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Saving Money On Napkins

Thrifty Reusable Napkins

Instead of paper towels, we use washcloths for napkins. Purchase small dishtowels and dishcloths for napkins; they can be laundered and even ironed!



Recycle Tablecloths

When my tablecloths wear out in the middle, I cut down the usable part and make cloth napkins out of it.

By Cindy K.

Kitchen Towels

We use old kitchen towels that don't seem pretty enough to hang up any more. It doesn't matter what the kids (or us) spill on it, and they wash really easily when needed.

By Beth

Extra Fast Food Napkins

We carry the paper napkins we get from fast food in the car so when we have a mess they are already there. I make my own cloth napkins and use them for everyday living and for facial tissue.

By Ziggee

Saving Napkins From Delivery and Take Out

Save those extra napkins provided when you get takeout or delivery food! They're just the right size to pack in lunch boxes or to keep in the car's glove compartment.


By Jennifer

Scraps of Fabric

About 20 years ago, a friend gave me a bag of scraps of fabric. They were too heavy for quilting, so I made table napkins. They just started wearing out a couple of years ago. Most of them are still in service.

By Coreen

Dollar Store Napkins

I buy my napkins at the dollar store. You get 150 to 200 for $1.00

By Cheryl


When my husband was younger he would get hankies with a dress suit, shirt and tie. Usually they were mostly white and a few were colored. We didn't know what to do with them, so I saved them. I don't know of anyone ever using these to wipe their nose. When my children were small we used these as table napkins and I washed them after every meal. It was part of the table setting. Now my kids always look for the cloth napkin at every dinner, whether formal or not. Now I watch for more at thrift stores and garage sales. I still use these now and when I buy a tablecloth I don't have to look for the coordinating napkins because I have them at home! I never use paper.


By Barb

Dishtowels as Napkins

I have purchased dishtowels or dishcloths and used them for napkins. I also have regular cloth napkins that I bought as seconds. They are just as nice as expensive ones. Each person in my family has his or her own napkin ring, so we only change napkins when they are soiled. When buying napkins, buy good quality napkins on sale rather than cheaply made ones, as they last so much longer. They are less expensive in the long run.

By Louel53

Make Your Own

Material is fairly inexpensive at thrift stores (old tablecloths, or clothes) cut down (to about 11 1/2" square) fold over the edges (1/4" on all four sides) and sew them down. You have a 10 1/2" napkin.

By Dahart

Good Weight Fabric

I have made a bunch. I used good weight fabric and they refuse to wear out.

By Rosie

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 20, 20070 found this helpful

Excellent ideas! will begin to implement with old worn out dishtowels. thanks.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By guest (Guest Post)
March 29, 20070 found this helpful

I've never understood why folks use paper napkins. To they are just plain nasty and expensive...think of all those trees which get pulped too!
Cloth napkins are civilized. You sure don't have to spend a fortune on them; just go to your local Goodwill where you will find plenty of new ones (never used, that is).
I've found some that are beautifully hand embroidered and with crocheted edging on rich creamy Irish linen which are put away and never used. There are plenty of good ones for company and special dinners, many for everyday use and ones that are getting a bit old to use for barbecues and other messy dinners; these can be tossed out if too badly stained.
Our cloth napkins are tossed in with other laundry so they need no special care. I choose to iron mine ( I do a few each time the iron is just turned off) but it's not really necessary.


People always comment how nice it is to have cloth napkins. So, nice and frugal!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 3, 20120 found this helpful

I use real napkins - I purchase them at yards sales for 3 for 25 cents! I have about 50 of them. None of them match - which is exactly like the rest of my house - it is very country! They don't take up much room in the washer, and I throw them in with similar colors! Guess I'm cheap!

Additionally, this is the way my children learned to press clothing - it never mattered if they got the creases straight when ironing them. And it wasn't a great loss if they scorched them - it was a great learning experience!

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