(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and the online course Build a Better Pantry on a Budget.
Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. While I’m not really a gadget person (no egg-boiler for me, thanks), there are a few thrifty purchases I’ve made in this department over the years that have saved me countless dollars. Anything I can do to extend the life of what I purchase is a bargain.
I have praised the virtues of the humble rubber spatula many times, but I want to talk about this item in a little more depth. I have a set of rubber spatulas that work for pretty much any money-saving occasion. I have used them to scrape out enough peanut butter for several more pb&js, to get the last bit of honey in the jar for my tea, and to scrape an extra muffin or pancake’s worth of batter from many a bow.
But the kitchen is not the only place for a rubber spatula. I have a set of very small ones in a different color (so they don’t get mixed up), which I keep in the bathroom. I use these to scrape out the last bit of moisturizer, lotion, and bath products from their containers, so I use every single drop of these sometimes-pricey elixirs and potions.
First, if you aren’t hanging your laundry to dry, why aren’t you? That’s probably the number one money-saving use for the clothespin and goes without further explanation.
But that’s not all you can use clothespins for in your money-saving endeavors. I prefer simple wooden clothespins like this because they’re longer-lasting than plastic ones.
First of all, forget those “chip clips.” They are basically just colorful clothespins with a magnet on them. You can easily make your own by getting some craft magnets to stick on the back of your clothespins. (I like the kind of magnets with the self-adhesive for the sake of ease.) I keep at least half a dozen of these on my fridge at all times.
I use them to close up bags of frozen veggies in the freezer after I’ve removed a serving, to keep crackers fresh by closing up the bag, and to keep bags of pasta shut tight. You can also use a clothespin as a “toothpaste squeezer” instead of the storebought version. (Here’s how.)
This is a slightly bigger investment, but it’ll pay for itself FAST. How many times have you woefully thrown out fresh fruits or veggies that didn’t get eaten in time? It’s devasting, especially with food prices as high as they are right now.
I introduce to you the produce keeper. These little containers are designed to control the humidity within, helping your fruits and veggies to last longer in your refrigerator. I hardly ever end up throwing out fruits or veggies these days, and it’s all because of these little gems. You can even use the insert as a colander when washing your produce. If you regularly end up throwing out spoiled produce, this $30 purchase will pay for itself within two weeks.
I love cloth napkins. They make your dinner table look more elegant, they feel nicer than dabbing your mouth with a paper towel ripped off the roll, and they’re big enough to protect your lap from falling food.
But the best thing about cloth napkins is the money they save. No more will you go through a disposable napkin or paper towel with each meal. You just throw your napkins in the wash, and afterward, they’re ready to be used again.
I like black cloth napkins because no matter what you’re eating, they don’t show stains. I prefer a cotton-poly blend that doesn’t need ironing but still has the feel of cotton. These are a great deal. I’ve had mine for probably a decade, and they’re still going strong.
Bar mop towels
Speaking of paper towels, I don’t use them anymore. I use bar mop towels instead and toss them in the wash. Just like my napkins, I use black ones exactly like these so I don’t have to deal with pesky stains. Once you’ve used it to clean your counters or soak up a spill, toss them in the wash with the rest of your darks.
Wide-mouth Mason jars
Jars aren’t as inexpensive as they used to be, but you probably already have some kicking around.
Forget the Tupperware and Rubbermaid containers. And for goodness sake, don’t waste your money on eco-friendly glass containers that don’t close properly. The humble Mason jar is the original leftover container, and it’s still a great choice.
I use Mason jars to store all my leftovers, for homemade iced tea concentrate, and as canisters. I use them as drinking glasses and as candle holders. I was using jars before it was trendy to use jars. They’re one of the most versatile items I own.I prefer wide-mouth jars for food storage because they make access easier. (Of course, you can always use your rubber spatula.) I found that for leftovers, it was worthwhile to grab some of these reusable jar lids.
You can find a variety of brands and sizes of wide-mouth jars here. If you aren’t matchy-matchy, you can also just save any jars that happen to come along with the food you’ve purchased.
Dryer sheets will become a thing of the past if you grab yourself some dryer balls. These come in all different kinds of materials, but I prefer the wool ones or the plastic ones. For anything you don’t want to hang dry, these reduce static and soften clothing naturally. If you miss the fragrance from dryer sheets, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the woolen balls before tossing them into the dryer.
Bonus hack: you can also use clean tennis balls in place of dryer balls. Emphasis on clean.
Small savings add up.
Invest in one item per week (or month, depending on your budget) to net some massive long-run savings. I’ve been using all of these things for years, and rarely have I had to replace them.
Do you have any money-saving gadgets you’d recommend to your fellow Frugalites? Have you ever tried the items listed here? If so, what did you think? Let’s discuss thrifty purchases that will save you money in the long run.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.