A few years ago when a lot of ideas were being tossed around about being “green” I remember turning up my nose. I’m not a bandwagon-type person and this seemed like a very trendy thing to do. Everywhere I looked celebrities were talking about the environment and what they were doing to save it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase the picture of Sheryl Crow only using one square of toilet paper per wipe from my mind. Over the years I started to warm up to the idea as I realized it wasn’t going away. Striving to be eco-friendly isn’t just a trend anymore and I hate to admit it but I might be jumping on the bandwagon.
I started to get more interested in the idea of being “green” when we purchased our house this summer. I’ll be honest; I initially started looking into it for the money savings. I realized how much money we were throwing in the trash and wanted to see if there were easy things I could do to fix it. Because I do not work, Chris and I keep to a pretty tight budget each month. I knew if I made some simple changes we could save even more money than what we already were. As I started making a few changes I realized how good it felt being a little kinder to the environment in addition to our wallets.
I’d like to share a few ideas with you. These are just a few things our family is trying out.
1. Reusable cloth – We have switched from paper towels and napkins to reusable cloths. Before we tried this out, Chris did some experimenting of his own and actually made us share a napkin during our meals. This was the point where we both realized exactly how much paper towel we were using and throwing away every day. During an enlightening trip to Oklahoma in September, my friends Taylor and Zach introduced me to the idea of using reusable cloths. We switched soon after and haven’t looked back. The cost savings is great but honestly I like using them so much better than paper towel. They are more absorbent and are nice to clean with as well. Every few days I just throw them in the washing machine.
2. Cloth Baby Wipes – Along those same lines I also switched to cloth wipes for A. I cut up a bunch of her flannel baby blankets into small squares. I have a little spray bottle with water and a tiny bit of baby soap in it. I use that to wet the wipes individually as needed. Every few days I throw a load of these into the washing machine too. Again, great cost savings!
3. Reusable grocery bags – These aren’t really saving us any money but they really are convenient. They can hold so many more groceries than a plastic bag and are easy to throw over your shoulder when your hands are full of toddler.
4. Reusable produce bags – My parents bought me these for Christmas and they are so awesome! Again, no cost savings but those plastic produce bags serve no purpose once you get home.
5. Watt watching – I have to credit Chris with this one. He has been on fire lately with making our house run more efficiently. He has been working on our insulation a lot, driving me crazy with turning all of the lights off, and finding ways to save us money on our energy bill. In the process we are using less electricity which is a savings and better for the environment.
6. Efficiently using groceries – I can also credit Chris with helping me to get better at this. I never really enjoyed leftovers before. I was bored with the food after eating it once so why would I want to eat it the next night? I call Chris the Leftover King because he can masterfully make something delicious a few nights in a row. We have seen a decline in our grocery bill because we are using the groceries we buy more efficiently. If I buy an ingredient for one recipe, I make sure I can use the rest of that ingredient for something else that week. We are throwing out less and less food which means less waste and more money in our pocket.
These are just a few ways we have been trying to get a little “green” over here. Our plans for the spring are to try out some gardening and also line dry our clothes. I’d love to hear from everyone what little things they do to help the environment and their family budget at the same time!