Don’t Throw It Away!

Don’t Throw It Away! 

Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner

We’ve been told that being frugal is now in vogue.  If true, then this is the first time in my life I’ve been considered part of the “in” crowd.  You don’t have to earn a lot of money to increase your savings.  You can simply spend less.  Here are some of my favorite ways to re-use items in the St. Pierre household.  Think first before throwing something away! 

  • A towel in the St. Pierre household has three lives:  the first life is its original use in the bathroom or kitchen; the second is as a work towel around the house until holes appear; then my husband puts it out of its misery using it in the shop to change the oil in the car.
  • Over half of the online coupons I print out are never used.  Turn them over and they make great shopping lists. 
  • I bought a box of Hefty trash bags at the beginning of this century.  I’ve barely used them.  We re-use all of our shopping bags, paper or plastic.
  • Dove ice cream bars are a special treat for us in the summer.  I wash the wooden sticks and my husband will use them in his shop to mix small amounts of paint or JB Weld.
  • Growing up in Chicago, my husband spent a lot of time in Greek restaurants.  He noticed they always had mixed vegetables as the Friday vegetable of the day.  Save those extra veggies after each dinner during the week.  On Friday tell your family you’re having Greek vegetables for dinner.  Or you can also make homemade vegetable soup – add a can of diced tomatoes, water or stock, oregano, salt & pepper and a dash of Tabasco.
  • Who needs Shake-n-Bake?  Potato chip remnants at the bottom of the bag make a great coating for chicken or fish.  The same is true for broken tortilla chips. 
  • The food gifts we get for Christmas are rarely used for their original intended purpose.  Got some trail mix you’re never going to eat?  Chopped dried fruit and nuts added to cream cheese makes a great spread for crackers.  I use it as a stuffing for chicken or pork.  Add broken candy canes to vanilla ice cream.
  • Too many wire hangers from the drycleaner?  Straighten them out and use them to remove hair clogs in your bathtub or sink.  No need to call the plumber.
  • We have a large shopping bag in my office where we are putting stuff we don’t use anymore.  This spring we’ll decide what could be sold at a yard sale and what’s marketable on eBay. 

What’s your favorite re-use it story?  Leave me a comment below.

Visit my Basic Financial Management page for more information.