Do you know how much money we spent for trash bags every year? Even economical trash bags can cost $5/6 a box. That’s not cheap. It really hurts to spend $5, especially when you know that you will throw it out finally. Some families can use 3 trash bags everyday. And It means you will spend $15 a month just for trash bags.

Have you noticed that grocery stores are very generous lately in giving away plastic grocery bags. Sometimes one plastic bag contains only 1or 2 items. For example, when you buy a birthday card for a friend or loved one, they will put it in one plastic bag. What a waste! In one grocery trip, I may get 10-15 plastic bags. If you go to grocery store twice a week, you will have about 30 bags or more.It depends on how many items you buy of course.

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I’m always sad to see how people in the U.S. (not all) are so easy to throw away something that, in fact can still be used. In Asia we have to work so hard to get anything and we have to leverage our economic principles in life. Life is difficult and you have to appreciate everything, not stingy but frugal.

That includes plastic bags that we get from the grocery store. Instead of throwing them away, why not use them as trash bags? I know small plastic bags can only be used for small amounts of trash and using them means you have to go to the dumpster more often.

These days, we tend to spoil ourselves too much. We spoil our children too much. Look at how many toys our children have that they never seem to appreciate. We prefer the comfortable and instant life. We don’t want to try new ways or come out from our comfort boat. Especially if it ruins our pleasure, comfort, habits or happiness.

Forming frugal habits is a matter of how we educate ourselves. We want to make sure that we always save money in everything we shop for, even though it’s just a dime. I know this sounds radical. How can plastic bags can save you money? How 15$/month can make a difference?. Definitely, you won’t get rich with that one habit. That’s the wrong attitude. Saving money, big or small, is saving money. This is all about how to educate yourself to not waste resources and to appreciate small things. I remember a Bible phrase that says

“if you are faithful in small things, God will entrust you with big things.”

Also another phrase says

“little by little, it will build up to be a hill after while.”

A dime here, a dime there; that’s the way we save money.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why a lot of people continue to live lives of luxury even though they have mountains of debt. For them, outer impressions are more important than inner peace. You have to learn to be a poor person, then you will appreciate material things more. Trust me! Remember life sometimes moves so fast. Life is like a wheel, sometimes you are at the top and sometimes you are at the bottom. Ready or not ready, you have to prepare yourself.

I better stop before this turns into a real sermon–okay let’s get back to our plastic bags :)

Here are a few tips on how trash can save you $150 a year.

      1. You can get a bulk trash bags at Walmart/ Discounted store. But save them just for emergencies or for really large amounts of trash. Keep them in storage as backup.

      2. Make a habit to save all your plastic bags from the grocery store. Don’t throw them out because that’s cring (my pet word for money).

    Before you store them, check the bags’ condition. Don’t use broken plastic bags, of course. When you get a lot of plastic bags, they can clutter things up and often we don’t have anywhere to keep them. Typically, we just toss them in the kitchen cabinet. Again clutter is a big NO, NO! Not to worry, here are a few tips than I can show you on how to fold plastic bags. STBS – Small trick big style :) so you can save hundreds of plastic bag without taking all your space.
    You can do this while you are watching TV or when you sitting on your deck with the blowing in your face and humming birds singing a sweet song with the smell of fresh cut grass…… oooopss!! before we start daydreaming, we better get back to our folding trick . Below are the steps to fold your plastic bags :

  • Flatten a plastic bag on the table or in a flat area. Fold in the handle tidy.
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  • Join the edges both right and left to make it smaller, then fold it again until you get a lean long fold in the bag.

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  • C. Go to the clean edge (usually at the part of plastic bottom) and fold it in triangle shape.

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  • D. Follow the triangle shape to the end of plastic bag, but leaving about 3 inches short. Tuck the rest of the 3 inches short end into the space between the triangular fold.

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  • E. Wualla! You get a cool folded plastic bag.

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  • F. After you fold all your plastic bags, you can put them in a container or in a box.Put the box/container full of folded plastic bags nearby in the area where it is easy to reach.

