Don’t eat your wallet! #8 of 10 easy steps to reducing grocery expenses

Reduce non-food kitchen and laundry expense – paper goods, storage, cleaning supplies.  Re-use, use less, innovate.

Three little steps that equal a big savings here—because they reduced recurring expenses–were making our own “paper” towels, cutting out dryer sheets, switching stain removers and switching to  non-ziptop storage bags for most needs.

Faux “Paper” towels made from old flannel sheets (or shirts) are economical, easy to use and green.  We went from using a roll of paper towels every day or two to being able to put them under the sink because we only finish a roll every month or two.  🙂   Win!

We cut out dryer sheets (or cut back) by first switching to dryer balls, made from an old wool sweater and 100% wool yarn from the craft store (using a 40% off coupon, of course).   Not willing to commit 100%, I still used ½ a dryer sheet (or already-used dryer sheets) in each load too.  We sometimes tossed in a strip of wool with safety pins attached as I’d read it helped reduce static.  Last week, we switched to a tin foil ball—it’s not as cute as the dryer balls, but we don’t use the half dryer sheets.  🙂  To make one, just tear off about a foot-long piece of foil, wad in a ball and toss in dryer.  It compacts with each drying.  Not sure how long they last yet.  Boy, I wish I knew that trick when all 7 kids still lived at home!  (For more laundry savings and tips, see this post.)

Not every food or other storage situation needs the strength (or expense) of Ziplock-style bags.  Twist-tie bags are 1/10th the cost of Ziplock-style and work just fine for many, many food storage needs.  Obviously, reusable containers, such as mason jars—which can often be found at thrift stores–are another great, green solution.  Neither twist-tie nor mason jars are good on their own for freezing.  (Yes, some glass jars freeze well, but unless you are sure yours do, it’s not worth the risk.  If you do freeze food in glass jars, remember to cool thoroughly and allow head-space for expansion.)

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