Frugal Living Tips – 36 Things to Reuse to Save Money at Home

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to come to terms with something that I’ve put off admitting for years. I’m cheap. Some might consider it an insult, but the truth is that I take it as a compliment. To me, being cheap isn’t anything to be ashamed of and instead, is something to be proud of. I do what I can to save money for my family. I follow frugal living tips and budgeting advice to keep my family taken care of and living well. Those frugal living tips can be hard to follow sometimes though; especially when I am in a “I want it” kind of mood. When that happens, I scale back what I’m doing to follow the easy ones so I’m not super stressed about what I’m doing and don’t risk failure. Finding things to reuse to save money is one of the easiest frugal living tips I know of and honestly; it’s one of the best ways to save money at home hands down.

Things to Reuse to Save Money - Sometimes frugal living tips can be hard to follow. That's why one of my favorite tips is to find things to reuse to save money. These 36 things to reuse to save money at home will help you cut your expenses and more!

Last week, Steve was rinsing out an old milk jug. By now, he knows that I want to save them so he automatically rinses them instead of accidentally tossing them. I looked up and told him that I was proud of him for remembering that milk jugs are one of my favorite things to reuse to save money. He’s learning and that’s all that matters. For someone who wasn’t extremely frugal three months ago, he’s come a long way. I am lucky that he is able to make the connection between reusing things to save money and keeping our household budget afloat. If you’re having trouble with your household budget failing, one of the simplest ways to rescue it is to cut your expenses. It may not seem like it, but finding things to reuse to save money around your home is a fantastic way to do so. It can help you find new ways to save money at the grocery storehelp you store your frugal pantry staples without fear of anything getting into it, help you with long term food storage and more.

Frugal Living Tips – 36 Things to Reuse to Save Money at Home

The thing about any frugal living tips that you’ll find on blogs like mine or in frugal living books you should read is that you have to actually be proactive about them. Saving money doesn’t just happen as much as we all wish it would. It can be hard though to keep all of the ones you want to follow in your mind since they’re so easy to forget about and bad habits can rear their ugly heads really easily. These things to reuse to save money are so easy to remember though that it will eventually become second nature to you and become one of your favorite ways to save money.

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These 36 things to reuse to save money really are the tip of the reusing iceberg. Once you get into the habit of reusing what you can, you’ll soon find yourself looking at everything you use in a new light. I know that is what happened to me when I started saving things to reuse after I stopped buying and started making things homemade to save money. You won’t make that connection though and you can’t save the money until you get started. The longer you wait, the less you’ll save.

Laundry Detergent Bottles – Old laundry detergent bottles are one of my favorite things to reuse to save money. If you make your own homemade laundry detergent recipe like THIS one, you need a place to put your finished product. By rinsing our old bottles and keeping them, you open up a more easier way for you to store your homemade product. In addition, laundry detergent bottles that have been rinsed are great for storing emergency cleaning water so you don’t have to bust into your potable water if your family does have an emergency.

Old Coffee Cups – It may not seem like it, but there are quite a few ways to use coffee cups aside from drinking your morning cup of joe. In fact, these are some of my favorite things to reuse to save money simply because they’re so unique!

Empty Glass Bottles – Reusing empty glass bottles is a staple of most frugal living tips for a reason. They’re so versatile because there are so many ways to use empty glass bottles out there!You can refill them with leftover sauces or liquids, make candles out of them and so much more!

Empty Milk Jugs – Like I’ve already said, empty milk jugs are one of my favorite things to reuse to save money. There are so many ways to use empty milk jugs! They’re great for storing emergency water, you can make a milk jug bird feeder, you can use them for painting and more!

Newspaper – Newspaper is another great thing you can reuse to save money. Use it to protect your furniture and floor when painting, make art from it, use it as gift wrap and more. In fact, I was actually surprised that there are so many ways to use newspaper as there are!

Old Sheets – We all have old sheets lying around and they’re perfect for adding to your list of things to reuse to save money. There are quite a few ways to use old sheets that you might be overlooking. I know it was surprings to me when I first started saving things to reuse.

K-Cup Pods – When I first made Steve coffee and rinsed out the used K-cup pod, I got a look that was part confusion, part intrigue. He asked me what I was doing since he had never thought that k-cups were one of the things you could reuse to save money. In truth, they are and they’re super easy to reuse! Just remove the filter then rinse and dry! They’re great for starting seeds, crafts and a lot of other ways to use K-Cups!

Juice Bottles – If your kids drink a lot of juice, reuse those bottles! Simply remove the label and rinse it well to reuse. You can use them to freeze sauces you make, add a wick to make a homemade lantern and more!

Spice Bottles – If you’re like me, you like to buy your spices in bulk. Bulk spices though aren’t exactly the greatest at fitting into a chicken wire spice rack like I have. Instead, I purchased a smaller bottle of each spice I use and refill them with the spices from my bulk bags. While I’m using the smaller bottle, I store my spices in the freezer in mylar bags to help keep them fresh.


