Like millions of other people, I love to start my day with coffee. I can’t live without it. If I had to choose between breakfast and coffee, I’d choose coffee every time. There’s nothing like the taste of a fresh cup of my favorite morning beverage (or a jolt of caffeine) to make me feel ready to conquer my goals.
A while ago, I switched from using a Keurig and K-Cups to a drip coffee maker. I made the change for two reasons. First, I wanted to help the environment and reduce my carbon footprint. I didn’t like using a product one time and throwing it out to sit in a landfill. Of course, I also wanted to find a way to cut expenses and stretch my grocery budget further.
But cutting out this one-time use product got me thinking about all the other products that I use once and then throw away. I did some research and found six things I could swap out for reusable products. These six changes helped me be kinder to the Earth and save more money at the same time.
I can’t lie. I love bottled water and I hate tap water. I think these feelings date back to growing up on a farm, and our well water was — honestly — just icky.
But I didn’t love the idea of throwing away plastic bottles and hurting the environment either. And, of course, I also hate to waste money.
I’m proud to say that I made a big switch. I no longer buy plastic water bottles. Instead, I went online and bought a Brita Pitcher for less than $28. Best of all, because I purchased the premium blue filter, I don’t have to switch it out for six whole months.
The Brita Pitcher I selected saves me a ton of money. Bottled water wasn’t a huge expense, but it did cost me around $4 every time I went to the grocery store. Also, I opted for the premium filter upfront. Now I don’t have to replace the filters in my Brita as often and worry about that cost.
We all have those household chores we hate. For me, it’s laundry. I hate doing laundry so much. But it has to be done anyway. Thankfully, I found a way to save some money on one of my least favorite chores.
I purchased a set of wool dryer balls online for $16.95. They save me money in a couple of different ways. First, I no longer buy dryer sheets. My reusable dryer balls can last up to two years. In the past, I would purchase Bounce dryer sheets for around $3.97 for a pack of 100. So, cutting this expense is a small savings.
The bigger savings with my dryer balls, however, came in an unexpected way. I use around six of the wool dryer balls per (large) load of laundry, and they cut my drying time by 25% to 50%. Less drying time equals more money saved on my utility bill. As a follower of The Budget Mom, you already know I’m all about finding ways to reduce the cost of my utility bills.
My entire life, I used paper towels. I used to buy them in bulk at Costco. But I recently made the switch to reusable unpaper towels, and I’m happy I did.
I keep an unpaper towel in my sink in the kitchen. It’s what I use to wipe down my counters, my coffee pot, or the stovetop (especially when I’m cooking messy spaghetti sauce!). When I’m ready to clean them, I pop the unpaper towels into my washer and dryer right along with my other laundry.
The switch has saved me money. I was buying a 12-pack of paper towels at Walmart. The cost for the 12-pack was a little over $5.00. By comparison, you can get a 10-pack of these organic, reusable paper towels on Amazon for under $20.
As I mentioned above, I used to own a Keurig. Honestly, it was fantastic because it was so convenient. I used it for hot water for tea and, of course, for my favorite morning routine — coffee.
But I found that I was spending a ton of money each month on K-Cups. And when I was done with my one cup of coffee, I had to throw the K-Cup out. I didn’t like that. So, I moved to a drip coffee maker.
At first, I used disposable #4 coffee filters. I bought them online and paid around $9.99 for a 100-pack. Since I drink coffee every day, I was using 100 disposable filters in 100 days or less. Eventually, I decided to switch to a reusable #4 coffee filter to save money. The reusable filter cost me just $6.75 on Amazon. Now that I’ve made the purchase, I don’t have to worry about spending money on coffee filters again.
There one more thing I like about my reusable coffee filter. I don’t have to run to the store or remember to order replacement filters when I run out.
Another product I purchased to both be kind to the environment and to save money was my reusable shopping bag. Or, rather, I bought several foldable reusable grocery bags on Amazon for around $12.99.
In some states, single-use plastic grocery bags are prohibited, so reusable grocery bags are a must. Some stores will charge you for grocery bags, so bringing your own could help you avoid this cost. Finally, some stores offer you a small store credit as an incentive to bring your own shopping bag with you.
6. Storage Bags
My son is in elementary school. We can easily go through five to six boxes of sandwich bags every school year. To replace the disposable plastic sandwich bags we used, I purchased a 10-pack of reusable storage bags on Amazon. The bags are leakproof, thick, and freezer safe. The entire 10-pack cost me around $13.99.
Now, I don’t recommend putting the bags in the dishwasher. However, they’re easy to wash and rinse out by hand in the sink. I use the larger baggies for his sandwiches and veggies, like carrots or celery sticks. In the smaller baggies, I pack his fishy snacks, chips, or similar items.