A Few Eco-Friendly + Money-Saving Changes I’ve Recently Made

I’ve made a few changes around our household to help the environment and save money. Let me know if you do any of these or have other environmentally-friendly and money-saving habits!

Vegetable garden inside fence

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, so if you purchase something, I’ll earn a little coffee money 😉

Growing our own food. Each spring, we plant a garden. It’s so much fun (and work, lol) and saves us a ton on produce. We’re still harvesting veggies now in October!

Hanging laundry to dry. This is a no-brainer. Unless it’s our bedding, I’ve been hanging everything up to dry. It takes a little time to hang everything and it definitely takes longer to dry, but it’s no biggie. Also, did you know energy companies charge more for electricity during their peak hours? I try to do laundry during off-hours to save on electricity.

Laundry, Mac, and baby toys on bed

Recycling and reusing. So, this is crazy, but our neighborhood doesn’t have recycling. For a while, I was good about collecting anything recyclable we use and giving it to my parents since they have recycling in their town. Then we had a child and life got busy… but I’m back on the recycling train again and it feels great! Thanks, mom and dad, for letting me give you bags of cans and plastic containers 🙂

I’m thinking of getting a dual garbage can that has a slot for regular garbage and one for recyclables. Along with recycling, I’ve been re-using containers as much as possible. If we finish a jar of peanut butter (which, lets face it, happens a lot around the Zottola house), I wash it out and use it to hold a serving of rice pudding for Jimmy to take to work in his lunch. I’ve also been washing out and re-using gallon and quart zip-top bags. I’m thinking some reusable food storage bags that are dishwasher safe would be a lot easier, though. When there’s something I need, to try to borrow instead of buy or buy used.

Re-usable k-cup pods. I think everyone knows that k-cups are super convenient, but they’re also expensive and throwing away the plastic cups isn’t great (though I figured out you can recycle some of them!). I found this pack of re-usable k-cup pods and coffee scoop (that perfectly measures and cleanly scoops the coffee!) and they have been working well!

Angel's Cup coffee subscription in Catfinated coffee mug and Starbucks coffee mug

Saving vegetable scraps. Every time I cut up vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, zucchini, etc., I save the ends and scraps and collect them in a gallon-sized bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I dump the scraps into my slow cooker, add about 12 cups of water, and have about 12 cups of homemade vegetable broth by the end of the day! Since I make soup a lot, this saves us from buying broth at the grocery store, plus it’s delicious!

Making as much homemade food as possible. Baking our own bread, making salad dressing, granola, snacks, and meals homemade as much as I can saves money, tastes great, and eliminates all the packaging that comes with pre-prepared foods. I also try and buy things like oats, coffee, and grains from bulk bins.

Making our own cleaners. This has been fun! Castile soap can clean almost anything, I have a great laundry detergent recipe, and I just tried out this fabric softener recipe and liked it.

Borax, arm & hammer washing soda, and felts naptha soap

Washable nursing pads. Sadie and I are still going strong with nursing (this is a lovely surprise to me since we had such a rough start to our nursing journey), and I’m sick of buying disposable nursing pads. A box of 100 disposable nursing pads costs around $10, but I found this set of 14 washable nursing pads for just $11.99. I don’t know why I didn’t make the switch sooner!

Using less paper towels. Man are paper towels convenient! They’re also expensive if you use them a lot and they get thrown away after one or two uses. I try to use our kitchen towels to clean instead of paper towels. I’m looking into making a roll of unpapertowels. We’ll see, though… I’m not very good at sewing!

Other helpful money-saving and ecofriendly items we use and love:
-Stainless steel straws (we’ve had these for a few years and they’re great!)
-Lunch boxes
Laundry drying rack
-Spray bottles (for making DIY cleaners)
-Glass food storage containers (we have this set)
-Reusable water bottles (this is my fave!)



  1. Ooh, I love this post! So many great ideas in here! I’ve been considering reusable “Ziplocs” / storage bags lately too! If you end up getting those, please let me know how they are! I have yet to find a good paper towel replacement, though. Like you, I use kitchen towels for as many things as I can. But I definitely keep paper towels on hand still just for the really gross messes (especially pet related messes).

    Tell me more about these stainless steel straws! Do you take them out with you when you eat out? Do you just say “no thanks” when they start to hand you a straw? Also, do they have any sort of metallic taste to them? I try to use as few straws as I can, but I definitely still end up with them sometimes. That’s something I’d like to change!

    1. I will definitely let you know how the reusable ziploc bags are if I buy them! I can totally relate to using paper towels for pet related messes haha!

      The stainless steel straws are awesome! We usually don’t take them out (except if we leave the house with our own iced coffees haha).

  2. I love how you are so eco-friendly! Being in Cali, I am SHOCKED by how many people I know DON’T hang out their clothes to dry. With the sun being out all the time, things get dried so quick! I rarely ever use the dryer!

  3. I’m always looking for ways to be more eco-friendly, so I love this post. I’m so tired of being wasteful!
    I always felt like clothes hung to dry weren’t as soft as when they are tumble dried in the dryer? Or does it just depend on having a nice sunny day?
    We have those reusable Ziploc bags and love them!
    I never thought about saving produce scraps to make your own vegetable broth, that’s brilliant!
    Reusable K-cups are definitely the way to go! We did that for a long time, but then our Keurig broke, so we just switched to a traditional coffee maker, haha. I actually like it better. 😉
    Love glass storage containers! We also have silicone lids for replacing plastic wrap, cloth napkins, and compostable doggy bags. I was looking into compostable trash bags, but apparently they start breaking down in the trash can itself, which makes it difficult. We limit plastic grocery bags where possible by using cloth bags. I love the idea of that dual trash/recycling bin, but we also don’t have recycling in our condo community!
    Next, I’m going to try to just use coconut oil as makeup remover, followed by washing my face so I don’t break out. Oh and I love the idea of reusing plastic containers.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you liked this post, Courtney! I always enjoy when you post about saving money and being less wasteful!

      I agree about clothes not being as soft when they dry on a line. One idea would be to dry them on a line and then pop them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up?!

      I’m so glad to hear you like those bags! I think I’m going to ask for them for Christmas haha! Oh the things we want as adults lol!

      The veggie broth made from scraps is delish! It’s a little extra work (versus buying broth), but it saves a little money and you know exactly what is going into it so you can customize it!

      I like regular coffee makers better than Keurigs, too! We have both, so I use the regular drip coffee maker in the morning and then the Keurig when I need a pick-me up coffee, lol!

      I need to check out those silicone lids! and compostable doggy bags! Bummer about the trash bags… I’m sure with how innovate products are becoming that someone will figure out how to make them not break down too soon, lol!

      I hope the coconut oil as makeup remover works well!! I hear it’s like a miracle with how it removes makeup!

      1. Oh, tossing clothes in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them is a great idea!! I’ll have to see if I can set up a clothesline on our balcony. Though I’m not sure how long they will take to dry when it’s humid. Do you have issues with that?

        Totally agree, it would be awesome if someone could invent trash bags that break down, but not in the trash can haha.

        Coconut oil has been amazing at melting off my waterproof mascara! It’s hard to remove with usual makeup remover, so I’m pretty excited.

      2. Yes, humidity is the bane of our existence in Pittsburgh, haha! I’m sure you’re feeing it in VA as compared to AZ?!

        Yay! So glad you’re liking the coconut oil as a makeup remover for your mascara!!

      3. YES the humidity is a big difference between VA and AZ! I didn’t mind it too much overall (except for the bugs!), but it did take an adjustment. I could see how it would make it difficult for clothes to dry within a decent time haha!

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