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Empty Cleaning Spray Bottles – If you make your own homemade cleaning products, you’ll need something to store them in and to clean your home with. Empty spray bottles from other cleaning supplies work perfectly well for this! Reusing empty spray bottles saves you money over having to buy spray bottles for cleaning!

Yogurt Cups – Yogurt cups, like K-Cups, are also a great addition to your list of things to reuse to save money! Again, they’re good for starting seeds, crafts, snack cups and more!

Bar Soap Slivers – You might not think that slivers of bar soap are a good addition to your list of things to reuse to save money, but they can be. If  we’re talking about castile soap, save the slivers in a small bowl. Once you get enough, melt them down and make homemade liquid castile soap from them. You’ll save yourself around $20 for each batch of homemade that you make!

Vegetable Scraps – Aside from making compost, certain vegetable scraps are great to reuse. In fact, there are certain vegetables you can regrow from scraps. One of the best ways to save money on food is by growing your own food and there is no better way to do that than to reuse food you’ve already paid for to grow more.

Coffee Grounds – Coffee grounds are great in your compost pile, but did you know that they can also be a great homemade beauty item? Making a homemade coffee scrub is a great way to help yours skin look bright and awake every morning!

Egg Shells – Toss your used egg shells into the compost pile or your home garden and you’ll give your flowers or food a calcium boost. They’re also great for reusing for your dog too! If you make homemade dog food, crush up some egg shell to give your food a much needed boost of calcium too!

Clean water from your drain – Have you ever heard the term grey water? If you’re sitting there asking “what is grey water and how do you use it?” You’re not alone. In short, it is the clean water that goes down your drain. Now to be clear, I’m not talking about dirty water. I’m talking about clean water that you’re paying for but are sending down the drain. This water is great for washing the car with, watering plants with and more!

Old denim – Denim is a great addition to your list of things to reuse to save money! In fact, there are a ton of DIY upcycled denim projects you can do that will save! Everything from rugs to coasters and more! The more you make yourself, the less you have to buy!

Egg Cartons – Do you make homemade emergency candlesIf so,save your cardboard egg cartons and reuse them! Fill them with clean dryer lint and pour paraffin wax over them. You have an instant emergency candle or fire starter! They’re also fantastic for holding craft supplies, sewing supplies and more!

Orange Peels – Yes, I even save orange peels to reuse! They’re fantastic for making a homemade orange oil cleaner or a homemade orange sugar scrub. You can use them to make homemade fire starters and you can use them to make homemade emergency candles. They also make a great homemade potpourri to make your home smell great!

Soup Cans – If you’re looking for a way to save on seed starters and planters, add soup and other tin cans to your list of things to reuse to save money! They’re the perfect size for getting your garden going and if you’re trying to start a garden on a budget, you know how important it is so find ways to save.

Cardboard Boxes – Cardboard boxes are everywhere so why not try to find a way to reuse them? They can be used as makeshift floor mats for your car and more. These ways to use cardboard boxes are just the tip of the iceberg for getting started re-purposing them.

Paper Grocery Bags – Some stores still give shoppers paper grocery bags so instead of throwing them away, add them to your list of things to reuse to save money! They’re great for gift wrap, trash bags, school book covers, or even broken down and re-glued to make homemade lunch bags.

Coffee Filters – Coffee filters are another one of my favorite things to reuse to save money. There are just so many ways to use coffee filters and I find new ones everyday. If you’re looking for ways to save money in your household budget, this is definitely one you’ll want to try out!

Certain Grease and Oils – I live in the south and down here, it’s considered good form to make your green beans with bacon grease and to use that bacon grease anytime you can. The reality is that certain greases and oils are great for reusing. In addition to bacon grease, chicken fat, beef fat and pork fat can all be rendered into lard. As I said earlier, the ,ore you make yourself, the less you have to bar!

Glass Jars – In addition to reusing glass bottles, jars are perfect to reuse! They’re great for freezing things or food dry good storage too! They’re actually great for anything you need to store – nuts, bolts, nails  and even cleaners! 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 seal easily! Just be sure that you’re only using glass jars to store anything that has essential oils in it since the EO can degrade the plastic.

Plastic bowls and lids – If you’re frequently freezing leftovers, save your butter bowls, cottage cheese and sour cream containers. They freeze perfectly and 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 – Aluminum foil is super expensive for the amount you get in each roll which begs the question, why are you wasting it. Most of the time when I use aluminum foil on a baking dish, it comes out clean. Instead of balling it up and tossing it, I rinse it and allow it to dry fully. After that, I simply fold and reuse it. Once I’m done cooking with it, I fold it one last time and use it to sharpen my scissors.

