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Green and Frugal Household Tips and Substitutions

Updated on May 10, 2018
SoyCandleLover profile image

Green Living and Cleaning, conservation-minded of outdoor and indoor environments.

How I became a believer in Frugal, now Green, household tips and substitutions

Frugal just used to mean "How can I do this cheaper, and I don't care if it embarrasses (horrifies) the kids, husband, fill in the blank".

Now frugality has been reborn as the more acceptable GREEN way of living. YES!

Some of my best tips came out of last minute, newly-married-and-broke, what-can-I-use, gotta-have-it-now, need. I'm sure many more are to come as I get in that zone again...time and time again, so please stay tuned.

Substitutions are a must for most cooks who think they have an ingredient on hand, only to discover.... oh nooooo. There is a link shown at the end of this page, right above the comment section, but please read he rest if this article first as you might discover something useful. :)

Please leave a comment, idea, suggestion, or just say HI! in the guest at the bottom of this lens.

The Science of Raising Cookies from the Dead

Tips to Regenerate foods - Need it soft again? Or how about crispy?

~ Soft food restored ~

Soft cookies

Brown Sugar

Place slice of bread in package and reseal. Leave overnight. Remove bread slice and reseal. (Reuse bread as breadcrumbs below)

~ Stale Foods Regenerated ~



Cookies and Animal Crackers

Bake at 350 for no more than 5 minutes or until just slightly browned. This will take a watchful eye. Remove from oven and let cool. Reseal in original packaging. Good as new!

~ Breadcrumbs ~

You can use almost any baked item to make breadcrumbs. Some work better than others. The following base items are just what I've have tried in the past. One of my Favorite Recipes uses these bread crumbs. Can you guess which one? :)

Stale Bread

Stuffing cubes


Cereals - plain for meatballs, meatloaf and savory dishes.

Sugared cereal can be used as a small addition to breadcrumbs for chicken like Shake n' Bake

Bake stale ingredients at 350 degrees until crisp, but no more than 5 minutes.

Add desired spices in small amounts, or to taste, to coffee grinder for small amounts or to food processor for larger quantities.

Process until fine.

Store unused portions in a labeled air-tight container.

~ Over-ripe Bananas ~

When your family refuses to eat a good, but brown-skinned banana, toss it in the freezer. They'll appreciate it when it's reborn as banana bread!

My favorite Banana Nut Loaf recipe:

2 c. flour

1 tsp. EACH baking powder & baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Grated peel of 1 lemon (or 1 tsp. Lemon extract)

2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed, to equal 1 cup

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1 c. brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 cup walnuts, chopped fine, but I like somewhat coarse :)

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Combine bananas and lemon peel (or lemon extract). Set aside.

In large bowl cream margarine.

Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.

Alternately stir in flour and banana mixtures until well blended.

Stir in walnuts.

Turn into well greased loaf pan.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean, but moist.

Cool on rack 5 minutes. Turn loaf out to complete cooling and serve.


General Kitchen Tips - Whatever will make the kitchen run smoother, huh?

More Tips or How to Make Due with what You Have

~ How to make a Funnel ~

Cut the top off a pop bottle. Comes in different sies for all your needs.

Need to pour old engine oil into a bottle? PERFECT!

~ Freezer burn ~

Invest in a sealer. It will save you tons of money.

If this is not affordable, second best is to squeeze the air out of the package and use chip clip or binder clip.

~ Clean Water ~

Purchase a water filter, whether it's installed or by pitcher. This will literally save you hundreds of dollar$. It may be much cleaner that the purchased bottles, too, which have come under question.

~ Food Containers in the Fridge ~

Turn containers like sour cream, spaghetti sauce and applesauce upside down.

~ Food Containers in the Cupboard~

Use sealer or squeeze the air out of the package and use chip clip or binder clip.

I'm not Cheap!

I'm Green!

Office Supplies to Repurpose in a Pinch

~ Binder Clips ~

Use to re-seal cereal, crackers, and chips.

