Everyone is looking for ways to save a few bucks these days. With gas costing what it does, and supermarket prices going up weekly (or so it seems), every penny counts. Here are three small and easy ways to cut back without feeling the pinch:
1. Stop buying Cooking Spray
Do you know how far two tablespoons of oil go? I store a small amount in a repurposed frosting container and use a dedicated sauce brush wrapped in a baggie. When a recipe calls for you to prepare a pan or dish by coating it with spray, simply dip your brush in the reserved oil and apply a thin coating. I do this on my iron skillet, the waffle iron, brownie pans, anything that calls for a spritz just gets a brushing instead.
6 TBS canola oil = $0.23
6 oz. can store brand cooking spray = $2.79
Not only are you saving $2.56, but every time you don’t buy a can of spray you are reducing your household trash output by one aerosol can. That will help the environment, too–a true win-win.
2. Stop buying (so much) paper
How quickly do you go through paper towels and paper napkins? We used to burn through them, but nowadays a single roll of paper towels can last me a couple of weeks and a package of napkins a month or more. While I found this easy (probably because I do the shopping and saw the immediate impact), it did take a while to wean down my family’s usage of paper products.
I started with dish towels: I grabbed a cheap set at Wally World when doing regular marketing. Over time, I picked up more. I also cut ratty old bath towels up into hand-towel sizes to use for icky jobs (like the bathroom) when I’m using bleach or I don’t want anything gross to touch my hands directly.
I also picked up cloth napkins on sale here and there at T.J. Maxx or a Bed and Bath store (keep an eye out for sales–even table-setting stuff is seasonal, believe it or not). Make sure they are easy care (machine wash/dry/no iron). For messy meals, a single cloth napkin will replace more than one paper one.
As with the dishtowels, I just launder the napkins with the rest of the laundry. Now, you do have to consider that you are using water, energy and detergent in order to use the cloth alternatives. However, I’ve found that for our family, between the napkins and the towels, I’m really only looking at one large additional weekly load.
Paper Costs $33.84/month
Towels–$1.99/roll; three rolls a week = $5.97; $23.88/month
Napkins–$2.49 a package/week (I like the expensive Vanity Fair brand, YMMV); $9.96/month
Cloth Alternatives cost $31.94/One Time Purchase
12 Dishtowels $15.96 ($3.99/3-pack)
16 Napkins $15.98 ($7.99/8 napkins)
In six months, you’ve saved an incredible $169.20, and prevented countless wads of household paper products from going into the landfill. You’ll save further if your local trash disposal fees are pay-as-you-go.
3. Stop Buying Dedicated Toilet Cleaners
Seriously, Bleach is a wonderful thing.
Buy a jug of no-name bleach (the chemical composition of bleach is ALWAYS the same whether it’s Clorox or store-brand). Use it straight to clean the bowl by pouring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup and swishing it around with the brush and letting it sit.
While that’s percolating, you can clean and disinfect the toilet top to bottom with a diluted solution of bleach and water in a spray bottle. Be sure to wipe the seat quickly after spraying because the bleach can discolor a composite seat if left to sit too long (yes, that is experience talking).
I also use the same diluted bleach solution to disinfect kitchen counters after preparing things like meat and chicken.
One Bottle of toilet bowl cleaner $2.49 (good for 8 cleanings) = $0.32/use
One 128 oz. Bottle of Bleach $1.99 (good for 64 bowl cleanings, using 1/4 cup bleach) $0.03/use
To get the same mileage out of your toilet bowl cleaner as a $2 bottle of bleach, you’d be spending $19.92. You’d also be disposing of four plastic bottles instead of just one. Savings? $17.93
These are but three straightforward ways to trim the budget while considering the environment. Incorporating a small change each month can quickly add up to real savings, as well as fewer things to keep track of, and fewer things to recycle or throw out.
What money-saving, eco-friendly tips do you have to share?