Reuse plastic baggies
photo by Angie Torres
Frugalitarians take a lot of flak about washing baggies. But they’re so easy to wash and reuse it’s a shame to throw them away. They’re perfect to use for organizing and to keep things dry. You can put often-used recipes inside a baggie. The recipe card stays clean for the next time you need it. This is especially helpful if you bake with kids. The first tip shares a couple of other ways to reuse plastic baggies. Do you wash them? Tell me ways you reuse them.
REUSE BAGGIES: I keep small knit or crochet projects in them, in my car, so I always have a project to work on if I get stranded for an unexpected time (doctor’s-office wait, etc.). Larger ones (1- to 2-gallon size) make perfect camping pillows. Pack deflated, then, when you arrive at your campsite, use a straw to inflate, and you have a great pillow that takes up virtually no room. — Denise, Illinois
MAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS: I recently came up with the idea to add my own flavoring to cottage cheese rather than buy the small pots of premixed stuff. So far I’ve only tried adding mixed-berry jelly and found it to be as good, if not better, than the store-bought version. I’ve also discovered cottage cheese to be good with leftover canned pineapple and peaches. For dessert, I now buy my own packages of cookies and sweets and divide them up as close as I can to 100- to 150-calorie bags. I’ve found this to be far more economical than paying $3 to $4 for a week’s worth of desserts. — Cindy May, e-mail
NO CATS ALLOWED: I have a solution for keeping cats out of the sandboxes. Buy one of those small, lightweight, hard-plastic swimming pools to fill with sand and then buy one the next size larger to use as a lid. Get some tent stakes to anchor the lid from the wind. This is usually cheaper than buying a sandbox with a lid. — Judy, Iowa
HOMEMADE YOGURT: I make my own yogurt at home. I have a handy tip for those of you who do the same. If I need it during the middle of the week, I’ll make it right after suppertime. The best part is keeping it warm to do its thing. I have a microwave with a light on it over my stove. I usually keep it on as a nightlight while we’re at home and awake. There is enough heat in it to help the yogurt along. I put the yogurt mixture into small containers, about the size of a medium-sized cottage-cheese container (8 ounces or 12 ounces). I then put the lids on and set them over the area where the light is and close the door. I put a note on the microwave not to turn off the light. Then I go to bed. I wake up to fully coagulated yogurt and plop it in the fridge. I probably do this once a month, so I don’t think I’m killing the light bill too much. I figure if the light’s on, it might as well do double duty. You can’t beat fresh yogurt! I also use this method to raise bread and pastry dough while I’m cleaning during the day. — Michelle W., South Carolina
Note from Sara: There’s a recipe and a few discussions on making homemade yogurt on my frugal forums http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118277