June 5, 2013

Buying Used Canning Jars

Preserving seasonal foods is a frugal, healthy way to fill your pantry. Getting started can be a big expense at one time, however. Water bath canner, pressure canner, jars, lids... these purchases can be a big drain on your budget when you begin.

One way to save money is to buy used jars. Garage and yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores are all good places to look for jars. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for canning jars, and you might be the recipient of someone's grandma's unused jars. Keep an eye on Craigslist and Freecycle lists too, for free or cheap jars.

Prices can range wildly; there is no standard "used jar" price. It helps to know what new jars cost so you won't pay too much.

I came across an ad on Craigslist a few years ago offering canning jars for $1 a dozen. The seller was even in my little town. I bought 20 dozen jars - a variety of pints, quarts and some half-pints - a total of 240 jars for $20!

What to look for when you find used jars:
  • Check the rims of jars for chips and cracks
  • Don't use glass mayonnaise jars for canning
  • Look carefully for cracks in the "body" of the jar
  • Rusty bands might crack the jar when you try to remove them

How do you save money on canning supplies? Please leave a comment.

This post has been shared at the following:
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
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Summers Acres HomeAcre Hop
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  1. Great post! I like to find canning jars at garage sales, but recently my grandma gave me all her old canning jars so I have a lot stored in the garage! Still haven't done much canning, but I'm hoping to have enough veggies from my garden this year to can some. I also want to make a bunch of jelly to can and last me through the year.

    PS - Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit! So glad you popped over :)

  2. Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! :-)

  3. Good advice. We just started last year and will be in the need for more jars soon. We hope to do even more canning this year. I'd love for you to share this at The HomeAcre Hop.


  4. Thank you for the invitation to join your blog hop, Summers Acres! I enjoyed visiting your blog and have linked up.

  5. Every year I hope to find canning jars at yard sales. To date, no luck. Hopefully this will be the summer. I recently started canning jam and have found it's very addictive. I had to buy 5 dozen jars and have none in reserve-yikes!

  6. Hi Rhonda, thank you for your comment. I've found that the availability of jars at thrift stores and yard sales depends a bit on where you live - in some areas of the country, people tend to hang onto their jars. Keep looking though, this might be your year! Estate sales are a good place to look.

    I have several posts on making jam; check the Recipe Index on the menu bar under the header. :-)

  7. I love finding used jars. Not only do I use them for my veggies and jellies, but I make homemade body scrubs. The pint and jelly jars are perfect sizes! Have a happy Saturday!

  8. I love finding used jars. Not only do I use them for my veggies and jellies, but I make homemade body scrubs. The pint and jelly jars are perfect sizes! Have a happy Saturday!

  9. Hi Tammy. Half-pint jars would be perfect for body scrubs. I don't find many of those used for some reason; maybe because they are a good size for crafts. :-)

  10. I have yet to purchased a brand new canning jar. Auctions have been my main source, but I have also found a few boxes at garage sales. Even the ones with chips can be used- just not for canning. I use the 1/2 pint jars as spice jars, pint jars for vases, and quarts for leftovers. I have yet to meet a jar I didn't like!

  11. Caia, I agree with you: I just love jars! Thank you for stopping by.

  12. So glad you joined us last week!

    Please join us again Thursday at:


  13. Thanks so much for sharing at A Peek Into My Paradise TGIF Link Party! I can't wait to see what you link up next week! I hope to see you at the (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/
    Have a terrific week!
    Hugs, Cathy


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