You’ve got awesome stuff that can work harder for you. You look at these things regularly, but have you really maximized the potential of your stuff? Here are a few things that I’ve found that really make sense, once you get beyond the “weirdo” component–then you begin to see the awesome, frugal potential of the many things around you.
Disposable plastic zip bags aren’t just one-time use bags. When I was younger and we’d visit my grandma, I’d always notice she’d have disposable plastic zip bags clothes-pinned on a line to dry. At the time, I think I was 7, I thought it was odd. Now, nearly 30 years later, I see the genius in her plan. Just because the item is labeled as a one-time-use product, doesn’t mean it’s eliminated its value when the one use is completed. If we stored crackers in the bag at first, I open it up, shake it out and get it ready for more dry goods. I also use disposable plastic zip bags to store my healthy food items in the freezer. And guess what? Black bean bags can be rinsed and have bulk-batches of brown rice or quinoa placed in them to store in the freezer. Tip! Make it your plan to re-use your disposable bags until they aren’t usable again (meaning leaks, etc). You’ll get a much bigger bang for your buck! (Remember, if you store meat in a disposable plastic zip bag–then it really is just a one-time-use bag)
Bonus packets can give you a sweet (or spicy) bonus any day of the week. I save a few extra sauce packets with each visit to our favorite restaurants. Then throughout the week, I’m able to add some spicy flavor to my healthy dishes and my sauce is already pre-packaged in an individual, portable container. Talk about convenient! Tip! Don’t toss the extra sauce/seasoning packets if you’ve gotten too many–save them and use them later in the week for an extra spicy kick.
Your drink containers can have a second purpose. I’ve recently discovered the bonus value of making my own liquid laundry detergent (and powdered laundry detergent) and I’ve been storing these items in our empty, well-washed drink containers. Think about it–the company didn’t want their liquid merchandise to spill, so they made a great, secure container. Take advantage of this fabulous technology for storage of your liquids. When I’m finished with the laundry detergent, I can refill the container again or recycle it (based on the condition) Tip! Think about using drink containers in place of fancy “purchasable” solutions: old sports-drink bottles can be filled with water and frozen instead of buying extra ice or your juice containers can store sauces or mixable drinks in them.
You don’t need fancy, expensive conditioner. This tip may seem the most out there, it’s from my sister-in-law and it’s a natural solution that really works! Try apple-cider vinegar instead of your regular conditioner. Just get a spray bottle and fill it with half apple cider vinegar and half water. After shampooing, spray the mixture on your hair and let sit for a minute. Rinse as normal. Your hair will feel clean, soft and the mixture costs pennies as compared to most fancy conditioners–believe me, I’ve tried them all. I have super thick, curly hair and I’ve been using ACV as a conditioner for a month. My hair is more manageable, softer and seems much less frizzy. Win-win-win. Tip! If the ACV smell is too strong for you, dilute it with more water.
Teach take-out extras to work for you. We love Chinese food take-out. And the restaurant gives us tons of soy sauce packets with each order. What do I do with those extras? I cut them open and put them in my at-home bottle. Soy sauce is soy sauce. I haven’t purchased a new bottle in quite a while, because we use our take out extras to re-fill our pre-purchased at-home supply. Tip! You have tons of options for this: Parmesan Cheese, Red Pepper Flakes, Ketchup, Sweet & Sour Sauce, BBQ. Anywhere you go that gives you the extras–yes, you want them and yes, you’ll use them for your own supply. Genius!
There are tons of weirdo ideas that are really simple changes, but will have a big impact on saving you time and money. Consider adding one or two of these tips, or continue others weirdo ideas you’re already doing to make a big impact for you in the long run.