Ziploc bags – Here’s another one to add to your list of things to reuse to save money along the lines of the foil above. Most Ziploc style bags are very durable so if they’ve got something dry in them, reuse them! You can typically use each bag once or twice again and you’ll save some decent cash because buying storage and freezer bags can get really expensive. There is one caveat to this. Do not, under ANY circumstances, rinse and reuse 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 clothes – We resell a lot of our outgrown clothing on or and the ones we can’t sell, we donate to Schoola, but I also keep most clothes that are unwearable in a tote as well. Old t-shirts become my DIY Reusable Dryer Sheets. Old towels get used for one of these ways to use old towels. Old sheets get used for these ways to use old sheets. The only thing I don’t keep is underwear and socks. There really aren’t too many uses for them that my family would use so I don’t need to keep them.

Cereal bags – You know those really thick plastic bags that your cereal comes in? I have a stack of them sitting in a butter bowl on my counter because they’re great 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.

Bread bags and other plastic bags – I’m sure that a lot of you already save those plastic shopping bags, but have you ever considered saving a bread bag?  They’re awesome for when you’re packing the kids lunch and don’t have a Ziploc on hand. They also work really well for keeping food scraps from flying free in your trash bags and a ton of other things.  Other plastic shopping bags work really well for smaller trash cans, lunch bags and more.

Buttons and other small items – As I’m cutting up the old clothes we save,  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 like our Easy Kids United States Button Flag, 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 shine boosting shampoo. I might store it on the shelf in a glass 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.

Dinner –  Finally we have one that a lot of families simply don’t do – reuse your dinner leftovers. Leftovers are a great way to save money on food and anytime you can feed your family twice out of one meal is a win. If you tend to have a lot of leftovers, designate one night a week as a leftover buffet. Warm them all up, set them out and let your family eat what they would like from them. If you’re not eating leftovers at least once a week, you’re wasting money. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

*Originally Published December 2014/Updated July 2018

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Stacy Williams

Stacy Williams is a 37-year old wife to a USAF Gulf War Veteran, mother of two teen girls and fur-mamma to a rescued pit bull. The face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family, she also owns and manages Long Haul Wife, Republic Preparedness, The Genealogy Queen and a handful of others sites. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome a drinking problem, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Learn how to earn a full-time income from home by learning how to start a blog just like this one! Click HERE to check out Stacy's step-by-step tutorial.
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  1. Thanks for a great list. My mom and I have saved lots of these things for years.

    Couple of quick things. Please be careful about storing food in old peanut butter containers. I have a kid with a peanut allergy so this is always at the front of my thoughts. I use my old peanut and peanut butter jars for things like bacon grease instead of for food my kiddo might get into. If I do use them for food items I try to fill them with more nuts so again she doesn’t get into them, I also always make sure that those jars and lids stay together to keep me reminded.

    Also, about containers, I have found that the mid size coffee containers (like Folgers) are great to use as scoops. We have a property we do snow removal for and we set up a couple sand buckets at, I always toss in a coffee container because they are bright colored, durable and have an easy to grip handle. Plus they can carry a good bit of sand.

    Great tip on the cereal bags being good to stave off freezer burn! I’ll be using this tip!

    Just something I heard on the radio for the first time. Many goodwill organizations are now accepting old towels, sheets and clothing that is not usable due to wear or stains. They are selling these items to fabric and yarn manufactures to be recycled into new cloths and yarn. The only requirement for condition is they can’t smell. The PSA recommended calling your donation center to see if they have a program like this. I also use old knit gloves as dust rag. I get them just slightly damp, put them on (or more like my 4 year old puts them on) and dust! I love it because she can help, she is great at baseboards and under tables!

    • For sure on the allergies! Most of the time they’re just used for screws and nails and things because they’re kinda odd shaped for food. 🙂

    • I use socks that have lost their mate for dust rags.

      • Ditto on that. We have a bin for odd socks and if they have been lonely a long time, they get used for other things.

        • I pair up lost mates and wear them. I try to match similar socks (like both have hearts, or both have a lot of black, or both have cats(you know the old crazy socks that are hard to find now, so unless they have holes they are matched up and worn)). I do the same with some of my sons socks. And old jeans can be used to make back pillows for the cars or the couch, etc (kids sized jean legs are perfect, my mom has snagged a few of my sons old jeans for this purpose), and adult size can be turned into durable aprons for kids, and adults (I find the leg is a little short for me, so I’m going to add about 4 inches of a fabric ruffle to give me extra length. You rip the pockets off and put in on the bottom center for a pocket, and add bias tape around the edges for edging and ties.)

    • St. vincent dePaul charity collects rags too. Just put them in a plastic bag and mark “rags”
      I save snippets of cotton t-shirts to clean eyeglasses. Perfect.
      The pull tabs from canned veg/soup are great as hangers on the backs of picture frames. Just glue it on.
      We compost kitchen garbage and my husband puts smaller bread bags inside a coffee container, or even an oatmeal container and we fill it up and he takes it down to the bin. No mess left behind.
      Save denim, including the jeans pockets and seams for crafting.
      packing material which comes with any purchases including peanuts, foam.
      Wool sweaters for felted crafts
      plastic containers from mushrooms, etc for keeping in drawers to corral loose office supplies
      Donate blankets, small throw rugs, etc to the Humane Society for keeping the animals warm.

