With the economic uncertainty we’re all facing today, it’s time to adopt new habits that prevent wasted money and wasted resources. Some folks feel that “going green” is for the wealthy. Actually, many environmentally responsible practices are thrifty as well. Here are my favorite changes I’ve made in the last year that have definitely saved my family money:
1. Glass Storage Containers: What’s with ziplock bags? Why not use something reusable and washable to store your leftovers? I mean, sure, you can fit more into the fridge with ziplocks, but do you really want that many leftovers stuck in the fridge? Are you really going to eat them before they go bad? Using glass storage containers makes leftovers look appetizing. In lieu of plastic storage containers, which leach toxins and get those ugly food stains, glass is eco-friendly, safe to microwave in and pretty too. We stopped using plastic bags and started buying glass containers here and there. Now we’re stocked with glass and saving money too!
2. Cleaning with Vinegar & Baking Soda: When I first had that “aha” moment in which I realized that using conventional cleaning supplies was leaving a trail of toxins around my sparkling “clean” home, I started using Method cleaning products. They say they’re safe and they’re packaged so nicely. Well, cleaning with home-mixed vinegar and baking soda based products is really the way to go. It’s easy and so, so, so cheap. Learn how to Make Your Own Household Cleaners and start saving.
3. Cloth Diapers: It was about this time last year that I switched from disposables to cloth diapers. My husband and I took a lot of convincing, but once we tried them, we never looked back. Diapering with cloth is nicer, cheaper and not much more work. Once you get in the habit of pushing that washing machine button a few more times a week, you wonder why it ever seemed to make sense to drive to the store and fork over hard-earned cash. Check it out at Cloth Diapers Explained.
4. Cloth Pads: Alright, I’m coming out of the closet… I switched to cloth pads. Ewwww… I know, I know, it sounds awful. It’s not. It’s nice. Softer than paper, not scratchy like disposable pads. Really, a lot more like underwear! I was a tampon-only girl, but now I’m happier with cloth. After all, if I’m going to wash diapers, why not pads? My menstrual blood is natural, not some nasty abhorrent substance. Anyhow, they’re cheap (about $10-12 each) or you can make your own so easily. My mom and I made them with some old cotton flannel shirts. Recycled and reusable. Just think how much I’ll save on disposable menstrual products throughout my life!
5. Oil Cleansing Method: This is my latest switch. I put aside my arsenal of facial products (cleanser, scrub, mask, toner, moisturizer, serum) for one little bottle of my homemade oil mix. I use 20% castor oil and 80% sunflower seed oil to cleanse my face once per day or less. Now my skin is balanced – not too oily, not too dry – and I’ve had annoying combination skin for ages. It’s one less thing to do in the morning and it’s saving me oodles of money on cosmetics, which are so often of questionable safety (see Skin Deep: Cosmetic Database to check the safety rating on your cosmetics).