Today I was thinking how frugal we are at the library as I looked at the sad, torn manila envelope in front of me. I use these envelopes to mail interlibrary loan books back to the loaning library. They come to me in this state - beaten and worn. Libraries use these envelopes over and over and over and over - I could go on. They use these envelopes until they are more tape than envelope. To make sure they don't fall apart, since there is so little envelope left, the librarian uses even more tape and staples to send the package on its way (maybe even a little glue). When you try to open that envelope - ever so carefully so you can use it again, it is very, very tricky to get into. You get even with the person who mailed it to you by using even more tape and staples to send it back. Librarians are very inventive about the envelopes and boxes they mail these interlibrary loans in - heaven forbid they have to buy a new one!
Librarians know how to get a lot of use out of something; they are used to working on a shoestring budget. Keep those nice new books coming and skimp on something else! It seems we never throw anything out because there might be another use for it. We keep things for so long we don't even know what they are for anymore - we just might need it later. We always use two sides of a sheet of paper, if we can, and the rest we cut up for scratch paper. We use everything until it is falling apart. We save elastics from the newspapers. We wash plastic spoons. We're still using the file cards that were used in the old card catalogs for scratch paper too - we have a drawer full to go.
How are you frugal at home? What do you save or reuse or recycle that someone else might think is a little bit odd? You spend money elsewhere, get off your budget, impulse buy, but you would never, never throw this away?