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Weird and wonderful budget-stretching tips

Once again, this past week my Yorkie “Sunny” and I sheltered in place at the end of the lane, at the edge of the island, at the edge of existence.

You might wonder then what I could possibly have to write about, but it's amazing what you do start to notice when a myriad of distractions are suddenly removed from your daily life.

And what I noticed most is the growing divide between the many people and organisations who want to stand together to help our island through this difficult time, and the dwindling number of self-serving fools who think that this is a time for spreading false rumours, or imagining that the rules do not apply to them, or that no one is going to tell them how to run their business, or that it is really okay to buy the last six cartons of eggs when you only need one.

If you are one of them — wake up, we are on an island in the middle of nowhere and we are all in this together. If you are reading this and you know one of these reality challenged individuals, feel free to forward them a copy of this article.

Ok, rant over for this week.

And now for some more weird and wonderful budget-stretching ideas to help you through the next few weeks whether you need to watch your pennies, are looking for a substitute while your favourite brands are temporarily out of stock, or you would just like to remove a lot of the chemicals from your daily personal grooming routine:

• Many plastic tubes of lotions, potions and toothpaste appear to be empty when there is still quite a bit of product inside. With the lid on point the opening towards the floor, grip the tube by the tail end and wave it back and forth rapidly in a pendulum motion. If this does not yield results, cut the bottom end of the tube open — not only will you will be amazed just how much product is still in there, you can keep it fresh by covering the cut end with a bit of plastic wrap and a paper clip.

• It is possible to brush your teeth with a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda and a few drops of water mixed together to make a paste (not very tasty, but effective).

• It is quite possible to re-use dental floss. Just rinse it thoroughly, wipe it with a drop of alcohol on a cloth and hang it up to dry.

• You can make great mouthwash by combining one cup of boiled (or bottled) water, 1 tsp baking soda and ten drops of any edible essential oil you fancy or peppermint extract. Store it in a glass jar in the fridge for exhilaratingly fresh breath.

• You can make deodorant by mixing equal parts baking soda and corn starch with just enough coconut oil to make a smooth paste. This can be fragranced with a few drops of essential oil. Store in a container in the fridge so that the mixture remains firm.

• It goes without saying that fresh aloe can be used for anything from sun burn to skin conditioning. (Now would be a great time to root some in a pot if you don't already have it in your garden).

• Vinegar has antiseptic properties and is highly effective for relieving the itch of mosquito bites and many other minor skin irritations

• You can make fantastic yoga mat cleaner by mixing equal parts boiled (or bottled) water, witch hazel and 10 drops essential oil (I like lavender). This same mixture can also be stored in a spray bottle to be used as an after-shower body spray or face toner.

• You can make your own hand sanitiser by mixing two-thirds of a cup isopropyl alcohol with one-third of a cup aloe vera gel (the blue sunburn stuff in the back of your medicine cabinet) and storing it in a container with a tightfitting lid.

• If your drugstore is out of alcohol, you can use vodka as a hand sanitiser (I know what you're thinking but “desperate times call for desperate measures”!)

As all of the above items are preservative free, don't mix up more than you think you can use in a week and, if in doubt, store your home-made supplies in the refrigerator.

And once you have finished creating all of these concoctions you can reward yourself with a nice cold glass of homemade unsweetened iced tea flavoured with chunks of orange peel — so refreshing you won't even miss the sugar.

Until next time, happy home chemistry — we'll get through this together.

Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at, 538-8937 or

Budget tip: fresh aloe can be used for anything from sun burn to skin conditioning. Robin Trimingham suggest that now would be a great time to root some in a pot if you don't already have it in your garden (File photograph)

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Published April 14, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 14, 2020 at 8:14 am)

Weird and wonderful budget-stretching tips

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