Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

My kitchen is not a trash can

Back in December I posted about how I no longer wanted to keep a trash can inside my house.  A trash can in the kitchen is like an open invitation feeding station for critters.  It was a post about my limited grocery budget of $20 a month.

When finances are limited then choices must be made to eliminate whatever purchase possible.  One way I kept my purchases under control back then was to stop buying trash bags and instead use the abundance of store bags I get all the time.

You may wonder why I don’t use my cloth reusable grocery bags?  Because the store clerks have no clue how to pack them.  They put only one or two items in a bag the same way they do a plastic bag.  Then they start using the plastic bags anyway because they’ve used all the cloth bags.  I once took 10 large cloth bags and put them on the counter along with probably 30 grocery items.  I left the store with all 10 cloth bags and 5 plastic bags used for my groceries.  That’s the day I stopped taking cloth bags.

The store clerks here don’t care how many plastic bags they use.  I often find several unused plastic bags bunched together down inside a bag with only one grocery item.  Why?  Well, its easy to hide the last few of a bundle that won’t stay on the bagging area hooks.  No one will know about it except the person who unpacks their groceries.  So I figured why not take advantage and get all the free trash bags I’ll ever need.

Sure,  I could buy some really cheap trash bags at a dollar store but free is much better.  I’ve gotten into the habit of taking all trash to the outside trash can every evening after dinner.  If any critters are looking for a free midnight meal they’ll find it outside and not inside my house.

Back when I stopped buying trash bags I used a pot as a trash can to hold the store bags.  Last shopping day I found something much better.   It was only $5 at the Meijer store.  I found it when I was wandering the housewares isles.  I love it!  Click the photo for a close up look.

It easily slips over a cabinet door or on a drawer right were I do all my food prep.  I put it on the cabinet door under the sink until I’m ready to prepare food.  Its like keeping a trash can under the sink but moving it when I prep a meal.  At the end of the day the trash goes outside and the holder goes back under the sink with a clean bag.  To me that’s no different than getting out a pot or a bowl to use in food prep then putting it away when I’ve finished using it.  I was curious so I did an internet search and found several different types of these bag holders.  Some are quite expensive.  I like mine best because it holds the bag open.

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20 comments on “My kitchen is not a trash can

  1. Helen Baczynski
    May 6, 2017

    I used to use the grocery bags but they seem to be so flimsy these days that they nearly always have holes in them which allows anything wet to leak out.

    • Anita
      May 6, 2017

      Yes, I agree many have holes in them. I have to check the bags before using. Using store bags is not good for everyone. I get probably 60 to 100 bags a month so I can use lots of them. Mainly my goal is to prevent mice or rats from finding nighttime meals in my house while saving money too. Anything really wet goes straight outside but all trash goes outside at the end of the day.

  2. Lilly pickles
    April 30, 2017

    I need to be on the lookout for one of these . No matter how hard I try, my trashcans are always nasty. The bags don’t fit the can properly, the children are careless and the bags get pulled partly off. food etc continues to be dumped in and just nasty nasty nasty. Thanks for solving this problem. This is what I will start doing. I enjoyed the post about the Dawn dish detergent and the one about buying fewer items. I am not buying no more dish soap. I have a big bar of Fels Naptha and some sponges and it is working great. The kids use Dawn like water and I am tired of buying it. The bar of soap is under a dollar and actually cleans better. I didn’t think I could cut anything else out of my budget but you keep giving me new ideas. I can’t keep the kids from using the washing machine. I am going to try and flip the breaker. If that doesn’t work, I am going to deadbolt the laundry room. I am one mean mom.

    • Anita
      May 1, 2017

      In the meantime while you are looking give the professional cleanup crew trash bag trick a try. If you’ve ever watched a professional janitor empty trash in a hospital or office you may have seen them tie a knot in the top of the new trash bag before putting it in the can. The bag must be stretched tight to put on the can. When my mother was in the nursing home I would watch as several trash bags were knotted and put into the same can. That meant each time a trash can was emptied the janitor only had to pull out the top bag and the next was ready to use. Or get a bungee cord or some type of rubber band that will fit around the can top to hold the bag.

      Hmm… the washing machine. This might work but only if you have an electric dryer. Maybe you could secretly unplug the dryer. If the plug is hidden. Tell a fib and say it just quit working and you don’t have the money to call a repairman. That way they could continue to wash but only if they hang the clothes to dry. It won’t save on the water bill but it could save on the electric bill.

      • Lilly pickles
        May 5, 2017

        Haha, the dryers heating element went out. I have the money and ability to replace it myself. I refused. Several times, I found one shirt or one pair of socks being dried. My electrical bill went down a hundred dollars a month. I bought a closeline like an umbrella for 70.00 and installed it. I will add that young adult child has mental challenges but no so much that she does not understand me. She is lazy. 250.00 a month for electricity and a 100.00 for water each month prevents us from having any extra money or being prepared for quarter emergency.

        • Anita
          May 5, 2017

          I bought my umbrella clothes line last fall when I moved here. I didn’t get to use it much because the mosquitos were horrible in the yard. I haven’t gotten it out of storage yet this year because we’ve had so much rain. I’ll have to figure out what to do about the mosquitos before I can use it. I admire your thinking process, we have to be a bit smarter than the lazy kids or in some cases the lazy spouse.

