If you are looking to save on your grocery budget, live a more green lifestyle, or just simplify your life, one of the fastest ways is to examine the consumable products that you purchase for your home. Some simple swaps can not only save you time and money, you can feel and look good doing it. Its never been more en vogue to live a “crunchy” lifestyle and that goes hand in hand with simple living and living classy while still on a budget.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper. We have enough cloth napkins to wash once a week and bought ours from Ikea.
- Use Unpaper Towels. We have purchased cleaning towels from both Costco and Amazon. I buy a pack of white rags every other year or so and swap out the ones that have been damaged or stained beyond repair. Colored rags work as well but they can not be bleached. Trimmed flour sacks from the grocery or old tee shirts can make for great cleaning rags if you are looking for something inexpensive to get you started. We still purchase some paper towels but we only go through about a roll of paper towels every few weeks using them for super nasty messes since we have pets and young kids.
- Use a pour over or coffee maker with a reusable k cup or coffee filter. This traditional drip coffee maker is inexpensive, works great and comes with a reusable filter. Alternately, you can use one of these pour over systems or buy a reusable kcup if that’s the type of coffee maker you already own (you also save a ton of money on the pods by purchasing whole bean coffee instead. Note: disposable coffee filters will set you back about 1-4cents a day, depending on the size package and brand you buy, which isn’t a lot – but it still ads up!
- Single use creamers and sugar packets are expensive and wasteful for home use. If you use those items, buy large enough packages to last you all week. Sugar lasts a long time so it’s a great item to buy in bulk. We make our own nut milks and creamers at home and that saves us SO much money and added junky ingredients and sugar from store-bought milk alternatives.
- Ditch one use plastic baggies. Or be more mindful before you throw them out. Depending what you used it for, it might be clean or be great for another use with a quick rinse. If you find that you use them a ton, instead of reusable storage containers, you can now find reusable silicone bags! Personally we use mostly glass Snapware by pyrex with the click lids. We don’t have to worry about plastic leaching into our food or the containers getting damaged or stained over time plus they are dishwasher safe!
- Stop buying canned and bottled waters. A good stainless, glass or siliocone reusable water bottle is non toxic and will last you YEARS. These Hydroflask bottles are our favorite and we all have one going on 5 years and they are still going strong.
- A good water filter will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Most fridges come with them and most businesses have a place to refill. We have a Berkey water filter and it filters chlorine, fluoride and more that a fridge filter won’t catch.
- This is food related but in the same vein as bottled water – stop eating individually packaged foods at home and reserve these for lunches and on-the-go snacks. It costs so much more for individually wrapped items, not to mention the extra waste in packaging. If your little kid needs a snack during the day, have a bowl where they can reach it and can serve themselves out of the larger package.
- Make your own household cleaners with common and often inexpensive vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, alcohol, borax and hydrogen peroxide. You can reuse an old spray bottle from something you have previously purchased, or buy refillable plastic or glass bottles. Be sure to label them so you can remember what is in each bottle. We keep a general all purpose spray bottle (with water, vinegar and Thieves) in the kitchen and under each of the bathroom sinks for quick cleanup.
- If you do buy some paper towels to have on hand, chose the “select a size” rolls so you can use only what you need.
- Castile Soaps are a great multi-use product can be diluted and lasts a very long time and is great for dishes.
- Check on Subscribe and Save for your dishwasher soap and other household products you do use.
- Powder or liquid dishwashing soaps are a lot cheaper than the pods.
- Use rags or dish brushes for dish washing instead of disposable sponges that fall apart over time.
- Use dryer balls instead of chemical fragrance filled dryer sheets.
- Fabric softener is unnecessary and filled with chemicals. Your clothing will eventually thank you from eliminating this from your shopping list completely.
- Reusable face pads for makeup application and removal
- Dr. Bronners and other brands of Castile soap works great as a body wash and as a shave cream. It should be diluted and last for a very long time and can be purchased in bulk.
- For showering, use body brushes and wash cloths instead of disposable loofas that fall apart over time
- Go simple and green with your skincare products. So many kitchen items make for great multi use skin care. Oils and acv, eggs. Charcoal, Benonite clay and witch hazel works as a great astringent and makeup remover!
- Get a refillable pump dispenser instead of buying hand soap. These work wonderfully with diluted Castile soap and don’t clog. Old foaming sets from bath and body works can be cleaned and reused in this way rather than purchasing a new dispenser. A added benefit is that the foaming pumps don’t clog like other soap dispensers.
- If you don’t already, use a razor with replaceable blades. Mens safety razors are also growing in popularity again and the blades are so cheap so you can shave for a very long time after the initial investment of the razor, which can still be found very inexpensively vintage and restored or purchased new for around $20 or on etsy restored for around $40. The cheap plastic reusable razors range from $10-20 and eventually break.
Reusable feminine products
- Menstrual cup
- Or pads
- Instead of paper, note pads and pens, use devices you already have for note taking. Or use pencils with refillable lead and a single notepad where you can keep all your notes in one place. I like my planner for this and love the note app in my phone so my notes sync to all of my devices.
- Print less paper! Most places will let you show a digital tickets and receipts. If you are going somewhere that might have spotty wifi, be sure to take a screenshot of your ticket or receipt before leaving home.
- Rechargeable batteries are great for eliminating the need to purchase batteries constantly. They are so expensive!
A few extra tips
- Be mindful of what you are using. Do you need as much dish or laundry detergent? Can a product be diluted and still provide the desired effect? Often the answer is yes!
- Just having a more frugal mindset can help you stay on track. If you have a goal in mind for why you are trying to save money, put a photo on the fridge of your goal to keep you focused and remembering to use these tips.
Things we no longer buy (and it saves us so much $$):
- chemical cleaners (not only does our house smell better without a bunch of weird chemical smells and endocrine disrupting artificial fragrance, we have tons of free space in our cabinets using just one or two different cleaning products) I love that I am no longer marketed to or feel compelled to try new products because the simple natural stuff we use works well enough and is safer, cleaner and cheaper than anything on store shelves.
- plastic straws, we use stainless instead or go without
- scented candles, we make our own essential oil beeswax candles
- fabric softener and dryer sheets
- Facial tissues, We maybe use a box of tissues a year and save it for when we have guests or if someone is sick.
- plastic or disposable dishes and cutlery is better saved for large events than everyday use
- Paper bags for lunches (we use these and pyrex instead)
For more details you can watch my video on this topic here.
Disclaimer: Any products recommended in this post were purchased with our own money. Nothing in this post sponsored. The items above include affiliate links, if you make a purchase with that link a small percentage will be given to us to help support our blog expenses.