Five Money (and Environment) Savers

Many folks think that living a green lifestyle is simply a luxury they cannot afford. I was surprised to find that we were able to make many green choices on our limited budget. How, you ask? Here are the five biggest money savers we’ve found.

  • Reduce is the first R. The biggest and most budget-friendly change we have made is that we don’t buy as much stuff as we used to buy. We re-think most of our planned purchases and often decide that we don’t really need all the items. And some of the changes we have made to reduce packaging have saved us money as well.
  • And Reuse is the second R. Our switch from paper napkins to cloth took a little adjustment – our kids wondered why we were “eating fancy” the first couple of times we used them – but I do a little dance each time I pass by the paper napkins in Costco. And we’ve all come to love Goodwill, my husband and I for the inexpensive clothes (we find children’s clothes with the tags still on all the time) and our kids for the fabulous toy selection. We’ve visited several locations over time and have found the best location at the Goodwill near a swanky neighborhood. Knowing that we are keeping items out of the landfill is a great bonus.
  • Hello pantry, goodbye expensive cleaners. With two active, imaginative children six and under, we have many opportunities to clean. Even beyond the “snowstorm” created with baby powder and two children in mittens and the beautiful artwork drawn on our walls with crayon, we’ve got the normal build-up caused by family, pets, and playdates. One of my most pleasant surprises as we have worked to become more green is the effectiveness of cleaners we can make out of the most basic of ingredients. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice now make up the bulk of our cleaning supplies. To learn how to make your own cleaners, visit Save Money, and the Earth, With Homemade Cleaners.
  • CSAs are not only tasty but cost effective. I had heard people say they saved money when participating in a CSA but I was a little skeptical. So as we began our first season several years ago, I tracked the prices in the grocery store and compared them to what we were paying for the CSA. The CSA turned out to cost a little less than half of what it would have cost to buy the same or similar produce in the store. Since then, food prices have gone up considerably while our CSA has raised their rates only slightly. Not bad for food that was fresher and tastier!
  • Healthy inputs give us healthy outputs. With two small children, it felt like somebody in our family was sick most of the time. As we increased the amount of organic food we ate, the illness rates dropped. That meant fewer doctor visits, trips to the pharmacy, and work days lost to illness. Each of these changes saved us money. And made for a happier family!
  • Have you discovered other ways to save green while going green? Please share your success stories in the comments below!

    The original version of this article was published at Greening Families. With the economy continuing to struggle, we thought it was worth revisiting. Come visit us at Greening Families for more earth, wallet, and family friendly tips!

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