Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Finances Your Way about 6 Expenses You Should be Saving For. I’m excited to welcome Lindsay from Pandora’s Deals to Getting Freedom from Debt:
It used to seem to me that going green was kind of an expensive thing to do. After all, many eco-friendly products are more costly than the competitor brands. Over the years our family has found a few ways to actually save money by making greener choices. Here are a few of our tricks and tips for frugally going green.
Use cloth napkins
This has saved us a ton on paper napkins and paper towels. I keep a stack of them in a basket on the kitchen table and we each grab one if we need it during meals. My kids always need something to wipe their hands on while we’re eating and this way we’re not buying and throwing away paper products. It doesn’t create any extra wash for me, either. Cloth napkins are small enough that they easily fit in with my weekly load of towels, no extra load of wash required. And they’re pretty cheap! I saw a cute 4-pack at Target recently for about $4. That will pay for itself in no time. And if your kids are particularly messy (raising my hand over here), keep a stack of baby washcloths near your kitchen sink. I wet these and wipe them up after meals.
Grow a vegetable and herb garden.
This is one of our favorite summertime activities. Sometimes we experiment with new veggies and herbs, but mostly we grow what we know we like and what we can stretch into the winter months. That includes lots of tomatoes which we make salsa with and can. We also make spaghetti sauce and freeze it. And I’m a total pesto addict so we grow ton of basil and I freeze batch after batch of pesto. Don’t be intimidated by canning and freezing. It’s not rocket science! If I can do it, anyone can. Think about the veggies you and your family like and grow a few this summer. It’s awesome to be able to walk out into your garden and pick dinner. And if you don’t have room in your yard for a garden, plant a few goodies in pots. I grew some awesome oregano in a pot last year that was perfect on homemade pizza.
Do it all online.
I think most of us are doing this anyway! Shopping online eliminates the cost of transportation to the mall, paying bills online eliminates paper waste (and the cost of a stamp!), as does sending party invitations. Most people are plugged in these days, and using electronic communication is a quick, efficient way to do what you need to do and save money while you’re doing it. Plus you don’t have to fight for a parking spot at the mall. Win-win!
Clean with cloth, not paper.
This is the same theory as my cloth napkin tip: what you can wash and reuse you don’t have to throw away and replace. I like microfiber cloths to clean with, but can use any old t-shirts or scraps you have. I just dug out some old cloth diapers and burp cloths for a yard sale we had. Now they’re on my cleaning cloth pile. I don’t know about you but I feel like I wipe my kitchen counters off about 1000 times a day. It’s nice to not have to throw out 1000 paper towels, too!
Use reusable bags and look for foods that are minimally packaged.
I’ll admit, I’m a freak about this one. Once I started packing lunch for my daughter who’s in kindergarten, it hit me just how much trash school lunches create. Every wrapper on every granola bar, every plastic baggie that houses a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – all thrown in the trash. Can you imagine the waste created in just one classroom, never mind schools all over the country? I bought a bunch of reusable bags and we use them every day. My daughter loves the fun designs, and I love that I’m not wasting money on plastic baggies (plus no plastic is touching my kids’ food, leaking chemicals into her meals). And of course I also love that we’re not making a bunch of trash with each lunch I pack. I try to buy big bags of pretzels and stick some in a reusable bag for her instead of buying individually portioned snacks that come in yet another bag that gets thrown out. It’s almost always cheaper to buy the bigger bag, too!
So these are a few of my ideas, changes we’ve made over the past couple years to save our family some money and lend a hand to our planet, too. Now I’d love to hear your ideas!
What do you do to frugally go green?
Lindsay is the writer at Pandora’s Deals, a deal-seeking blogger with a focus on eco-friendly offers. She writes from Central Pennsylvania where she is a wife and mom to two mostly-angels. When she’s not wearing those hats she works per diem as a tutor and enjoys reading, gardening, and shoe shopping.