Money saving

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!)

More Ways We Save Money on Food

This is a sort of follow up to the top five ways we save money on food post that I blogged about over a year ago. I’ve changed some of my grocery shopping techniques, so I wanted to share what has been working for us!

venison-chili-corn-muffins

The previous top five ways we saved money on food were:
1. Setting a budget
2. Meal planning
3. Shopping once per week
4. Using coupons
5. Visiting more than one store

Since that post, I no longer do two things on that list. I don’t coupon anymore and I don’t physically visit more than one store.

What changed?

1. I started shopping at Aldi around June of last year and haven’t looked back. Since beginning to shop at Aldi, we’ve been able to cut our weekly grocery bill down by over 30%.

Pumpkin spice ginger cookies

I’m not sure if everyone is familiar with Aldi, but it’s a grocery store that’s unique for a few reasons:

  • Aldi does not bag your food for you. If you want bags, you must buy them or bring your own. You can also use cardboard boxes that are in the store.
  • They don’t sell a lot of name brand items. Most of them items in Aldi are their own brands.
  • Aldi sells mostly weekly must-haves like bread, milk, meat, cheese, etc. This allows the store to be smaller in size, which saves money.
  • To use their carts, you have to have a quarter (which you get back). This saves the company money because they aren’t paying employees to retrieve carts.

2. Whatever I can’t buy from Aldi, I purchase on Jet.com.

I’ve found that I don’t love the Aldi brand dishwasher and laundry detergent. They also don’t have a huge selection of toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, and other personal items. Basically, I fill in the gaps with Jet. You can see my explanation of Jet in this post.

christmas-dinner

These two techniques have saved Jimmy and I a lot of money and hassle over the past six months! It has definitely taken some experimenting to figure out what works for us, but it has been worth it.

I’m sure I’ll be back again in the future with more tips and tricks as I continue to experiment with different approaches to grocery shopping 🙂

How do you save money on food?

P.S. This post isn’t sponsored in any way, shape, or form. It’s just me sharing what works for us!