12 Disgusting Ways To Save Money In Your Kitchen

We are all different people with different views and habits in every aspect of our lives. What is the definition of “disgusting” as YOU see it?

It varies from one person to another. Some of my unusual ways to save money may look … how to put it?  … weird to you. Same way, many of your habits can be unacceptable to someone else.

Knowledge is a great power. We always can learn from each other, no matter how strange the other’s ideas may seem. I’ve learned some of the tips from my grandmother and will probably pass them to my daughter as family traditions.

My philosophy is to use everything as full as possible, until the last piece. It’s not because I can’t afford a new item or a disposable option.  I’m just really upset about the amount of trash I add to the landfill every single day despite all my efforts to reuse, reduce and recycle.

In my opinion, the modern culture of consumerism is very annoying and dangerous to the planet. New generations are raised with the wrong moral values, as they are taught to get everything they want NOW, to throw the old and get the new just because it’s a bit shinier version.

I oppose these views and try to do my best to avoid any waste. In most of the cases, it also benefits both my own wallet and the environment.

Let’s see if you find my weird ways to save money disgusting or useful.

ways to save money in the kitchen

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#1 Reuse Supermarket Bags For Garbage

Kitchen trash bags with drawstring are easy to use but they cost about 10 to 20 cents per bag. Frugal people like me just use the regular plastic bags given for free in many supermarkets (if your state still permits it). I actually like them more than the big trash bags, as using smaller bags doesn’t allow us to keep the garbage (and the smell) at home for more than one day. Once the bag is full, someone has to take it out (and usually it’s not me!).

There is an environmental benefit as well, as you re-use these plastic bags and don’t add more to the landfill.

#2 Save On Sandwich Zipped Bags

Everyone needs small zipped plastic bags sometimes, especially parents who pack sandwiches and snacks for the kids. These bags can cost a couple of cents per unit. There are at least 3 ways to save on sandwich bags (and help the environment):

  • Use small plastic containers for fruit and other food if you are sure it will make its way back home to be washed and reused.
  • Don’t throw away the bags used for dry foods like goldfish or cheerios. Teach kids to bring them back home and reuse. My kids know to ask the teacher not to throw away their sandwich bags.
  • Use zipped bags you get from the deli when you buy cold cut meat or sliced cheese. These bags are not of great quality, but they are still useful for many purposes in the kitchen.

#3 Wash Big Zipped Bags

I grew up in Russia of the ’80s. In those days, any plastic bag was treated as a family treasure. My grandma used to wash plastic bags by hand and hang them to dry along with the other laundry. All our neighbors did the same.

Today, we don’t have to wash all of the plastic bags, but it still makes sense to me to wash and reuse good quality (by that I mean thick plastic and a good zipper) zipped bags, as they can cost more than 10 cents per bag.

Actually, you don’t need zipped bags too much. I get mad when I see a chef on TV mixing chicken with oil and spices in the Ziplock and throw the bag away immediately after. We always use pyrex or plastic containers for similar tasks.

However, sometimes a Ziploc is the best solution. For example, we use gallon size Ziploc bags to freeze the sliced bread we bake at home. I wash and reuse these bags for years!

When the bag gets old and can’t be airtight anymore, you still can use it to store small toys or other things that don’t require a vacuum.

Related post:

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#4 Replace Paper Towels With Washable Rags

Personally, I try to minimize the use of paper towels, along with any other disposal products. Of course, sometimes, there is no choice, like when I need to absorb the excess oil from the pancakes or fried cookies.

However, I barely use them for daily cleaning tasks. My preference is reusable cleaning clothes, especially microfiber clothes that don’t leave any trace on the countertop surface. Many people find the idea of using and washing the rags quite unappealing.

There are a lot of discussions on many frugal advice forums around the cost comparison between the paper towels and the cleaning rugs. Taking into account the water, energy and the detergent costs of washing the clothes, the price might be close. A roll of regular paper towels can cost about 50 cents if you find a good sale. The microfiber clothes would cost about 40-50 cents each when you buy a large pack.

#5 Reuse Napkins And Paper Towels

Every time we have a family dinner, I collect the lightly used napkins and save them in a bag near the kitchen sink, along with paper towels that still have some life left in them.

Why do I save them?

You probably hate dealing with oily pans, pots, and containers. I know I do. Pouring used oil down the drain is not a good idea, as it can clog the pipes. So what is the easiest way to clean this greasy stuff?

Before washing a pan or placing a dirty plastic container in the dishwasher, I wipe them with a couple of used napkins. Washing a pan becomes much easier and needs less soap and water. My food containers come out of the dishwasher much cleaner as well, so I don’t need to repeat the cycle.


