Please welcome Jeff Yeager, one of my favorite cheapskates and an all-around good guy. I asked him to write the very first guest post for AskLizWeston.com based on advice from his latest book, “Don’t Throw That Away!” The book, and this post, focus on the middle part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra, with creative ways to get more mileage from what you already have. Here’s what Jeff has to say:
By getting a little creative and reusing would-be throwaway items, you’ll not only help save the Earth’s resources and live lighter on the planet, but you can also save some money at the same time. Here are a few examples of creative repurposing:
Fruit and vegetable peels: Of course you can compost them (and I give readers all the rotten details about composting in the book), but the skins of many types of fruits and veggies have a multitude of other uses as well, including: banana peels can be used to shine shoes (I call it a “banana split shine”) as well as fertilize your prize rose bushes and protect them from insects; papaya peels contain vitamin A and papain, which makes them great for softening skin and soothing cracked heels, and peach skins work similar magic; scrub copper pots and pans with lemon peels or other citrus rinds and a little baking soda for a bright and shiny finish; you can even naturally darken greying hair using potato peels!
Old cellphones: Did you know that under FCC regulations, you can call 911 in case of an emergency using any cell phone, even phones with expired service contracts? So don’t throw away your old cells when you get a new ones, just keep them powered up and scattered around the house, car, office, everywhere in case of a true emergency.
Refashioning: Restyling old clothing into new apparel (aka “refashioning”) is becoming a hot new trend, to the point where some designers are now coming out with lines that are simply made to look like refashioned garments– I guess that would be faux repurposing? Many of the projects are simple, like making “tee-skirts”– fun little skirts made out of old t-shirts – requiring little in the way of sewing skills or equipment.
Cheapskate-soap-on-a-rope: Save those little slivers of soap from the shower, put them in the heel of an old pair of pantyhose, and keep it tied to the outside water spigot to wash up after working in the garden. The mesh lets you get every last bit of suds out soap slivers.
Eggcellent reuses for eggshells: Crumble them up and sprinkle them around the garden to fertilize the soil and deter slugs, deer and other pests; add some along with the coffee in the filter for a less bitter cup of java; or make adorable “egg shell candles,” a chance to repurpose both eggshells and leftover candle stubs.
And whatever you do, don’t throw away that dryer lint! Stuff it inside an empty toilet paper tube and use it to light a fire in the fireplace. Dryer lint is highly flammable, so it’ll really light your fire, so to speak.
Remember: “Reduce – Reuse, Reuse, Reuse, and Reuse Again – Then Recycle.
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Don’t Throw That Away!
is only available in e-book formats, so you won’t have to worry about how to reuse it after you’ve read it. It is published by Three Rivers Press and is available wherever e-books are sold. Jeff Yeager is also the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches
and The Cheapskate Next Door
. You’ll find him at The Ultimate Cheapskate