Repurpose to Reap More Savings

Gone are the days that one can select, train for and keep one job for the entirety of their working life. The reality of today’s job market requires workers to remain flexible, willing to train for and take on new responsibilities as necessary in order to remain employed. Isn’t it time we start taking that same approach to what we buy? After all, we work hard to afford our purchases. Shouldn’t we expect the same from what we buy? Not only can this approach do great things for the environment by limiting what ends up useless in landfills, but it can do wonders for your budget as well. Ah, truly a win-win situation if I’ve ever heard one.

Altoids tin

Purposefully select and purchase items that are designed to multitask. While you’ll likely end up investing a bit more money upfront, products that have been intelligently designed to multitask can well be worth the additional expense for several reasons. One, they’re usually built to last much longer than their less expensive counterparts and, two, they’ll likely save you money in the long run. For example, spending more money upfront to purchase a product that accepts refills such as an electronic toothbrush with a replaceable head or rechargeable batteries that can recharged and used over and over again offer significant savings over the course of the long term life of the product.

Become a magician yourself, seeking out incognito uses for items you purchase. Just because an additional usage of an item isn’t advertised doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Put your own thinking cap on and take charge of what you buy by identifying otherwise in disguise uses for a product. Food products that are sold in conveniently sized plastic or glass jars can be cleaned out and repurposed to hold leftovers or help organize the contents of your pantry. Empty metal mint or candy tins can be used to create emergency sewing kits or contain small travel toiletries such as tiny nail files and a pair of clippers. They even make ideal “Toothfairy boxes” for children to leave their lost tooth inside under their pillows. The more willing you are to get creative about looking for your own ways to repurpose items, the more money you’re likely to save.

Select “top dog transformers” when it comes to food purchases, too. For most households, the monthly grocery bill is usually the easiest and most impactful way one can cut costs. An easy way to do this is by purposefully selecting food items that can easily be transformed with minimal effort. Additionally, you can nearly effortlessly compound the savings and the convenience by purchasing such food items in bulk. Potatoes, for example, not only store well for longer periods of time, but are cheap to begin with and can be used an infinite amount of ways. Biscuit and pancake mix is another top dog transformer of the food world. Aside from the uses suggested by the product name, it can also be used for making pot pie topping, muffins, fritters and even makes a great coating for making fried chicken. So start seeking out multipurpose items when it comes to the culinary variety as well to start seeing your food bill shrink.

Photo credit: almk

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

2 Responses to “Repurpose to Reap More Savings”

  1. Credit Cards |  Oct 05, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Save for the rainy day. Good post, I got few new and genuine ways to save more in my household budget.