What are your feelings about disposable household items? Ya know, the ones on which you spend too much money, use for a few minutes and lackadaisically throw away to only sit in a landfill for eternity (unless you have a GREAT recycling program.)
Paper towels, paper napkins, toilet paper, Kleenex, plastic baggies, aluminum foil, plastic wrap – how do we avoid using these convenient items? With today’s lifestyle, it seems nearly impossible, doesn’t it? I know…I feel the same way. To be honest, I don’t know how people get along without using them. I have read in other frugal blogs how families have stopped the use of paper towels. To be honest, I just can’t give them up. How in the world do you drain BACON without using paper towels? Priorities people, priorities.
When you think about it, spending cash on disposable items is equivalent to just tossing your dollars in the trash. Money is not a disposable item…at least not in my household. You ask, “What’s the remedy, Cheapo?” The only suggestions I can make…is to use less and NEVER, EVER pay full price.
Here are a few ideas on how we do it:
- Plastic Baggies - aka: Landfill Nightmare. Use them for an hour and toss them aside? No way. I wash and reuse as many as possible. If a baggie has only been used to hold “dry” items, it always gets rewashed. Wet, greasy items? It gets *gulp* thrown away. I try to make a conscious effort to put “wet” foods in reusable, plastic containers in order to avoid feeding the landfill. Using them for lunch box sandwiches? Trying making a reusable sandwich wrap…you could easily make fabric “baggies” too. Here’s how I made mine - Wrap Instructions. For the fellow tree huggers, wax paper bags are a good substitute as well. When you do have to buy them, keep in mind that there are always coordinating Sunday paper coupons.
- Toilet paper- Um…yeah. Well, the least you can do is ALWAYS use a coupon. I’ve also heard…if you squeeze the roll before putting in on a holder, children are less likely to pull off more than they need (because it doesn’t “roll” as easily.) Does it work? I dunno.
- Paper napkins- According to my son…who needs napkins when you have jeans to wipe your hands on? *insert eye roll here* This is an easy one…use cloth napkins. You can even find bulk fabric that you like and make your own. Easy peasy.
- Paper towels- I luvs me my paper towels. Though…I do cut back on their usage. ALWAYS have a hand towel by the sink in which to dry your hands. It’s all too easy to grab for a paper towel, especially if it’s within reach. I’ve now moved my paper towel holder to the other side of the kitchen where they can more easily be used for cooking…not chronic hand washing and drying. What about for cleaning windows? I still use them. I’ve heard of people using coffee filters or newspaper, and I suppose it works. For now, that’s not for me (but will let you know if I try it which probably isn’t going to be anytime soon.) Again, coupons are ALWAYS available.
- Kleenex – Sorry…there is no way around this…an old man hanky is out of the question. All I can say is Kleenex coupons, Puffs coupons, Scott coupons.
- Aluminum Foil/Plastic wrap: Again, use coupons and try and use less. I rarely EVER replace these items. I know it’s easy to just get out the plastic wrap and paste it over your leftovers to stick them in the fridge. Take the time to put things in reusable, washable containers. These two items are quite expensive (for what they are.) Save yourself some money and waste by using them appropriately.
Have you own ideas on these money-suck products? Leave a comment and share with us!