Being ‘green’ and frugal can really go hand-in-hand! What better way to save money and the environment than to reuse everyday household items rather than throwing them away and buying something new!
Gift Wrap – Being couponers, we get our fair share of Sunday papers! Rather than throw them out (or put in the recycle bin), put it to good use one more time by using the comics and entertainment section as gift wrapping! Not a fan of using paper? Get crafty and use brown paper bags for wrapping. To avoid the cheap look, splurge and buy some nice ribbon and tie it around the box. You can also save and reuse the bows of Christmas presents by not removing the plastic protective piece on the sticky part and instead, use a small piece of tape to stick them to the presents (the tape will come off easier, plus, won’t take off the paper like the sticky part on the bows do). Cute Tip: If you have a ton of really old, expired coupons (any less than six months, consider the Overseas Coupon Project), wrap presents with the coupon inserts for the couponista in your life. They will love it!!
Trash Bags/Lunches – Prefer plastic? Reuse your plastic grocery bags as trash bags in the bathroom and laundry room. Have a dog? Use them to pick up your pooch’s stuff while going for walks (this isn’t the greenest, I know, but at least you can reuse it once before just tossing it if you don’t recycle!). Don’t have a reusable lunch sak/cooler? Use the plastic grocery bags to throw your lunch in (just remember to pack your sandwich last as not to smush it). Also, instead of peanuts when mailing packages, if you have a ton of plastic baggies, use them to secure items in the box – write a note and tell the receipt to save the bags and do the same when they need to mail something!
Pots and Plants – Buy spaghetti sauce in the glass jars? Wash them out and resuse them as players for outside and around the house! Buy butter in the tub? Use the plastic lids as saucers for your plant pots! Alternately, you can also use coffee can lids, too!
Candle Holders/Nails, Screws/Craft Items – If you love tea-light candles and votives but don’t have anything to put them on while they are burning, consider using baby food jars after cleaning them out! If you are feeling crafty, glue some cute fabric to the outside of the jars for decoration. Also, use baby food jars for storing your mini craft items in, as well as screws and nails!
Scrubbers/Makeup – Rather than throwing away your old toothbrush, boil it in hot water to clean them and then reuse them as scrubbers to remove stains from carpets and clothes. Cute Tip: Instead of buying an eyebrow brush, use a toothbrush to shape your brows and blend in your eyebrow pencil color.
Envelopes – Save that junk mail! If you get “spam” mail, as I like to call it, in the envelopes (credit card offers, insurance company recruitments), you can open the envelopes all the way and use them as scrap paper! Or, if you don’t have a coupon organizer, reuse them to store your coupons in. And, if you have labels, grab a bunch of deposit envelopes next time you’re at the bank and use the labels to cover up any wording on the envelopes and use them to mail letters and bills.
Food Storage – You know those butter tubs I mentioned above? You can also wash them out and reuse them to store leftovers and school lunches rather than buying the plastic containers at the store. Same goes with sour cream and cheese containers, too!
Coasters – Use old placemats as coasters! Just cut them up how you want, and use fabrics to create fringes for a decorative touch.
About the Author: Michelle Dudas is a military spouse and SAHM, as well as the author of http://www.militarywivessaving.com, where she helps her fellow military spouses save money and get the most band for their buck. Before deciding to be a SAHM, she worked in the banking industry for over 10 years, where she worked as a loan office, helping others think smart about their money.