    • The Humane society and rescues LOVE OLD TOWELS.

  2. LOVE this list. I do all except the shampoo bottles, and now I’m going to start saving those. Brilliant!! I get oodles of samples too and it’s a pain to open those little packets with wet hands!
    I save the toilet paper tubes, and use them to wrap small gifts (earrings, candy, etc) in. I use an old utensil holder and berry baskets to corral everything in my bathroom drawers and lots in the craft room.
    Berry baskets, cut down cereal boxes, and jello boxes now fill my junk drawers and everything has a place.
    Those butter bowls for storing food, I remove the printing with nail polish remover, then use a sharpie to write what’s in them, and the date. Nail polish remover again when I’m ready to re-use them.

  3. I save and reuse tissue paper from gift bags and boxes. So long as there aren’t any tears in the paper, it can be ironed flat and look good as new!

    • Ann Dudley says

      You don’t need to get ride of the torn pieces of tissue paper. Use them for art. Find a canvas or make one. Wet hair he canvas lightly. Take bits of the tissue paper and randomly lay out (or if you like and can make a picture)the paper. Let dry. Seal with decopodge or other type surface sealer I.e. glue/water mixture. Find a frame you like & frame/hang. You can use wrapping paper with the tissue paper. The thinner paper is best. If you like you can do this treatment to those white gift boxes just wet paper not box. Complete as above.

  4. I have prescriptions that I take monthly so I have a lot of pill bottles, I use these for storing small items such as small nails, tacks, nuts, screws, & wire nuts in my tool box. Thanks for the nail polish and cereal bag ideas!!

  5. Sarah Dewey Melchiorre says

    I save prescription bottles for small things. I reuse Crystal Light containers for scoops, pencils/pens, and storing small pieces. I save plastic bags from everything, packaging materials when I get items shipped, plastic dishes from frozen meals to feed my cats, tidy cat containers to store pets food, litter, blocks in, and tissue boxes to feed my guinea pig hay in.

  6. Judy Brady says

    I love your post! I do many of these things already. I hate throwing away anything that can be reused. I save bows from gifts, gift bags, tissue paper and if the wrap is really nice, I save that too. My family laugh at me on Christmas when I put all the mess into a basket to sort through later. One time my daughter went to a birthday party and the gift bag was used by her friend for another party and after 3 or 4 parties, the same gift bag came back to my daughter on her birthday. It still was in good shape….so guess what, I saved it to use again!

  7. I save cereal boxes and such for my kids to use in their play kitchen. They love using “the real thing” when they play. If they play too rough with it, no problem. Same thing with any of the food safe containers without lids. The boxes can also be used for tons of crafts or just open it up and let them color or paint the inside. I use the grocery bags to wrap up nappies before putting them in the trash. I realize that isn’t necessarily helping the landfills, but it really helps the smell. Along with the toilet paper rolls, you can stuff your dryer lint into them and bring them along as awesome campfire starters.

  8. My husband laughs at the glass jars I save! I also save any kind of packaging (bubble wrap, etc.), gift bags (I actually just gave about 20 gift bags away because it was getting out of hand), and even wrapping paper!

  9. Sue Caswell says

    In the fall, I start saving cereal boxes, pasta boxes, those kind of boxes. It is so much easier to wrap presents in a box, than not. You can always put the grey side out, but its kind of fun to open a package and there is a box of mac and cheese.. Works great.

    • That’s an awesome idea Sue!

    • I use cereal, pasta, and cracker boxes for wrapping also. My grandkids were not quite sure how to respond when they opened their Christmas presents and thought they were getting cereal or mac and cheese. It was great, loved their expressions as they “thanked” me before they actually opened the boxes.

  10. Brigitta M. says

    I love this post. My boyfriend often teases me that he has to ask for my permission before he throws anything away. lol As well as what you have listed there are a number of other items that I save due to my hobbies: bookbinding and dollhouse miniatures. Any paper (even if it has been written on) can be pulped and remade for a homemade smashbook. Used wooden matches make for a variety of wooden details in a dollhouse such as bedposts and even a wooden paper towel holder. Lotion and shampoo bottles can be washed out and used as bathtubs. I’ve even used teeny-tiny scraps of fabric from the holiest of clothing to make throw rugs, curtains, tablecloths and bedding for the dollhouse. I’ll be able to get even more out of the fabric after I learn to sew dollclothes. My only rule in fabric is that it can’t be smelly or too stained after it has been washed. Even if it’s a color I’m not particularly fond of (like an old workshirt of my boyfriend’s that was bright yellow) I’ve always found a use for it (the shirt in question, in particular was used for the center of mini daisies).

