Monday, August 1, 2011

Use This, Not That: A Guide to Trimming Your Financial Waste-line

Men’s Health magazine produces Eat This, Not That, in a notion of flattery (kind of) I bid you Use This, Not That: A Guide to Trimming Your Financial Waste-line.
Use This, Not That: A Short Guide to Trimming Your Financial Waste-line
Rinse Aids
Don’t use expensive rinse aids in your dishwasher– 
use non-diluted vinegar instead.
Simply fill up your rinse aid dispenser as you would with a rinse aid and substitute it with a generic run-of-the-mill, inexpensive white vinegar
Fabric Softeners
Don’t use fabric softener–
use nothing on days when their is average or above average humidity in the air you don’t need it (for days when you will deal with static add white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash)
Plastic/Saran Wrap
Don’t use plastic wrap to store your leftovers–
use plates instead.
If you have leftovers in a bowl simply find a plate (dinner plates for big bowls; saucers for small bowls) and place it on top your bowl bottom down and store as usual.  If you have leftovers on a place take a plate of a smaller size and place it face down over the leftovers and store as usual.  For odd size bowls and plates for short term storage use a clean cloth napkin or relocate to another dish.
Cotton Balls
Don’t use cotton balls–
use small cut up piece of cloth diaper material (or other thick cotton).
Cut up thick fabrics like a clot diaper into approximately 2”x2” pieces (if you fear fraying you may stitch up the ends but I haven’t had a problem with this yet)– use as you would a regular cotton ball and throw them in the hamper for a wash.  *My cotton pieces have been air-dried and this may have prevented the fraying.
Baby Wipes
Don’t use baby wipes–
use wash cloths.
I have a set of wash cloths specifically designated as baby wipes.  They work much better than wipes (I don’t need three wash cloths to get the job done like I have needed with wipes).  I have a lidded bucket (salvaged from the trash-an old kitty litter bucket) that I throw dirty rags in.  I wash these with my cloth diapers and I add vinegar to the washing to disinfect.  Air dry in the sun for a better smelling rag.
Paper Towels
Don’t use paper towels–
use cloth napkins and rags instead.
See my previous post?????
Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags
Don’t buy wrapping paper and gift bags–
use newspaper, leftover artwork, etc.; reuse shopping bags; new or second-hand pillow-cases.
Most gift wrap is not recyclable and so it just adds to our waste– plus it is very expensive.  Use comics fro the newspaper or having your child enhance regular newspaper print with watercolor paints is a great way to wrap gifts.  If you have too many pieces of artwork coming home from school use those projects to wrap gifts as well.  Larger pieces of wrapping paper can be made from taping or glueing various pieces together.  If you receive a nice paper bag when making a purchase save it– you can cover up the stores logo with decoupage or pasting a child’s artwork over these marks (these really can make nice original bags).  Finally, if you have an odd sized gift put it in a pillow case and tie a bow around it.  You can pick up gently used pillow cases at thrift stores and garage sales for usually under the price of a gift bag.  Or if you have not yet discovered the joys of second-hand merchandise pillow cases do go on clearance as well.  The recipient can either use the case for a pillow or to wrap another gift.
Notepads or sticky notes (3M Post-it Notes)
Don’t buy notepads for jotting down messages and note–
re-use junk mail, kid’s schoolwork, and any other pieces of discarded paper.
I think a lot of times we forget that paper is two-sided.  I seemed to have forgotten this for years and then it dawned on me if I collected our paper out of the recycling bin, flipped it over, and stapled the top I would have a it began.  Our family knows to put scrap paper on my stack for future notepad-ing, for reuse in our printer or memo sheets.  Large pieces of paper not nice enough to be safely copies again are stapled together– smaller pieces (half sheets or pieces that may have a scribble here or there are chopped up and put in our junk drawer to be used instead of Post-It Notes (if I need it to stick somewhere I can use a small piece of tape or a magnet).  
Storage Bags
Don’t buy (very often) storage bags such as Ziploc–
re-use cereal bags and other bags that food comes stored in.
Cereal bags and other bags from processed food come in are usually made of a very thick plastic.  If you nicely trim the tops of these bags when opening and then hand wash them they can make wonderful storage for items destined for the freezer.  Spray with vinegar and water mixture to disinfect.  Turn bags inside out for drying. Use a twist tie to seal them up or fold the top over and close with a clothes pin to store items.  For those storage bags you do buy they too can be washed and reused. *Do not reuse bags containing meat products or cheese.  

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