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Stockpile Smarts: Amazing Uses for All those Drugstore Freebies

I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m an extreme couponing drugstore junkie. I’ve spent the last year acquiring mass amounts of drugstore products simply because I get a rush figuring out how to get them for free or even make a buck or two by purchasing them. I’m sure many of you can relate. What better feeling is there than walking into the drugstore armed with nothing more than a store rewards card, a sale ad, and a variety of coupons, and coming out with a basketful of eye drops and mouthwash that you only paid sales tax for? It feels amazing, doesn’t it?

But a moment of clarity came to me one day when I was gazing proudly at the contents of my stockpile. Initially, I felt a sense of calm knowing I had enough shampoo and body wash to get me through the next year or two, and enough feminine products to avoid sending the hubby out on any embarrassing late-night convenience store runs.

But, looking closer into the depths of the closet, I began to see items that I didn’t even remember buying. Imagine my shock when I saw that I was the proud owner of not five, not ten, but TWENTY tubes of BenGay. And don’t even get me started on the precariously balanced pyramids of toothpaste. I never realized I had so much of the stuff.

After doing some quick mental calculations on how long it takes us to go through one tube of toothpaste, I figured that by the time we would use up my collection we’d probably be around… oh, 80 years old. Considering we’ll most likely be decked out in his-and-hers dentures by then, I started to wonder: “Is there any other way we can use these excessive drugstore “trophies” other than their intended uses? And possibly save even more money on household costs by getting creative?” After some serious investigation, I came up with some surprising results!

Aspirin: There is always a surplus of free aspirin to be gleaned from the drugstores. But don’t worry; there are other uses for this plentiful painkiller.

  • Hubby brought home flowers? While you think really hard about what he possibly could have done wrong before dinnertime, drop an aspirin tablet in the vase water to keep your bouquet looking great for days.
  • It’s date night and a pimple (which is ironically the size of an aspirin tablet) erupts on your chin? Apply a paste made of a crushed aspirin tablet and a little water to the area for instant redness relief and size reduction.
  • Forget $10 foot scrubs. To get rid of rough patches and calluses on your feet, simply make a paste using several aspirin, some water, and some fresh lemon juice. Keep your tootsies moist for a bit with a damp towel and then slough off the dead skin.

BenGay: Here in our house, our idea of a sports injury is brush-burning your hand on pool table felt while shooting a game of 8-Ball. If only I’d known about these other nifty uses sooner:

  • Kiddos being super-rambunctious? Get instantly headache relief by rubbing a little of the product on your temples or the back of your neck. If they haven’t given you a massive tension headache, the menthol in BenGay can also help relieve stress using the same application technique!
  • BenGay can also ease sore throats by using it topically.
  • So you went camping, forgot the citronella candles, and the mosquitoes had you for an appetizer, the main course, and dessert? BenGay is very effective at stopping itching and pain from bug bites; just dab it on the afflicted areas.

Listerine: Mouthwash is an antiseptic, so it can be used for much more than a post-coffee or pre-kiss fresh breath remedy.

  • Listerine can be used as a bleach alternative to replicate pricey multipurpose cleaners. Simply mix with water to clean and disinfect counter-tops and floors.
  • Did playing with kitty result in a nasty scratch? The antiseptic properties in Listerine can be used to treat minor scratches and wounds instead of pricey antiseptic creams.
  • Does the laundry room seem plagued by that not-so-fresh feeling? Use Listerine to remove nasty mold and mildew smells that are frequent in moist, wet areas of the house. Bonus: you can also clean your washing machine by running an empty load with a cup of Listerine added to the water.

Toothpaste: Finally, here are some ideas on how to deplete that tower of toothpaste we couponers all seem to possess. I secretly think that free tubes of toothpaste left unattended in a closet or garage adopt the mating habits of small rodents or cockroaches. Here’s how to control the pest population.

  • Don’t take your jewelry in for an expensive professional cleaning. Instead, try scrubbing dingy rings or necklaces with a soft toothbrush and some toothpaste.
  • Are tipsy dinner guests always leaving annoying water rings on your mahogany dining table? Rubbing in a dab of toothpaste with a cloth and then wiping up the paste with a damp washcloth can make them disappear.
  • Is your hubby’s ultra-hot shower fogging up the bathroom mirror you desperately need to use? Simply rub a glob of toothpaste on the mirror to keep it fog-free. And then let him bust out the Windex when he’s done.
  • Toothpaste works like a dream to clean sinks, faucets and other fixtures.
  • And if you’ve used up all your free aspirin, toothpaste also makes an excellent overnight pimple treatment!

