The following is a guest post from Erin, who writes about the intersection of frugality and green living at The Conscious Shopper and The Green Phone Booth. I asked her to write a post for Fake Plastic Fish about ways she saves money while eliminating the plastic. Here’s what she had to say…
It’s shopping day for The Conscious Shopper.
I get my list ready and head to the grocery store. First stop, the bulk bins, where I fill up my cloth bags with dried organic pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas. Now I can bypass the canned foods aisle and reduce my family’s exposure to the BPA in the resin lining nearly all food cans.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $125
I pass the cleaning aisle: I don’t need to buy any household cleaners because I make my own concoctions with baking soda, vinegar, Dr. Bronners, and water.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $50
I pass the plastic baggies and plastic wrap – we reuse storage containers for leftovers and waste-free lunches. I don’t need freezer bags because I wash and reuse the ones we have, and I store a lot in the freezer with canning jars. I don’t need trash bags — we’ve reduced our trash to the point that we only go through one box of recycled plastic trash bags a year.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $100
I pass the paper towels and facial tissue, shrink wrapped in plastic – we’ve been transitioning to cloth napkins, cloth towels, and handkerchiefs and made the final leap to paper-towel-free a couple months ago.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $30
I pass the bottled water – with stainless steel water bottles for each member of my family, I wouldn’t think of wasting money on bottled water.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $440
I pass the yogurt – I make my own in glass jars at home with local milk that comes in returnable glass jars.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $260
I pass the deodorant – I use a deodorant crystal that lasts me more than a year.
SAVINGS PER YEAR: about $60
YOU HAVE SAVED: $1,065
At one point in the Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyzyn relates how reporters kept coming to their house wanting to take pictures of ways that her family saves money. Over the years, those reporters took dozens of pictures of Ms. Dacyzyn hanging laundry on the clothesline in her attic. The problem was that there were relatively few things her family did to save money. Instead, Ms. Dacyzyn said, they should have been taking pictures of the things her family didn’t do. For example, the reporters could stand across the street from a McDonalds and snap a picture as the Dacyzyn family drove past without stopping.
When it comes to saving money, it’s often the things we don’t do that matter the most. I don’t buy canned beans. I don’t buy yogurt. I don’t buy bottled water. I don’t buy those things because I want to produce less plastic trash and focus my spending on healthier products. But I’ll happily take the money savings too.
*Note that all savings are estimates based on prices in my area and how much we typically buy. Your costs may vary.
For more information about spending less money and getting out of debt, please visit the Spring Cleaning Get the Junk Out Carnival where other bloggers are sharing their strategies for getting the “debt out” this spring.