Go Green, Go Clean, Save Money!
💸35 Things I don’t buy anymore:
Paper/plastic grocery bags
Grocery store laundry detergent
Grocery store household cleaners
Plastic dish scrubbing wands
Baby bath products
Brand new baby/kids clothes
Disposable baby wipes
This list is not all-inclusive, but these are the most expensive items I used to throw away money on monthly - if not more often!
I’m not saying everyone should stop buying these things, I just want to share what’s possible.
Most of these items are convenient and not necessary. Many can at least be replaced with a cheaper, healthier, more sustainable alternative.
So how do I live without these items?
Handheld Bidet Sprayer - it was a one-time cost of $30. I purchased it from Amazon after I had a baby and it’s the best money I ever spent. Set up was simple and quick. To my surprise, I found that bidets are so much cleaner than toilet paper! The toilet seat ones are great too, but I opted for a handheld sprayer because we also use it on occasion to spray down dirty cloth diapers.
Cloth wipes - the boys in my family don’t use the wipes. They just spray and go, but these are essential for me to dry off after using the bidet. I also use them as baby wipes (just add water). I bought 60 (4 packs of 15) unbleached cotton flannel wipes from Amazon for $36. At first I just used a basket to hold all the wipes, but eventually I sprang for a wipes container from Amazon. You can get them anywhere from $10 - $20 depending on how fancy you want it to look. I use a small wet bag to transport watered-down wipes when I need to take them for diaper changes on the go. Cloth wipes can also be used in place of cotton balls, baby washcloths, q-tips, and dryer sheets.
Towels and dish scrubber - I use towels for napkins, tissues, and cleaning. I didn’t purchase any because I had a multitude of old large bath towels. I cut up the ones I didn’t care about into smaller sizes. There are many options for dish scrubbers. Instead of buying sponges (which are not a clean way to clean!) consider using a wooden dish-scrubbing brush, or a scrubbing cloth that you can wash and reuse over and over.
DIY and Non-toxic cleaners - I’ll have to make a separate post about this because it is SO important but also there’s a lot to talk about. The short and sweet answer here is that I replaced my old cleaners with highly concentrated non-toxic ones from Young Living. Check out my must-haves here. A concentrated product means I’m not paying for a watered-down solution, and the products will last so much longer. Store bought bleach and dryer sheets are a thing of my past. I make my own now using simple ingredients and essential oils.
Cloth diapers - Disposable diapers are toxic!!! Disposable diapers frequently contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include chemicals such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. According to the EPA, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Cloth diapers are free of chemicals and I’ve never once had to treat my baby for “diaper rash”. Yes, there is more laundry. But I also have never run out of diapers. I’ve never had to go buy a pack of diapers in the middle of the night. And I don’t have any unused diaper packs left hanging around because my baby grew out of them. The one-size fits all cloth diaper covers and prefolds are my jam. I will make a separate post on this. Cloth diapers can seem expensive up front, but they really do save you money in the long run. I suggest asking each guest at your baby shower to bring one or just purchase them second-hand.
Cloth pads and “period underwear” - Just like disposable diapers, disposable pads and tampons have toxic chemicals in them!!! At first, I switched to using a menstrual cup for a few years and I loved it! But during postpartum I couldn’t use the cup so I purchased a generic pack of 3 period underwear from Amazon for $25 and a pack of cloth pads for $25. The pack came with 3 small pads, 4 medium pads, 3 large pads, and a small wet bag. I only ended up using the large pads for heavy days and the period underwear for lighter ones. The small wet bag came in handy as it’s the one I use for my travel baby wipes. Yes, there’s a bit more laundry involved. But I will never go back to disposable period products. I have always had heavy periods and terribly painful cramps. But since I stopped using disposables my periods are lighter and my cramps are non-existent. If you suffer from heavy periods or painful cramps be aware that that the harmful chemicals in disposable products might actually be causing this. I urge you to do the research!!! Or just try a cup or reusable option and see for yourself if it helps.
Shampoo bar and DIY conditioner - When I had dreadlocks I needed to find a shampoo without fragrances or chemicals. I fell in love with a lavender shampoo bar from Dollylocks - which is also my body wash and face soap. My son makes me a hair conditioner using simple home ingredients and essential oils. Shampoo, conditioner and body washes are a very personal thing, but there are so many options. Here are some non-toxic swaps.
Coconut oil and essential oils - There are so many uses for these ingredients! Body oil/butter/lotion, baby oil/butter/lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, make-up remover and deodorant are a few. I’ll have to make a separate post with my specific DIY recipes. By far my favorite and most used is coconut oil and peppermint essential oil for oil pulling in place of toothpaste. I still buy a toothbrush every so often - a bamboo one. But I dry brush without toothpaste after oil pulling. Works great! Here are some great budget-friendly essential oils.
Safety razor - I only shave my body hair once in a blue moon. I know some people might find that repulsive but I don’t agree. I think body hair is beautiful, natural, and societal beauty standards are completely backwards. But when I do shave, I use a safety razor. This switch is easy and cheap. There are a ton of companies that sell them now and they’re all around $20-$40. There’s a bit of a learning curve to using the safety razor but it is a much closer shave than a disposable razor. You still have to purchase blades from time to time but the blades don’t dull as quickly as a disposable razor’s do so you’re still saving money. Plus, the blades are recyclable! That’s a win for your wallet and the environment.
Glass jars - Jars are my cups, my bowls, my food storage, my cupboard storage, my everything storage! A lot of fruits and veggies even last longer in the fridge if you store them in water in a glass jar.
3 Low-waste Hacks -
I use reusable grocery bags. If I forget to bring them with me to the store I don’t use bags and just load everything into the trunk. Then when I get home I bring my bags to the trunk and carry it all inside.
I buy my kids clothes second-hand. I sell them secon-hand too. I also cut the bottom snap part off of baby onesies and turn them into a shirt that will last several more months!
I carry a spoon and small towel in my purse. Maybe that makes me weird, but I never need to use plastic cutlery or paper napkins.
I think I covered everything… If I missed something please let me know!
Or if you have a favorite ditch/switch that I didn’t mention, leave it in a comment.
I’m always looking for new ways to continue living consciously by lessening waste, detoxing my lifestyle and saving money!