* * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most
expensive country to live (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.
Regular edition, December 12, 2005 Issue No. 81
- Amazing Frugal Uses for Everyday Things
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*** Amazing Frugal Uses for Everyday Things ***
Dear Frugal Readers,
One essential part of frugality, I believe, is ingenuity.
True tightwads develop very ingenious ways of reusing
everyday items in new, fascinatingly frugal ways. Below
I've assembled a collection of some of my favorite amazing
frugal uses for everyday things.
*Plastic/paper bags* - It seems you just can't escape from a
store in Japan without being given five or six small plastic
or paper bags to wrap your purchases in. I usually bring my
own bag shopping, but even when I don't, we do take the bags.
We use the plastic bags for small trashcan liners, diaper
disposal on the go, tying up smelly food leftovers and
fish/meat/or eggshell waste that would smell up the large
garbage bag, doggie poop disposal (using the bag as a "glove"
when picking up the poop), and for trash disposal. The
paper bags (usually carrier bags from department stores)
are used to "regift" merchandise if the bag is in good
condition. Otherwise, the paper bags are perfect packaging
for sending items through the mail. If you're feeling creative,
you can also cut a paper carrier bag along its seams to use
as book covers, wrapping paper for presents, or for wrapping
an odd-shaped parcel. Finally, the paper carrier bags are
generally useful for.. carrying things!
*Used pantyhose* - Gentlemen, you'll have a difficult time
with this one, but ladies - just because you've got a run
in one leg of your pantyhose doesn't mean the pair is
ruined. Cut the legs of the pantyhose off to make a great
catch-all for those random slivers of soap floating
around. Put the slivers of soap in the pantyhose, and hang it
by your bathroom or kitchen sink (or anywhere else
you might need to wash hands quickly after dirty work).
Used pantyhose legs can also do in a pinch as a sink "food
trap" net, or as a "bochusai" (mothball) holder for your
closet clothes rod. The waist of the pantyhose can be
used as a giant rubber band for securing stacks of things
like old newspapers or magazines for recycling day.
Gardeners can use them to tie plants to stakes, and the
waistband can also be cut into strips for use as a "hair
*Bread tabs* - You know, those weird plastic bits that keep
your bread bag closed. These inevitably get thrown away, but
can actually be useful for scraping pans clean, scratching
off lottery cards or scratch-off phone cards, and scraping
paint. They also apparently make good guitar picks, bingo
chips, counting implements (for your children), or for
holding your saved rubber bands together.
*Disposable chopsticks (waribashi)* - Although we make an
effort not to accept these when getting take-out food in
Japan, sometimes they give them to you anyway. In addition
to saving waribashi for parties or picnics, I have used them
around the house to clean out my dryer lint from inaccessible
places, clean out my bathtub 'hair trap' (cuts down on the
gross factor), and to clean behind my gas range.
Hopefully these hints can give you some inspiration to
make a few of your own ingenious, frugal solutions with
Wendy J. Imura
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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (email@example.com)
Edited by: JI
Copyright 2005 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.