This has been a guest post by Jennifer from Pittsburgh, PA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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57 thoughts on “Stockpile Smarts: Amazing Uses for All those Drugstore Freebies”

  1. Anonymous says:

    good ideas

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you’ve got that much stuff in your cabinets, maybe it’s time to leave some of it on the shelves for those of us who only buy one or two items each week.  There are a lot of people out there on fixed incomes who could use that extra little break on their grocery/pharmacy bill every week.  It is very aggravating to go to the pharmacy on Sunday MORNING to find everything gone.  The sales person always says “some lady just came in and wiped us out!”  And you know you can never use up 20 or 30 tubes of toothpaste before it expires.  Leave it on the shelves!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow!  Are you assuming that those purchases were all made at once?   I know I have about 20-30 tubes and they were accumulated over a period of time and never once did I clear a shelf.  It’s easy to go after the freebies and lose track of how much you have.  To suddenly realize you have an abundance and least she’s finding good uses for it.   Also can donate stuff if you have too much, use as gifts for family & friends, etc.    Sorry to hear you keep finding empty shelves, it’s frustrating to say the least.  But this was a good article and doesn’t mention or promote clearing shelves.

      • Tali says:

         Also, how does the sales person know who we buy stuff for? my friends and I, when we have extra coupons will text from the store to see if we want some purchased for us….I recently came across of Lawry marinade and got ton for me, my friends and my family……I didn’t clear a shelf….I made 6-7 trips to the store (easy for me as there are 2 Albertsons on my way to work so I stop in a.m. and p.m.)….so if you saw me with 20 you might have thought I am a hoarder (like the woman who said: are you REALLY going to use them all?)….but no, I am just a good friend and SIL!

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have kept a stockpile of food, personal and household items for years now.  It keeps me from having to buy much of anything at full price.  My stockpile has especially come in handy twice.  The first time was seven years ago when my dad had a major stroke.  He spent ten and a half months in the hospital/nursing home.  I was able to spend a lot of time with my dad, while my husband was working long hours, without worrying about shopping for my husband’s and my personal/household needs.  The second time was the past few months while I was undergoing chemotherapy and post-surgery.  Almost everything we needed was right here in the house, including over-the-counter medicines.  All we had to buy from the store during this period was bread, milk, and fresh produce.

    If you know someone who is going through a family medical emergency or undergoing some type of long-term treatment, especially if they live alone, ask if they need some of your stockpile items, or if you can help them out by doing some shopping for them.  It will be worth more to them than flowers or a card.  At the same time, you might be able to convince them how handy a stockpile is!

    • Amen!! Even when they have the flu or a cold.. you have medication, soft tissue paper, chicken soup and crackers.. Probably even a magazine. Really brighten’s someone’s day. Thanks for your post.

  5. I’ve only been couponing a few short months and I’ve stocked my shelves, my parents and now I am at the point that I can donate. Such a wonderful feeling just as you described. Now I gasp at the prices I used to pay!  

  6. Nadine says:

    Senior Centers and nursing homes can always use these products too.  Especially lotions, shampoos, toothpaste. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    We take our extra drugstore freebies to the local homeless shelter (except mouthwash or anything containing alcohol, per their policy). We make money on them and add points to our store loyalty cards, the shelter patrons get great free products to help stretch the budget — a real win, win!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am a single stay at home mom.  I use just the coupons that I get in my two weekly papers to purchase items and then sell at a local flea market! (I am not a shelf clearer!) I get the items for cheap to free and others benefit by saving about half what they would pay at the store without having to do the couponing themselves!  I usually can make between $100-$150 in one day!

  9. Beth Vanderq says:

    Great tips!  Thank you so much!  Any tips for washing the dishwasher without having to buy special dishwashing cleaner?

  10. l maynard says:

    Also – If you have a huge stockpile don’t go buy up everything when there is a sale! It’s very frustrating when you need something (like eye drops or allergy things!) and someone has cleared the shelf! 

