I love a great life hack.
I especially love learning about one that’s been living under my nose my whole life, undetected.
Most of all, I love life hacks that aren’t only mind-blowingly simple, but also save you money.
Every one of these brilliant uses for rubber bands is one of those hacks.
Something about rubber bands just makes me happy. Maybe it’s the fact there’s likely one in whatever room you’re in right now. Maybe it’s because I’ve kept at least one around my wrist at all times since I turned 12.
Maybe it’s because having one around can solve just about any problem — from loose hair in your eyes to losing your page in a book.
Whatever it is, I’m more excited than I should be to share these tips with you, and I know you’re going to love them more than you’d expect.
Here are 13 clever ways to save money by using a rubber band instead of adding one more expensive widget to your life:
1. Turn Cheap Hangers into No-Slip Hangers
Save at least $25 on velvet no-slip hangers.
I love boat-neck shirts.
I’m not sure which era of fashion that puts me in, but I do know they’re a nightmare for a closet. How do you get those things to stay on the hanger?
Keep your own questionable fashion choices from slipping by adding some friction.
You don’t have to replace your cheap plastic hangers with expensive velvet ones. Just wrap a rubber band around each end of the hanger to keep tiny straps and creative necklines in place, and enjoy your tidy closet.
2. Open Jars With Ease
Save $4.45 on rubber jar gripping pads.
When I was growing up, my mom always kept a rubber jar opener in the kitchen.
Even though we used it often, our kitchen could have benefited from one less unitasker.
Any time you can put household objects to more than one use, you’re saving money. Skip the dedicated jar openers — just use rubber bands you already have in the junk drawer.
Wrap one band around the lid and one around the body of the jar for grip. Grit your teeth and twist.
Of course, assure whichever kid brought you the jar for help they must have loosened it.
3. Keep Your Cutting Board From Slipping
Save $19.99 on this three-board set with non-slip corner accents.
Instead of replacing your cutting board or springing for a more expensive one, just add a couple of rubber bands to stabilize it.
Wrap a rubber band around each end of your slippery plastic or wooden cutting board to make it stay put while you work.
4. Do Your Own French Tips
Save $1.54 on nail tip guide stickers.
Skip the pricy nail salon trip or even a not-so-pricy at-home manicure kit. Instead, use a rubber band as a guide to paint your perfect French tips.
Use a clean rubber band or a clean part of the same band for each nail to keep the tips neat, recommends Krazy Coupon Lady.
5. Remove Damaged Screws
Save $5.79 on a damaged screw extractor set.
You’re going to love us for this clever life hack. Next time you have to deal with a stubborn stripped screw, a rubber band can help!
Just place the band between the screwdriver and the head of the screw to get a good grip. Firmly turn the screwdriver to remove the screw.
6. Mark Glasses at a Party
Save $6.99 on silicone wine glass markers.
Forgo the expensive decorative party favors, and let your guests use rubber bands to mark their drink glasses at your next party.
For a small get-together, use a pack of multicolored bands, and give each guest one color. For a larger group, let them write their name on the rubber band, or mix and match colors to uniquely mark their glasses.
7. Keep Your Spoon From Slipping
Save $24.99 on a set of utensils with rubber handles.
Don’t let your spoon slip into a boiling pot of broth or sauce!
Keep metal, plastic or wooden spoons upright by wrapping a rubber band around the handle where it rests at the edge of the pot.
8. Mount Your GPS or Smartphone
Save $12.95 on a window and dash mount for smartphones and GPS.
I love my iPhone car mount for using Maps and Apple Music hands-free while I drive. But I got it free as a gift.
If you want to achieve the same utility without spending money, use rubber bands.
Tie a knot in the middle of two single rubber bands. Then do it again with two more bands.
Slip one loop of each set around either side of your smartphone or GPS unit and the other around your vehicle’s rearview mirror to mount it safely at eye level.
9. Take a Group Photo Without a Selfie Stick
Save $6.99 on a smartphone tripod.
1. Tie two rubber bands in a girth hitch to opposite ends of another rubber band.
2. Slip the two bands over a mason jar, and slip your smartphone into the third band.
3. Set the timer on your phone’s camera, join the group and say cheese!
10. Skip the Maternity Pants
Save $29.98 on this pair of maternity jeans.
I’ve watched three sisters live through five pregnancies, and not one of them owns a pair of maternity pants.
You know, those pants that look mostly normal, but have the extra-stretchy top that goes over the belly?
Instead, they all wore their old pants, secured with a rubber band around the button. Stretch those old pants as far as they’ll go — literally.
11. Make Your Own Rubber Stamps
Save $17.50 on wood-block rubber stamps.
We have some crafty Penny Hoarders around the office who love hand-made cards for the holidays, decked out with clever notes and festive stamps.
They’re going to love this new hack next holiday season: DIY stamps!
To make the stamps, draw a simple image or letters on a piece of cardboard. Cut your old rubber bands into strips, and glue them to the cardboard to trace the image. When it dries, dip your stamp in paint, and voila!
12. Preserve Sliced Apples
If you want to include sliced apples in your kid’s lunch, secure the slices with a rubber band.
You can avoid wasting a plastic bag or making them responsible for a container, but still keep the apple from browning before lunch time.
13. Limit Soap Use
Kids are not the best Penny Hoarders.
They don’t have a great sense of frugality… and sometimes, stuff around the house is just plain fun to (over)use.
If your kids tend to go a little nuts with a hand-soap dispenser, twist a rubber band under the nozzle. It will limit the soap dispensed with each pump, so their enthusiasm won’t be quite so wasteful.
Your Turn: What clever uses have you found for rubber bands around the house?
Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).