Multi-Purposing: Make every purchase count

One of my favorite ways to practice frugality is to creatively use one item to complete multiple tasks! Before making any household or kitchen purchase, one of the questions I ask myself is, can this item complete more than one task? Is this item convenient and be used frequently?

This is one reason I love my bosch mixer! It is a high powered blender, mixer, and bread machine (the kneading part, minus the actually baking) all in one! You can also purchase attachments, such as a food processor. Multi-purposing is one way I simplify in the kitchen.

Recently, I have been desirous of making my own fresh tea from various herbs and leaves. For example, I have good herbs on hand for making a mother’s milk tea, but just couldn’t get around to making it due to the lack of a proper straining tool. I looked into all the various steeping tools and gadgets I could use to strain and prepare my tea. Then it struck me. We already have simplified our coffee preparations by using a Bodum french press. The french press is frugal, small and compact (making it easy to store, taking up no counter space), is incredibly easy to prepare, and it makes the best coffee in my husband’s opinion (I don’t drink coffee so I wouldn’t know!). Couldn’t this same press make tea as well? Indeed! I was concerned that the flavor may affect the coffee taste next time around or vis versa, but in fact there was no affect on the taste whatsoever and it works beautifully for making delicious coffee and tea! Now I can make fresh tea in a matter of minutes. I can make larger batches and store the rest in my fridge for later enjoyment. Pour the tea leaves into the press, cover with boiling water, allow to steep for a few minutes, and then press the strainer down and enjoy!

Have you found any items that can complete more than one task? How do you practice multi-purposing?

That’s my frugal tip for today!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

26 Responses to Multi-Purposing: Make every purchase count

  1. Bethany June 12, 2009 at 6:27 am #

    My multi-purpose kitchen item is our toaster oven. It serves as our “microwave” for reheating leftovers, our toaster, and either as a much smaller oven to bake in general (decreasing the amount of electricity used, as well as heat in the kitchen) or as additional oven space when we have a lot of people for dinner :)

    Thanks everyone for all your tips and helps!

  2. M.I.A in Minnesota May 21, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    The first experience I had with a French press was EONS ago when I was a nanny. I worked for a family who was from India and the dad made his loose leaf tea with a French press. It was AMAZING tea. I know use it for coffee too. Aside from cold press, I believe French pressed is the smoothest coffee. As far as multitasking. I once made powdered sugar in my coffee grinder! I was desperate for it in a recipe, so I just ground up regular white sugar and viola…powdered sugar! : ) Those coffee grinders are so handy!

  3. Debbie May 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    I’m so glad to know about this. I love multipurpose products, too – and I love my hot loose tea – what a great tool – I’ll have to go out and get one now! I

    ‘m seriously shopping for a Bosch mixer, too, at your recommendation. I’ve only got a hand mixer now and need to invest in something more heavy duty that doesn’t consume what little counterspace I have. I did some research yesterday and am so impressed with the universal mixer and all the optional accessories.

  4. Gena May 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Thank you SO much for this tip! I have a Bodum french press that I rarely use for coffee (I have a Keurig that I love!). I just bought this little tea thingie at Teavana the other day. Now I will return it! I haven’t used it and obviously I have no need for it. What a great multipurpose tool you have found. Thanks again. You just saved me $17!

  5. ellene May 18, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    I’m so grateful to have found your blog. I love your writing and tips and admire your faithfulness and desire to connect/ help others. Iron sharpens iron, even in internet land!
    I also adore your sister’s clothing line, and I’m going to definitely submit a design for the dress contest. thanks so much :)

  6. MommyAmy May 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    I have a french press too that I use every day. :)

  7. Anna May 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    We use a coffee grinder (electric one) to grind coffee beans fresh. But we also use it to grind up nuts and seeds, and recently I needed to have crushed up peppermint candy canes to make peppermint meringues. I broke the candy canes so they would fit into the grinder, turned it on for a few seconds, and I had beautiful sparkly peppermint powder that looked so pretty sprinkled on my meringues!

  8. Kileah May 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    hooray for french press! we have 2 bodums-both given to us as wedding gifts! we use 1 for coffee (which i don’t drink, husband does) and i use the other for tea. we both love tea quite a bit;)

  9. Kristen S May 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Wow! That is a great idea! I don’t drink coffee either, but I love tea. I’m going to try the french press! Thanks!

  10. Erin May 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    I don’t know what I would do without my Vita-Mix blender. I can use it as a high-powered blender (iced beverages are uniform – - no large chunks, homemade ice cream), a food processor (homemade hummus, pureed soups, etc.), it kneads bread dough, but best of all, it grinds all of my grains for baking. It was a big investment (between $350 and $400), but it has been going strong for 8+ years. Excellent 7 year warranty too!

  11. Sarah Smith May 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Lindsay, I just made your pizza last night. Everyone LOVED it. Thank you for sharing the recipe. It was so much easier than I expected. I think it will be our weekly Friday night dinner, as my hubby LOVES pizza. Also, next time I think I will try soaking it. I am fascinated by your soaking process and want to give it a try.

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog. It is such an inspiration to me. In fact, I recently started my own blog that will be focusing on the traits of Titus 2 and related material. (I also have a family blog, but this one will give me an outlet for other creative pursuits). Thank you for taking time to write such encouraging/interesting/etc posts. I really do appreciate all of the time you spend on it.

    May the Lord continue to bless your SWEET family.
    In Christ,
    Sarah Smith

  12. Autumn May 16, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    I have to say that I LOVE my 9-cup KitchenAid food processor (see link below). I use it for everything…blending fruit smoothies, pureeing babyfood, making hummus, chopping onions, dicing carrots, shredding cheese, mincing herbs…I would be lost without it! I have a small galley kitchen with little counter space so every appliance really has to earn its keep. This one has definitely earned its keep!

