Live green to save some green!

Here are a few more ideas to help save some money at home. 

Carry your own shopping bags or baskets wherever you go! 

Most people are familiar with the idea of taking reusable bags to the grocery store.  Why not take them everywhere?  Target gives you a nickel back for bringing your own bags.  For those in the Valdosta area, Whisk gives you a dime!  That may not seem like much but every little bit helps!  

Stores’ costs are lower when they don’t have to buy shopping bags.  If their costs are lower, your costs are lower!  Plus, it’s easier on the environment.

You also don’t HAVE to use those little plastic produce bags.  We only do it out of habit.  Is it really going to be a major problem if our bananas integrate with our apples!  The horror! 

 I have various canvas and cloth tote bags that I use.  I also have an expandable produce bag, two collapsible market baskets, one fantastic insulated market basket that my mom got me for Christmas.  (It’s great for keeping cold things cold!)

Stop using garbage bags! 

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice! You read correctly. 

Who says you have to use garbage bags?   We have a two-bin trash drawer assembly, but you can use whatever trash can you have that’s easily cleaned.  We put our recycling (rinsed out) in one bin, our trash in the other, and any compostable items go in the compost can under the sink.   Take out the garbage and the recycling and just rinse out the can.  If it REALLY needs cleaning, a little dish soap and a garden hose will do it with no big deal!  (No this isn’t my kitchen, but this is my trash drawer assembly.) 

Think about it like this: Tall kitchen garbage bags cost approximately $.50 each. (Hefty brand used for comparative purposes).  If like me, you have to take the trash out every other day (we are still using diapers at our house), that adds up to approximately $90 a year in savings.   

Stop buying paper towels:  Use rags/dish towels instead for cleaning and then throw them in with your laundry.  You’re doing laundry anyway, and it really doesn’t add any bulk to your washing.   Try using a squeegee and a rag for windows.  If your family uses 1 roll of paper towel per week (mine used more), you can save around $90 per year by not buying paper towels.

 Stop using paper napkins:  Use cloth napkins instead.  Again, it doesn’t really add much bulk to the laundry.  Cut down on the number used by reusing clean napkins instead of washing after each mean (if you can).  Savings for a family of four are more than $50 per year!

 Minimize buying Ziploc bags: Store leftovers and food items in airtight glass, plastic or metal containers.  Use reusable bags and containers for packing lunches.  These bags are widely available for purchase (or you can easily make your own).  You can repurpose glass jars rather than recycling them.  I have begun using lots of jars (mason jars, spaghetti sauce jars, jelly jars, etc.) to store all sorts of things in the fridge.  It works really well, and I don’t have to buy more every time.  You’ll save at least $78 per year by cutting out throwaway bags and containers.   

Brew your own coffee and stop buying paper coffee filters: You can get one pound of organic whole bean coffee starting at $8 locally.  That’s less than the cost of two venti lattes at Starbucks.  That adds up FAST!   In that one pound of coffee, you can get approximately 15 pots of strong coffee.   That’s 15 POTS not 15 cups.  It is easy to see how you can save big money fast. 

Also, replace your paper coffee filters with a reusable cone filter (approximately $5) or use a french press.  You’ll save about $15 a year if you make one pot of coffee every day. 

Minimize purchases of single-serve bottled drinks: Stop buying bottled water and other single-serving bottled/canned drinks.  Purchase a water filter and reusable bottle to use if you’re on the go.  We have a few stainless steel bottles and some repurposed Snapple bottles for our family.

 You could save around $600 (one bottled water per 4 people per day).  Plus, the plastic can leach chemicals into the liquid.  If you have not yet seen the documentary “Tapped”, I highly recommend it.  It’s disconcerting but enlightening! 

 Stop buying single-use batteries:  It’s much easier to use rechargeable batteries than you think. Rechargeable AA batteries and chargers, ubiquitous for TV and gaming remotes and kids’ toys, are widely available.  An added bonus: You don’t have to run to the store when your remote runs out of juice. Just recharge the batteries and you’re good to go.  If you use around 25 AA batteries a year, you’ll save around $28 a year.  If you have little kids, you’ll probably save more than that!  

 All these suggestions require little or no effort.  They  may not seem like much with  $28 here and $15 there, but if you add all that up you get a potential savings of nearly $1000 in a year!

Before you think that I’m giving you the ol’ “Do as I say and not as I do” treatment, I’ll tell you this.  I do my best to adhere to ALL of these.  I’m not perfect.  We do buy batteries sometimes when I forget to charge the reusables.  We also indulge in our high-priced coffee occassionally.  However, every little bit helps!  

What kinds of things do you do to save money at home even if you aren’t saving the planet 🙂 ?  I’m always looking for suggestions  and would appreciate the input!

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