Keep that toothpaste tube neat. Rool up tube and clip.

Organize computer cables.

Use small clips as a favorite recipe marker.

~ Stapler ~

No Chip clips or Binder clips? As volume decreases cut top and re-staple to seal n the freshness.

Hem loose? Refold and use a stapler until it can be re-sewn.

~ White-Out ~

Dirty scuff marks on your white running shoes or dress shoe heels. (Thanks to my daughter for this tip. She did this in grade school.)

Wood (painted white) scratches

~ Permanent marker ~

(in appropriate color. I find I use black the most.)

Dress shoe heel scuffs.

Wood scratches

~ Post-it notes ~

Use a book marker. Even if your 2 year-old drops your book, it will keep you from losing your place.

Stretch it! - You may be surprised to find when these products are diluted they work BETTER!

Add water to:


Hand soap

Dish soap

I like adding at least 30-40% water.

Frugal just used to mean "How can I do this cheaper, and I don't care if it embarrasses (horrifies) the kids or husband!

Now frugality has been reborn as the more acceptable GREEN way of living. YES!

For the Love of Happy (and Clean) Kids

~ Kids paint pallet~

For multiple colors use an old ice cube tray. For a single color use a pie pan. Reusable, or for short term, cover with plastic wrap.

~ Repurpose Advertising magnets~

Peal off glossy paper layer, and:

* Glue your child's photo to a magnet and cut out the image to make a picture magnet. Trim to fit.

* Glue a piece of a magnet to a hinged wooden clothes pin to hold the latest art on the fridge.

* Print a children's Nap Time note to stick to a metal door. Attach to magnet with white glue or double sided tape. Trim to fit, or overlap as long as it is not heavier than the magnet will hold.

~ Bath Toy Sling & Drainer ~

* Save a mesh bag from oranges or other produce item.

* Cut 1 inch vertical slice near handle. Adjust as needed for toy size, but underestimate and adjust. They will stretch much more than you may expect.

* Hang by original loop closure or loop over large suction cup.

First Aid - Alternatives to Store bought products

~ Warm Pack ~

Fill a cotton sock (tube socks work well) with plain white rice 3/4 full. Tie off end.

Heat 1-2 minutes in microwave oven. Let cool a few minutes to be warm to the touch (not HOT). Place on affected area. Reusable.

~ Cold Pack ~

Fill desired size of Ziplock bag with 2/3 water and 1/3 isopropyl alcohol. Place in another ziplock bag. Freeze.

Squeeze until pack has some give. Place on affected area. Return to freezer for future use.

~ Bee Stings & Acne relief ~

Make thick paste of baking soda moistened with water. Let dry, then rinse.

Gardening - Alternatives to the usual

Garden slings or staking ties. You could use Pantyhose in your garden this way, but I've only used them to tie plants to stakes myself. :D

Other gardening tips

Plant name stakes: Plastic Knives or cut old Vinyl Blinds work great with labels written in permanent marker.

Weed Control: Place at least 3-4 sheets of newspaper over soil. Top with 3-6 inches of mulch. The only weeds that may appear will likely be growing in the mulch and are easy to pluck as you go by on your tour of your beautiful summer blooms or veggies.

BONUS: The newspaper and mulch will help keep your soil moist in even the hottest time of the summer.

Double BONUS: Less water used for non-essential uses. :D

Seed starters: Egg Cartons, or unused ice cube trays if you have an ice maker

Can you identify what I used to make this Clematis Trellis?

SoyCandleLover-Maker's Garden Item Repurposed into a Climbing Vine Trellis
SoyCandleLover-Maker's Garden Item Repurposed into a Climbing Vine Trellis

Actually this is more like a Garden Obelisk

Not growing tomatoes or other climbing vegetable plant this year? Need a support for a climbing flower? Clematis, honeysuckle, climbing hydrangea, morning glories, and more.

