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Saving Money on Toiletries

Category Bath & Beauty
Toiletries can be expensive to buy and may be overused by family members. This is a guide about saving money on toiletries.
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By 21 found this helpful
August 17, 2011

I, like so many other woman, will try almost anything. Then I noticed companies are betting on just that! Shaving cream for one example: it softens, has aloe or tons of other promises. Maybe they do, but is it worth the extra money you pay for it?

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I have found left over hair conditioner works just as well. In fact, when you see buy one get one free, you have just landed the best shaving cream you may have ever had.

Razors are another example, I know they have the really expensive ones that have the strip of shaving cream right on it. Easy yes, but after a few showers it has melted away. The shaver however is still usable for quite some time. I also have found it's cheaper, WAY cheaper, to buy the razor with one extra replacement blade than buying just refills. Just get the one that they want you to love which almost always comes with one replacement blade. When done, go back for the starter one again.

The pharmacy where I go, or my local Target has 5 blades for $12-15. Right next to it is the razor with 1 blade for 5 dollars. You do the math.

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If you watch the sale papers for that store, they run specials on these all of the time so you can even save more. What's better anyway, a new clean razor or the old soapy one you have? Deodorant, shampoo, any hair product like gels, sprays, it's all the same paying for a pretty package is costing you money.

Ladies, hair is hair, teeth, shaving it's all the same. Let's not let the advertisers laugh, because it says "For Women". Read the label if in doubt, I have never found a difference. I laughed when I thought about sharing this, because most of us have been guilty at one time or another, until I walked into a local small market, the kind with just a few items on the counter. It had those energy drinks (I don't use them), and couldn't help noticing one was marked for the strong man, the other for I assume the rest of us. I read the label and they were exactly the same - everything including size. It had male images, but in this world - really? A man needs more energy than I do?

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Laughing away, I decided to share some of the other things I do use, being a wise consumer instead of a "mark". Have a great day, ladies!

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh6 found this helpful
July 13, 2011

It was a beautiful sunny day in the Caribbean as my family and I headed to the beach. Before we hit the water, I spent ten minutes covering a wriggling and impatient boy with SPF 50 sunscreen. From there, I argued with him every hour as I "wasted" ten more minutes of his time reapplying the sunscreen. To my dismay, I didn't put a pale skinned youngster to bed that night. Instead, he was a lobster burned from the sun that had permeated his sunscreen. Why? The expiration date of our sunscreen had expired.

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Fool Me Twice - Shame on Me

It only took one day to learn my lesson. Now, no matter how much the sunscreen cost, if it's past the expiration date I throw it out. Expiration dates are printed on products to ensure that consumers receive the full benefits of their products. However, there are times when an 80% benefit is acceptable and throwing away a product because of the nearing expiration isn't the best option. However, in the case of our vacation it's important that we receive 100% of the sunscreen's abilities; therefore, the expiration dates are extremely important to us. It's a call that you're going to have to make.

To Expire or Not to Expire

Over the counter medicines typically do not "go bad" after their expiration dates, but they will lose some potency. However, most studies show that they still retain 90% of their potency five years after their expiration. Examine the importance of the medicine, and determine if you're willing to throw it out or continue to use it. Keep in mind that liquid medicines are less stable than pills, so use your judgment when evaluating the product. If it smells or looks different, discard it. Do not take more than the dosage states in order to make up for the lessened effects.

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Most personal care products also lose potency after their expiration dates. Chemicals in the products leach into the packaging or dissipate into the air, leaving the products less effective. Since these aren't medications, you may not notice the lessened effects and may not receive any benefits from the products. Products like toothpaste, skin care, and anti-aging products will fall into this category.

When bacteria can enter the product, adhere to the "after opening" expiration date closely. Makeup should be discarded within three months of opening no matter how expensive. Other products like eye drops, saline solution, and creams can also be bacterial hiding places. While the products still do as they were intended, they may do a little more with age.

What If There's No Date?

