Reuse and Save $150!

Be organized. Be creative. Be good to our environment. Here are 10 simple money saving ideas worth trying ($150 worth)

1. Pantry Organizer: $3-18 vs. Empty Salad Mix Container: Free

It’s never easy to keep the pantry organized with empty bags of snacks, or small packages that won’t stand up on their own. Stores offer many container options, but it comes with a price tag that may cut into your groceries budget. It’s time to move those half-full items into your new organizer: The empty salad mix container. The great features about these container is that they are clear so you can see what’s inside, and they have snap on lids that make them stackable.

They are not air tight, so don’t empty the contents out of their original bags. Simply put a rubber band around the bag and group similar items in the same container.

Another great use is for organizing your child’s small toys such as Legos sorted by color, markers, or sticker collection.

2. Kids Sandwich Boxes: $3-8 vs. Empty 6 oz Blueberry Containers: Free

If your child doesn’t like crust around their sandwiches, the plastic 6 oz blueberry containers make the perfect sandwich box. It also works well for holding mini bagels and English muffins. Add a personal touch with your child’s favorite sticker over the old label, or cover it with non-transparent tape and write a message to your child. If you’ve got a picky eater, involving them in decorating the box may encourage them to eat what’s inside.

3. Chip Clip: $4-6 for 2 vs. Binder Clips: Free or $1 for a box of 12

This is the biggest marketing scam I’ve ever seen. A genius idea that you must use a “chip” clip for bags of chips. Open your desk drawer and you’ll find a few options for keeping a bag closed. The important part of using any clip is that you flatten the bag gently to let the air out then roll the extra packaging closer to the content before putting the clip on.

Money4. Children’s Puzzles: $10-15 vs. Any Cardboard Packaging: Free

This is my favorite dinner time game. It takes about 2 minutes to cut out the front of a food container box (Cereal boxes work the best). Cut it into 5-10 pieces so the difficulty level is age appropriate for your child. Have them work on the puzzle while you prepare dinner. Never worry about missing puzzle pieces again!

5. I-Spy Books: $5-8 vs. Any grocery store ad or store catalog: Free

Once becoming a parent, you start to receive catalogs from everywhere. They are great for clipping out images for a craft project or using them as a placemat. When you do feel like looking through one, it’s fun to use it as an I-Spy book. Toy catalogs work the best, but make sure your child understands that you are not buying anything seen in the catalog.

6. Mini Kids Bowls: $2-5 vs. Empty Apple Sauce Cups: Free

Wash out and dry an empty apple sauce cup and use it as a single-serving snack cup. It also makes a great container for paint or beads for art projects.

7. Building Blocks: $20-50 vs. Empty Juice Boxes: Free

Once emptied and rinsed, these little boxes make a great little building block set for younger babies. They are light weight so they won’t hurt when they fall down. They usually are covered with cute colorful package design. And we all know kids can play with empty boxes for hours.

 8. String Beads Toys: $7-20 vs. Caps from Squeezable Fruit Pack: Free

They are the easiest way to pack fruits for your kids, but what a waste to toss out those brightly colored caps. Save a few and you can make a string beads toy in less than 5 minutes. You can use any string, in this example I used a string from a nice shopping bag from a clothing store. Make sure you cut off any small pieces of plastic from the cap. I used a nail clipper then filed it a little bit to make sure there were no sharp edges. Just string the caps and voila! (P.S. The pouch makes a great squeeze toy for bath. Easy to fill and easy to squeeze!)

9. Stove Top Cleaner: $4 vs. Used Dryer Sheet: Free

Repurpose your used dryer sheet (an empty tissue box works well as a holder). These little wipes work amazingly well for cleaning the stove top and stainless steel pots and pans. Spray your surface with any type of cleaner, better yet use a vinegar and water solution, and it gets the job done scratch-free.

10. Fun Shape Ice Trays: $5-15 vs. Heavy Plastic Packaging: Free

From battery packaging, to light bulbs, there are lots of heavy plastic packaging that we overlook once we get what’s inside. In the summer time, fill up whatever plastic container you have with water and freeze it. The children can play with them outdoors, stack them like blocks, crack them, watch them melt. It’s the perfect mess-free fun.

annA Mom Knows Contributor

About Ann

After working over 10 years as an art director at the Walt Disney Studios, I became a stay-at-home mom. My experience as a first-time mom inspired me to publish a book called "Quick Tips For First-Time Moms: A Simple and Practical Guide to Finding Balance". I love using my creativity to solve problems. From organization to recycling, parenting to party planning, I continue to find new interests and inspirations through spending time with my child.

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