5 Things to Buy at Thrift Stores that are Budget & Eco Friendly

As I've said before, my hubby and I go through phases when we try to be frugal.  When we go through our frugal phases, we are usually pretty good about not using things that are disposable.  We try to save money and help out our budget by using things that can be used more than once.  Here is a list of some things that you can buy at thrift stores to help you become more frugal.  These are things that you might buy on a regular basis that you mean to use once and throw away OR things that can help you to NOT throw things away. Most of things are things that I use in our kitchen.  Let's just say I spend a lot of time there!

  1. Cloth napkins.  If you routinely use paper towels or paper napkins, this one could be a good switch out for you.  Cloth napkins can be used over and over and over again.  There's no need to buy them new.  You can usually find them at the thrift store.  You might just get lucky and find the perfect match to your kitchen decor, too.  
  2. Silverware.  Yeah, it's taken me a while to jump on board with this one.  After seeing my kids go through almost an entire 600 count box of plastic spoons, I'm done.  I try to get them to bring the plastic spoons back so that we can wash and re-use them.  They're usually pretty good, but some of the spoons just don't make it back.  I figure they'll be more likely to bring a "real" spoon back.  I was able to find a bag of random spoons for $1.99 at our local thrift store.  There were at least 20 spoons in there and they can be washed and re-used infinitely.
  3. Towels.  Old towels can be bought and cut into 8x8 inch or 10x10 inch squares to be used as dishcloths.  These can be used in place of disposable sponges.  Sponges can get gross and harbor bacteria anyway.  I made this switch out a long time ago.  I have never regretted it.  I actually find that baby wash cloths are the perfect size for doing dishes and cleaning counters.  My hubby used to be in charge of giving the baby baths and never liked using the washcloths.  So, we gave our baby washcloths a new job in our kitchen.  They can be washed as often as needed with your regular towel load.  When I didn't have enough of the baby washcloths, I cut a kitchen towel (that was one of my least favorites) and ended up with 4 more washcloths.
  4. Buy old T-shirts to make any of these items:  Reusable produce bags, DIY Dusting Mitt, Unpaper Towels.  You can find the instructions at Mother Earth News.   If you have old T-shirts at home, that works too.  I've found that sometimes I can find T-shirts for as low as 25 cents or 50 cents at the thrift store.  It's great that you can create cleaning tools at home that can be thrown into the washer and NOT thrown away each time.
  5. Slow Cooker(s).  I know you're wondering how buying a slow cooker is eco-friendly, well, besides it helping you not have to turn the oven on in the Summer time.  Here's my eco-friendly take on it:  It can help you use up leftovers so that they don't go to waste.  I often combine all of my leftovers into one big leftover soup.  Leftover taco meat, chicken, hamburger meat, sausage, roast beef, leftover beans or other veggies, leftover roasted potatoes can all be tossed into a slow cooker with chicken, beef or vegetable broth to create a fantastic soup.  Almost anything left over can be repurposed into a soup.  Even leftover rice or noodles can be tossed into a "leftover" soup.   Those can be added in the last half hour.
What are some ways that you try to be eco-friendly?  Do you shop at thrift stores?

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