Frugal Friday

Here’s a tip that may be pretty basic, but since I just thought of it a few months ago, maybe it might be new to some. When you have leftover cake in a 9×12 pan, rather than wasting a foot and a half of plastic wrap to cover it, I just pull out my largest cookie sheet and cover the pan with that. Granted, it doesn’t seal quite as tight as plastic or foil, but for the short time cake lasts at our house, the cookie sheet works fine.

I apply this same principal to putting away leftovers. Instead of automatically whipping out the plastic wrap, I’ll set a plate over a bowl, or transfer the food into a container with a lid. It probably doesn’t save me tons of money, but every little bit helps.

Last night when we were running out the door in a hurry, I even covered leftover lasagne with a cookie sheet before sticking it in the fridge. It was quicker than wrestling with plastic wrap, and the rest of the lasagne was eaten within 24 hours anyway.

Now — anybody have cute frugal gift wrap ideas?

More Frugal Friday Here


  1. I’ve actually done a version of this…covered a layer cake with a big pot! 🙂

    As for gift wrapping, we have a sister in law that is famous for her wrapping gifts with comics from the paper. It’s actually great for kids!

  2. We got a bag-o-sponges from the dollar store and cut them into star (or heart shapes) and just stamp the cheap tempera/poster paint onto the old newspaper.

    Sure, the whole basement is covered with drying wrapping paper (and some of the paper ends up being “stamped” with footprints), but it is definitely a conversation starter and fun to make.

  3. We got a bag-o-sponges from the dollar store and cut them into star (or heart shapes) and just stamp the cheap tempera/poster paint onto the old newspaper.

    Sure, the whole basement is covered with drying wrapping paper (and some of the paper ends up being “stamped” with footprints), but it is definitely a conversation starter and fun to make.

    Also, I know you’re frugal, but…the 9×12 pans fit nicely inside 2 gallon reclosable bags for sealing/transportation.

  4. My mom used hotel shower caps (unused of course) as bowl covers.

    I was planning on a post myself of gift wrapping for next week, you beat me to it!

  5. yes! and for awhile there i collected hotel shower caps, and used those as plastic wrap covers. drove mike nuts, so i quit, but i thought it was brilliant.

  6. we use the boys art work to wrap gifts….not food! the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins really enjoy getting to see their package and the boys art work- and it gets it out of my house!!! (of course we keep a choice few and display them proudly…….but these boys are constantly producing more and more!)

  7. Request paper instead of plastic at the grocery store. Cut them open and have your kids draw or stamp on the plain side. Brown paper packages tied up with string. I’ve also been known to completely cover brown boxes with beautiful pictures from leftover Victoria magazines. You can even ship them like this.

  8. I posted about our reuseable gift sacks a few weeks back. They take a little sewing (just a couple of straight seams, like a pillow case) but they are very easy, last for years, and make great gifts in themselves if you want to use them for people outside your household.
    You can pick up fabric for ~$1/yard if you look. Simple patterns in Christmas colors look nice, with a few touches of velvety or satiny stuff here and there. Buy some fancy gold cord by the yard to tie up the tops and Voila!
    They look very nice under the tree or here and there on shelves, etc. They make up part of the Christmas decor in our house when we use them and look a lot classier than a pile of Frosty the Snowman-wrapped presents.

  9. Martina Fahrner says:

    Brown paper bags with recycled ribbons and gift tags made from card stock. Put the present in, fold the paper bag over, punch 2 wholes for the ribbons…
    If you spend some money on a nice whole punch or shape whole punches, it looks down right Martha!

    I am an ardent saver of all plastic bags, containers etc…A piece of shopping bag with a rubber band works as well as cling film and if it is bond for the freezer, yogurt container (we are only 3). I also wash out plastic bag for reuse…

  10. I use the shower caps too. You can get a big package of them at the beauty supply for a couple of dollars. For frugal wrapping, I get Christmas fabric when it is on sale, and make reusable gift bags. I also use paper grocery bags decorated and stamped to wrap gifts.

  11. Liz in Australia says:

    Frugal gift-wrap: the other day I sent the 9yo and toddler out on the deck with a big roll of brown paper, two stamps cut out of a potato, poster paints in Christmassy colours and a couple of plastic pots big enough to put their feet in (as discovered by the 9yo when she got bored with stamping). Cute, individual and slightly scrunched Christmas wrapping paper – and red footprints all over the deck, but hey, it washes off!

    Liz (who arrived here a week or so ago via Chris’ blogroll at Notes from the Trenches)

  12. Frugal gift wrap: It won’t work for you this year, but check out the after Christmas sales after Jan. 1. There is almost always gift wrap left, and it’s cheap. The rolls I am using this year I think I got for 90% off. It wasn’t free, like the grocery bags that we have stamped in years past, but it was easy! I didn’t last year, but I’ve bought lots of bags of bows for 5 or 10 cents this way too!

  13. wilsonian says:

    For small gifts, I use old calendar pages. I always seem to end up with more than I could use, and never write on them (eveything goes in my daytimer. So, I just cut a month off, and wrap the gift picture side out.

    I’ve done the same thing with magazine pages (old magazines are 25 cents each at my library). Some of the high end gardening mags have full-page pictures. The images from the winter issues are just stunning. Again, it only works for small gifts, but it always gets great comments!

  14. I can’t imagine this is much cheaper than getting actual wrapping paper for under a dollar right after Christmas and saving it a year. Also, save any bags you receive; they’re easy to receive. One of my Grandmas used to unwrap carefully and save the wrapping paper, especially big pieces… but I never went that far.

  15. That should have been: “save any bags you receive; they’re easy to reuse.”

  16. We’ve used a roll of white butcher paper, cut to size and then once wrapped, written sayings in various languages.

    Or decorated it with stickers or art….

  17. I almost always wrap gifts in brown paper bags from the grocery store. My trick is to crumple them up a whole bunch first until they are nice and soft and have a lot of texture. (Kids are great for this part) and then just tie them with rafia, or bright string, or yarn, stick a sprig of seasonal greenery inder the bow for a nice touch. People always think I got it professionally wrapped somewhere. LOL

  18. Well in my family, my Mum has always saved more decent pieces of wrapping paper for future years. My Mum would always put smaller present (less exciting presents – like socks, undies, small sweets) in stockings, and then the bigger presents would be under the tree. She would use last years recycled paper for the stocking presents. My Gran would always use string to tie them, so the papers not all covered in selotape. I do recommend that you don’t make the mistake my Gran has made of writing names on the paper and then using that paper another year for another person and not seeing the name written on it until a while after it….then being unsure which name its supposed to be for.

  19. My sister and mom use the Sunday funnies. I tend to pick up wrapping paper at estate sales. Sometimes, especially toward the end of the sale, you can get wrapping paper for as little as 25 cents a roll, and some of it is very funny and vintage looking.