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Stretching Cash Flow…


In order to survive unemployment for the next 6 – 9 months, we have to really limit our spending. We absolutely can’t spend a dime more than our weekly allotment.

For the most part, this isn’t a problem. If we run out of food, we invite ourselves over to dinner at our parents…er.. um… I mean, we visit our parents because we love them and the free food is just an added benefit.

This week presented a new problem…

We ran out of toothpaste and mouthwash.

Determined to stay on our budget, I robbed my luggage of two travel size tubes of toothpaste. We’re running low but we have enough to last until Friday when our new budget begins.

I dug through our closets but failed to find any mouthwash – travel size or otherwise. I went into the kitchen to see if I could find anything there. Soap? Comet? Dishwashing liquid? And then I stumbled upon a bottle of vodka.

“Sweetie?” I called to my husband in the living room “Do you think I could use vodka as a mouthwash? They’re both essentially alcohol right? Either way, the results will be positive. It will work or it won’t and I won’t care that we don’t have mouthwash anymore.”

My husband laughed as if I were making a joke.

I wasn’t.

I put the vodka back in the cabinet and figured that regular brushing and flossing will have to do until tomorrow.

But this morning, I searched my hypothesis and…


So if you ever run out of mouthwash, you can make your own – and yes, you use vodka.

And just in case my mother reads this, let me clarify – you don’t actually have to drink the vodka.


  • Reply Jen |

    You could also use baking soda for brushing your teeth. Just make a paste. I suppose you could also rinse your mouth with it, too; just addmore water. But it might not be as much fun as using vodka 😉

  • Reply Brianne |

    I recently read about people rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide, you might have some in your cabinet.

    We never run out of toothpaste because I always managed to buy it for cheap or free at Vons or CVS and stock up. It tends to be easier to get Colgate for cheap than Crest, which sucks because my boyfriend’s picky about only wanting to use Crest.

  • Reply vm |

    Better yet, just don’t use mouthwash. Flossing, brushing teeth, and brushing tongue should cover you.

  • Reply Kevin B |

    I saw that Mythbusters, great show by the way. Not so sure I would want to try Hydrogen Peroxide though. At least the worst that would happen with the vodka is you could get a little tipsy.

  • Reply Joe Dirt |

    Mouthwash is a scam invented by big business. Don’t buy it. Cavemen didn’t use it, and they turned out just fine.

  • Reply Dawn/FFL |

    I have also used hydro peroxide in a pinch but when I didn’t have toothpaste and floss. I don’t see the value of mouth wash really.

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    I know you may not want to, but consider approaching a local food pantry? They often have personal care products.

    Maybe companies have free samples they will mail in exchange for taking surveys or signing up for a contest? I feel like they must be a website somewhere for getting free stuff from companies!!!

  • Reply jaye |

    I make my own vanilla extract with vodka–and save a lot of money. Did you do the math? Can you save money making mouthwash? Perhaps if you use the frat party variety. What’s that called again? Popov?

  • Reply JMS |

    Mouthwash is a non-issential. Sorry Beks, it goes for now. While it may be marketed as a health necessity, it falls in the same category as lots of other personal care items that out of habit we now consider basics. In my northern climate if I chose to moisurize everytime my skin looked dry this winter, or as often as the commercials suggest I should, I’d go though a gallon of lotion every winter. Instead I lather up my dry hands every evening before bed and use a lip balm on days when I’m outside a lot. Mostly it’s to prevent letting my skin get so dry it cracks. To be fair I’m not a spa fan. The idea of spending that amount of money and time having people fuss over my feet or rub my back just isn’t my thing. I do the basics and haven’t fallen apart so far. Good suggestions from other though on getting free samples from manufacturers. My dentist’s office usually hands out a brush at every visit and often also have small travel size floss packages. Even if you won’t be springing for a checkup and cleaning for a while, see if they will supply you with some samples to maintain your mouth health in the interim.

