'What kind of weirdo makes their own toothpaste?'
Answer: Probably the same kind of person who saves money by making oatmeal packets and laundry soap.
That quote in the headline came from a reader who apparently stumbled upon The Simple Dollar for the first time and felt the desire to write to me expressing his feelings: No one in their right mind would do some of the things I've suggested here, from making your own oatmeal packets to making your own laundry detergent.
On the other hand, I find a ton of value in attempting to make my own versions of basic supplies like laundry detergent and oatmeal packets and, well, toothpaste. Here are some reasons why: Post continues after video.
- Dollars and cents. In almost every case, homemade from-scratch versions of products are substantially less expensive than those you buy in the store. My homemade laundry detergent is about 10% the cost of Tide. Not 10% less expensive --90% less expensive.
- Health. Many store products are loaded with ingredients that are placed in there largely to increase the profit margin. Often, some of the contents are trade secrets, meaning you have no idea what exactly is in the product. Even when you do know, sometimes you'd rather not. If I make the product myself, I have much more control over every item that goes into the mix. I don't add weird preservatives or other unnecessary ingredients.
- Skills. By doing things myself, I'm building my confidence for doing such things, plus improving my own skill set for future projects I might take on. Cooking my own meal over the stove and planting a tree leads to projects like building a fire pit in the backyard.
These factors togetherencourage me to try to make as many things as I can myself. I save money, I build skills, and I have more control over what's in the item.
- Calculator:Is your budget in balance?
So what about that toothpaste?
This is the perfect time to mention what I've found with regard to making my own toothpaste.
Over the years, I've tried various mixes with some degree of success. The trick for me has been to find an easily repeatable way to make and then dispense the toothpaste.
The best recipe I've found is mixing 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, a packet of stevia (a natural sweetener that also is good for your teeth), and either a dash of cinnamon or a drop or two of peppermint oil (for flavor). Mix these together until they form a paste. If you need a bit more liquid, add a tiny bit more peroxide. If you need more solid for a thicker paste, add a bit more baking soda.
This stuff tastes good and leaves my mouth feeling really clean.
For dispensing, just head to the travel toiletries section of your local department store and pick out a small empty travel squirt container. If you have one of these, you can actually make the toothpaste right in the container, stirring it with a small stick (I use a chopstick), then put the cap on and use it as a squeeze tube. Works like a charm.
As soon as we're done going through our backlog of toothpaste (purchased in bulk), I intend to use this as my only toothpaste.
More from The Simple Dollar and MSN Money:
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
A new federal safety report shows toddlers and minority children make up a disproportionate number of drowning victims.