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Be Frugal Today #1: Save Money on Trash Bags by Adding a 2nd Trash Can (1/365)

By on September 29, 2013
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Are you ready to be frugal today?   So let’s get started on our 365 days of frugal tips!  Be Frugal Today #1 is How to Save Money on Trash Bags by Adding a Second Trash Can.Be Frugal Today Tip 1 Trash

Be Frugal Today #1: Save Money on Trash Bags

Sometimes I think I’ve gone off the deep end of frugal living and that my husband is going to tease me.  Sometimes I’m right!  Then there are the other times, like this week, when I wanted to figure out how to save money on trash bags and I came up with a great solution.

After a recent grocery shopping trip, I told my husband how much our box of kitchen trash bags cost.  I usually buy the store brand of trash bags, which also happen to be the cheapest price per trash bag.  Best value or not, that didn’t keep me from noticing that our box of trash bags cost $13!  I had just spent $13 on something I was planning to throw away.

As a frugal mom, this disturbed me and it bounced back and forth in my head all day.  “How can I save money on trash bags?” I thought.  It seemed like such a waste to spend so much money on something to hold our trash and then go to the landfill.  Then I looked over at my overflowing container of plastic grocery shopping bags.

Even using reusable shopping bags most of the time, we still accumulate plenty of plastic grocery shopping bags in my house.  You probably do too.  “If only there was a way to use those little bags for kitchen trash like I do in the small trash cans in every other room of the house,” I thought.

Then the light bulb started to flicker above my head and I realized the solution to my money wasting trash bag problem was to add a second trash can!

The Frugal Tip: Save Money on Trash Bags with a 2nd Trash Can

Frugal Tips 1 Save Money on Trash Bags

As you can see in the picture above, we now have TWO trash cans in the kitchen: a tall one and a small one!  I found an extra small trash can in the kids’ room that rarely gets used and moved it to the kitchen next to the tall trash can.

The family now has instructions to put all trash in the small trash can unless it won’t fit.  Bigger items go in the bigger trash can.

Having this smaller trash can may not seem like a big money saving system until you consider this data:

  • We normally take out 2-3 large trash bags per day.
  • In the first 4 days of using this new frugal trash can system, we took out 9 small trash bags but only ONE large trash bag.
  • That means in 4 days, we saved between $1.36 and $2.04 on trash bags.  That’s between $10.20 and $15.30 of frugal savings a month, just on trash bags!  That extra $122.40 to $183.60 savings per year sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

In 4 days that we would have thrown away 8-12 large trash bags, we threw away only 1!  The free plastic grocery shopping bags that we’re always trying to use up were the ones going to the garbage truck, not the large trash bags that cost 17 cents each.

Of course, I don’t intend to let it go on as long as a year, because hopefully I’ll run down my stockpile of plastic shopping bags by then (and I use reusable shopping bags most of the time).  But for right now, using a second small trash in the kitchen is using up my extra free resource and saving my family money.  That’s frugal!

Now I realize this double trash can system may seem a little strange.  Remember that frugal living is all about using your money and your resources wisely, so don’t be afraid to try out new home systems that might seem a little strange or unconventional.  Keep thinking of creative frugal solutions for your home and read more of our frugal tips before you go.

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We originally published Frugal Today: Save Money on Trash Bags on Home Ever After on September 30, 2010.  It is linked  up to Frugal Friday, Works for Me Wednesday and the Frugal Days Sustainable Ways blog hop.

About Danelle Ice

Danelle Ice is an entrepreneur in Los Angeles and mom of 3. She is the creator of and Danelle is also known as internet personality SimDanelle, the first virtual person. Danelle is a beauty guru on YouTube, vlogger, blogger, and new media darling. She is a current brand ambassador for for Keurig and previous AMD Tech Mom, Kraft Foods Delicious Byte brand ambassador, and Purex Insider.


  1. Barb @ The Forever Neighbor

    September 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Love it! Such a great idea!

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  3. Stacy

    October 2, 2010 at 4:54 am

    That is a FANTASTIC idea! I wonder if I can get my own family to do this. That is a HUGE savings too!

  4. Diane

    October 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been doing this for a couple months and it definitely cuts down on the amount of trash bags we need to purchase. You also tend to take out the trash that is smelliest out more often!
    In addition, if you have a yard, another idea is to start a little composting with veggie and fruit scraps and paper/yard waste. You’ll be amazed at how much of your trash can go straight back into the soil! You can keep a small can or bowl on the counter next to the sink for this. When I can’t go outside to put it in the compost pile, I cover it and put it in the freezer so it won’t stink or attract flies.

  5. Christy

    October 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Great idea! We use the little grocery sacks for our bathroom trash, for cleaning the litter pan, and for diapers. Instead of spending crazy amounts of money for the diaper genie system (which I personally didn’t think was worth it!), we just hang a Target bag by the changing table and in the stinkies go! Then when hubby takes out the trash, he takes a large bag and a few little ones. It has saved a lot of money! Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to take out a couple little bags a day than a bunch of big bags! LoL

  6. Angie

    October 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Don’t forget to recycle & compost!!!!! :)

  7. Laurel

    May 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I started using the plastic smaller grocery bags for bathroom & bedroom garbage bins quite some time ago. And when I run out of the little “doggie waste”bags, I use the bigger ones, just turn inside out and pick up. Throw in garbage bin when done. We have 3 dogs and the bags come in handy.

    I recently found out that (in CA that I know of anyway) that you can recycle the yogurt cups with plastic water bottles together. It just depends upon the code on the bottom of the plastic container. Been recycling cans and bottles for a long time, it is our emergency gas money for when we really need it.

  8. Dee

    October 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    How about only using plastic bags for the larger can. The ban on plastic shopping bags already exists in many communities and it is a spreading trend. I do not use any bags, plastic or otherwise for smaller cans in the house, ie the bathroom or the bedrooms. Why do they need bags in them when you can simply pour the contents from the smaller cans into the larger one? And no, you do not have to even touch or handle the contents of the smaller cans, so no need to feel it is unsanitary or gross.

  9. Lori

    October 3, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Reduce, reuse, recycle. My family of 3 went from throwing away 1 bag of trash each day, to 3 bags per week. We cut our waste by over half. Recycling if possible can save you alot of money on trash bags, kinder to the earth by reusing, instead of depleting resources, and contributing to the already overloaded landfills. If you can’t do that, consider installing a trash compactor.

    • Danelle Ice

      October 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      I know! I’m always amazed on trash day when we put out our trash container and it has almost nothing in it. All the other houses on our street have trash cans so overflowing that the lids won’t even shut! It always makes me wonder how they generate so much trash when we have 5 people in our family and recycle almost everything!

  10. rubyhousesliprs (@rubyhousesliprs)

    October 3, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Even better, recycle and reuse so you won’t produce so much trash!

    • Danelle Ice

      October 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      So true! We recycle SO much in our house.

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