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When I first started trying to be more conscious of throwing out less and wasting less, we were living on an extremely tight budget. My boyfriend & I were living together but we were both in college so finances were rough. I couldn’t regularly purchase organic household products, for example. I wanted to still do what I could, so I started to become more ecofriendly in ways that we could manage on our limited budget, and that would save us money in the long run. Here are my top 10 ecofriendly ways to to save money.
1. Reusable food storage containers. Instead of tin foil, ziplocs, etc. We buy lunch meat that comes in plastic containers that we reuse for leftovers, and we have a set of Tribest glass storage containers that I got 7 years ago for review! They have held up great and because they are glass they can be used to bake in and they can go in the freezer. It looks like Tribest has discontinued them but similar sets like the Pyrex 12 piece set on Amazon for $33.83. Well worth that kind of a price for how much use I get from mine.
2. Stop using paper towels as much as possible. This can be a hard change to adapt to, but most people use paper towels for really simple messes. I used to be in the habit of using them to clear crumbs from my counter tops! There is no reason why a wash cloth can’t be used for that. I now use paper towels only for nasty messes where I wouldn’t want to wash the cloth in my machine afterwards, such as vomit.
3. Reusable menstrual products. I ordered a set of cloth menstrual pads from Etsy around 2010 and they have held up wonderfully. I used to go through two box of pads or tampons for every three periods or so. If I remember correctly I spent around $60 on about 10 pads so they have paid for themselves by now through how much I have saved. I’ve heard many people say that they are very simple to make on your own if you have basic sewing skills try finding a tutorial online.
4. Reusable water bottles. Growing up my family drank right out of the tap. When I got my first apartment as an adult I didn’t care for the taste of tap water, so we bought gallon jugs. I later switched to a filtered water pitcher. If you are in the habit of buying disposable water bottles, switching to bigger jugs, a sink filter, a filtered water pitcher or a filtered water bottle would all be great options. I have a Mavea Microdisc pitcher and Mavea Microdisc water bottles that I love.
5. Ditch paper plates. I used to think that paper plates were a must for pizza night or other greasy foods. This really isn’t true as long as you can wipe your fingers on a napkin or towel throughout the meal.
6. Reusable muffin liners instead of paper ones. While you may not use them super often, any time you can ditch disposible for reusable, you’re winning both on your budget and at being ecofriendly.
7. Reusable snack bags. If anyone in your house eats lunch at work or school, buying reusable snack bags can save on ziploc and produce far less waste.
8. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk can save you money per ounce and save on packaging in many items. For example, buying the large refills for hand soap is much cheaper and uses less product overall vs buying several individual bottles.
9. Choose classic clothing. I realized a few years ago that I would buy a trendy piece of clothing and wear it half a dozen times and then stop. In part because the trend would come and go, but also because loud statement clothing really stands out, so wearing the same ‘statement’ piece stands out if you wear it twice in a short time period. Since then I’ve started choosing clothing that is a little bit simpler, but won’t go out of fashion quite as quickly. I buy a lot of simple jeans, v-necks and t-shirts, and cardigans and I can create a lot of looks so it never seems like the same outfit.
10. Buy durable shoes. My boyfriend likes pretty simple slide-on casual shoes. Discount shoe stores often offer these types of shoes for around $15 a pair. At first we thought that was a good deal, but they would fall apart in about six months. After a few years of him going through 2+ pairs a year we finally bought a more durable pair for around $50 and they lasted him over two years. While they cost more upfront, they were a better value in the long run.
How do you save money while being ecofriendly? Share your ideas in the comments!
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