Going zero waste doesn’t have to mean going broke. You can reduce your footprint and actually add to your bank account. In this post we will share which zero waste swaps have saved us the most money.
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Saving the Planet While Keeping Money in Your Wallet
The usual misconception about going zero waste, is that it will cost you money. What I have learned, is that while there might be some up front cost, a lot of the switches made can lead to some BIG savings for your family. In this post I will share how going green has saved us green, and share which swaps can lead to savings every single month.
Best Bang For Your Buck
Categories of swaps that I have found to have the most impact are:
- Cleaning Swaps
- Paper Towel Swaps
- Feminine Care Swaps
- Lifestyle Changes
Let’s go over each category.
Cleaning Swaps That Save Money
Going down the cleaning product isle at the grocery store can be overwhelming, with so many choices, colors, and scents. They have products for each and every job you could possible ever do, but do you need so many different cleaners?
Is it critical to have a different plastic bottle of chemicals for the bathroom counter vs. the kitchen counter? And do you have to hand over so much of your hard earned money just to have a clean house?
No. You can clean your home using a lot of common household items, plus a few Amazon finds, and you can save yourself a bundle doing it. Here are some of my favorite zero/low waste items to add to your stash to help you have a clean home, and save a pretty penny.
- Glass Spray Bottles. If you are going to make your own cleaners, you need somewhere to house them. These glass bottles are easy to clean and reuse over and over again.
- Micro Fiber Clothes. These amazing workhorses are actually meant to be dish clothes, but that makes them amazing for cleaning. They are thicker than most microfiber clothes, but they are fast drying. They have some heft, so you can put some elbow grease into your cleaning without ruining the cloth. And they hold up great when washing, so you will be able to hold onto them for a long time!
- Castile soap. This “super soap” can be used to make foaming washes for your hands, face, and body. It is so versatile and can be purchased without scent (so you can add the scent you prefer with essential oils), or with a scent.
With these simple items, past post linked above, and household items you probably already have, you can make your own cleaning products for years! The cleaning isle full of plastic, expensive chemicals, and choices you don’t need will be a thing of the past.
Paper Towel Swaps
Paper product prices continue to rise. With inflation, and shortages in both manufacturing and trucking, that trend will most likely continue for awhile. And paper towel use can make you feel really wasteful with it being a one and done item. You can save some major dough with just these two swaps that are superior to use.
- Cloth Napkins. I have been using these exact cloth napkins for years now, washing them constantly and haven’t lost a single one to wear. And while you can get napkins in a plain color if that suits your style, I prefer patterned ones because they hide stains making them last longer. The longer your napkins last, the more you save. This grouping of 24 makes it so some can be in the wash, and you still have a pile to wipe your face. They are worth every penny!
- Cellulose Sponge Cloths. I use these every single day to clean off my counters. I leave one hanging in my sink with my reusable sponge using this awesome in-sink storage. It makes it easy to grab to wipe up a spill instead of reaching for a single use paper towel. They hold up to daily use with cleaners (I spray and wipe off my counters at least twice a day), and wash amazingly well (lay flat to dry). This one set has held up to daily use for over 2 years now, and has saved me from buying packs and packs of paper towels.
Feminine Care Swaps
This is by far the category that has saved me the most money throughout the years. I have been using these two feminine swaps for over ten years and it has saved me close to $2000!
- The Menstrual Cup. The menstrual cup can take a little practice, but once you have it down, it is one of the biggest environment and money savers around. Plus some women experience less cramps while wearing them, and they can be worn for up to 12 hours.
My new favorite in the menstrual cup game is the Pixie Cup because it comes in 3 sizes plus a soft and firm option (no one size fits all here). They also have a game changing steam cleaner that can sanitize your cup in only 3 minutes (instead of you having to sanitize it in boiling water).
The other great thing about Pixie Cup is when you buy one of their cups, they donate one to a woman in need. The cup is a one time purchase that you can use for years, saving you from buying pads and/or tampons every single month. Talk about zero waste, and big time savings!
- Period Underwear. Gone are the days of having to wear bulky, single use pads. These underwear take the place of your tampons and/or pads, or can be used as a back-up with your menstrual cup (this is how I use them). They are comfortable, and you won’t have to worry about a bulky pad showing through your clothes. The underwear in the link holds up to 2 tampons worth while still just feeling like underwear!
Utilizing these two items every month can save you hundreds or thousands over the years and can make sure your period produces zero single use waste.
No special products needed in this section. This one is totally free, but can save you tons. This section is just about changing the way we think to save the planet and your hard earned money.
- Plan your purchases. When we purchase needs instead of impulsive wants we save money and less waste goes into landfills. So plan out your purchases ahead of time. Make lists before you shop and try to stick to them. Also, try not to shop as a hobby. This habit alone can cost you big time! This doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy anything fun. Just make sure your purchases are researched ahead of time so you always get the best deal and know you really need/want the item.
- Use up what you have. Think of ways you can more regularly use the items you already have before needing a new one. Maybe have a “use now” area in your fridge so less food gets thrown away. Use the lotion you already have before buying another just because it is a new scent. Just be aware of making use of what you already have before you decide to purchase another item.
- Become More Minimal. Have you ever considered minimalism? There are lots of resources to help you learn about and adopt this lifestyle that can save you not only money, but time and stress from taking care of too much stuff. (I will put some links at the end of this post that we have done on Minimalism).
- More Zero Waste Introduction. Think about what zero waste items would be most beneficial in your home. I use a reusable water bottle, I just didn’t include it in this list because I never bought a lot of plastic bottles, so it doesn’t save me a lot of money. But maybe in your house buying water bottles is common, so it could save you a ton of money to switch to reusables. Take the time to figure out what single use items you can replace in your life. What would have maximum impact?