Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Frugal Experiments

I suppose I just miss chemistry class, but I truly enjoy experimenting around the house. I'm always trying to find a greener & cheaper way of doing things I already do.  Here are a few of my latest efforts:

Recycling Pickle Juice-- I have read in both the Tightwad Gazette & other frugal websites that by taking the pickle juice of store bought pickles & adding a new cucumber you can create your own pickles.  So when I ran out of Vlasic pickles (my favorite non-store brand pickles) I figured I should try it out. 

I promptly bought 2 pickling cucumbers, sliced them up, submerged them in the juice, & left the on the counter to pickle.

I think I waited around a week & a half before I opened the jar, but as soon as I opened the lid I could tell something  The juice was carbonated & it smelled like pickles & beer.  Never being one to shy away from such things I pushed through the strange smell & tried a pickle.  It was rather firm, rather carbonated, & didn't really taste much like any pickle I've ever had.  I'm not sure if the pickling time was a factor or what, but for me, this was a major Frugal Fail. 

Spaghetti for a candle lighter--For most candles, once they burn down  you have to use one of those long butane lighters, which are expensive, & to my knowledge, not recyclable.  To cut down on the waste try using a piece of spaghetti. 

Simply light the end of the spaghetti & then use it to reach down to your low laying wick.  After you've extinguished the flame simply snap off the end, throw out the ash, & save the piece of spaghetti for the next time you need to light a candle.  I love using this method & haven't bought one of those long lighters in years.  I will say that my sisters don't like this method because they don't like the smell of the burnt spaghetti.  Try it once & find out for yourself.  The smell doesn't really bother me & goes away quickly, so for me, this is the way to go.

Conditioner for shaving cream--I use my razor blades forever.  They have to be dull as dirt & rusty before I'll change them out.  That being said, after a while I need a little something on my legs to lessen the feeling of my skin being pulled off as I shave.  I've heard the suggestion of using conditioner as a shave cream for many years now, but I've never been in a position where I felt it would be financially worth my while, seeing as how I have always seemed to have a stockpile of nearly free shaving cream. 

That was until I pulled out my last can of shaving cream & realized I had a whole lot of conditioner & not a lot of shaving cream, so I figured what the heck, I'd try it.  It actually works REALLY well.  Like, amazingly well.  Like, I may never ever buy shaving cream again well.  It sticks to your skin better than shaving cream, doesn't dissolve as quickly in water, you don't have to use very much (a dime size/ half a leg), & it's a great way to use up hotel conditioner that doesn't really do it for your hair. 

I'm not sure what the financial breakdown between using shaving cream & conditioner would be, especially because I haven't spent much money on either for years, but, if you happen to have a large stockpile of unused conditioner this is a great & cheap way to shave.

Even if you just try one of these things they'll save you some cash & trash.  Any of you lovely readers have any other great frugal/green tips to share? 


  1. I sharpen my razors on an old pair of Jeans since the beginning of the year. Sharp as the first day I've opened it and no staph infections yet!

    Sounds like you had some yeast on the cukes before you put them in. I don't know enough about pickling to be of real help.

  2. I've never tried to reuse pickle juice to pickle anything, but my Dad always drank the leftover pickle juice and I have a son that does that too.

  3. My grandmother used to pour leftover pickle juice around the base of her Magnolia tree. The alkaline soil in our area isn't friendly to the Magnolia. She felt the acid in the juice helped.

    My mom uses leftover pickle juice with baking soda to clean the kitchen drain.

  4. Travis, I am so trying that with my razors! JC's going to too! You just may have changed our lives!

    Loretta & Amanda, my mom used to make pickle juice popsicles with her left over juice. How weird is that?

    Tonya, I don't have a magnolia, so I'll try the kitchen drain!

  5. Couple of things come to mind with the pickles...

    1. Heating up the pickle juice to a boil and then pouring over the raw cucumber "cooks" the cucumber a little bit an helps break down the enzymes that all raw veggies have.

    2. You need to store pickles that have not been properly canned in the fridge, otherwise bacteria and grossness happens and people get sick.