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    1. 3. Some stores like Target or JC Penney or shopping mall stores have a big plastic bags. I’m always happy when I get their plastic bags. I save them with a big smile. Use the best for last. Just save them for a rainy day.

      4. When you’re throwing away big boxes of trash, try to break them apart or cut them into small pieces so you can put them in the plastic bag. Again, use a little bit of effort. True frugality means that you have to step out from your comfort zone.

      5. Instead of throwing away your trash once/twice a week, throw it away everyday. It takes you 5 minutes to do it. You can do it before you go to work everyday, before you go jogging or whenever you leave home. In that way you won’t pile up your trash.

      6. If you have a few small plastic bags full of trash and you don’t want to go back and forth to carry them, here’s a way you can simplify your life.

    1. Tie the handles of 4 or 5 small plastic trash bags. Take one plastic bag, stretch it lengthwise to form a sort of rope. Weave it into the small holes/spaces between the tied up handles.
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    3. Pull it tightly and tie it up. Now you can easily pick up all those small bags and march away to the trash dumpster. It’s like carrying a suite case

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      My husband gets a little grumpy when I tease him asking him to be a trash bag model :)

    7. The first or second time will probably be uncomfortable for you, but after a week, you will enjoy it and feel satisfied. You can now be proud of yourself that you can save money from simple thing like conserving trash bags ;)Make your life fun. Even small things like this can create a smile on the face of your family. Being frugal doesn’t mean that you will suffer. Use a sense of humor in anything you do. Create something funny. In that way you will enjoy your frugality. You might even enjoy it enough to form a habit.

My Frugal Laundry Room

The Laundry Room doesn’t have to be a Boring Place

The laundry room is one of the last areas of the house to get our attention. The reason is that we ask ourselves, who will see that tinny bitty place–the place where we can just dump all our dirty clothes or where we can hide a trash can. Washing clothes is never a cool thing to do in life. That’s why sometimes we are so lazy to do laundry, especially when the time to fold the clothes comes. Watching TV beats that any day. Now, let’s face it, laundry is something we have to do from time to time. There just may be a way we can make our laundry time fun.
We call our house

“home sweet home.”

Wherever we go, no matter how bad our house is, we always miss it and want to go back to it. We have an attachment to that place where we can be who we are. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz describes it perfectly when she says:

“there’s no place like home.”

Most of the time, we like to do an activity when we enjoy doing it, when the surrounding environment sustains us. We can spend hours and hours doing things we like to do. It’s the same way with laundry. To enjoy the time, we have to attach and build a connection to where we are.

Here are a few tips we can do to change our laundry time from dreading it to loving it: [Read more…]

Do you ever find yourself with Leftover Living, bogged down in the old and outdated, cleaning up what’s been overlooked or neglected, instead of looking forward to and engaged in a future that promising and exciting?

A lot of people get confused, I think, with feeling overwhelmed by what they see as things that need to be taken care of. But upon a closer look, it’s often not things that are occurring today, or will occur in the future, but rather things that have been left undone, incomplete, unfinished from the past. It’s the leftovers from last year’s kitchen painting project, taxes that didn’t get filed, clutter in the garage, dishes in the sink from last night’s dinner, a graduation gift still not sent. [Read more…]

Frugal living requires skills and ways of looking at things that help you take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. The truly frugal person makes these into habits. Six of these habits are outlined below. These are techniques that can be learned in a matter of a day or two, and made into new habits a few weeks. Then they will save money for you for the rest of your life. [Read more…]

A frugal gift is measured first by it’s usefulness. Speaking from my own experience, I would say that my most appreciated gifts are those that I not only find useful, but that I would have had to purchase myself at some point. With that in mind, the frugal mind that is, the gift actually serves two practical purposes; It is useful and saves me money.

If you are a frugal gal, this task will be much easier for you. If great minds think alike, the same is true of frugal minds. Simply look within yourself. The frugal gal can get excited about the most ordinary of items. For the rest of you, here’s a little help. [Read more…]