If you talk to someone who lived through the depression, they can tell you the value of the saying “Waste Not, Want Not“. They lived a waste not, want not life. This current generation has no idea. I am in my late thirties and I don’t even think I understand exactly how to live out the waste not lifestyle. People recycle and that is good for the environment, but that is not using resources to their full potential. Here are my favorite waste, want not money saving ideas!
Waste Not, Want Not Money Saving Ideas
I remember learning about Native American life in school and how they used the buffalo. They used every piece of the buffalo. They ate the meat, use the skin to make housing and clothing, they used the bones to make weapons and tools. They didn’t waste a thing- can you say the same?
1. Take out grown, old clothes and re-purpose them.If they are worn out and stained, cut it up and turn the item into rags. Take the buttons off and store for a future mending or sewing project.
2. If the clothing item is still is nice condition- try to redesign the item. There are so many project ideas on Pinterest for this. Some ideas are a t-shirt quilt, make baby clothes, and shopping bags. The ideas are limitless and you gain a new item you don’t have to buy new.
3. Save bacon grease in a coffee container in the fridge. Filter out the brown bits. Use it to season cast iron pans, make stovetop popcorn, and to fry foods in it.
4. Repurpose a tin can to hold something else. You can decorate the can by painting it, modpodging something on to it, or with yarn/rope.
5. Got too many condiments at the drive-thru? Start a container in the fridge. Use them in school lunches and picnics for easy cleanup.
6. Save ribbons and bows off of presents and reuse on a gift you are giving. Use tape or glue to stick it on.
7. Meltdown crayon bits to make a candle or a multi-colored crayon.
8. Collect dryer lint to start bonfires.
9. Repurpose a wipes container to hold game or puzzle pieces.
10. Repurpose a wipes container to hold plastic bags- it makes an easy dispenser.
11. Make a coupon last longer- donate to the military. They can use them for up to 6 months after they expire.
12. Wash plastic silverware- you can use them more than once.
13. Shred paper for basket stuffing.
14, Recycle old plastic bottles for art projects or to grow plants in.
15. Give old cell phones to women’s shelters, sell it, or take out the battery and it can be a toy.
16. Old books, magazines, and junk mail can all be made into altered art.
17. Junk mail keys (you know the ones from the car dealership junk mail) and fake credit cards make great toys for little ones.
18. Use old sheets to cover plants in cold spells.
19. Reuse ketchup containers for easy dispensing of homemade paint or modpodge recipes.
20. Reuse a tire for a planter (you can paint it to make it look pretty) or for a swing.
21. Save old toothbrushes for small, detailed cleaning projects.
22. Save paper grocery bags for potato storage.
23. My mother-in-law saves plastic milk jugs and then during hurricane season fills them with water in case of emergencies. FEMA suggests you have 1 gallon of water per day, per person for food prep and hygiene in addition to drinking water.
24. Got a cookie or cupcake container from the bakery, save and use to send people home with leftovers. This is especially helpful during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
25. After eating a bone-in ham, save the ham bone and make soup from it. My husband loves a good split pea soup made from a leftover ham bone.
26. Instead of buying a new shower curtain liner every few months, wash it and line dry it.
27. Have a slice leftover in a bread bag or a crust nobody wanted? Cut the bread up in bits and then save to make homemade croutons or to make a delicious homemade stuffing!
28. Not enough cereal for a full bowl? Take the cereal and pour into a jar, now you have an instant yogurt topper for a parfait. I like keeping 2 jars, one for sweet cereals one for more healthy ones.
29. Reuse egg cartons. You can use them to sort things or to make kid’s art projects. Ask your child’s school if they need them.
30. Save plastic grocery bags instead of throwing them out. They make great small garbage bags for the bathroom or car.
31. Take the hotels shampoo and conditioner, even if you don’t use them. You can put them in a pretty bowl and leave it in your guest bathroom. That way your guests are never without a toiletries they may have forgotten.
32. When packing a suitcase, use plastic grocery bags to keep shoes from soiling clothes and dirty things from clean ones.
33. Turn shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down to get every last drop. You can also add a bit of water and swirl it around to get one more use.
34. Use junk mail and envelopes that have no other use as scrap paper instead of buying new notebooks or memo pads which can get pricey.
35. Cereal boxes covered with brown paper bags can become shipping boxes used for sending books and other small objects to friends and family members.
36. An empty plastic milk jug becomes a watering can with a few holes punched into the plastic cap.
37, Save the cereal bag in the box. The liner in cereal boxes is easily opened up and wiped off. It is thicker and stronger than any wax paper.
38. Use cereal boxes to make sketchbooks for your kids…cut off the top and bottom, punch holes with a 3-hole punch, add scrap paper (I like to use all the misfed printer paper) also 3-hole punched, tie it up with ribbon or string, and viola!
39. Use toilet paper rolls to store extra cords. It makes for nice and neat storage.
40. The 12 can fridge pack soda boxes are great for storing & organizing canned food most food cans will fit in them. You can just use white labels to label them or go all out and cover them with contact paper, left over wallpaper or even gift wrap.
41. Instead of buying paper napkins, buy cloth ones (or make them) and reuse them.
42. Have some vegetables going limp in the fridge? Make vegetable stock. Throw the vegetables in the some water with seasonings and let is simmer all day! When you are done, pour into ice cube trays and you will have stock all the time.
43. Cooking with wine and don’t want to drink the rest? Freeze any left-over bits of wine in ice cube trays. It all adds flavor and richness to stews, risottos, pasta sauces and even gravy and you don’t have to open a new bottle every time.
44. When bananas get overripe and mushy, don’t throw them out! Peel and freeze. These are perfect for banana bread, smoothies and “soft serve” non-dairy ice cream.
45. Bruised fruit or fruit that has passed it’s prime that most people would toss, cut it up and freeze it. Use in smoothies.
46. Freeze extra fresh herbs. Chop them finely, place in ice cube trays with just a bit of water to hold them together. Then keep them in zipper bags so you can throw into soups or thaw for use in recipes.
47. Save butter wrappers in the refrigerator. The next time a recipe calls for greasing a baking dish, pull out a wrapper and rub the inside of it on the dish. It’s the perfect amount!
48. If you get your newspaper delivered and it comes in those plastic bags, save them to throw away smelly diapers.
49. Speaking of diapers, use cloth ones rather than buying diapers.
50. I know this might seem gross, but you can also make reusable feminine pads. I made and used some for a while because of a medical condition I have.
51. When taking a break from painting, place a paint brush in a plastic bag and put it into the fridge. It keeps your paint brush wet.
So, how do you waste not, want not? Let me know in the comments below!