The FDA regulates the inclusion of expiration dates. For products that do not require dosage instructions and will hold their effectiveness for three years, the FDA does not require expiration dates. Therefore, some sunscreens may not have one while others will. To avoid any problems with unmarked products, upon purchase use a marker to write the month and day on the product. You'll know when the sunscreen is nearing its three year mark.

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By 12 found this helpful
July 31, 2011

I searched high and low in every store and could not find a good, old-fashioned poofy powder puff. I use Gold Bond Power in various and sundry places and had been using my hand or a wash cloth to apply it. In the midst of searching another store, my husband suggested I take an old sock and fill it with powder and use that. WOW! What a suggestion!

When I got home, I found a cotton anklet that needed a job and put about 1/2 cup Gold Bond Powder in it. I twisted the top and tied it off with a rubber band. I poofed power in all the right places, and it didn't make near the mess the other ways had done.

My husband! The inventor of poofy powder socks.

By Elaine from OK

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June 27, 2012

Do you ever wonder how much of a product, such as lotion, gets thrown away when you can no longer squeeze or pump any more out? I did. When I ran out of a bottle of lotion, I cut the thing open, and was surprised at how much clings to the sides and pools in the bottom, especially with pump mechanisms.

So when things that come in a plastic bottle, like lotion (thicker things like creams and lotions are the worst) can't be gotten out with the pump, you can do this to help reduce waste and get the most out of the product.

Make sure you keep one container at least partially full, to put the remnants in. Then cut open your almost-out lotions and use an old spoon or the like to scoop out all of the remaining lotion. A 50 cent plastic funnel helps make the job a lot easier. Then simply pour it all into the single container. I recommend doing this with same or similar kinds of lotion, so you know it will mix well, but if you don't mind mixing scents and colors and the like, then just mix it all together. I just use one kind, so it's easy for me.

And the plastic might by recyclable. If it is, I can't imagine it's any less recyclable in two pieces than in one.

By Saber from Omaha, NE

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By 9 found this helpful
November 2, 2011

I can't see very well without my glasses, so I put a large "S" on my shampoo bottle and a large "C" om my conditioner bottle with a waterproof marker, now I can tell one from the other while I am in the shower.

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By 7 found this helpful
March 5, 2010

We always save the soap, shampoos, toothpaste, and lotions we get at hotels when we stay in them. They come in handy when we run out of out regular soaps and things, especially when we can't make it to the store right away.

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By 9 found this helpful
June 16, 2010

Get all the product that you paid for out of the bottle or tube before throwing it out. Plastic tubes are easily cut in half with scissors. Then you can reach in and get out the toothpaste, lotion, or whatever is in it.

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October 8, 2009

A dime sized shampoo works great for me, even when my hair is long, and it saves money too. Just put a dime sized plop of shampoo in your hand, rub it, and spread it over your damp hair, and nope, it does not usually lather in your hair.

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January 30, 20091 found this helpful

A large portion of our grocery budgets go to non grocery personal care items. How do you save money on toiletries like shampoo, soap, lotion and other personal care products? Here are tips from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas here.

Saving Money on Toiletries

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April 12, 20072 found this helpful

We live on a limited income, and shop at Dollar General stores often. There, we buy DG brand antibacterial soap for bathing. A 40 oz. bottle cost $2.

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By 4 found this helpful
September 8, 2011

My mother-in-law taught me this during our visit this summer. When you have a stiff tube of product such as shampoo, moisturizer, or sunscreen and there's too little cream left to squeeze out, you can cut the tube crosswise into two sections.

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November 24, 2010

To keep the contents from drying out, I put the container in a small sandwich bag. I also do this with bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that are too low for the pump to get to the contents.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 26, 2010

How do you get hand lotion, liquid soap, etc. out of plastic pump bottles when you get to the bottom and know there is some left in the bottle?

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By 1 found this helpful
March 8, 2011

Instead of buying a clip for squeezing out your toothpaste, conditioner tubes, etc., put the tube down on the counter and with the handle of a screwdriver or hair brush, push from the bottom up to the cap end.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 9, 2007

It's surprising how much product is left when you think the last drop has been squeezed from that tube of facial cleanser, moisturizer, or hair gel.