#6 Reuse Parchment Paper

We use a lot of parchment paper in our kitchen, as we make a lot of roasted vegetables and baked goods like bread, cookies, and cakes.

In many cases, like with dry cookies, the paper will be barely spotted, so there is no need to throw it away. You can reuse it several times before it becomes really greasy and burnt at the edges.

While making bread in the rectangular loaf pans, you can use just a narrow strip of parchment paper instead of a bigger piece that will cover all four sides of the pan. The narrow pan is enough to pull the bread out of the pan. Usually, cleaning the pan wouldn’t be a problem anyway.

Another money saving solution is to use silicone baking mats instead of the parchment paper. You can find sets of 2-4 mats for less than $5 per unit. They are easy to clean and last for years. Just look at their raving reviews on Amazon.

#7 Reuse Tea Bags

Most of the tea bags can be easily used to make more than one cup of tea. If you are making tea for several people, use the same bag for 2-3 cups or make it in one large teapot, as in the good old days.

In cold winter days, when I drink several cups of tea a day, I put my used tea bag aside on a tiny plate and use it again within several hours.

Here is one of our favorite herbal tea options – Celestial Tea Sampler with 5 great fruit flavors.


#8 Reuse Deep Frying Oil

Who doesn’t like deep fried food, like doughnuts or French fries? Almost anything deep fried tastes like heaven. These days, there are many easy to use at-home fryers, making fried food even more accessible.

If you make it too often (and it’s not so healthy, you know), you’ll run out of oil pretty quick.

Do you know that it’s ok to re-use the oil several times? What you need to do is to let the oil cool, remove any large food pieces, strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer and a cheesecloth and store the oil in a cool dry place. Don’t use the oil if it becomes cloudy or gets an unpleasant odor.

One of the best oils to use for frying is peanut oil, high in saturated fats, that has a longer lifespan and produces crispier results.

Another healthier option will be to try an air-fryer that uses up to 80% less oil.

#9 Save Fruit That Goes Bad

We try to plan our grocery shopping well, to avoid spoiling food. However, rarely as it is, it happens that some fruit is getting close to being spoiled. Usually, it will be bananas. My favorite way to save them is making delicious banana bread using this recipe from Natasha’s kitchen. Another option is to peel and freeze these browning bananas for future use in healthy shakes or pancakes.

An additional way to save fruits can be making fruit cakes, jams or just adding a grated apple or mashed banana to the morning pancakes.

To learn how to better plan your grocery shopping, download my FREE guide below:


#10 Collect Bones And Veggie Scraps

Do you buy a rotisserie chicken for a quick dinner sometimes? After you finish the dinner, don’t throw the bones away! Freeze them to make a tasty chicken broth. I use the bones from grilled chicken and roasted ribs as well.

In addition, I save clean scrapes of different vegetables, such as onion, carrot, celery, parsley stems etc. Once I have enough scraps, I use my Instant Pot to make a broth. What is great about this popular kitchen device is that it doesn’t require any attention. You can load everything in the pot, set it to 4 hours and leave the house.

Once the broth is ready, let it cool down, strain the golden liquid, freeze in small containers (I use hard plastic ice cream containers for this purpose) and don’t buy chicken broth anymore.


#11 Collect Fruit Scrapes

Anytime I core and peel apples or pears, I save the scrapes to the Ziploc bag in my freezer. Once the bag is full, I place the contents in the Instant Pot, add more fruits that are at the edge of being spoiled (wrinkled grapes, not too fresh strawberries, blueberries, plums or peaches), add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and a handful of cranberries. I fill the pot to the maximum and cook for 10 min using a “Soup” function.

The result is a Homemade Juice or Kompot that my kids like a lot, taking into account that usually water is their only drink option at home.

#12 Ask For Doggy Bags At The Restaurant

Many restaurants have so big portions that you can’t finish them at once. It happens a lot with Asian noodles, steaks, BBQ, hamburgers etc. In most cases, you can ask the waiter to pack the leftovers and take them home. Don’t be shy! There is no shame in asking to take the food you already paid for.

My kids love when we bring home leftovers from our date night. It allows them to taste new food as a small compensation for being left behind while we go out.

In The Nutshell

Here are my 12 weird saving tips for your kitchen:

  1. Reuse Supermarket Bags For Garbage
  2. Save On Sandwich Zipped Bags
  3. Wash Big Zipped Bags
  4. Replace Paper Towels With Washable Rugs
  5. Reuse Napkins And Paper Towels
  6. Reuse Parchment Paper
  7. Reuse Tea Bags
  8. Reuse Deep Frying Oil
  9. Save Fruit That Goes Bad
  10. Collect Bones And Veggie Scraps To Make a Broth
  11. Collect Fruit Scrapes To Make Kompot
  12. Ask For Doggy Bags At The Restaurant

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P.S. What do you think about these unusual ways to save? Is there anything you can use in your kitchen?

