Rubber bands, often acquired for free when they come wrapped around produce or newspapers, can be found in many households just hanging around in a drawer or wrapped around a doorknob waiting for an opportunity for a second life. These days, there are probably 100 or more Silly Bandz® hanging around your kids room. Any day now, they'll be "so last week." Put that forgotten fad to work in your home with some creative ways to re-use rubber bands and save some money in the process.
In the Kitchen
Can't get that pesky twist cap off the pop or beer bottle? Wrapping a rubber band around the top should provide a good grip for easy - and painless - cap removal. It’s not quite as effective for the pickle jar, unless you can find a wide rubber band to strap around the lid. Money saved: Jar gripper, $2 - $15.
Wrapping a couple of rubber bands around a drinking glass may help an individual who suffers from arthritis get a better grip. Use Silly Bandz® for young children whose hands may be too small for an adequate and safe grip. When I was a child, my mother went through an entire set before she finally figured out she should not let me hold them. If only she had known about the rubber band trick! Money saved: Set of 6 glasses, $10 - $30.
By wrapping a rubber band a few inches from the bottom of a broom that has bristles splayed and out of shape, the bristles are pulled together and useful again. After a few days, they should return to their original shape, letting you save replacing the broom for another day. Money saved: Broom, $7 - $20.
To keep toddlers and young children from getting into kitchen cabinets, heavy-duty rubber bands wrapped around pairs of handles or knobs will prevent unauthorized entry by little explorers. This works for bathroom cabinets as well. The bands wrapped around broccoli or lobster claws are best for this. Just be careful to check for broken rubber bands and replace them as needed. Money saved: Child safety locks, $5 - $20.
In the Bathroom
Soapy hands can be slippery hands. By wrapping a large rubber band around shampoo bottles, keeping a grip even with soapy hands is easier. You’ll be less likely to drop the bottle and spill shampoo, wasting it. It's good use for Silly Bandz® in the kids' bathroom too. Money saved: New bottle of shampoo, $2 - $8.
A rubber band wrapped around the neck of a bottle of liquid soap will limit how far the pump can be pushed down. This will limit how much soap the kids can pumped out and the bottle should last longer before it needs to be replaced. Money saved: Hand soap, $2 - $3.
In the Office
Keep pens, pencils, and other writing utensils grouped together with a rubber band to make locating the appropriate writing tool without having to dig and shuffle through a cluttered drawer. This works for other items, such as paper clips. Money saved: Drawer organizer, $5 - $20.
Wrapping the index finger with a rubber band will make it easier to flip through papers without having to lick your finger. It’s more sanitary, too! Just don’t wrap it so tight your finger turns purple. Money saved: Gripper or pack of grippers, $1 - $10
In the Living Room
Wrapping the TV remote control with a couple of rubber bands makes it less likely to slide off the coffee table and subsequently under the couch. It also saves your coffee table from scratches when the remote gets pushed around. Rubber bands are also good for holding the batter cover on when it invariably breaks. Money saved: Universal remote, $10 - $40.
Away from Home
Rubber bands make a great wallet. Fold your money in half over your driver’s license, credit cards and other necessities and secure with a rubber band. This compact wallet fits nicely in your front pocket where it is secure from pick pockets. Money saved: Wallet, $15 - $200.
...Oh and one more. You can use a rubber band to fix your iPhone 4 signal problems. Money saved: iPhone 4 case, $30
Now, this list is a compilation of tried and true methods. Are there any new or radical money-saving uses you have for rubber bands or the kids' Silly Bandz®? Share them with us!