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By 1 found this helpful
September 16, 2013

First of all, I use the cheaper brand. Alberto VO5 around here is usually just $1 a bottle and sometimes on sale for less. Their conditioners seem like they mix more reddily with water.

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By 1 found this helpful
February 5, 2013

Most people don't realize that the main purpose of a facial cream is to seal in water. The best way to save money on your creams is to mix a little water in your hand with your cream or lotion and apply gently to a slightly damp face.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 29, 2012

When applying moisturiizer or hand lotion to your face or body, do this. Wash first and have your skin a little damp (not wet), then apply the lotion. You need a very little bit by using on damp skin. The bit of dampness make your lotions soak in faster.

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May 6, 2009

Do you love your bath salt, but it is never enough, and it costs too much to continually replace? You can mix your current bath salts with equal amounts of baking soda to give you more and it also softens the water even more for you.

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June 6, 20070 found this helpful

Can't get lotion out of that tube? There's plenty left after you've squeezed as much out as you can! Cut the end off with scissors. For small tubes, your finger can get the rest out.

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February 12, 20130 found this helpful

This guide is about getting all the lotion out of a bottle. Being able to use the very last of the lotion can be a challenge.

lotion bottle

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By 0 found this helpful
July 7, 2012

Some kids don't know what a normal amount of shampoo, conditioner, or showergel is. They tend to use way too much.You can just buy a plastic pump bottle for each different product to refill over and over, and tell them that 1 or 2 pushes is enough! This helped me save loads and loads of money.

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June 12, 2011

This is a really simple and quick way to get all your toothpaste in the tube up to the dispenser. Just hold the tube front and back, then place the back end on the counter edge.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 28, 2010

Re-use those 2 oz. energy drink bottles you've accumulated to put lotion samples in if you make your own lotions. They are perfect for purses because of their size. You could also refill them with shampoos and conditioners to take along camping or on trips.

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December 3, 20040 found this helpful

Here's a simple method to use less shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Transfer the shower products into pump containers Each push is a measured amount that prevents waste.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 21, 20040 found this helpful

Do you have any tips on how to use all of a product or get the most out of a product like toothpaste or shampoo? Post your ideas below or send them to daily@thriftyfun.com

Answers

January 9, 20010 found this helpful

When you are near the end of a tube of lotion, shower gel, facial scrub, etc. and can't easily get that last bit out, don't throw
it away. Leave the cap on and cut the top of the tube off far enough so that you can reach your fingers into the bottom to scrape out that last tid-bit. I have gotten more uses out of things which over time saves money (and resources).

Beth

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January 9, 20010 found this helpful

I buy the generic Lubriderm lotion for my husband. There is usually a good 1/2 inch of lotion left at the bottom of the bottle when the pump stops working. I stand the old one on top of the new one (after the new one has been used a little) and tape them together with a little masking tape. Then when I come back a few hours later, the old is COMPLETELY empty!

Lynn

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January 9, 20010 found this helpful

Check out stores which sell kitchen gadgets. I have a little two sided plastic "funnel like thing" [sort of shaped like an open ended hourglass] which fits over the the necks of two bottles [ketchup, karo and other tall narrow neck type bottles].

You place the gadget over the neck of the new bottle, turn the other bottle upside down and place the neck in the other side, so it drains down into the new bottle.

KayD

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January 9, 20010 found this helpful

When the old bottle is almost empty there is usually enough room at the top of the new bottle to pour off what is left. The old bottle balances easily on top of the new and drains to the last drop. If you are not sure whether the new bottle has enough room use some before draining the old bottle.

Michael

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January 9, 20010 found this helpful

You can only squeeze so much of the toothpaste out of the tube. When you have squeezed all you can, split the tube open with a pair of scissors. You can get several more brushings out of what's left inside. Just remember to store in it a plastic bag, because it will dry out if you leave it out in the open.

