I love garage sales that nickel and dime me, but even a dime is paying too much for paper napkins because it was a dime you could have spent on something more durable–like cloth napkins.
I learned about cloth napkins from a friend of mine who grew up in a country where there were no paper napkins. This friend was very frugal and brought up to eat neatly and make that napkin last for one week! She encouraged me to try using cloth napkins and would point them out at garage sales. I had always thought of them as special occasion items that had to be ironed and fussed over, but she used them every day and it didn’t seem to be wearing her out.
I switched to cloth when we had three kids at home and were using so many paper napkins a week that we might as well have been wiping our mouths with dollar bills! Good cotton or linen napkins can be bought at garage sales and thrift stores for anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents each. (I don’t like to pay more.) If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own from scrap fabric or old tablecloths for even less!
I figure that I wash the equivalent of one queen size sheet in napkins each week. (I don’t demand that one napkin be used for a week!) This requires a little water, a tad bit of soap, and my time to move them from washer to dryer (or out on the line) and fold them.
Do I sometimes use paper napkins? Sure—when I can get them for free! Begonia
I keep the napkins close at hand in a nice looking basket in my dining room. If you are extra thrifty or like to match your napkins to your decor, you can make your own from table cloths or scrap fabric.
I LOVE cloth napkins
Saturday, June 05, 2010 | By grahamcl
My family used cloth napkins as I grew up, and I never thought much about how uncommon that is until last summer. In an effort to save a little where I could, I got out the napkins that have been sitting in the linen closet unused. You would have thought I had asked my husband and kids to wipe their mouths on the actual table cloth! "Won't we mess them up?" It took some coaxing, but they eventually used them (reluctantly). Once fall came around, and school started back, we gradually slipped back into paper, so now I'll have to get them back out and start all over!-grahamcl
Disclaimer: MyFrugalLife.com cannot accept any responsibility for any injury or damage that you may cause to yourself, others, or property when following any advice given on this site. MyFrugalLife.com has no control of how you may use information you get from this site and does not attest to the validity of any information found within. Much of this information comes from third parties (newsletter readers and other contributers). Use advice found in our newsletters and on our site with common sense and at your own risk. If you see something in our newsletters or on our site that you disagree with, please let us know. Our goal is print only valuable information and advice. If you find any information on MyFrugalLife.com or in our newsletters that is either erroneous and/or potentially harmful to others, please Contact Us, immediately.