What are YOUR crazy saving tips? Please share in the comments! I’m so curious to know!


If you enjoyed the post, please like it, share and follow me (greatly appreciated!):


My name is Mary and I'm the owner of MoCash For You.

18 thoughts on “12 Disgusting Ways To Save Money In Your Kitchen

  • January 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Why would you even use disgusting to describe your amazing skills? I am from Jamaica and i can tell you the these are my everyday practices. really creative and educative. it saves you a few dollars at the end of every week.

    All of these methods to me a typical Jamaican is classified as conservative, which is another term other people called SAVED. only if some people would develop the mentality to practice these awesome strategies then they could spend less on items no need to spend on: Reuse Supermarket Bags For Garbage, Save On Sandwich Zipped Bags, Wash Big Zipped Bags, Replace Paper Towels With Washable Rugs, Reuse Napkins And Paper Towels, Reuse Parchment Paper, Reuse Tea Bags, Reuse Deep Frying Oil, Save Fruit That Goes Bad, Collect Bones And Veggie Scraps To Make a Broth, Collect Fruit Scrapes To Make Kompot, Asking For Doggy Bags At The Restaurants etc.

    Thank you so much, you are amazingly grown to be a saver. 

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:15 pm

      Hi Peter,

      Maybe Jamaica and Russia have more in common than we think!

      I hope to inspire more people to save. It’s great for the planet and for the wallet. Win-win!


  • January 3, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Mary,

    I love the headline.  I didn’t really find any of them disgusting but it definitely sparked my curiosity.  Although, used napkins and papertowels could get pretty disgusting.  These are great ideas and I had not really thought of any of them.  I have a whole outside trash bin full of plastic grocery bags.  It’s overflowing and I was just thinking of what to do with them.  Now I know!  I do re-use glass jars but hadn’t really thought of uses for plastic containers to re-use.  Is there a magic way to clean those out?  I know some of them have really small openings that you can’t get into to scrub.

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Kris,

      Some people make rugs from plastic bags! I saw some video about it. But it’s really for those who have time LOL.

      I’m not sure what type of plastic containers do you mean. I mostly use those from ice cream or big jars from pretzels or crackers. We store grains in them.

      Some of the plastic can be just recycled, it’s not that bad.


  • January 3, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Great list.  Maybe I am disgusting because I didn’t find it all that disgusting?  Well, the idea of saving used paper towels sounded disgusting at first.   Yet, the use for them made sense. 

    When I have aged fruits and veggies, I give them to my hens.   Granted the girls prefer the hard items, like old  potatoes and carrots to be cooked so they can eat it easier.   The fruits and veggies are a nice treat for the chickens.  Plus,  I’ve always been told that my girls eggs taste really good also, so the fruits and veggies may help.  

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Sondra!

      Then we are both Disgusting savers LOL!

      I don’t save ALL paper towels. Only relatively clean ones. If they are just wet with some water, you can let them dry and then save for later use.

      We live in urban area, so no hens, but it’s a great way to use veggie and fruit leftovers. My husband would be happy to try some of the eggs from your hens!


  • January 3, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    These are some good money saving tips in the kitchen and household. I especially like the idea of using old grocery bags as they can start to pile up and I don’t like just throwing them away with nothing in them.

    I would say that reusing sandwich bags and other resealable bags can be gross, but you have given some good alternatives in using them again and not just for food.

    I just actually just took some apples that had been frozen and then thawed (making them start to go bad) and blended them up with some cinnamon to make a homemade apple sauce. Tasty and saved me from just throwing them all away!

    Good tips! I appreciate the help.

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      Hi Kory!

      I also make my own apple sauce when I want some. It’s so easy to make in the Instant Pot!

      Great way to save apples. Another option are easy apple cakes.

      Saving is a way of living!


  • January 3, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    wow, I don’t reuse any of those things you listed,napkin,teabags,even fruits that go bad why do I really need to save them but reading through this I’ve seen the reason why I need to change my ways.No wonder last year my financial status was not strong enough, I’ve been spending extra money on things I can actually save and reuse. Thanks for enlighten me.

    • January 3, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Lok!

      Any waste is a cost for you and for the planet. And I’m sure you can find a better use for your money than paying for rotten bananas. Many ways to save don’t take too much time or effort. Just being mindful to what’s happening around.

