I have always been a thrifty sort of person. Even when I have money, I look for bargains. However, I find that the most used thrifty tips don’t seem to work for me. I don’t use coupons all that often. I shop sales occasionally but I’m not a sale watcher. I still manage to stretch a budget far further than it should be stretched. Some of this comes from amazing luck but much of this comes from learning how to be thrifty in different ways. I hope to share some of these ways with you.
Today’s post is titled Reuse, Repurpose, Refill because I believe that’s the heart of being thrifty. If you can’t see past the “norm”, you will always struggle with being thrifty. It’s more than just finding a bargain. Thrifty was a way of life before we had super stores that carried everything we could ever want for a low cost. The problem with this is that we consume more than we should, we are creating a ton of waste, and we’re not actually as thrifty as we think we are. We spend money on far too much crap that we don’t need or even want. More importantly, we spend too much money on things we do need because we have succumb to the idea that it’s a better deal.
Some of these tips I am going to share will seem like a “Duh!” sort of tips but sometimes we need to be reminded. However, if you have a great tip – share it with us. So without further ado, here are a few tips:
Purchase cloth products – napkins, dust rags (which can also be used on Swiffer like “brooms”), hand towels. They may seem like they make more laundry but the reality is even if you washed them after 1 use, you probably would not create a full load. We reuse napkins over and over again through the week until they become truly unclean (most meals don’t actually dirty the napkins). Dust cloths we fold to use and then reposition the fold to get a clean surface until the entire cloth is dirty. Wet washrags serve as wet wipes to clean our floors (spray floor with a good all purpose cleaner).
Empty out undamaged vacuum cleaner bags – so long as the vacuum cleaner bag is not torn, it can be dumped out and reused.
Old cloth items can be turned into rags. Worn sheets can easily become cloth napkins or even paint cloth. We’ve even used old sheets for curtains and to “paint” hand and footprints for quilts/hangings.
Use blankets to cover windows in the winter to cover up drafts instead of plastic. They do make it darker in the house but you can pull them back on sunny days to get the light or on warm days to open the windows. And there’s no tape to come unstuck.
Use disposable containers for storage. The top picture, we used the ketchup and mustard bottles from a picnic set to hold dish soap and the vinegar I use for hair rinse.
The bottom picture is just a sampling of the containers I have reused. I use glass containers to hold baking ingredients as well as grains. I label with a black sharpie. The smaller glass container holds our popcorn salt – a combination of dill and sea salt. The bottom container was filled with nuts and now holds dried lemons. We save all glass containers with our canning jars.
Turn a milk jug into a basket. Cut a section out at the top or side, depending on how you wish to use the basket. We use our milk jug “baskets” for foraging berries. We’ve cut the top open and left the handle so we could position the opening under berry covered branches and guide the berries into the jug. The berries are well contained and don’t leak.
This is the one that seems the most reasonable – it’s easy to purchase a refill for so many items but not every item we buy feels like it can be refilled. If you can open the container without damaging it then you can refill.
Here we used a hand soap pump and refill it with bulk liquid soap from Costco.
Using alcohol and essential oils, I am able to refill deodorizing spray and diffusers. I like a citrus oil for my spray and eucalyptus for the diffusers. It’s easy, I fill them most of the way with alcohol and add just a few drops of essential oil. If I need to replace the diffuser reeds, I just cut the pointy ends off of bamboo skewers and then save the old reeds for kindling for the grill.
I’m a huge hand sanitizer user. I can’t help it but it’s the most awesome invention ever. I think about making a version at home but haven’t gotten that far. I love containers that are portable but to replace them can get pricey. Easy solution – refill with sanitizer from the dollar store. Here I have two types of hand sanitizer I found – plain and vanilla. Both just a dollar and they refill my little containers for several months before I need to buy new refill bottles. The mini-sanitizer in blue was a free giveaway from our local health department so I could even stock up on those for no charge (just pick one up every time I see them available).
So that was just a few tips and ones I was able to come up fairly quickly. I’m sure there are more under the Reuse, Repurpose, Refill banner – share yours and I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this soon. Come back on Friday when I start in on shopping tips.