April - Bedford, Indiana

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January 9, 20010 found this helpful

Regarding the tip about turning bottles upside down to get every drop. I have a shower caddy that allows the bottle to sit that way all the time. Plus, when I reach the end of a shampoo or conditioner bottle, I add a bit of water to the bottle and shake it up. I can usually get another couple of days worth that way.

Jess

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Anonymous
January 12, 20010 found this helpful

I got something on ketchup!If your down real low on ketchup and there 's just a little at the bottom of the bottle,and you gotta tip it upside down to get it to the top,that takes long for it to slide down,put the bottle in your hand,and take your arm and swing your arm around and around in circle's about six or so time,all the left over ketchup is at the top of the bottle,and you can use the last bit instead of tossing it.

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January 12, 20010 found this helpful

A few ideas serve me here.

For toothpaste, I flatten the tube when it is about three/fourths empty then roll from the bottom and secure with a large paperclip. Keep rolling and securing as the tube empties. By the time the last portion is reached the tube is very tight and will allow for a number of two-hands squeezes pushing into the cap area to remove the last amount. This method has eliminated the messy method of splitting the tube for a scraping. Recently, I found that a small office clamp is superior in convenience to even the paperclip.

For items like detergent and shampoo my technique is different. When bottoms-up convenience passes, I turn the container upright and allow any left over amount to drain to the bottom. Then using a cutter blade, I cut off most of the upper portion exposing the reside which is usually a significant amount. The collection then can be poured into the new container and finally the last drops scraped out. For detergent I go still another step for a complete cleaning. I put the "cleaned out" container piece into my dishpan and run dish water directly into it. The hot water completely removes any lingering product. I literally get benefit of the last drop.

I use liquid fabric softener that comes in a cardboard container. When that container is empty I leave it open for several weeks and it serves as an air freshener even after all residue has evaporated. The fragrance so permeates the cardboard that its effect lasts a long time.

For tubes of blush and lipstick when the tube can no longer be extended and the surface no longer applies color, I use my fingernail and finally the plastic tip of an eyeshadow applicator to scrape the remainer out and apply. This technique yields an amazing quantity.

Of course, there is the traditional method for catsup. Add a small amount of water to the residue and shake well.

When making gingerbread cookies the recipe calls for molasses and hot water. After pouring out the last of the molasses. I put the measured amount of water into the molasses bottle and shook well. The water cleaned out the remaining molasses beautifully.

I had bought a couple of room deodorizers in the plastic containers that look like an egg. After the jel had shriveled to a tiny lump, I opened the container and removed the chunk of dried jel. The fragrance was still strong enough to effectively be used as shoe deodorizers.

~Charlotte

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Anonymous
January 14, 20010 found this helpful

You can extend lipstick more effectively & make it look better if you use a lipstick brush for dipping into the tube & then applying it. You can also make a new shade by digging out all the old lipstick & combining it with other old lipstick leftovers & a bit of petroleum jelly & putting it in a small container like a pill box. Heat a moment in the microwave if it needs melting a bit & stir with a popsicle stick. Use a lipbrush to apply. Small, stubby bristled paintbrushes work well as lipbrushes. - Alekscat - Richmond,VA

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Anonymous
January 22, 20010 found this helpful

When the shampoo bottle is empty [well, almost] I save it for bath-time. As I fill the tub with water, I hold the bottle under the spigot a moment, and get enough shampoo from it for a nice bubble bath.

By the way, I often buy bargain shampoo just to use for bubble bath. It works great, some brands have a wonderful scent, it's delicate on my skin, it keeps the tub spotlessly clean, and ounce for ounce, it is usually much cheaper than bubble bath. - Eastwood

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Anonymous
January 24, 20010 found this helpful

I have found a kitchen spatula to be very handy when trying to get the last bit out of many containers. I must admit that the most original use came when I was down to the bottom of a paint can and only had a small portion of trim left to paint. The spatula got every bit out of the paint can, down to the metal. - Jeanne

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January 23, 20030 found this helpful

On shampoo, when there is just a little bit left in the bottle, I add a small amount of water and swish it. I save these for when it's time to handwash my bras. I sweat so bad, here in the desert, especially in the Summer. A little dab of this water/shampoo mix is all I need. And they smell good after they're dry.