      I’m sure you can and will do better.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  • January 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I love looking for ways to make savings and/ or reuse things in the kitchen. I always save takeaway pots to use for freezing food.

    I found some great tips in your list. Great idea to save napkins to wipe grease out of pans and also good for wiping out the oven when it’s still hot after cooking a roast dinner.

     We have a dog so saving sandwich bags could also be used as poop bags when on a walk ;0). 

    • January 2, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Dianne!

      You are right! I forgot about the bags for dogs! Tip #14 (as I found #13 in one of the comments below). We get promo papers and coupon brochures in a small bag every Thursday, so my mother-in-law uses these bags for her dog.

      Thank you for stopping by!


  • January 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Mary, 

    Just when I thought I was the only one who reuses supermarket bags for garbage, washes zipped bags, uses washable rugs instead of paper towels, reuses teabags and deep frying oil and takes home left overs when dining out … now I know I’m not weird at all because I’m not the only one who does these things to save money in the kitchen. 

    I know some people who feel embarrassed to have the waiter pack their left overs and take them home but I’m not. Why waste food when family members would be happy to have them. I am very practical especially when it comes to kitchen stuff. Instead of wasting, why not save money, right? 

    By the way, you mentioned peanut oil being one of the best for frying but they are rarely available in our supermarket. What do you think about sunflower oil?

    • January 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Alice!

      It’s great to see there are like-minded people around us! We need it sometimes to stand against hostile opinions of the people who wipe a drop of water with paper towel and throw it! 🙂

      I recall reading not too positive things about sunflower oil, however we used it with everything when I was a kid.

      Look for peanut oil before Thanksgiving. Every year we buy a huge jar at BJ’s before the Holidays and it is enough for all 12 months. Many times it’s on sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then disappears from the shelves. You also can try to find it on Amazon, I gave a link to one of the oils in the post. However, not sure about the price, to be honest.


  • January 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Non of your suggestions are disgusting to me!!! I do all the things you’ve listed!  I’m sure you meant ‘rags’ and not ‘rugs’ heehee.  I’ve had to train so many men to use a rag instead of reaching for my expensive paper towels every time they attempt to clean something!  

    When I made my man go replace the pack of paper towels him and our other roommate had gone through in a matter of 3 months he came back and put them in our storage spot and then came to me and apologized.  He was a bachelor for so long that he didn’t realize the grand cost of them.  He would go to the dollar store and buy one roll as needed …and, he needed a lot to support his paper habit! 

    I love that you wrote about veggie and bone saving as well.  I save all the bones & veggie scraps from everything I cook to make my stocks.  

    I love my vacuum sealer as well and I will sanitize them in the dishwasher and reuse them any chance I get.  

    Great tips all around Mary!  We can all do a little something each day to reduce our waste and save every dollar we can.  No matter how much money I ever make I will always do whatever I can to conserve every cent.

    I have one other thing I do whenever possible.  If you frequent local restaurants and/or food trucks…ask them if it’s okay to bring your own Tupperware or, reusable take-out containers.  I haven’t had one owner say no as it saves them money as well! 

    • January 2, 2019 at 4:34 pm


      Thank you for your support od my frugal craziness! Yes, I meant rags, will correct the typo as soon as I’m back home.

      Same as you said, for me it’s not the matter of what I can afford, it’s about what is the best use of every dollar and what is better for our planet.

      Good idea about bringing your own containers to local food places! I rarely use take outs. And when I do – guess what?  I keep using their plastic containers for a long time. My kids even use them for LEGO storage. I should add this as tip #13!


  • January 2, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    You know what I follow more than half of your list. I never buy garbage bags always use it as my trash bag, why buying it when you can get it for free when you do your grocery shopping? I do not care if people say its gross but I also reuse my ziplock bags as well. When I go out to eat, I always ask for a food to be wrapped since the portion here in the States is ridiculous and bam I have about 3 meals for the week. I am from Thailand. When I was little, we saved all of those glass or plastic jars to use for our condiments and we labeled them, yet again earth friendly and miney in your pocket. I also reuse napkins, if I use it for a meal and it is not that disgusting, I always use it to wipe the kitchen floor since it is always greasy. For tea bags I use it differently than yours, I use it for my eyes to get rid of the bags lol Love your article, I wish a lot of people follow the things that we do, it will be so much better for our planet plus it saves money. I do not thik it is gross at all!!

    • January 2, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Nuttanee!

      I’m so happy to find more people who share my views about savings in the kitchen! It’s like getting social proof that I’m not crazy.

      Great tip about tea bags on your eyes. I knew it some time ago and forgot. Thanks for the reminder!



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