    • I like the matches thing. I also do a lot of crafts and when I saw that, light bulbs (ideas) starting popping up…so many uses.thanks

  11. these are some pretty good ideas, i’ve reused most of these and i’m glad to learn new ways to reuse. My MIL is best at reusing things, she created a empanada cutter out of a clean tuna can.

  12. Dee Thomas says

    I love the stuff you re use? I have been doing this for years? One thing I do? Instead of buying paper towels? I make my own napkins from shirts,old dresses,etc, as long as it is mostly cotton? It will work! Been doing this for years? I have a 3 roll paper towels that I save in case someone gets sick & don’t make it to the bathroom! I love your blog!

  13. I love all of these ideas! Here’s my addition: My husband and I shred lots of junk mail, newspaper, used computer paper (after I’ve already cut it up into scrap paper and used the blank side), etc. We also save and wash all of our prescription bottles. Every month or so we take them to one of the local animal shelters, where they use the paper shreds for an absorbent layer in cages, and reuse the bottles for meds! Call your local shelter to see what they can use. Some also ask for clean old towels, bath rugs, fabric scraps and other things you might be saving!

  14. Julie Sinclair says

    Here in South Africa we buy washing powder and sometimes dry dog food in very strong plastic bags. I save mine to use if I have a broken glass or anything that could injure the refuse workers hands when they collect or sort the rubbish. I simply staple the bag closed and put in the rubbish bin without fear of anyone being injured.

  15. Plastic milk jugs have many uses. By leaving the handle on and cutting a hand sized hole on top taking off the spout as you do, you have a great container for small kids toys. Slice the handle along the lower portion and slip it on your clothes line to hold clothes pins. Cut a bigger hole and keep one near the toilet to hold the toilet brush or plunger. Cut the flat surfaces into 3 1/2 inch circles as meat separators for hamburger patties. Put one on each side of the patty and stack them in a bread bag for freezing. By turning the jug upsidedown and cutting off the handle and spout, you have the basis for a kid’s mask. Cut out slots for the eyes, a flap that juts out for the nose and a hole for the mouth. If you cut slits up the back toward the top it can fit over the child’s head. (Think a knight’s helmet to help visualize this.) My boys loved these. We did Batman as well.

    2 liter soda bottles make great bird feeders. Cut a 3 inch hole on either side of the bottle near the bottom, the shape of a sideways “D”. Pop some small holes(smaller than the seed) in the bottom for drainage. Hang it up and fill the bottom with bird feed.

    5 gallon food safe buckets can be used to grow vegetables. Drill 1/2 inch holes in the bottom and about 3 inches up the side. Put rocks in the bottom for drainage and fill with good soil. They need to be watered more frequently but lend themselves to many types of patio plants and herbs.

    Metal cans can be used to prevent cut worm damage. Cut off both ends and use as a collar around seedlings. Larger cans, like those for canned peaches or tomatoes can be used for watering. Cut and remove the top lid, punch holes on the bottom and the lower sides. When you are putting your plants in bury the can open side up about flush with the soil near the roots. Fill the can with water to water the plants instead of spraying the entire garden.

    If you use heavy duty aluminum foil, it can be reused many many times.

    Bread bags are great to store meal sized portions of bulk purchased meat.

    Grocery bags fit small trash cans. Most are brought back to our local thrift store and reused by them. They work as “fluff when mailing breakables. And our grocery stores take them for recycling where they are made into plastic “lumber”.

    I frequently use jars with lids for gifted jellies and home canned goods and rarely have problems with them resealing. That way I never have to worry about getting a canning jar back.

  16. Lois Adams says

    I also put things at the road and it always disappears.

    One mans junk is another mans treasure.

  17. I use old kleenex box in my car for trash and when full just toss.

  18. Melanie D says

    I have a Kleenex box in each room of our home that has a trash can in it. The Kleenex box is full of reuasble store bags for the trash can.

    • I love that! Kleenex boxes can also be used as baby and toddler sensory boxes. Put a few small baby safe toys inside that have varying textures. Babies enjoy this fun new game.

  19. My father’s family saves Sunday comics, and whenever possible, gives Christmas presents completely wrapped in jokes.

    I always reuse giftwrap, but I really struck gold when I started giving away cloth gift bags. Some people are as excited about getting a pretty bag made from repurposed fabric as they are about the gift itself, some people reuse the bag for a gift as usual or hand it right back.

    I save glass jars to use with cups and leftover jars. I’ve been trying to go glass more and more with my leftover storage, particularly with acidic leftovers like tomato sauce and things I’ll need to reheat. Some pasta sauce jars even have measuring marks on the side, which doesn’t hurt when storing ingredients.

    I save some cardboard. It’s startlingly versatile. Long pieces can be used to make storage drawers and pantry sorters, and generally fill in when an object is needed around the house, but it doesn’t have to be as strong as wood. It’s easy to decorate. For not very visible places, I use duct tape in a pretty color. For more visible places, craft or wrapping paper or fabric look better. Large sheets of brown cardboard can be used to smother weeds and grass to clear a new garden bed.

