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Seek out alternative uses for products

By on January 5, 2012

Lean toward buying products that offer alternate and multiple purposes. A few examples include vinegar, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, baking soda and Fels-Naptha. This mindset can help you consider other household items that have alternative uses, so you can save money and be less wasteful.
The first three reader tips share ideas for another multi-use product:


Glad Press’n Seal nonfood use:

My dad is recovering from knee replacement surgery and can’t get his knee wet in the bath. My mom says she has been wrapping it with the Glad Press’n Seal and it works like a charm. I thought it was a pretty neat idea and can see how it would be easier to do than using plastic and rubber bands, which is probably what I would have tried. — Jacqueline, West Virginia

I used it to draw my jack-o’-lantern face, stuck it to my pumpkin and cut through it. You can also use it to draw designs and stick to fabric for quilting and sewing. — S.B., Pennsylvania

I use it to make homemade Lunchables for my kids. I save an old Lunchables container (OK, I’ll admit, it’s the cheapie ALDI one, but still), fill it, then use the Press’n Seal on it. Just cut to size and trim as needed. The kids think it’s great to be able to ask for Lunchables any time they want without a lecture on cost! — B.L., Wisconsin

Pizza cutter:

I use mine to cut pancakes, bananas and grilled sandwiches for my kids. — Julie, Florida

Soap slivers:

I always end up with tiny slivers of bar soap and I don’t want to just toss them out. I had a bunch of tulle circles leftover from my wedding, so I used two, dropped the sliver of soap in the middle and used a small rubber band to secure the top. I use it as a mini-scrubby and add soap slivers as they appear. — Beth, Missouri

Cut fudge:

Score fudge into squares while it’s still warm. Let the fudge cool to room temperature. When it’s firm, cut it with a dough scraper. — Pauline, Texas

Used envelopes:

Many people use them for grocery lists. Use them again by cutting off the corners to create bookmarks. Just slide the corner you snipped onto your page. — Kaitlyn G., Indiana

Leftover lemon zest:

I keep a wide-mouthed plastic bottle in which I put the lemon zests I sometimes have left over from a recipe. I chop them up roughly and add straight white vinegar. After a week or two, it smells delicious. I use it for cleaning windows or as a softener for laundry. I find the smell is stronger and nicer than using essential oils, not to mention it much cheaper. — Faune, Belgium

photo by citymama


  1. Tony

    1/5/2012 at 8:02 pm

    I love this list, especiall the lemon zest in vinegar. I also have plenty of uses for the pizza cutter. My favorite is cutting homemade pasta.

  2. Carla

    1/17/2012 at 8:13 pm

    I use the pizza cutter to cut homemade pasta, rather than having to buy a cutting attachment for my pasta roller.

  3. Karla Cross

    3/24/2012 at 9:47 pm

    I save the paper off of the margarine sticks in a coffee can in the fridge. Then when I need to grease a pan I use the margarine paper. Works great and it’s free! Really cheap, I know, but it works really well.

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