As for ketchup and other condiment bottles, a do the same, add a bit of water, shake till all is mixed & pour into a freezer container along with small pieces of leftovers. When it's full, I make a pot of homemade soup. This way, no waste! You can also pour the water from these condiment bottles into meals like Hamburger Helper when preparing. It's better to mix like condiment/water to the flavor of the meal (ex. taco sauce/water with a Mexican dish).

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By guest client (Guest Post)
May 5, 20040 found this helpful

There is also another gadget you can get in the kitchen section of Fred Meyers or Walmart that has a wide base, but not so big it takes up any more room than the bottom of a large bottle of catsup. You can set your bottles upside down in it and leave them in your fridge that way until you use it all. I think two bottles fit into it.

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November 20, 20040 found this helpful

When you're at the end of a shampoo bottle, fill it with water, then pour it out, and you have an easy (and cheap) bubble bath.

By Camilla

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 16, 20050 found this helpful

to use all the toothpaste in the tupe take a knife. on the reverse side on witchyou cut with , push downhard and slowly move torward the opening of the tube . this way youwill save money without braking the tube or going uot of your way to do this

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 2, 20060 found this helpful

Anything that comes in a plastic tube has a bit left in it after the last squeeze - and if you cut the tube open you can get a few more applications. To keep from drying out once you have cut the tub - close with a paper clip/hair clip.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 18, 2008

Anyone have any hints on pouring hand/body lotion into ceramic lotion pump jars? Usually the lotion is too thick to just pour in, and I always make a mess. I have some really cute bottles, that I would like to fill with different lotions. I have tried adding baby oil to thin it out, but it didn't work, and eventually separated from the hand lotion.

Rose S. from Malvern, PA

Answers

January 18, 20080 found this helpful

Pour the lotion into the bottle through a funnel. Use a knife with a long, narrow blade to push the lotion through the funnel.

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January 18, 20080 found this helpful

Put your lotion bottle in the microwave for about half a minute first (or if you don't have a microwave, put it in a pan of hot water). The heat will thin it a bit and make it easy to pour. I do this all the time.

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January 18, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with "perfumed fan", it works for me. You can even find smaller funnels at the dollar stores, that's what I use on some of the smaller bottles. I believe they came in a 3 pack of different sizes.

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January 18, 20080 found this helpful

Just a thought, but how about using an icing bag? You may be able to get the lotion into the bag much easier than the bottle and then squeeze it into the pump bottle like you would icing. Hope you find something that works for you. I know what it's like to have something beautiful that you just love but can't find a way to use it!

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March 26, 20100 found this helpful

I treat myself to a very expensive facial care system that includes 2 small pump bottles; one for the morning and one for the evening. One bottle normally does me 2 months. Near the end of the bottle, the pump no longer reaches the cream, but I can see that there is still cream there. I turn the bottle over and allow the contents to drip into the lid that comes with the bottle. By doing this, I get an extra 2 - 3 weeks of cream. Since this is quite expensive to begin with ($30.00 for one 1.5 oz bottle on sale), the extra I gain is very welcome.

By Robin from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Answers:

Getting The Last Out Of Pump Bottles

I have also had the same problem at times and I've extended the pump tube by adding a piece of drinking straw to the end. This usually does the trick in getting the rest of the cream/lotion from the bottom of the bottle. (12/12/2006)

By Mel

Getting The Last Out Of Pump Bottles

I like the St Ives Apricot scrub and when it won't come out I just take scissors and slice the end off and get the rest out.

Another thing I do is mix a cheap hair conditioner with an expensive one. Like Suave (1.00) with Thermasilk. I don't like wasting the stuff in the bottoms of bottles. I turn them upside down and add to something else, always. I had 2 conditioners that were empty so I mixed in a bit of water and got the rest out and added it to my leave in hair conditioner spray. I find this works a lot better than just having the leave in conditioner by it's self.

(12/13/2006)

By TrayJ24736

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