In this day and age, everything is disposable. Plates, containers, electronics, furniture, you name it! If it breaks, we don’t fix it, we simply buy more or buy a new one. One of the best ways to become more frugal is to get past this mindset of “disposables” and look towards the things that can be used over and over. Using things as much as possible will save you money because you won’t have to buy a new one all the time!
An easy way to save money around your home is to switch to cloth. Cloth napkins, cloth toweling, cloth wipes. Look around your home and see what disposable paper items you have laying around and try and decide if you can change it over to cloth!
Did you know the average American uses 2200 paper napkins in a year! If you are a family of 4, that means you go through 8800 napkins in a year! The average package of napkins is about a 200 count and that costs around $3.50 per package. For a family of 4, the cost of napkins per year adds up to $154! Switching to cloth napkins is easy. A great place to look for them is thrift stores, otherwise you can simply make your own out of fabric in the scraps and ends bin at your local fabric or discount store.
The average family of 4 goes through 2 rolls of paper towels per week. If you estimate $1 per roll, that adds up to $104 per year! I’m sure the cost is higher if you also clean with paper toweling. You can create a few different kinds of cloth toweling. You may want to make some nicer towels to be reused in the kitchen (or microfiber towels work good and can be found for only a few dollars at your local hardware store!) and for cleaning towels you can use just about any fabric that will absorb liquids. If you really don’t want to spend much on cleaning towels, simply cut up pieces of old clothing that you no longer use. They work great!
UnPaper Towels & Napkin Tutorials
- No-sew Unpaper towels from MommyPotamus.com
- Velcro Cloth Towels from ABlossomingLife.com
- Easy Sewed Paper Towels from ImmeasurableGrace.com
- Old Sheets to Paper Towels from Grandma's Trash
- Perfect Dinner Napkins from TheGirlInspired.com
You don’t have to stop at napkins and toweling. If you get really ambitious consider cloth diapering or maybe even family cloth! Adventures in Coupons has a great post on how she made the switch to Mama Cloth that addresses the yuck factor & the money end of things! Think of all the money you can save on those items! NaturalThrifty.com has an alternative if you don't want to go cloth but are sick of tampons and pads – Menstrual Cups. She also has a great post on how to care for them.
When the twins were little, we made the switch to cloth diapers & loved it! Even with 2 little ones, I only had a couple extra loads of laundry a week and saved a ton. Plus, they looked so darn cute! If you are interested in switching to cloth diapers, I highly recommend SweetBottoms Baby! You can read the review I did here.
Even if you don’t feel motivated to change too many things, a family of 4 just making the switch to cloth napkins and cloth toweling will save over $258 per year! Think of how much closer that will get you towards your financial goals!