7 household items you may already own that can save you money


Before you make a trip to the store for a bottle of cleaning solution or furniture polish, you may want to check your cabinets first to see if you already own a product that can do double-duty. 

"Shop your pantry, or shop your house," Jessica Fisher of the blog Good Cheap Eats told Grow in 2019. "When you think that you need to buy something, it can be really illuminating to clean out your closet or pantry and find all kinds of things that you didn't remember you had."

From beauty tricks to easy household repairs, here are a few ways to repurpose common items around your home.

1. Dryer sheets 

Dryer sheets are good for more than just laundry. 

"Those are usually really good dual-purpose items that everybody has in their home," says Sabrina Molu, an Atlanta-based lifestyle blogger at Simply Sabrina. "They're great for things like freshening up any type of shoes, especially if you have kids that play sports. Storing a few dryer sheets in the shoes will help reduce odors."

Dryer sheets are also effective in removing deodorant stains on clothes and you can repurpose them as wipes to remove fingerprints on any kind of stainless steel appliances, says Molu. 

Dryer sheets: $1.99

2. Wax

Americans spent an average of $1,833 each on apparel in 2017, or about $152 a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How much you spend can fluctuate dramatically, depending on how well you take care of the items you already own. 

If you've ever experienced the frustration of a jammed zipper on a jacket or your favorite dress, pause before putting a little too much pressure on it or bringing the item of clothing to the tailor. The next time your zipper won't budge, take a tealight candle and rub it against the part of the zipper that meets the teeth on the side of the garment. The wax will help lubricate the zipper so it moves more seamlessly. That can save you from having to buy a new item of clothing or pay for repairs. 

Luminessence unscented tealight candles: $1 

3. Cooking spray

A squeaky door hinge can be unsettling. If you don't have a hinge pin on hand, a quick and easy fix is to grab some cooking spray from your kitchen cabinet. Cooking spray will help get rid of the noise by lubricating the hardware.

Healthy Chef canola nonstick cooking spray: $1 

4. Tin foil

If you purchase a bunch of bananas, you probably intend to eat them before they go bad. But if you don't have a large family, you might find yourself with two or three left over that can spoil and end up in the trash.

To keep your bananas from ripening so quickly, put them together and cover the stems of with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. They'll stay fresher for longer, and you can even reuse the tin foil after you remove it. 

Americans throw away a staggering $218 billion worth of food a year, which averages out to $1,800 in food waste for a family of four. A little tin foil can help.

Reynolds aluminum foil wrap: $1 

5. Coconut oil

You can use coconut oil for more than just cooking. "Coconut oil makes for a great makeup remover," says Molu. "It not only works on your face, but you can also use it on your counters to help remove stains." 

Coconut oil: $4

6. Baby powder

When it comes to hair care, dry shampoo is a popular option for those who want to keep their hair looking fresh between washes. This product can run you up to $26 at Sephora, but you can accomplish similar results with baby powder for under $2 a bottle.

Most commercial dry shampoos are made of talc or baby powder and combined with a fragrance. Regular or unscented baby powder can give you the same effect. Sprinkle a small amount of powder on your hair and comb it through your roots. Keep combing your hair until the powder is gone.

Baby powder: $1.49

7. Hydrogen peroxide

Your kitchen counter, door knobs, and even your cellphone can be magnets for bacteria. Cellphones carry more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies each, according to a 2017 study from the European Academy of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases, which concluded that they "may play a role in the spread of infectious agents." 

One way to combat the spread of germs is to use hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant.

"Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is my go-to household cleaner," says Molu. "Having basic white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda in your home is a great combination for any type of cleaner. 

Making your own products will save you money, and you might even prefer these alternative cleaners to store-bought cleaners that might have a long list of unrecognizable ingredients.

"The nice thing about making your own cleaning products is that when you're using basic ingredients, it tends to be safer for your kids and pets," Melissa Maker, host of the CleanMySpace YouTube channel, told Grow in 2019.  

Hydrogen peroxide: $1