Upcycle one of your unused tomato cages. Flip upside down and stake to the ground over an immature climbing plant. They'll love you for it.

Decorate or not. I did use high temp BBQ spray paint on mine, wire-tied a stained glass ball thing-a-ma-jig, and it looks great.

Need to use your trellis for tomatoes again? Easy to Reporpose it back to it's originally intended use. Unadorn it, untie it, and now it's just a tomato cage with a pretty paint job.

I recently saw an extra large tomato cage. Oooh, even better.

Picture Credit: Me :D

HUGE List of Cooking Substitutions from Land O'Lakes, Inc.

I once had a list showing substitutions on this article, but Land O Lakes had every one plus more. I dare you to come up with a substitution not listed here.   Come on, I dare ya.  :)
I once had a list showing substitutions on this article, but Land O Lakes had every one plus more. I dare you to come up with a substitution not listed here. Come on, I dare ya. :)

Thanks so much for your visit.

Did you like this article? Have you found what you're looking for?

Anyone can leave a comment, so please do.

© 2009 Beth Webster-Duerr

Please leave a comment, idea, suggestion, or just say HI!

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens!!

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      9 years ago

      Cool lens!

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      thank you for sharing.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Love these tips...creative and thoughtful self-reliance. Thanks and **angel blessed**!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      eco is the way to go! thank you for the lovely lens! cheers

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      10 years ago

      Great stuff! Thanks.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      awesome lens! you list so many great tips!! I wish I could double bless you as I needed a banana bread recipe and you just saved me from having to search for one.Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Some excellent advice on green and frugal household tips. Love the picture of the watermelons in pantyhose - whoever originally owned the pantyhose must have had legs just like me.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      11 years ago from UK

      I love finding such hidden treasures. This is full of great ideas for frugal living. Want to make it Angel-blessed 4 times? Then here's a well-deserved ~*~* Angel Blessing *~*~ for you!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      11 years ago

      Great tips! I really mean it. I'll have to keep this page in my bookmarks as some of the info here is really useful. Thanks a lot for sharing. Marta

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      i love your practical substitution ideas. its also perfect for cooking then we realized that we don't have enough of certain ingredient.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      11 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thanks for sharing these wonderful green tips!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      11 years ago

      Fantastic Tips! I am going to use the clip on the toothpaste right now!! I usually just roll and squeeze. (laughs) "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      A couple more tips - make your own garden canes and supports for plants from your own bamboo.Use a drinking straw to suck out excess air from a bag before tying and freezing.This lens deserves to be ranked a lot higher in Green than it is - here a SquidAngel boost to send it on its way! Oh and lensrolled to some of my lenses too!

    • SoyCandleLover profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      12 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      [in reply to susannaduffy] Thanks so much for the visit and Blessing! :D!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      12 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Well done. Here's another example of how green can mean frugal. Blessed by an Angel today (

    • SoyCandleLover profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      12 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      [in reply to schraderj23] Or even 1? :D Thanks for stopping in.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      great lens. Just imagine if everyone could do even 50% of this!

    • hlkljgk profile image


      12 years ago from Western Mass

      great tips. another for over ripe bananas: cut 'em into bite sized pieces, freeze, then put them in the food processor until you have soft serve ice cream. seriously, you have to try this. :) (

    • SoyCandleLover profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      12 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      [in reply to Kate-Phizackerley] :D Thank you so much for the double bllessing!

    • profile image

      Kate Phizackerl1 

      12 years ago

      Since Paul recommend it and you were so polite on Squidu, I thought I'd visit. Very good lens. Blessed.

    • SoyCandleLover profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      12 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      [in reply to pkmcr] Aaaaw. Thanks so much for your blessing. So much more appreciated when I asked for someone else's lens o be blessed. I hope that works out, too :D

    • pkmcruk profile image


      12 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Some really great advice here for anyone wanting to take on board the Green message. SquidAngel Blessing to you :-)

    • greenerme profile image


      12 years ago

      A job well done! Nice work!


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