Since we are all now living at the mercy of skyrocketing inflation and skyrocketing gasoline pricesit’s good to know that there are still a handful of easy ways to reduce regular household shopping expenses without skimping too much on comfort, if only to give us illusion that we have control over our financial destinies. By largely focusing on less reliance on disposable items, we can save a pretty penny and reduce our personal production of plastic waste.. Inspired by this TikTok videoI am describing a few major categories of everyday items that you can swap out for cheaper, more durable alternatives.
Replace paper towels with reusable cloths
We have written before How? ‘Or’ What Americans use an enormous amount of paper towels—according to U.S. Census data and the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), some 45.3 million Americans use at least eight paper towel rolls each month. If these eight cost of rolls say $11.50 per monththat’s nearly $140 for the year (and unless you pay morethey can suck to absorb the liquid anyway). Instead of shelling out hundreds over the years for paper you buy with the intention of throwing it awayswitch to reusable absorbent cloths, such as flour bag towels (this Pack of 12 of 28×28 napkins can last for years and is $15.99 on Amazon). Also consider: Dollar Tree Tea Towelsor, depending on the use caseold t-shirts.
Replace Ziploc bags with reusable silicone bags
There’s a much cheaper and more eco-friendly way to pack all those sandwiches and snacks for road trips, the pool, and the kids’ school days: Instead of using a new Ziploc bag Everytime you pack a sandwich, invest in washable and reusable silicone bags this zip at the top to seal in the freshness. This 10-pack freezer, sandwich, and snack bags are on mega-sale for $13.50 (usually $30) and will last for years. Compare that to a pack of 90 Ziploc sandwich bags for about $4, which depending on how many kids or on-the-go excursions you have in any given week, may need to be replenished every two months.
Replace fabric softener with distilled vinegar
Once again we reiterate that fabric softener is shit. Not only does it coat fabrics with a waxy film that only provides the illusion of softness (while diminishing the fabric’s water absorption, moisture wicking and flame resistance capabilities), we need to Pay so that our clothes degrade. Forget the heavily flavored Snuggle and just add a quarter cup baking soda or one half a cup of distilled white vinegar directly into the drum of your washing machine during the rinse cycle to achieve more shiny clothes. (For reference, generic white vinegar costs $2 for 64 oz. or 8 cups.) Or just skip it. As someone who has never used fabric softener, I can attest my whole family is fine and no one ever complained about the “harsh” clothes.
Use dryer balls, not dryer sheets
We have also highlighted the fact that dryer sheets suck. Their chemicals and odors have been shown to cause headaches and breathing difficultiesthey leave residue in your machine that can clog the lint filter and, like fabric softener, they make your clothes and towels less absorbent. Also? They can only be used once (and a heavy load sometimes requires two). Instead, try wool dryer ballswho last much longer and actually decrease the total drying time; aluminum balls to reduce static cling; or use the magic of distilled white vinegar (add 1/4 cup to the fabric softener dispenser or to the final rinse cycle).
Replace aluminum foil with silicone baking mats and mats
If you want to make a big, messy old platter of homemade meatballs, aluminum foil can definitely minimize your cleanup. But so are non-stick silicone baking mats, which can be washed and reused.used for years (here is a Pack of 2 for less than $12). Likewise, when it comes time to store food after meals, instead of using more and more aluminum foil, opt for a silicone cooking lid (a pack of 12including 6 different sizes, can be purchased for $15).
Replace commercial cleaners with homemade cleaning solutions
Of course, you box (and most of us do) buy different cleaning products for every surface and every area of the house: the $3 Windex, the $4 kitchen counter spray, the $2.50 toilet bowl cleaner, the $4 wood cleaner, and the $8 stainless steel cleaner. However, we could save our noses and our wallets trouble by simply making our own. Distilled white vinegar soaked in lemon peel, orange peel, or pine needles is an excellent all-purpose cleaner; Where fill a spray bottle with 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water, and 10 drops lemon essential oil for your nighttime counterspray. You can even make your own glass, brass and grease cleaners basic household products.
Stop buying plastic water bottles
According EarthDay.org, “Americans buy about 50 billion bottles of water a year, or an average of about 13 bottles a month for every person in the United States. This means that by using a reusable water bottle, you could save on average 156 plastic bottles per year.” Sure you buy in advance and buy in bulk, you can get 35 bottles of water for $6which means youOver the course of a year, that would total $27 per person. But let’s be honest, many bottled water purchases are on the fly and cost an average of $1.50 each. It makes much more sense, financially and ecologicallyto give up the habit of the disposable water bottle and keep a washable and refillable bottle on you at all times.
An added bonus to reducing costs is that by reducing your waste in the ways mentioned above, you also reduce the amount of waste. Bags you have to buy, providing additional savings over time.