Saturday, April 19, 2008

Frugal Tips

As a lifelong conservationist, it has been my habit to be both frugal and thrifty. Perhaps it comes from observing older relatives, who were brought up during the Depression. As a young girl their habits of saving and reusing items seemed odd, yet interesting.

There are many things that can be used more than once: aluminum foil, plastic bags, glass jars, various plastic bottles and other containers....

Here are a few things that I do to achieve that purpose:

I use canning jars of all sizes for food storage and bagged lunch containers. There are plastic screw top lids for these jars in the canning section of your grocery store). They can hold homemade yogurt, buttermilk, half-and-half, homemade salad dressings, bulk items, leftovers, etc. I use a gallon jar for our water pitcher during meals. These jars work so well, and are very durable. Canning jars are widely available. Thrift stores, garage sales, etc...usually someone is trying to get rid of their canning jars!

Plastic zip-type bags and other plastic food containers can be easily washed and used again. I turn them inside out and wash well (note: I do not save bags that contained meats). After washing, hang the bags upside down over a tall bottle so they can dry.

Aluminum foil can be salvaged if used carefully. Sometimes it is worth washing it (lay it flat in the sink and wash with dish towel). Normally, I use only enough aluminum foil for its intended purpose by tearing off the exact sized pieces that I need. Extra foil can be folded and saved in a flat drawer.

Yogurt cups from the store bought type can be washed and used as small to-go drinking or snack cups. I like these cups because little ones don't spill as much when they use them. You can even use a permanent marker to write individual children's names on the cups. I serve peeled orange segments, apples slices, popcorn, nuts, raisins, pudding, and homemade yogurt in these great little cups.

Plastic squirt bottles from dish detergent or various food items are used to hold homemade cleaners, vinegar, oil, etc. in our home. I save only the durable type bottles.

Otherwise, we do recycle what we cannot use, and this has diminished our trash content to one bag per day. Not bad for a family of 9 with a few children still requirng diapers.

Note: Keep an eye on how many of these bottles or other items that you save. The quantity can multiply rapidly! I have begun to keep a small area of a shelf available for this purpose. If it gets too full, then I recycle the bottles.

Have a great day!

Blessings :O)

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