After using coupons for awhile and constantly being on the quest to save ourselves money, I realized that there were many things that we buy that we might be able to do with out (or use much less of). After I started cloth diapering I was especially aware of paper products that could be replaced with a cloth alternative. Here are a few things we have either completely done away with, or have reduced our consumption of.
- Paper towels (Still hard sometimes.)
- Dryer sheets (Almost never use them.)
- Napkins (We don’t seem to need them often, and use some type of cloth when we do.)
- Tissues (We use toilet paper or cloth wipes for the babies)
- Disposable party supplies/decor (I have fun using my own dishes and try to get creative to use things I already have as decor)
- Cheap disposable containers (We use glass which should last for a very long time)
- Zippered plastic bags (We use fold over sandwich bags (much cheaper) or our glass reusable containers when possible.)
- Disposable dusting tools (Unless I can get them for close to free, I use a cloth diaper or old sock.)
- Cotton balls (Used to use them for makeup removal and face washes etc. and now use cloth for almost everything.)
- Garbage sacks (We only use them in our kitchen garbage which seems to last us a few days)
- Water bottles (We used to purchase a case at Costco occasionally for water on the go. Now we use metal water bottles.)
Now I am not saying that by not purchasing cotton balls you will save loads of money. Obviously some changes will save you more than others, but it is nice to simplify your life, reduce waste, and save time and effort (by not couponing and shopping for unnecessary items). Start paying attention to the things you go through the fastest and try to think of a reusable alternative or just stop buying them all together.
*Even though many of the disposable items in our home have been replaced with cloth items, I have not seen a large increase in laundry at all. Most of these types of things are small and can easily be tossed in with loads I would already be running.
Things your family might use that you could find an alternative for or stop using.
Little paper cups in the bathroom.
Paper plates, cups, straws, and plastic silverware.
Disposable floor cleaning systems.
Small hand soap containers. (Refill them over and over or use decorative ones that will last.)
Small jar candles (Fairly expensive and create waste.)
Ways to know you are succeeding at reducing your consumables.
Your have less trash than you did before.
Your shopping lists are shorter and more basic.
Your consumable products are lasting you longer.
You find you run out of kitchen towels faster.
Your family is following suit.
Start phasing out a couple items at a time. Explain to your family why you would like to make these changes and get them excited about saving money and helping the environment. You will be so thrilled when an errand to Walmart or Target does not become an $80 dollar trip. These types of changes will help you spend your “grocery” money on exactly that…GROCERIES! How exciting is that!