photo by luminais
Frugalitarians have many small habits. Some of these strategies don't necessarily save much money. They might seem silly or insignificant to others because of the time spent doing them, too. But the fact is that these decisions reflect the creativity and determination by penny pinchers (called this for a reason) to be less wasteful. The thought process of living gently carries over through all aspects of your daily life. How often have you been torn on whether or not to throw something away? Maybe it was a container, button, straight pin, rubber band or a juice lid. Keep in mind that tightwads aren't hoarding hundreds of milk caps because they might find a use for them. They'll save a handful of caps to make a memory game or ornaments or use the plastic ring to keep socks together or none at all if it's not useful to them.
Here are a few common habits that are simply what frugal folks will do.What types of things contribute little to your finances but are still worth your time?
SAVE PLASTIC BREAD TABS: They are great little scrapers for counters, floors and dishes. Use as bookmarks or to hold rubber bands. Or attach one to a roll of tape so it doesn't fold over. They're perfect for closing open plastic bags, such as rice or confectioners' sugar.
REUSE ENVELOPES: Simply cover the address sections with new labels (cross out any bar codes) or simply use for scrap paper and you're good to go.
CUT DRYER SHEETS IN HALF: This is the No. 1 tip submitted to me. Keep used sheets to clean your lint trap, wipe down your washing machine, dust, to help remove nail polish, line a trash can, or attach to a toilet-paper holder to give a fresh scent in the bathroom. Tuck them into a pillow or drawer, or attach them to a Swiffer mop.
REUSE GIFT WRAP: From saving bows to ironing tissue paper, it might only save a few cents but why throw away gift wrap that can be reused?
RENEWING: Melt items from scraps of crayons, soap or candles to make a full-size item again. Soap bits are often placed in a soap pump container with water to make liquid soap. Simply toss a marble into the container to help mix. One reader, Sandy C. in Minnesota, shares: "I use the little leftover hunks of bar soap and put them with some water in the toilet-brush container sitting by the toilets."
TOILET-PAPER RATIONING: Some folks put themselves on a daily number of squares limit. While compulsive, it certainly tracks usage.
WASH FOOD WRAPPERS AND CONTAINERS: True tightwads know the value of a Pringles container. Rinse and reuse heavy-duty baggies (if not originally used for meat), foil and cereal bags, too. Disclaimer: Of course, some plastics will be reused in nonfood ways.
EMPTYING CONTAINERS: Cut open tubes (or completely flatten by using your toothbrush handle) and bottles, scrape jars or add water to sauce or condiment containers to get every last bit of product. Use every last bit of a lipstick. Scrape out the tube, and combine it with Vaseline to make a lip gloss or, if you have multiple broken lipsticks, create your own color palette.
FOOD SCRAPS: Save bread ends or "stale" bread for breadcrumbs, leftover vegetables for soup or flat pop or syrup from canned fruit to add to gelatin. Or reuse coffee grounds or tea bags. Another reader, Polly in Pennsylvania, shares: "I simmer orange, lemon and lime rinds on the stove before discarding to freshen the house."
RESTAURANT TAKEAWAYS: Save all the condiment and seasoning packets, napkins and utensils. Read: Tightwads don't intentionally take extras. They save any that were given but not used.