  11. Ema Evony says:

    Thanks to God and couponing I have helped my family and friends. Also, just last week I donated well over $100 to a shelter and I plan to do more once I stockpile some more. I donated brand name products that I know they just can’t afford, soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, razors, etc.. There are many people who can’t coupon because they don’t even have money to buy a paper, it makes me happy to know that I can help some of them. So while its good that you have found a use for some of those products, its great to remember those who wish they had just one item of the large stockpile we have. God bless everyone ;)

  12. I use my white toothpaste to fill in nail holes in my walls!  works good on white walls or if u need to fill in holes before painting.

    • Anonymous says:

       That’s what I do too! Then sand it down a little bit before painting it again

      • Tali says:

         white tooth paste is also great when my teens want to hang a poster on their wall….just apply to poster…..when they decide they do not like it any more or want it somewhere else gently pry off using butter knife and wash the left over paste with wet wash rag.

        • Anonymous says:

           Awesome.. never tried that. So do you put in on the poster, then stick it on the wall immediately and hold it there for a few minutes?

  13. Charlynn Fields says:

    I’m sorry I still don’t understand why you feel the need to buy so many of one item instead of what you actually need or will use in a given time. Coupons will be re-released in another few months so what’s the point of so many items at one time? Seriously 10?!  6or 7 Listerene?! Seriously? Actual cleaning products with coupons are less expensive. and again coupons are re-released after a few months. Extreme couponers are making things harder and harder for those of us with very little money to use coupons the way they were intended to be used, to save money on weekly shopping for our daily needs. To stretch what few dollars we have to meet our shopping needs.

    After reading extreme couponer blogs it seems like they get a drug-like high to see who gets the biggest hall. It’s become a game. That’s just disgusting. It takes food and necessities away from other families that might need them, but can’t go searching all over town for the ‘best deal’.  There are kids that can’t go to the dentist that could use that toothpaste that you have in your pantry. But you’d rather clean your headlights or save it for 50yrs? You can also say the same thing about any other thing that you have more than what you could normally use in 2-4 mos. Why do you need to stockpile more than that? It’s disgusting. 
    When I see a good sale and a good coupon I know chances are the shelf will be empty by the time I’m able to get there. I depend on the bus because I’m disabled, so I’m not always able to get there the first day of the sale and if extreme couponers have gotten there first they’ve either wiped the shelve clean or pissed off the store manager and he has put a limit on the item or coupons. So I can only get one of the sale item. (that has happened several times to me at different stores) Unless you are the Duggars I just don’t understand the need to buy in such bulk or to save such huge quantities unless your planning for Doomsday living in a shelter

    • Anonymous says:

      I am one of those people that have ample supply of these items I have stocked up my family, now I am stocking up my kids and grandkids, my inlaws etc. but what you don’t know is most extreme couponers also donate items whether it be a church a food bank, friends. I donate to people at the church who is having a bad time and some college kids now. If it was not for me stocking up I would not have been able to help other people. I like the high off of getting good deals, sure who doesn’t. But it is the helping of others who needs it but doesn’t expect it that is better. If I use toothpaste to clean my lens on my car then I won’t have to go to the auto store and pay twenty dollars for the stuff to clean them. Or the expensive jewelry cleaner. I could go on and on why some people stock up economy is a major reason, but we also help those that may need it. And if you have priced anything in the last two years you will agree that product has gone up while wages have not so ya why wouldn’t you stock up?

    • Christine Lee says:

      great post! we can all stand to be a little less self centered. instead of donating, why not leave a few more on the shelves for those who would also like a good deal? (especially the FREE items)

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, Charlynn. I have good sized stockpile for my family – 2 kids (4 + 1), 2 dogs and my husband. Between in home my pantry, garage storage and the extra fridge/freezer in the same garage I have plenty for our needs and dont feel to hoard condiments, Depends undergarments, and toohpastes.  I have no desire nor need to stockpile under the kids beds, hallway closets, attic, etc.  My motto, “live by what you need” not what I want.  With that motto and coupons I use (thanks KCL! Love you!) we can fund other things – summer vacations, Disneyland passes, etc. I donate to my local church, my loved ones and local families but I don’t buy into buy everything on sale, clear the shelves and TAKE from my NEIGHBOR.    How about we leave some stuff on the shelf for our neighbors who want to get a good deal too? Sure, go ahead and stock up put please Just Say No Shelf Clearing and Hoarding!

