Ditch Single Use Items

Let your creativity shine and think outside of the box. Plus, you can save a lot of money and waste in the long run.

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Welcome back to another Frugal tip episode. This is a weekly weekend segment of no fear Finance all about ways to be frugal and our day-to-day lives. I’m your host Sara.

This week I had my first official day at my new job! I’ve been working remotely since I moved to Indianapolis. I got a new work shirt for my first day back and I had to iron it because there was a weird wrinkle in the sleeve from shipping. I luckily had an iron. I wasn’t sure I even had one because I know I listed it for sale a few times in South Carolina. I don’t have an ironing board though so I watched a Youtube video on how to iron without an ironing board. It’s actually really easy because all you need is a towel and a counter. I have white towels and I laid my black shirt on top of it. After calling my mom and having her help me iron because I’ve never really ironed anything before, I realized I had lint from the white towel all over my shit! You might not think this is an issue, but I didn’t have a lint roller. I was still on the phone with my mom when I realized this and she told me to just go to the dollar store and get a lint roller. I didn’t want to go out just to get a lint roller because I don’t really use them and it was about to rain. I was telling my mom that I don’t need a lint roller, if anything I’ll just shake it out because all a lint roller is is tape. And that’s when it hit me! I got packing tape, rolled the sticky side up, over two of my fingers with some extra room, and rolled my fingers covered in the tape over my shirt. Like magic, the white lint picked up! I was so excited that this worked because now I know I’ll never need a lint roller if I have tape in the house. 

And this one moment gave me inspiration for today’s frugal tip – You don’t need a single-purpose item or specialty items intended for one use. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean by this. I came up with the most appropriate name for how I describe these things, but let’s go back to my ironing example. 

There are two items that I did not have the day I ironed my work shirt – An ironing board and a lint roller. I don’t find that I need either of these things because I don’t iron enough to have an item dedicated to ironing and I don’t wear clothes that typically need a lint roller. I do have an iron though because there is no nifty way to iron clothes without one. I found that putting a towel on my kitchen island, then placing the clothing item on top of the towel and ironing that way was the perfect solution for me. However, I did iron a black shirt on a white towel which put a lot of lint on my shirt. I knew I needed to find a way to get this off and my first instinct was to buy a lint roller, but it was raining and I really didn’t want to buy something for this one time I needed this. So I thought to myself, how can I fix this with something I have at home and that’s when I realized I had packing tape and I could use this to pick up the lint! I had to think creatively to solve my problem and that made me feel better than just going to the store and buying something to solve that problem. I really did feel like I was so smart that day to solve this issue in such a creative way. All a lint roller is is tape if you think about it! 

This frugal tip really makes you more creative. I didn’t buy an item to solve my problem. I looked around my apartment to see what I could make do. This is something you should do for all problems you have. Don’t let companies sell you a solution to a problem that either isn’t really a problem or is such a minor problem that you don’t need a solution for it. Advertisements are meant to get you to buy a product. Don’t be sold a solution unless you truly need that solution. 

Now, I’m not saying you can’t have these types of items. For example, my parents have a  banana slicer and for them, this item is very helpful. It allows my dad who has some mobility issues in his hand to cut his own bananas for his cereal. They also have this nifty gripper to help them open up their jars. I, on the other hand, use a belt to open up any jars. I personally don’t open too many jars so for the few jars that do get stuck, I ask Ethan to grab his belt and we put it over the lid and get it open that way. There are a lot of great items like this that help people with mobility issues or who might not be as strong as they once were and for that, I do love how creative companies can be! 

With all things finances, even this frugal tip depends on your life. For my parents, they have items that really make sense for them to have, but in my house, they may not make the most sense. As my life changes though, maybe I have some items that make sense for me and not for my parents.

These single-purpose items or specialty items all depend on your life, but before you go out and buy the latest As Seen on TV gadget, think to yourself if you truly need that thing. There are so many items that are sold to us to fix these small issues we have. And you might be sold on a solution to a problem that you might not even have. You may see a commercial for a pizza oven that seems really cool, but do you really need a gadget just for pizza or can you make pizza in your normal oven? Why not try to see if you even like making pizza at home and if you do make pizza a few times a week, then maybe this gadget makes sense, but just to have another kitchen gadget isn’t going to motivate you to make pizza. 

So for this frugal tip, I challenge you to think outside of the box the next time you have a problem in life. Is there a way you can solve this with something you have at home or do without that solution? Or do you really need this item because it’s something you will use daily or a few times a week and really make your life simpler? 

I hope I’ve given you a lot to think about in this episode! Let me know, what is an item like this what you got and realized you didn’t need? Or what is an item like this that you got and you realized you did need? 

Thank you for listening to this Frugal Tip Episode of No Fear Finance, an Amalfi Media show! If you enjoyed this, consider sharing it with a friend or family member. And if you’re new, make sure to listen to my other frugal tip episodes and my financial literacy episodes. 

Until then, Happy Saturday and see you all next week.


Sara is a Content Portfolio Specialist on-site at Eli Lilly & Company. She is a professional librarian, Accredited Financial Counselor candidate, and adjunct instructor teaching personal financial literacy. Sara enjoys traveling and cooking!

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