The other day, I’m in the kitchen and I happened to be rinsing out a peanut butter jar. Que the 9 year old who already thinks that Mom has lost most of her mind (yes child, YOU are the reason for that…lol). When she walked in, I swear, the look she gave me could not have been more confused. Its not like she didn’t know that I save them, I think it was more of the fact that up until that point, she had never actually seen me rinse one out. Once I explained why I do, she was fine and off and running again, but let me tell you…it was a tense 5 minutes. The sweat rolled down my brow as I explained it, she almost hyperventilated, and oh…the mess…wait, never mind..that was an entirely different conversation. It got me thinking though. I really do save a lot of different items. I’ve got an entire tote of containers and things that I’ve saved, all of them used mind you so they aren’t just sitting there. Why? To save money of course! I know I’m not the only one. In fact, it’s quite common for people who consider themselves thrifty to save and reuse everyday items.
Like it or not? The older I get, the more I have to admit that I really am just cheap. Call me crazy, but I really don’t like to pay for something if I don’t have to. That’s one of the smaller reasons that I make so many items homemade versus buying them. There are other reasons we make things, but some of it really just boil down to being cheap. Aside from that though, reusing household items is smart for more reasons than just being cheap. There’s also the fact that it puts less waste into the landfills.
10 Things Thrifty People Reuse To Save Money
I’m more than positive there are a lot of other things that can be reused. In fact, I’m quite sure that I’ve forgotten a bunch that I use here in my own home. If you notice any that I’ve missed, I would love to hear them. Just leave me a quick comment.
Jars – Of course I had to start with this one since I mentioned it above. We save everything from jelly jars to sauce jars and in between. Why? Because they’re great for storing things like nuts and bolts, nails, bacon grease and more. In fact, a lot of the time, I put things like my homemade coconut shampoo and my Homemade Lavender Lemon All Purpose Cleaner in old peanut butter jars. It’s quick, easy and they’re unbreakable if dropped. Plus they store really well in the fridge or on the shelf if I happen to make 2 weeks worth at one time. My only rule is that it HAS to have a lid. It isn’t much use to me if I can’t put a lid on it.
Plastic bowls and lids – I don’t understand the fascination behind buying disposable food bowls. They’re a waste of money. They’re especially a waste of money when I have a perfectly good bowl with lid that something else, like my plain yogurt, came in. They freeze just as well, they seal just as well and they don’t cost me a dime extra. I keep a few of them, all of them in different sizes on hand for when I’m freezer cooking or just need to store some leftovers. I also keep a set of Rubbermaid Easy Find bowls on hand too because you just never know when you’re going to need something “prettier” to use.
Aluminum foil – For real ya’ll…are you really covering your dinner with foil while it bakes and then throwing that foil away? Why? 8 times out of 10 when I pull something from the oven, that piece of foil is CLEAN! Why would I want to throw it away and waste money? Instead, I take it off of the dish and give it a quick rinse. Once its dry, I’ll fold it up and stash it for the next time I need a piece. I can get 2-3 uses from each piece of foil and that means I’m buying it less. Overall, I’d say I really only buy a roll of foil maybe 4 times per year at most.
Ziploc bags – Here’s another one that is along the lines of the foil above. Most Ziploc style bags are very durable so if they’ve got something dry in them? Rinse that bad boy out and let it dry! You can typically use each bag once or twice again and you’ll save some decent cash because those things are crazy expensive! There is one caveat to this. Do not, under ANY circumstances, rinse and re-use a bag that has held raw meat. The chances of you and your family getting sick are not worth the savings from a few bags a year. To make drying easier on myself, I picked up a cheap baby bottle drying rack. The bags sit really nicely on it and dry pretty quickly.
Old, no longer wearable clothing – We resell a lot of our outgrown clothing on ThredUp.com or Swap.com and the ones we can’t sell, we donate to Schoola, but what about the ones that are no longer wearable? I keep a tote full. I don’t keep TOO much because otherwise I’d be run over by holey jeans and shirts, but I do like to keep a few pieces on hand. We try not to use too many paper towels here, so cleaning rags are always in need. I also use them to make our Reusable Dryer Sheets. Those holey shirts are PERFECT for that….towels are fantastic too. Cut them into rag size and boom. You’re good to go. Once the rag is really, REALLY not usable anymore, toss it finally.
Cereal bags – you know those really thick plastic bags that your cereal comes in? Yup. You guessed it. I have a stack of them sitting in a butter bowl on my counter. (No joke). Why? Because they’re really, REALLY good for keeping meat from being freezer burned if I happen to not feel like using the Foodsaver one day. They’re also awesome for covering your shoes if you’ve got to go someplace that its muddy, for wrapping bottles and tubes when you’re packing and more. Just give them a quick rinse and let them fully dry before you use them.
Non-food safe plastic containers- Here at our house, we generally use my homemade laundry detergent and my homemade dishwasher detergent so we’re always in need for containers that aren’t food safe. Facebook groups are a great way to find empty containers that other people have lying around. I grab them when I need to and replace them as needed. One word on this…do not EVER consider putting food in a container that is not marked food safe. I don’t care how many times you’ve rinsed it out. Again, it isn’t worth it.
Buttons and other small items – As I’m cutting up those old clothes? I pull all of the buttons off of them. That way, when I need a button for something, I don’t have to go buy one. They’re also really great for crafts too so that helps cut down on my crafting expenses each year. I also tend to save nuts, bolts, nails and the like. I’ve actually been known to be getting rid of something and pull all of the nails or screws out of it. We’ve not had to buy a nail or screw in a LONG time. Its a little savings, but little savings adds up.
Shampoo bottles – Another use for them is homemade cleaners like a homemade soft scrub, homemade sunscreen or to use with my homemade shampoo. I might store it in a peanut butter jar, but I prefer the shampoo bottle for use in the shower. Keeping old shampoo bottles on hand is a great way to just fill it with my own mixture and go. To get all of the soap residue out of them after the commercial shampoo is used, rinse the inside of the bottle with a 50/50 mixture of hot water and white vinegar. Let it sit for a bit then rinse well.
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