    I save brown paper from shipments, and use it under garden mulch.

    I save leaves and grass clippings in fall for leaf mulch. I cram them into not so visible corners of the garden that are awkward to weed, and around plants that I’ll need to be flourishing in April before the dandelions. Most of this will dissolve back into the ground quickly, some will need to be cleared away around the time of the last frost.

    Coffee grounds make good fertilizer.

  20. feliciana says

    One of the best things I’ve done is buy a large bag of microfiber cloths at Costco and use them for everything from paper towel replacements to dust rags and scrub rags, and you can always fold one over a Swiffer bottom to dustmop the floors. I just wash them and hang them out to dry on the clothesline (another frugal habit) and use the rags over and over again. I’ve had them for at least 5 years and still going strong. I do most of the other listed things, but the cereal box liners is new to me; great idea for the freezer.

    Remember “waste not, want not”

  21. This is where you can use your cereal bags as well. Rather than the wipe container use the cereal bag. They make a nice crinkling sound also. I save cereal boxes as well for making my own mini bolts for storing my fabric on. Then I can see all my fabric at a glance on the shelf.

  22. As with most of the ladies here, I to save/reuse most of what you said. One I love is coffee filters. You can get a good three uses from one coffee filter if your careful. Just rinse and dry on and upside down peanut butter jar that you saved! 😉 Also, I’ll add fresh grinds to the used ones because you don’t need as much. If I used two scoops first, then my next pot would only need one scoop. Just don’t tell my hubby! 😉 Thanks for sharing this, I’m not alone!
    Kristine 🙂

  23. Diane Middleton says

    You mentioned reusing foil…I have found that a hint I read some time ago really works…balls of foil make good fabric softeners..I was unhappy with the commercial softeners as the liquids sometimes left blue streaks on white clothes and the fabric sheets were quite a nuisance to round up and reuse…just use a ball of washed foil after it has outlived its usefulness in the kitchen…throw it in with wet clothes and it does fine. It will eventually disintegrate into smaller pieces and can then be thrown out.

  24. I use the lint off my dryer, stuff it inside an old roll of toilet paper, and use it as a fire starter. Since I also love the outdoors and have a hiking backpack ready to go at all times, I make my own diy fire starters. I use old straws from my fast food drinks (the thicker the straw, the better) I use a skewer and stuff some dryer lint on it, get a small amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly -equal to about about a cm worth in the straw and then stuff some more dryers lint on it. (make sure you leave some empty straw at both ends so it’s easy to seal) use a lighter to heat one side of the straw and when hot and melty, use the plyers to seal shut. They’re no more than 1 to 2 inches long, so I can make 4 to 5 out of 1 straw and I ALWAYS have fire starters. God forbid, an emergency. The dryers lint catches fire quick and the Vaseline is an extender, so even on extreme weather conditions, you have a good chance at a fire. I also use the same straw technique to alway have antibiotic ointment at hand, toothpaste, etc. I also use empty pill bottles, glue some fine grit sand paper on the inside of the lid and put some matches in the bottle (face down). The repurposing lists that I have are endless. Glad to know that there are more people out there with the same mentality. Of course, some of my reasons are different than just saving money, I also like to repurpose, to save the landfills

  25. Use a razor blade(carefully!) or small scissors to cut open all those plastic tubes of product after you think you have squeezed everything out of them and you will be amazed at how much is still clinging to the sides. A cosmetics salesperson taught me this trick years ago and it has saved a lot of products from being discarded.

  26. I use the plastic bags that newspapers come in when the weather is bad. If you have a glass that sweats really bad with cold drinks slide the glass into the narrow bag and the liquid catches in the bag and saves a mess on the table or counter it is on. I use this especially on my desk at work so all my papers don’t get wet.

  27. I save the containers that individual drink mixes & pitcher size ones come in. They are great for my pencils & other craft tools. I also save coating containers. I make play dough for school & these are great for storing it in.

  28. Anyplace that takes grocery bags to recycle usually takes other bags like dry cleaning and bread bags. Look it up online.

    We do lots of the thrifty things mentioned. We also reuse plastic utensils. They hold up in the dishwasher, so we use them until they die to limit plastic being mindlessly tossed in the trash. I wish more people would watch Plastic Paradise, and that would convert people to the idea of reusing and reducing plastics.

  29. Wow!… It’s good to know I’m not the only ‘nutcase’ out there!
    I save everything you mentioned above. In addition I save coffee cans for crafts and storage, and pet food bags (I use these to scoop the litter box into). Like you, I make my own washing powder and have also learned to make my own soap from scratch.

