This paper presents a new solution method for several types of buckling and bending problems of beams and plates. The method is based on the use of a non-orthogonal series expansion, consisting of some specially chosen trigonometric functions for the elastic curve y of a beam or the deflection surface w of a plate. The calculations are performed using the Euler and Bernoulli polynomials, under realistic approximations of limiting values of the boundary conditions. In this method, it is not necessary to use the solution of the differential equation of the problem. Results obtained using the method are shown to be consistent with known solutions.