish it off with a soft cloth to reveal like-new finish.

There’s only one problem with this particular money-saving tip: a pound bag of walnuts at nuts.com is $4.99. An 8-ounce bottle of Old English Scratch Cover Polish is $8.45. So polishing your wood with walnuts is only a good idea if…

  • You’re short on cash at the very moment you have a wood polishing emergency, orwalnuts-cracking[1]
  • You firmly believe you will never again have to polish some wood, or
  • You were going to make a black raspberry walnut torte anyway, or
  • You are Muhammed Rashid of Pakistan, who holds the world record for cracking open walnuts by smashing them against his head.

And speaking about brain damage, there is one more tip I have to share with you today. It’s a way to save a ton of money on all those tissues you’ve been blowing your nose with.

Just use toilet paper instead.

According to DailyFinance.com

On average, a box of tissues has 65 sheets and breaks down to about 2 cents per sheet. However, a roll of toilet paper has nearly four times as many sheets as a box of tissues and costs half as much.

So, using their math, the typical box of tissues costs $1.30 and lets you sneeze 65 times, whereas the average roll of toilet paper costs 65¢ and lets you blow 260 snot balls, at which point you’ll have saved $4.55 and also have an empty toilet paper core which I’m sure you can put to some money-saving household use (placing them on your festive holiday table instead of expensive silver napkin rings, for instance).

But that assumes you’re only going to use one toilet paper sheet per sneeze, which is probably not the case, unless you enjoy seeing your sneeze particles drifting through the air after blowing a whole in the paper. So you’ll wad up a couple, or three, or four squares for each use, which will severely cut into your savings.

And then there’s the aesthetic factor: having that roll of toilet paper on your desk or coffee table. Not to worry; DailyFinance.com has you covered:

First, take a roll of toilet paper and cut down the length of the cardboard center with your scissors. Remove the tube. Take an empty square tissue box and cut three sides along the bottom. Pull the inner sheet through the top and tape the bottom shut. You’ll have a great looking tissue box in minutes, and can count your savings with each and every pull. And that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Well, first, what will happen to your savings when a guest yanks what she thinks is a tissue and ends up with a stream of paper like the handkerchiefs a magician might pull from his mouth, except less colorful?  Will she respect your financial situation enough to stuff all the toilet paper back into your homemade tissue box?

More important, exactly how desperate do you have to be to go through all that to save a few cents? Do people really do this stuff? I’m thankful that I’ve never had to live anywhere near the poverty line, but, on the other hand, if I was so poor that I had to use toilet paper instead of tissues, I would think that crafting decorator containers for the Charmin’ would be the least of my problems.

Here’s what I think: somewhere between the most impoverished folks in the country and the richest, there is a whole class of Americans who do nothing but spend their days sticking tennis balls in old socks and throwing them in the dryer to cut the amount of time it takes to dry a load of clothes. They’re not the 1 percenters, and they’re not the 99 percenters. They’re the nonsensers.

See you soon.

P.S. All tips mentioned in this post are 100% absolutely real.

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