How to Save Money and Reduce Use on 10 Common Household Items
How to Reduce Use and Save Money on These 10 Common Household Items: I Rarely Buy Them!
There are many common household items that people can save money on. Over the years, I've found that I can either find cheap substitutes for these items or nearly eliminate them altogether.
1. Paper Towels
I may buy a few rolls of paper towels a year. Paper towels are useful in certain circumstances. For instance, they’re great at draining the oil from food. You could ruin a cloth with all that grease! Also, what do you use to pick up the occasional hairball from the cat? Something you can throw away, right? So you grab a paper towel. I also use them for doing windows, but that doesn’t happen very often in my house. What I do NOT use paper towels for is wiping up spills (unless they’re really gross!) on counters or floors…or as napkins, which leads me to the second item.
2. Paper Napkins
Use cloth. A one-time investment in some inexpensive napkins will save you hundreds of dollars over time. Throw dirty ones in the washer. Buy enough for several meals if you have a large family. I’ve bought them for almost nothing at yard sales. If you can sew a little bit, you might consider making them. The only time I ever buy paper napkins is for a large gathering. Then, to get rid of what’s left in the package, I use them for the things I would use paper towels for, so I’m really not out that much extra money for my purchase.
3. Cleaning Cloths
Tear up old T-shirts, towels, even old socks. (These are great to stick your hand in to wash the car with!) You need plenty of cloths, since you’ll be grabbing them to clean up spills throughout your house. If you have enough of these cloths, you can even use one to clean up something gross. If you have to throw it away, you haven’t lost much. You’ll have more old T-shirts coming your way to use before you know it!
4. Trash Bags
I use plastic shopping bags from various stores in all my trash cans. If they’re too small for a can you empty frequently—such as your kitchen trash—save the larger bags for just this trash can. Or use paper grocery bags, which are much larger. I keep a few larger bags (32 gallon) on hand for larger items I need to throw away, but I rarely use them.
5. Storage/Freezer Bags
These can be reused many times. Just stick them in the dishwasher! Or wash by hand and let them dry. You can get a lot of use out of these before they simply wear out.
6. Typing/Copy Paper
Unless I’m printing something I need to send out (i.e. resume, letter), I use the unused side of copy paper from other projects. Also, junk mail is a resource. You can use the backs of letters that are blank.
7. Small Notepads
I keep a spot for envelopes from mail with solid white backs. These work great for grocery and “to do” lists, the latter of which I make almost daily!
8. Air Freshener
Put cinnamon, cloves, or orange peels in water. Boil on the stove to get a great-smelling house. This is much cheaper and better for the environment than the chemicals in those sprays.
Freebies, freebies, freebies. I pick up free pens every chance I get—at seminars I go to, at promotional events—wherever they are offered.
10. Bottled Water
I NEVER buy this unless I’m on a trip and get thirsty, and it’s water that I want more than any other drink. Some say that bottled water isn’t necessarily healthier, anyway. If you’re sold on bottled water, see if using a filtered pitcher or faucet satisfies you.
Try some of these methods of saving. I find it challenging to see how long I can make things last, and it’s exciting to think about how much you can save!
Remember the old saying “A penny saved is a penny earned.” See how tight you can pinch those pennies on common household items so that you can use your hard-earned money on things that you really want. Stretch that dollar!
10 Things to Eliminate to Save Money
© 2011 Victoria Lynn