Society gets stuck in thinking we need to buy specific items for specific tasks. The truth is, we already have the items available in our own homes. We learn this thinking from older generations and our current society. Marketers also put the idea in our heads we need this object and anything else won’t suffice. Stop that way of thinking and get creative with what we have! This list of cheap alternatives to household items will help you save money today and generate ideas for the future.
This article also includes some fun cheap DIY projects too!
14 Cheap Alternatives to Household Items
Cleaning Wipes — Rags and Cleaner
Cleaning wipes like Lysol Disinfectant Wipes are common in every household. But if you think about it, they are such a waste of money! You pay for the individual wipes and the cleaning liquid and throw them away after each use. Not to mention if the lid is left open the slightest bit, you have to throw all of them away. All you really need is some rags and cleaning liquid!
Rags are great because when you are done with them, throw them in the washing machine. Then, the rags will be able to be reused. You can make your own rags at home. All you need is old towels, thick cloth, or you can make your own with old t-shirts. Some cleaning liquid is also needed. You should make your own cleaning liquid to save more money. Down below I’ll show you how to make your own cleaning liquid.
Cleaner — Homemade Cleaner
We mostly see cleaning liquid with brands like Clorox and Mr. Clean. Just remember, the purpose of using cleaning products is to clean up your surfaces and kill germs at the same time. We don’t need our kitchen counters smelling like “freshly shaved grass” or “newly opened caviar”. I made that last one up. But this blog shows some “quality” cleaners you can buy. Some of those cleaning liquids are 20 dollars! Have fun buying a small, $20 bottle every 3 weeks just to clean countertops.
Basically all you need is vinegar. White vinegar is a great cleaning solution. Vinegar kills everything. Check out this article from money crashers for everything you need for making cheap cleaning products!
Measuring Cups — Reusable Cups
Do you need a measuring cup? Even if at the moment you don’t, they always end up breaking somehow. Or you can use a second measuring cup, right? Well, you can easily make your own measuring cups!
To make your own measuring cups, all you need is a reusable plastic cup or a plastic container. If you have another measuring cup, fill the cup/container up with water to the desired measurement. Then, mark off where the water line is(highest point the liquid reaches). Mark the cup with an engraving, permanent marker, or whatever your heart desires. The mark should preferably be on the inside of the cup, but the outside will work as well.
If you do not have any measuring cups, improvise! All beverage bottles should have the measurements on the bottle. Like those mini Nestle water bottles are 8 fl oz, which equals 1 cup. Pour the water in the cup and use that as a measuring point. Or use a normal shot glass. A normal shot glass most likely holds 1.5 fl oz.
Dish Rags — Regular Rags
This one’s easy. Don’t go out and buy rags, you have everything you need in your home. You can make rags from towels, blankets, t-shirts, sweaters, sheets, or anything that uses cloth or cloth-like material. Just tear it up into multiple pieces. You should consider using a more thick material for our homemade dishrags though.
If you are worried about the homemade dishrags being destroyed in the washer or dryer, don’t worry! Put the homemade dish rags in a small to medium, washing machine safe, sack/bag for washing and drying.
Batteries — Rechargeable Batteries
The EPA estimates Americans use billions of batteries each year! Did you know there are rechargeable batteries? Caution: normal batteries cannot be recharged! Rechargeable batteries can be recharged 100s of times. That is 100s of batteries you have saved money on.
Flashlight — Self Charging Flashlight
If you are a flashlight user, you know those puny cell phone flashlights just don’t compare. Not only do these flashlights save you money, but you also don’t have to worry about having batteries in them! Non-battery flashlights come in handy in emergencies too. This is a hand crank flashlight from WalMart that is $5.38. Non-battery flashlights can come in handy in an emergency.
Mop Bucket/Small Trash Can — Popcorn Tin
Do you get those yummy popcorn tins that pop up during the holiday season? If so, you know they usually include 2 cheddar and 1 caramel flavored types of popcorn. Well, those popcorn tins can be used as your next mop bucket or small trash can for the bathroom!
You should also be putting empty grocery bags as trash liners for your small trash cans!
Purified Water — Brita Filter
Bottled water is such a waste of money. In 2012, Americans spent over 11 billion dollars on bottled water! And buying brands like Fiji or Smartwater make for terrible spending habits. Water bottles are also terrible for the environment. Americans need to drink our very cheap tap water that is easily assessable. When you are traveling, make sure to bring a reusable water bottle.
Many people complain that they “can not” drink tap water because of the taste. Brita has a wonderful line of water filters that solve this problem. This Brita pitcher is $19.59 at Target. What you do is pour your water through the filter and the pitcher filters the water into even more clean water. This water tastes just like it came out of a water bottle and you can reuse it over and over again. You do need to change out the actual filters from time to time though.
Laptop/PC — Tablet and Bluetooth Keyboard
Laptops and PCs are pretty outdated compared to tablets. Today’s tablets can do almost anything laptops and PCs can do and then some. Most tablets can run applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and much more. If you want to use a keyboard instead of typing on the screen, Bluetooth keyboards can easily connect to tablets.
One problem tablets have the laptops and PCs don’t is that tablets have limited storage space. What you could do is use a cloud storage program like Dropbox. This will solve all your storage concerns.
Coffee Table — Crates
There are some really cool DIY coffee tables out there. The one I recommend is a milk crate coffee table. This blog has step by step instructions on how to make a coffee table using crates.
Flower Pots — Jars and Baskets
Everyone most likely has unused baskets or mason jars laying around. Your unwanted jars and baskets make for a unique and creative flower pot. This blog will show you how to make DIY flower pots using mason jars. To transform your baskets into flower pots, this website has an easy guide to do just that.
Coasters — Tiles
Coasters are not too expensive to begin with. But you can make an even cheaper, and probably better looking, coaster from materials in your home. All you need is a spare tile. If you don’t have a spare tile, you can buy one from HomeDepot for less than a dollar. Check out this blog to turn tiles into beautiful coasters!
Forks — Chipotle Forks
This tip may sound a little strange, but it works great! Chipotle receives thousands of loyal customers per day. One thing many people don’t talk when they talk about Chipotle is how great their forks are! Even though you’re not supposed to, I take some extra plastic forks whenever I go to Chipotle.
These plastic forks are not like your ordinary plastic forks. Chipotle has some of the best plastic forks you can find. Chipotle’s forks are made up of a very thick, hard plastic. You can use Chipotle’s forks over and over again because they are dishwasher safe! You might not want to bring these forks out at dinner parties though…
Thanks for reading 14 Cheap Alternatives to Household Items!
I would love to know if you use any of the listed above cheap alternatives already. Furthermore, do you have any more tips you would like to add? Leave your comments down below!