The Frugal Catholic: “Gleaning Inside to Gain Even More” by Martha Wild King–March

In the last article “Gleaning Your Way to Savings,” we discussed how gleaning outside (collecting little by little) can help you save big. Gleaning inside our homes, however, further leverages what we possess. Isaiah 17:6 addresses this concept. “Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten—two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, says the Lord God of Israel.” RSV So just as God notes in nature when gleaning occurs, some small bit is left; thus in our homes, small morsels add up. SEE BELOW for a $93 savings 1. Searching for in-home entertainment or free reading? Don’t forget your library’s inter-library loan system. When my daughter needed to view Anna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago for school, instead of renting them, in about a two days’ time we got them for free. ( A $10 savings) 2. Feel like an update in your decorating scheme? Try rearranging what you have. Move around knick knacks, end tables, even pictures for an updated look. (A $20 savings) 3. Don’t throw away that used computer paper! Cut it up into smaller pieces and use the blank side for shopping lists or telephone messages. ( A $2 savings) 4. Dumping the prescription paper bags from the drug store into the recycling bin? Well they make great lunch bags—just a bit smaller. The same goes for the plastic bags which hold produce. Your “brown bagging” will look creative. (A $2 savings) 5. Don’t toss used plastic Ziploc bags. Merely wash them, and dry under the sink, on an empty wine bottle, or even an aloe plant. After a few days of drying, use again. Some of our Ziploc storage bags date back five years. (A $5 savings)

Simply invert the Ziploc bags on your plant to quickly dry the plastic bags.

6. Have a bit of peanut butter or mayonnaise still left in the jar? Welcome to a gleaner’s best tool: the rubber spatula. With a variety of spatula sizes, you can glean any leftovers. (A $3 savings) 7. Clothing with holes? Whip out needle and thread as you watch your favorite TV program. Mending clothes or shoes (as taken to a shoe repair person) is a great way to keep what we like going. (A $20 savings) 8. Save those plastic yogurt or deli containers to store food for freezing or giving away. Simply mark the top with a permanent marker noting the food and date. Marker can be removed with fingernail polish remover or Trader Joe’s Citrus air freshener. (A $5 savings) 9. Take those glass Bell jars and lids in your garage or attic and make them into bean sprouters. Just add dried beans to the bottom, and put stocking, cheese cloth, or cut out screen under the metal screw top. Then replace it, soak the beans overnight, and drain them in the morning. Keep beans alive by watering and draining two times daily to grow fresh mung, alfalfa, or radish sprouts in a few days. Excellent for stir-fried dishes and sandwiches. (A $10 savings) 10. Make a “fashion file,” ladies, by cutting out pictures of your favorite trends. When questioning what to wear, check through the photos for new ideas by uniting old cloths. (A $10 savings) 11. Things in the basement or garage you don’t use? Repurpose them. For example, I had an unused gallon jug of gentle dog shampoo. Now unbeknownst to my family members who never read any of my articles, they are all washing their hands with canine cleanser and will be for a long, long time!! (A $6 saving)

“Gleaning inside of your home” inspires frugal creativity. After all, some of the most successful gleaners were our parents and grandparents who lived through The Great Depression. They coined this adage which has held true for decades. Make it do: Do without: Use it up: And wear it out!