When I was a kid my dad was always complaining about how wasteful our family was. He was always telling us to turn out the lights when we left a room, don’t take more food than we can eat, and stop wasting so many paper towels and napkins.
At the time he seemed like a cranky old miser, but now that I’m a dad myself and I have the responsibility of paying the bills each month I realize he was right.
In an effort to reduce our debt to more manageable levels I’ve been on a campaign of sorts to cut expenses and save money in any way I can. My current target…disposable products like paper towels and plates and plastic cups.
Disposable products like these can be a huge time saver. It’s a lot easier to just throw a plastic cup in the trash rather than having to wash it. And paper towels come in often handy for quick spills that happen constantly when you have young children.
But there’s a price to pay for that convenience. Just take a walk through the disposable products aisle of your local supermarket and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Anyway, here’s the steps I’ve taken so far to minimize our use of diposable products and shave a few dollars off or grocery bills.
1. Our cat Jasmine eats 1 can of food each day. She gets half in the morning and the other half in the evening. During the day we had been using a plastic zip lock bag to store the half can of food that was left after her morning feeding. I did away with the wasteful bags and picked up a small, re-useable Tupperware container for 79 cents. It saves us money everyday by eliminating the use of disposable bags.
2. Paper plates are awfully convenient, especially if you’re like me and despise doing dishes. But they aren’t cheap and a family of five can go through them pretty quickly. We still use paper plates occaisionally but by making an effort to bypass the paper and go with the real dishes instead we’ve been able to make them last a lot longer and limit the number we have to buy.
3. Those big red platic cups are great for parties and I also like to use them when I’m working in the yard or the garage so I don’t have to worry about breaking a glass. But there’s no reason to throw them out. We just wash them with the rest of our dishes and stack them neatly in the cabinet where they take up almost no room at all.
4. I still catch myself going for the paper towels when I spill some coffee on the counter or one of the kids knocks their drink over. But most times I catch myself and whip out a dish towel instead. Then I just toss the towel in the laundry room to be washed. Yesterday I picked up a 12-pack of bar rags at Target for just a couple of bucks. Those rags will clean up hundreds of messes and save me lots of hard-earned cash.
Think about some other ways you can limit or eliminate your use of disposable products. Not only will you be saving money, you’ll also be helping to save the Earth by living a greener lifestyle.
Image credit – roscoe
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