    • TheRocknRollas says:

      I do agree to an extent. I coupon on a regular basis and would like to have a few months worth of basics stocked ( I have 4 kids plus me and hubby). And I do love that some of the EXTREME couponers donate items to people who need it. I don’t however, like seeing people who have a stockpile taking up every room in the house that could last them forever or empty shelves where there should be sale items. Just because you can use the system and get a cart full of toothpaste for free doesn’t mean you should. The rest of us who don’t spend 40 hours a week planning an EXTREME shopping trip would like some deals too. There are also those of us who cannot afford to buy the more expensive alternatives if the sale items are gone, budgets are tight. Please keep that in mind next time you are emptying the shelves. 

    • Linda Grace says:

      Yes i have a stock pile! No its not 50 yrs worth!  I live in a rural town so I know all about not making it to the stores before items are gone. BUT i do know how to say I like a rain check for   ********* .  I have also gone to a store the night before a sale starts and the item was not in stock then, so Its not always extreme coupons that cleared the shelf.   I stock up on what is free or cheap. But when i have serveral i will let a free deal pass . As for Doomsday i plan ahead so yes i hope that i will have toothpaste, shampoo, and bath gel.  The show extreme couponing has give couponing a bad  name so alot of people think we are all nuts. But I love couponing so yes I stock up!! I do also give away items and I give away coupons in store to people who are buying items that i have coupons for and i know i will not use. I have nerve had anyone  didnt want the coupon I ask nicely if they want it. so they can a little money.Also a lot of times they ask question on how to coupon and who has the best papers in our area. I do hope that you enjoy couponing as much as i do.  And that you have a great day.

    • I do have a stockpile but have set my own personal limits. I do buy enough so that I have enough for my family and enough to give.  I do get a rush from getting things free or even getting “paid to take them.” I like most other extreme couponers also get a rush from being able to help others by giving products, coupons and teaching others to coupon. This rush is far more exciting than getting a good deal.

      One of the things that I have learned is that you buy things when they are on sale and you can get them, Yes I had to go without some things each and every week until I had enough so that I did not have to run to the store because I was out of something. Living week to week like that is expensive. 

      If you need something, I would be willing to send it to you and/or find someone near you who can help you.

      Thank you for your comment and I hope your day is blessed.
      Joline 

    • Anonymous says:

      I read  some of the comments and somehow I agree. Sometimes it bothers me when I go to the store and they don’t have the products I want. But if you know how to coupon, you should know you can always ask for a rain check.  You will  get your items eventually. Sometimes its not that the shelves had been clear,  its just that the store don’t have them, or only have few. Don’t always expect to  find everything when you go to the store. ( if you always find everything you  must be very lucky Krazy Coupon Lady).  I do have a stock pile, but nothing compare to the extreme couponers. I don’t go to stores on Sunday like most of the couponers. I always ask when does the truck comes to the store and that’s when I go which is usually Tuesday or Wednesday. Some of the stores in my area limit their products to customers, which I like. Just remember, get rain checks, ask when the truck comes, and go to the stores that have a limit on the products.   Don’t just complain, look the way to find what you need. 8)

    • suemac says:

      Your right no need to horde just get enough so there is some left for others

  14. Also Listerine is a GREAT mosquito repellent….
    just put some in a spray bottle while outside on your deck or sitting outside on in your lawn chair etc.. and when those pest get to flying around you just give a few quick lil sprays of Listerine :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    With Bengay be very careful that your pet doesn’t lick where you put it on yourself.  My aged mother did that and her companion toy poodle licked it.  He nearly died and left her with nearly a $1000. vet bill.  Hard way to learn huh?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Listerine the Original flavor, it’s great when you put it in a spray bottle and spray on mosquitoes killing them instantly! 

  17. Vivian Colfax says:

    hey, don’t forget another use for toothpaste.  Cleaning your headlights on your vehicle.  Simply take a toothbrush with some toothpaste and scrub the headlight. Rinse with water.  :)

  18. I make gift baskets with all my freebies and cheap stuff- i even find nice unique baskets through out the yr at 2nd hand stores then load them up with goodies:toothpaste, body wash etc. add some plastic gift wrap and a bow. My baskets have been a big hit

    • I have been giving a re-usable bag full of stuff to different people as I hear of a need. I also have several nieces and nephews who are early twenty’s that I bring things to. Couponing for about the last year has cut my grocery bill in half, I have a stock pile and am able to give. Plus it is a whole lot of fun!

