For Earth Day – I decided to put together a few of my favorite green money saving tips.
You’ve switched out your florescent light bulbs, sealed your drafty windows and bought energy efficient appliances when you updated your kitchen. What else can you do? Well the truth is there are countless things you can do.
Paperless Paper Towels
Create a paperless paper towel system – it costs very little to set up and will save many dollars over the course of a year!
Foaming Hand Soap
Make your own foaming hand soap – with hand soap ringing in at $3-5 per bottle – it doesn’t take long for this to pay off – readers will benefit by having a triclosan free hand wash – not using, disposing, transporting and manufacturing of about 50 containers per year and they will save about $180 a year. Multiply that by the size of your community and you get the idea of the impact this small step would have if every family did this!
Waste Free Lunches
Pack Waste Free Lunches – Send your children to school with waste free lunches and if this seems overwhelming for you to go waste free for your own lunches, take baby steps. Start with a goal of 2 lunches per week and build from there!
Bonus – BYOB
Bring Your Own Bottle – If you aren’t already doing this – why not? It’s easy, good for the environment and you’ll save money too! Don’t like the stainless – try glass. They are heavier to carry, but extremely durable (think – bounce off concrete) and dishwasher safe.
I selected these things because they require very little investment, and have a quick payback. Once you get in the habit you’ll be saving a little green and living a little greener.
Nothing on this list is monumental – they are all little things. Little things that added together and multiplied can grow into a meaningful difference.
Did you know that if you buy any product by the case at Whole Foods they will take 10% off.
Great to keep in mind for stock up items.
No coupon needed. How simple is that.
In this economy people are watching their budgets.
Let’s examine how much an average family of 4 is likely to spend annually on drinking water:
$ 200 – Using a water filtration system.
$ 520 – Home water cooler delivery.
$ 528 – 2 Gallon Jugs
$ 1755 – Drinking 3 bottles of water a day at a cost of .40 per bottle, 4 person family.
There are many cost variations. Clearly the brand you buy, how much you pay per bottle, how many bottles you drink each day… all of these factors will impact your annual cost. Use this link figure out how much your family is actually spending, this link also provided me figures that I used for the above calculations.
If you rent don’t despair, there are many portable water filtration systems available in the marketplace.
In some ways it is less convenient to use stainless steel, you have to keep the bottles clean, round them up, fill them up… but I’ve never been a fan of lugging heavy flats of water!
An average family of 4 can save $1555 per year eliminating bottled water. Add the dollar savings to the environmental impact of bottling plants, trucking, refrigeration, not to mention disposing of billions of bottles a year and perhaps you will reconsider grabbing that next plastic bottle of water.
There are a ton of green cleaners on the market, but my favorite cleaners are the ones I make at home.
One thing you know for sure, when you make it – you know every ingredient.
You will also save a lot of money, the ingredients are so inexpensive, no wonder the companies that manufacture cleaning products have so much money to spend on advertising! It costs so little to make a batch – it’s crazy!
I make it in batches that make 4 28oz bottles.
13 1/4 cups of Water (1 hot)
1/4 Cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap– I like Citrus for the All Purpose Cleaner
1/4 Cup of Borax
1/4 Cup of Vinegar
Borax Free – The Vinegar & Baking Soda reaction is fun for kids!
NOTE – Cleaning with the following recipe requires rinsing. I’m working on a reformulation and will leave this posted with this caveat until I have a borax free option that doesn’t require rinsing.
10 1/4 cups of water (5 hot)
1/4 Cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap– I still like Citrus for the All Purpose Cleaner.
1 1/2 cups of Baking Soda
3 cups of Vinegar
Mix the hot water with the borax or baking soda until it disolves.
Once dissolved pour into a bucket – make sure that you have a bigger bucket – the next step will give you a little foaming action!
Add the remaining water, vinegar & Castille Soap.
Use a funnel to pour the solution into the four bottles.
I used to use the Method Products, so I have reused the spray bottles & taken the labels off. Using the handy label maker, made my own labels so I know what’s in each bottle and it looks organized.
There are rumblings about the safety of Borax and while it certainly appears to be a better option than the chemicals in commercial cleaners, there are people who would prefer to avoid it.
Click here to read what they say at Chemistry.com.
I have posed the question about Borax to the EWG. I’ll be curious to hear their response.
Instead of using paper towels for everyday spills and wipes – consider purchasing multi purpose clothes that you can keep on your counter to use instead.
A key for me was buying one type of cloth (I can’t keep whites white) so I opted for a easier color. They are kept on my counter folded in half in the lid of a rectangular basket, so they look neat and tidy.
Mine happened to come from Walmart – I paid under $3 for 12 of these moss green clothes. I use them to cover food in the microwave, clean up spills, wipe the kids, wipe the counters, basically any where I’d use a paper towel. Once they’ve been used – I have a bin under my sink they get put there while they wait a few days to be laundered.
I purchased 3 packs of the clothes and I have to wash them about once every 5 days.
Pictured is how they look in my home and where they are stored under my sink while they await laundering.