    If your parents or inlaws plan to buy you gifts even if you aren’t exchanging, let it be known you’d like practical gifts. A basket of personal care items would be far more appreciated this year than something flashy.

  • Reply Mary |

    Seriously, you ran out of toothpaste? I have a stockpile of at least 10 tubes here. And I have the good stuff – Colgate Advance, Rembrant, etc.

    Nearly every week, Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid offer products “free after rebate” or similar.

    Walgreens is the easiest – you buy the product, sometimes use a coupon, and often times MAKE MONEY for buying it. Rite Aid is the hardest – you usually have to submit a rebate form online and then wait for a check. CVS is in the middle – you have to have a CVS loyalty card and the rewards (Extra Care Bucks) print on your receipt, good towards your next purchase of anything.

    Here are 3 AWESOME websites to check out if you have any of these 3 stores near you:


    are you seeing a pattern? I thought so! And finally…


    Black Friday was awesome – I used my CVS card and I stole my sister’s off her keychain and I got 4 free deodorants, free earbuds, toothpaste, contact solution, etc.

    This week, thru Saturday – go buy a Complete brand contact solution at Walgreens and get an $8 “Register Reward” that you can use on your next purchase (you just can’t use it to buy another Complete). The trick is spend the money ONCE and keep using those rewards towards the next freebie deal. Throw in a couple manufacturer’s coupons and you can actually make money off some deals.

    I don’t want to hear any excuses, either. You can get coupons off websites, from relatives that get the Sunday paper, or you can go dig in a recycle bin at a local church or school (We have “paper gators” here for recycling – I just throw in my papers and snag whatever coupon inserts I see at the same time, and no one has ever cared or said anything to me.)

    Using these websites it takes NO THOUGHT. You stop at the store on your way somewhere, so you don’t go out of your way to shop. And FREE is FREE.

    I’d be happy to send you a few tubes of free toothpaste if you need it (just email me at the address on this posting, Beks) I’m happy to help out anyone who needs it-most of my “extras” go to the food pantry at my church. And most of my family comes “shopping” at my linen closet when they run out of something! I haven’t “paid” real money for toothpaste, mouthwash, toilet paper, etc. in at least a year.

    BTW, I’m also unemployed right now. 🙁

  • Reply Jeremiah Redden |

    I dont know if you have a CVS near by, but if you do the CVS Extra Care Buck program…you will get lots of toiletries for FREE or extremly cheap. You shouldn’t have to pay for toothpaste again. Between CVS and Walgreens…they pretty much give away toothpaste! I have about 20 tubes under our bed as we speak…all for FREE (except for sales tax…always have to pay tax. lol) Plus, you can stock up on deodarant, shampoo, soap and razors. Here is a link to a stay at home mom who has put up the CVS info on her blog. Hope this helps.


    God bless,

  • Reply Tracy |

    You can brush your teeth without toothpaste, if you don’t have any. The only thing that toothpaste provides, except fluoride, is taste. I actually find that my teeth get cleaner if I don’t use toothpaste, because I can feel my teeth better. Then when my teeth aren’t scummy anymore, sometimes I use a bit of toothpaste to get the minty taste, but normally I don’t need to. If your water is fluoridated, you don’t have to worry about getting your fluoride in toothpaste.

  • Reply Ashley |

    If you check the web for freebies you can often find travel size toothpaste samples for free. I didn’t buy toothpaste for about a year and a half because of those free tubes!

  • Reply Stacey |

    Hey Beks,
    Hydrogen peroxide is the cheapest and best mouthwash. Tasty? No. But kills all bad breath bacteria. Just an fyi…(personally, the vodka sounds like more fun)
    Good luck!

  • Reply Abigail |

    Not only can you use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, you can combine it with baking soda to make a toothpaste, I’m told.

  • Reply Beks |

    I had NO idea cheap toothpaste was available! You guys are life savers!! I’m making a permanent change in my toothpaste buying habits!

So, what do you think ?