Oatmeal has always been one of my favorite breakfast foods (especially when loaded down with tasty granola, cream, nuts and berries!). Since January is National Oatmeal Month, it makes for a great time to buy as much oatmeal as you can (prices won’t be this low again all year long). According to current research, oatmeal retains its nutritional properties well into its third decade! So yes, you really can stockpile all the oatmeal you can store this January! Just make sure to store it in a sealed container in a cool, dry place (at room temperature or below).
But now I'm learning that oatmeal has other uses, which means it’s worth adding even more of it to my stockpile. Here are 8 great cash-saving uses for this miracle cereal!
1. Oatmeal absorbs odors
One can of Febreze costs $2.78 (Walmart) and an Arm & Hammer baking soda filter for your refrigerator costs $7.32 (Walmart). While a handful of rolled oats only costs pennies and keeps odors away just as well—perhaps better! Oatmeal can even help neutralize strong odors like tobacco.
- Recipe: Place 1 cup of rolled oats in a low plastic dish in your refrigerator.
2. Use oatmeal to make craft clay for kids
A 20-pack of Play-Dough super color modeling clay costs $11.00 (Walmart). Instead of spending that much—you can make great modeling clay for almost nothing, and there will be no added colors or other ingredients that may cause irritation to sensitive young skin. Plus—it’ll keep the kids busy!
- Recipe: Combine 1 cup rolled or instant oats with enough flour and water to make a thick paste. Add natural color (like several drops of pomegranate juice) for fun variations.
3. Oatmeal is a substitute for regular white flour
You can use “oat flour” in place of regular flour for anything you want to make—and there’s more nutritional value in each bite!
- What to do: If you run out of regular white baking flour, put the equivalent amount of rolled oats into your blender or food processor and blend until fine.
4. Use oatmeal in your garden
Slugs love fresh green veggies (especially the kind you grow in your garden). Luckily, they seem to like oatmeal too, which expands in their stomachs and puts a safe end to your little slug problem. Plus, the price is a lot better than the $18.89 you’d pay for commercial slug killer (Walmart).
- What to do: Sprinkle rolled or instant oats around the bases of your vegetable plants.
5. Oatmeal is a natural stand-in for shampoo
If you run out of shampoo—or just don't have time for a regular wash and blow-dry one morning—oatmeal can be a handy and cheap dry shampoo. Now enjoy your clean hair and the $5.97 you just saved for Aveeno's version of the same thing (Walmart).
- Recipe: Mix 1 cup of ground oatmeal with 1 cup of baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture along your hairline and get as close as you can to your roots. Leave it on for 5 minutes (this allows time for the mix to absorb your hair's natural oils). Then brush out and style as usual.
6. Oatmeal is an alternative to bread crumbs
Whether you’re just out of bread or you’re looking for a non-wheat version of bread crumbs, oatmeal is a great stand-in.
- Recipe: Grind up 1 cup of rolled oats in your blender or food processor, then use as you usually would in your recipe in place of bread crumbs.
7. Oatmeal works as a thickening agent
Little in life feels worse than slaving away on a recipe for hearty thick soup or stew, only to produce thin, runny broth instead. Luckily, all you have to do to fix this problem is head to your oatmeal stockpile!
- Recipe: Add finely ground oats and stir, giving the oats 5 minutes to absorb moisture and act as a natural thickener. Garnish and serve!
8. Oatmeal eases the itching
Oatmeal not only softens skin, but soothes it too. Oatmeal can ease every kind of skin irritation, from acne to diaper rash, poison ivy to dry skin on your pet.
- Recipes: You can add oatmeal to a warm water bath, grind it into a mask with a bit of warm water, or add a bit of milk and honey for a soothing paste.