  30. Most of your tips I’ve done all my life, learned thwm feom Mom! But 1or 2 don’t make since for me. The cereal bags! I would use plastic wrap, or that aluminum foil on meat and the rest the shopping bags! We have so many of them…. but for the shoes! Wear boots!

  31. Norma walker says

    I do boxes for Operation Christmas Child I save the empty medicine bottles to make fishing kids for boys.

  32. I save the twist ties from bread bags and the plastic ties and rubber bands. I also save cereal boxes, Apple sauce plastic bottles, all glass jars with lids and I’ve been know to dry a paper towel and reuse again. I also reuse those plastic travel wipe bags. I reuse them for trash to throw away used qtips, cotton balls and wipes then just toss when full. I’ve never done this but you could save junk mail envelopes and just glue some scrapbook or wrapping paper or even a paper bag to the front and reuse. I like to cut of brown paper bags and use them as liners when baking. I’ve also used brown paper bags for wrapping items to be shipped. I LOVE reusing things.

  33. I save every jar we get for storing smaller sewing, crafting, or stained glass items. Like glass nuggets to ribbon and buttons. I also save butter containers, (with lids of course to store sting and cording) and slit the top with a small x in two or four locations depending on the size of the spool and then slip the string end through the slit and it keeps it from getting tangled. Then they can stacked if you have more than one. Baby fod jars and cans are also, great items for storage. I save vegetable cans and duct tape them together with fun duct tape or if I’m using regular gray I will spray paint it to use to store paint brushes, pens , and markers.
    It drives my husband crazy at time with everything i save but he knows it saves us money. 🙂

  34. I save the plastic mesh bags that some produce comes in. They can be folded into a ball and used as scrubbers for cleaning dishes, works really well. I also use them for putting peanuts in for birds, and those tallow cakes for birds that you are supposed to buy a cage thing for.

  35. Oh my gosh, so many great ideas! I’ve done many of these, but some are new to me – I especially like the tips about the cereal bags fending off freezer burn, pulping paper scraps to make new paper, removing print with nail polish remover, and finding out what the local animal shelter can use!

    My tip may be out of date, but I used to use old film containers to carry small amounts of laundry soap for trips.

  36. Big yogurt tubs with lids I use for container gardening inside. It’s easy to poke drainage holes in the bottom then use the lid to catch run off.

  37. I reuse different types of lids. With some trial and effort they can come in handy. Some squirt tops from dish washing liquids can be used on coke bottles for a easy pop up top while driving, And some can be used on shampoo and lotion bottles that have a screw off lid. I Like the twist ones that come on Gatorade fit great on Kroger dressings It can be twisted closed and no loose lids left on the counter. I then keep the insert from the inside top of the dressing bottle (the one with the little hole and I cut a few V shapes around the edges and insert them in the 1.50 juices (fruit punch and orange drinks) from Walmart. Then when we go somewhere with my grandkids I stick a straw in the top of the dressing insert and into the juice bottle and have a. Instant Sippy cup. Can also keep the bottle and top and refill with the cheap Tropicana drink and have it ready for babysitting day. I also save my empty spice jars and make my own BBQ rub, KFC, and steak spices. I am a spice nut.

  38. I save the plastic closures on bread bags to use as bobbins when knitting with several colors of yarn, such as intarsia or fair isle.
    I also save the 8 oz juice bottles, you know the ones you get to throw in your bag incase they get thirsty on the go or pack in lunch boxes. I cut off the label and wash them, most of them get refilled with water and thrown into my freezer, when we go to the zoo or the beach, etc, they get packed in a cooler or insulated bag with our lunch. They make perfect ice packs and as they thaw they become extra drinkable water. A few of the bottles I leave out to pour new juice in when I pack my sons once a month lunch with teacher (he goes to preschool). I don’t just save the small 8 oz bottles but they are the ones I have the most of. Any thin bottle is perfect to use as a ice pack as they aren’t too bulky and you have extra water at the end of your trip that is cold.

  39. Hubs is a Boy Scout leader and when the Webloes come up from Cub Scouts he teaches them camping. He uses plastic peanut butter jars as first aid kits. Waterproof! When I was younger my Dad would dip wooden matches in hot wax to make them waterproof.
    One thing I did about a year ago was, cutting up a fitted and flat flannel sheet set that was worn out. We cut them into squares and rectangles, serged the edges ( or zig zagged) and I use then instead of paper towels.
    We take empty prescription pill bottles with us on vacation and fill them withstand from a beach or rocks from special places. I use a sharpie to label them and when we get home I put the contents into a pretty jar.

  40. I also reuse bread bags….i cut them in half for sandwiches or chips and use twist ties. I use hamburger and hot dog bun bags for biscuits. I also use grocery bags for many things except for ones that had fresh meat in them. If i am out of foil or plastic wrap i simply slide plate or bowl of leftovers in and use a twist tie.