  3. T
    April 29, 2017

    I do hang a plastic bag on a drawer by the cooker and bag everything waste when I am done, but the trash can must stay inside here as we have a raccoon problem, they make so much mess and do so much damage.

    • Anita
      April 30, 2017

      Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that kind of problem. I’m curious, how do you prevent critters from seeking your trash indoors? I mean the mice, rats, bugs, ants, and so forth. I’m always looking for ideas to prevent pests.

      • T
        May 1, 2017

        No critters indoors thank goodness! I spray yearly for bugs and no food is left out to prevent sugar ants. There’s nowhere mice can get in though I did have a problem with birds nesting in the porch outside and making a mess a few years ago; metal spikes were installed to deter them and they no longer nest there.

        Interesting you should discuss trash bags this week as I found the 10 pack I usually buy in Kroger for 88 cents is now $1.19! Quite an increase…30%.
        I do buy contractor bags to put the actual trash out twice a week ( the raccoons don’t like the thick plastic )

        So I too have reverted to using carrier bags for everyday use.

        Kroger has not been the best place to shop lately, their offers are very good but it’s mostly on processed food I don’t eat, plus numerous times the digital coupons simply don’t work. Then they switch the way the offers work each week- to get the special prices you buy 4 or 5 or 6 items. Mostly the special prices are inflated then money off to make them around 50 cents cheaper than normal; you can get bargains if there’s a coupon for the item too but to be honest it’s all getting a bit too complicated and stressful, having to call a manager each time things don’t ring up properly, so I just look for alternatives.

        I use the self-checkout, I don’t like other people packing my stuff either.

        • Anita
          May 1, 2017

          Yes, the prices of just about everything is slowly creeping up again. I used to frequent Kroger looking for discount produce. The new mega store doesn’t have discounted produce so there’s not much reason to go there. There is still one neighborhood Kroger that my SIL and I shop once a month. It does have a discount produce section. I suspect its on the closing block too because some shelves are being emptied. I shop at Aldi that’s next door to the mega Kroger. I figure if I must take a long bus ride to the store I might as well go to the store with the cheapest prices. I’ve noticed many stores, even discount stores, are using the buy multiple tactic. So far I have not bought multiples for the savings. It doesn’t make sense to spend $20 to by five of something when I only need one at regular price of $2.

  4. KAYTHEGARDENER
    April 28, 2017

    Friends & some of my health care clients save their plastic bags & egg cartons for me to take to the local food bank for reuse. MOST of their clients don’t bring anything to take the food home in… So everyone wins!!

    • Anita
      April 28, 2017

      I usually take a bunch with me to the mobile food bank for those who forget their bags. I have a shopping cart on wheels I use for mine.

  5. Sarca
    April 27, 2017

    Most stores charge 5 cents for plastic bags in Ontario.

    • Anita
      April 27, 2017

      For those really thin small bags? That’s a lot. We have one store here that charges 10 cents for plastic bags but they are much more sturdy plastic. We call the thin bags Kentucky tumbleweed because there are so many of them being blown around by the wind.

      • Sarca
        April 28, 2017

        Yep, for those really thin bags. They encourage you bring your own (cloth) bags, but like you said, cashiers don’t know what to do with them. Pretty much most people in Toronto don’t bother and pony up the 5 cents. Like you I’ve been using them for garbage for years, and bag my own with my cloth bags when I have too many plastic. Having people pay is a “visible” way to make politicians show how environmental municipalities can be so they get more money from the province. It’s all a giant bureaucracy, really.

      • Sarca
        April 28, 2017

        I should add, that most municipalities around here DO NOT recycle the plastic bags and the 5 cents was meant as a deterrant to get people to stop using plastic. But most people don’t remember to keep bags in their cars for the ride to the grocery store after work, and 5 cents for a lot of people is not cost prohibitive.

        I don’t know if Kentucky has an organics (green bin) waste program, but most of Ontario does. The Organic Waste bags we have to use biodegrate, break apart and leak, and are darned expensive for something you have to buy and essentially throw away. As you can read, I have a lot to say about this! lol

        • Anita
          April 28, 2017

          The Aldi store here requires customers to bag or box their own purchases and encourages everyone to bring their own bags. They sell cloth bags that most people prefer for their size. That is also the store that sells the heavy duty plastic ones. Kentucky doesn’t have degradable plastic bags but the cloth bags are. Totally backwards. Only grocery stores have plastic bag recycle bins. Those are a joke because the bins are emptied into a trash bin out back along with all the other trash. Its the same with our curb side recycle pick up. That’s only for show because everything goes to the landfill after its picked up. I’ve seen the recycle trucks dumping their loads at the landfill.

          • Sarca
            April 28, 2017

            Happens here too. Toronto encourages recycling of disposable paper coffee cups, but Toronto’s recycling program doesn’t recycle them. They are picked out and sent to the landfill. Keeps someone in a job, I guess.

  6. kathi
    April 27, 2017

    you GO GIRL!!!

    • Anita
      April 27, 2017

      Kathi! Hi, are things ok with you and Darling David and the family?

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