Have you ever evaluated your spending in a desperate attempt to figure out where all your hard-earned income went? Finding sustainable options and alternatives leads towards a self-sufficient way of life rather than being reliant on stores’ merchandise.
Over the years, my husband and I have invested in options that will help save us money. We have items we want to purchase in the future which will reduce spending and our carbon footprint, and we have items that we reuse to give another life. If you start searching the web you can find all sorts of fancy (and PRICEY) items made to be reused. However, I can guarantee you that you can find, thrift, make and repurpose the same items – or something that will do the same job – for next to nothing!!
One of the first changes we made was hang-drying clothes. Perhaps to older generations and foreigners this is a daily concept, but for me this was new. We have 2 large drying racks that hold 1-2 loads of laundry. (I still dry my jeans in a dryer because… there’s nothing better than jeans fresh from the dryer!) When we bought the drying rack we lived in an apartment where we had to pay per load. Every load we hung to dry saved us $1.50. We’ve paid for those drying racks a few times over. Now, living in a house, it reduces our electric bill by using less energy and by not heating our house up. $15-$20 will get you unlimited dry clothes.
In the same spirit, use real dishes to eat on. Paper plates and bowls may be convenient but they are pricey and wasteful. Ditching the paper allows you to reuse and reduce by using the plates you already have. Next on our wishlist is cloth napkins that can be reused again and again to replace the paper napkins AND paper towels!
Ditch the store-bought cleaners! (OK, I still use them on the toilet.) Vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap are your friends. I also would be a horrible person if I didn’t recommend Thieves cleanser to you.
- Window Cleaner: Dawn dish soap & water
- Carpet Spot Cleaner: 1 part baking soda & to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
- Great for pet accidents!
- Drain Cleaner: Baking soda and vinegar
- Keurig De-Scaler: Vinegar (Tutorial here)
- Magic Microwave Cleaner: A vinegar soaked sponge; microwave for 5 minutes!
Composting is something that has always fascinated me. As I planted my flower garden this year, I started thinking about how I feel ridiculous paying for soil. Luckily, our city just rolled out new garbage and recycling bins at the beginning of the year. Our two old trash cans were sitting under our deck waiting for their next life. I found some awesome images of people making their own compost bins from up-cycled trash cans. We now have a compost bin that didn’t cost us a dime to make!!
Sewing and mending are skills I fought hard not to learn. I much preferred (and still would prefer) to have my mom mend my clothes. But having my own household I have started my own mending. Knowing how to repair a rip, hem a pair of pants or sew on a new button are priceless skills that have given our possessions much longer lives. My mom bought me my first sewing machine this past Christmas, and I have made multiple items since receiving it. I’d rather not talk about the pile of mending laying in the office at the moment. A’hem!
To help propel us into more sustainable options we subscribe to MightyFix. We get a new item every month to replace a previously disposable item. These are the products we’ve already received and love:
Small life changes can impact the environment and your wallet in impressive ways. This isn’t permission to run out and spend $500 on all reusable items, but maybe start exploring how much it will cost to replace your disposable Swiffer duster with a reusable one from Etsy. There is also truth in the saying, “You have to spend money to make (save) money.” i.e. our drying racks. Balance. Balance the wants, the needs and the cost to find the happy medium for your family.
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