  13. Morgan May 16, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    I love your heart! And can’t get enough of this blog. :D I really want to switch over to natural beauty products..i.e. makeup and lotion specifically. I want to go with Physicians Formula organics, but I’m not sure what to do about face moisturizer. I use Aveeno moisturizer {the kind for rosacea}…is there something healthy and paraben/chem. free I can use?

    • Bethany Spang July 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

      coconut oil!

  14. Hollie May 16, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    p.s. Ohhh and when trying to conceive, I took three capsules three times a day. I truly believe it helped me conceive. Along with a few other things I did. I conceived naturally and knowing the complications that I had, it’s a miracle BY THE LORD that I’m pregnant again. Praise Jesus! I conceived all naturally and I believe the Lord opened up my womb using natural remedies, just like He opens wombs using conventional medicine. :)

  15. Hollie May 16, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    I have a hard time as well making my tea from loose tea leaves. I was taught to use a mason jar with an inch of loose tea leaves at the bottom and to strain it with cheesecloth. This method was recommended due to the avoidance of using metals and healthy tea/herbs together. Supposedly, you’re not supposed to stir any tea with metal, which means I cannot buy a loose tea strainer from the tea shop nearby. It’s kinda frustrating. Do you know if they make french presses with anything other than metal?

    Secondly, and this is random and unrelated to your present post (sorry), but I’ve been meaning to ask you this. I’m 25 weeks pregnant and want to start drinking my red raspberry tea leaves (loose) that I have, using the mason jar method. I know it’s okay to drink it from the beginning, but I was a bit hesitant to consume it until I was close to or in my third trimester. I have started to drink it. My question is: Should I drink the tea three times a day or purchase the red raspberry tea capsules to consume more? What did you do? Do you think it eased up your labor pains? I used the capsules when I was trying to get pregnant so that I wouldn’t have to constantly make the tea all day long, although I love the taste of it.

    Thanks again for all that you feature on your blog and your hard work that you put into it. :)

    Sister in Christ,

    • Lindsay May 18, 2009 at 11:40 am #

      Hollie, as to drinking red raspberry leaf tea, I would recommend drinking a cup a day or more. I think the general recommendation is 3-5 cups per day, but I never got around to drinking that much. I would make a quart size jar full of tea and refrigerate and drink over two days. I did take the preparatory herb capsules that I discussed here on a daily basis which also had raspberry leaf. I know these were very good for preparing my body effectively for labor. Hope that helps!

      • Hollie May 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

        Thanks for the reply. Did you take prenatals at all during your pregnancy? And,…if you did, did you replace your prenatals with the prep herb capsules? Do you feel like it helped you in labor? Lastly, I’ve been taking Whole Foods Prenatal vitamin, knowing that it’s synthetic and most of it isn’t getting absorbed. I’ve been taking High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil as well and sticking with the dosage on the back. Should I be concerned with the vitamin A dosage from both the cod liver oil and the prenatals? Wonder how much I should take of the cod liver? Thanks

        • Lindsay May 26, 2009 at 5:43 am #

          Yes, I did use prenatals during my pregnancy, but I do think you can go either way as long as you are getting a good whole foods diet. I discussed them here. I do believe the prep herbs were extremely beneficial to prepare my body for labor, but I believe strongly that they need to be taken in companion with getting good exercise. I would really recommend you discuss with a midwife or naturopath about the consumption of vitamin A. I was not taking cod liver oil during my pregnancy so I wouldn’t know the answer to that. Blessings on your pregnancy!

  16. Julie May 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    I multi-task with my gravy separator:

  17. Anna @ Purposely Parenting May 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    That is so cool! I’m going to have to look into getting one a French Press. Making tea from leaves is such a hassle when you have to strain it. (And I don’t enjoy drinking leaves!)

    Thanks for the tip!

  18. Valencia @ Buildeth Her House May 15, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    I love the idea of using one item that multi purposes. WOW! Great ideas.

  19. Kate May 15, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    I do the exact same thing with my French press! Funnily enough, I actually just posted about multitasking kitchen items the other day.

    “Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?”

  20. Buffie May 15, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    I love it when kitchen equipment can do double or triple duty. Having something take up space in the kitchen when its only good for one thing seems like such a waste to me.

  21. Anna May 15, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    I received a Bodum French Press for Christmas this year. By far the best present I have ever received! It does make the best coffee. My mom and I took a vacation last spring and the resort where we stayed served French Press coffee everymorning with breakfast. When I came home any coffee I had just was not the same; I HAD to get a french press. I researched the Bodum brand and learned that it was the best and most reliable one. Other than that, the best multi-purpuse item in my kitchen is an old wooden roller. It actually used to be the leg to one of my grandmother’s old dining chairs. The set was falling apart and my husband found the leg in our garage (strange actually) so I started using it to roll out all different kinds of dough, as well as to flatten and tenderise meat.

    Don’t worry, I thouroughly clened it before I started using it :) My husband smiles everytime he sees me get it out. The best utensil and it was FREE!!

  22. Shannon May 15, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    I was just wondering the same thing! Neither my fiance nor I drink coffee, so I was planning on getting a French press for guests (I love how compact they are!), but that’s fantastic that it can be used for tea, as well! Plus, they’re just charming! :-)

    I love your blog, and always look forward to your wonderful housekeeping hints and natural living ideas!

    Yours in Christ,