  19. joshxlong says:

    these are great tips but make sure you only use a paste on your jewelry….and NOTHING abrasive. i used to use toothpaste all the time to clean my silver necklaces and then i seen the wear it was creating :( its great if youre in a bind and going out….but def not long term

  20. Anonymous says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing! I have only been couponing for a few months and already my husband is onto me about our toothpaste pile!

  21. Anonymous says:

    The comments have inspired me!
    I’m going to start carrying these products with me and the next time a homeless person asks me for money, I can offer them a tube of Bengay or some Listerine or toothpaste instead…why not?  The only thing I would refrain from giving them are any of the anti-itch creams, because that could get kinda nasty if they start applying it in public.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Aspirin is used in making a paste to work on armpit/deoderant buildup.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Great ideas! Another idea is to donate to local charities, just because we got items for free or even made money on them doesn’t mean they won’t be helping people in need. You can also write off these charitable contributions for your taxes!!

  24. So glad you said about bengay…been putting on my forehead for yrs. lol, first started using it for hangovers, then after being up all night with a crying baby, now I use it for the migraine I get dealing with teenagers and 89 yr old mother. I use a lot of it, a whole lot of it. omg I need more bengay coupons!!! Too, it helps for sinus headaches. 

    • Mabel Gomez says:

      I get a cheaper verison of ben gay at the doolar tree or 99 cent store or walmart. They call it musclerub.  i believe at walmart it goes for .88 cents. Have one in each of our bathrooms. And I too have been using it for years on forhead for those migraines. Good luck in finding it and it is the same as the bengay believe me and a whole lot cheaper.

  25. I like the listerine ideas…

  26. if your going to use toothpaste on your jewelry, make sure its plain paste with no special additives and most certainly do not use the gel.. in fact for all of the things listed make sure its not the gel because you won’t be doing much cleaning just making a mess.

    as for the aspirin, be really careful using it in a foot bath if you have a cut, if you are a diabetic or if you take medication that interacts with it.. even tho you are not taking it orally it can still be absorbed.

  27. Heidi Ylagan says:

    Wow, thanks for all these tips!!!

  28. Candy Henke says:

    love your article that is me am getting ready to donate some so that i have an excuse to go buy more as if i need an excuse.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Nice set of Samsung front loaders…

    • Anonymous says:

      Ohio Dad, Looks great huh?  I got the Samsung front loading washing machine.  If you are thinking of getting one, think twice and check the blogs.  If I don’t leave the door open as far as it will go, my clothes come out smelling soured.  There is a cycle that they recommend you run with no clothes in it  (it takes 1 hour and 54 minutes for this cycle).

      I have tried drying the drum, door and seal and then leaving the door slightly ajar after I washed. The next time I did laundry… Stinky Clothes….  The door has to be wide open.  Make sure you have space to leave it open.

      I am using more spot cleaning products too ~ so double washing laundry ( double water and electricity), double detergent, double softener and one angry husband and frustrated housewife…well, you get the picture.The whole intent was to get an energy efficient, water efficient machine.  Running a 2 hour cycle with no clothes in it and then rewashing clothes (another 54 minutes) doesn’t make me feel eco friendly.  We got the machine in December and if it wasn’t so expensive to purchase, it would already be on the curb.  I wish I had my old top loading machine back!!!!

      Again, check the blogs before you buy.  I am not the only one with this issue.  Okay, I feel better getting that off my chest.

      •  I have a front loader which has this problem as well.  One thing I have found that works well is to run an empty cycle with 1/2 cup Clorox. Then I will wash my whites right after just in case there is any residual Clorox.  I used to purchase the expensive washing machine cleaner, but this works just as well and is much cheaper!

      • Anonymous says:

        I too, have a Samsung front loading VRT w/steam Washer & Dryer.  Mine just started the funky odor problem.  Extremely frustrated!!!!  I bought mine when they first came out 3-4 years ago.  I could have paid my car off for what I paid for this set & the pedestals.  Leaving the door ajar doesn’t work for me. I would not recommend this set!!!