  41. One thing to keep in mind about bread wrappers… Bread wrappers are printed with pliable paint, which ( at least in the past) has been shown to contain lead. The clear sections of the bag are fine, but not the bright paint. So, if you re-use them for food storage, please be careful how you handle them. If you do a quick internet search on this issue, you can find hundreds of articles about this.

  42. Joan McKee says

    Do lots of the above too. I cut out pictures from cards received for birthdays or other occasions and glue onto blank cards and hey presto I have beautiful cards then to send to my friends for a fraction of the cost.

  43. I make herbal infused oils. When it is time to strain the plant material out of the oil, I use an old, clean, cut up t-shirt placed in the metal strainer/colander. I use them for straining my plum jelly also. A coffee filter makes a good strainer also but I can wash and re-use the t-shirt many times.

    • That’s a great use for them Judy! I wonder if they would work as a temp coffee filter too if you were out?

  44. Karen Hart says

    Love all of these ideas. I do most of them already. I save butter dishes, cottage cheese containers, large yogurt containers and then take them to relatives houses during the holidays for holiday dinner leftovers, write on the outside what the leftover contents is and put in fridge or freezer. We all pitch in bringing the food and then divide it up afterwards. I have also used them to store/freeze fresh squeezed juices of lemons and oranges from my sister’s trees. I have used grocery bags for trash cans in bathrooms and bedrooms and also for “breading” meat, put bread crumbs or flour in the bag with the seasonings then add meat and shake, toss in trash when done. Easy clean up. Husband takes his lunch in a grocery bag, puts it in fridge at work. Good idea about the cereal boxes, I use cardboard for making homemade greeting cards with rubber stamps so as to protect my table, was wondering what I could use to replace the “well worn” cardboard with, now I know.. :0

    • I’m glad I could give you a new idea Karen. 🙂 I’m sure your greeting cards look amazing! Some of the best ones I’ve seen have been homemade!

  45. This is really disgusting but because of my PCOS I can grow a full on beard and have to use many, many applications of Sally Hansen Microwavable wax to get rid of it so I reuse the wax with the hairs in it. I used to buy a new container every two weeks at $5.00 a container or $260.00 a year now I use them for about two months and only spend only $30.00 a year on it a $230.00 savings per year. The wax gets hot enough to kill whatever germs may be in there from reusing the wax.

    • R, have you tried sugar waxing? You can make the “wax” at home and I imagine it could be done with old tees or a strong fabric. Might be worth looking into. Btw? From one PCOS girl to another? I feel ya. Thanks for sharing!

  46. Wow I thought this I was the only one saving all these things plus spray bottles from cleaning products are great for homemade house and garden products and ketsup and mustard bottle are great for homemade sauces and jellies and craft things like paint.

  47. I do most of these things, but I never thought to save the cereal bags. They
    are really strong bags, and I can think of many uses for them. Thanks

  48. Such a great thread! And the comments are a gold mine too!

    One thought about a use for the bread bags…they make a great, easy way to “wrap” larger or oddly shaped Christmas ornaments when you are packing up in January 🙂 I used to save the plastic bags our newspaper came in for this purpose but we don’t get the paper anymore.

    Also, if you buy new Christmas lights, the extra long twisty ties that come in the packaging are really handy for securely fastening cellophane on a gift basket, then you just tie your pretty ribbon over the top of that!

  49. Connie Jordan says

    A local animal shelter where I live asks for old socks and 20 ounce soda bottles without the lids. They put the bottle in the sock and tie a a knot in the sock to make dog toys. I did it for my dogs and they love it.

  50. Vivian Blossom says

    I have gazillions of cottage cheese and yogurt containers because I can never throw them away. I freeze everything I can in them but still am overrun. We volunteer at a dinner for the homeless every week so now I bring them there. When we have leftovers, we now have containers to send the leftovers with the hungry. Also, we go through tons of towels and dishcloths, so I bring my old ones in to use. We don’t really care if they match the “decor”!

  51. Cassie Mydosh says

    I keep waxed paper from butter sticks for lining the bottom of loaf and cake pans to make removing the food easier. I fold the waxed paper in half and keep in the freezer.
    I also wash out the waxed bags from cereals and crackers to use when I need waxed paper for rolling out pie crusts or spooning clusters out.
    I use TP rolls for my silicone mats.

  52. SavingMommaOf3 says

    With old socks or ones you cant find a match for…fill with rice. You can use them as heat packs. Just throw it in the microwave for a minute & your good to go.
    This helped me with breastfeeding engorgement

  53. Carol Payne says

    I have saved cereal liners for years. Also zip top frozen fruit and vegetable bags and bread bags. I roll them onto a cardboard paper towel roll and secure them with elastics. They are great for storing frozen berries, homemade pesto cubes, homemade roasted tomatoes etc. Thanks for all the other tips.

  54. I use old diaper wipe containers to store purchased dryer sheets in(still can’t get around to making my own). The original box is SO flimsy and this works great, as I have do laundry in an off site laundromat. Thanks for all the great tips, everyone!!

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