Slash your grocery bill while going green Ways to cut expenses
BY TERRI BENNETT McClatchy Newspapers
e’re all looking for ways to cut down on our bills. Grocery shopping is a necessity but there are ways to lower your costs each week while lowering your eco-footprint. Here are my top five ways to Do Your Part for the planet and your pocketbook. No. 1: Stock Up On Green Cleaners
When you create a green cleaning kit with baking soda, white vinegar, borax, and hydrogen peroxide you have all you need to clean everything in your home. And, it’s just a fraction of what it’ll cost you to buy store-bought household cleaners. For instance, a 76-ounce box of Borax can produce 19 gallons of mold and mildew cleaner. You would need to buy more than a 150 16-ounce bottles of store bought cleaners to produce the same amount. No. 2: Do The Prep Work Yourself
A few extra minutes in the kitchen really can save you a few bucks each week. If your family eats a lot chicken, buying the chicken whole or with the skin on, will bring immediate savings. Boneless and skinless chicken breasts cost about $4.99 a pound. Compare that to chicken sold with bone and skin that’s priced around $1.99 a pound. You could use the savings to buy organic chicken and feel good about serving your family a healthier piece of poultry. Also, instead of buying fruits and veggies that have been cut and peeled for you, do the work yourself and pay half the price. No. 3: Buy In Bulk
You know those individually packaged crackers, cookies, or other snacks? You’ll probably want to ban them from your home after finding out the true cost of convenience. Plus, the packaging on those small items is usually tough to recycle. Your best bet is to go big when it makes sense. My family loves those popular cheese crackers. The big box of them costs $3.79 or $0.28 an ounce. If you get them in the individual
CREATE A GREEN CLEANING kit with baking soda, white vinegar, borax, and hydrogen peroxide and you have all you need to clean everything in your home.
size, it costs $0.40 per ounce! That’s a $0.12 savings on every ounce. Instead, put the crackers from the large box into a small reusable container that your child can bring to school. No. 4: Shop In Season
Shopping in season for produce is smart for you, your pocketbook, and the planet. When you buy foods at their peak, they aren’t being shipped around the world to arrive at your grocery store. That means they’re usually much more affordable than at other times of the year. If you’re not sure what’s in season where you live, check out DoYourPart.com/Columns for more information. No. 5: Do What Grandma Did
When you spot organic fruits and veggies on sale — buy up! Then, you can do what our grandmothers did by preserving them. Whether you freeze, can, or dehydrate your foods — you’ll have the next best thing to fresh, organic produce for a time when you’ll want them and they are no longer in season.
4 THE MONTANA STANDARD, BUTTE, FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011
We’ve all heard that going green is too expensive, not cost-effective, or that it just isn’t financially responsible in these tough economic times. That’s just not the case. There are ways to Do Your Part to be easier on the planet and our wallets. Here are a few ways to incorporate everyday green living techniques into your routine and start saving right away. Buy Big: There are two good reasons to buy in bulk when it makes sense. It’ll save you money and it saves resources. If you’re a mom who always sends individually wrapped packages of crackers in their child’s lunchbox, this is a good place to save. It’ll cost you about 4 times as much when you go with the single serving packaging. And usually those individual containers and pouches are pretty hard to recycle. Go The Reusable Route: What’s worse than throwing out barely used paper towels? Spending all that money on them. The cheapest paper towels on the market are about a dollar a roll. If you go through two rolls a week, that’s more than $200 a year! Save that money and keep dish towels and rags handy. It’s much more eco-friendly to launder them than it is to keep buying one-use paper towels. There are others ways to go the reusable route everyday. Think of how much money you’ll save if you make the switch to reusable water bot-
tles, cloth napkins, and reusable food containers. And, most grocery stores now provide financial incentives when you use reusable bags. Don’t Buy What You Can Make: Lots of us have a bunch of household cleaners stockpiled in a kitchen cabinet. They’re downright expensive and many chemical-based ones can actually pollute our homes. Save money and have a healthier home by making your own green cleaners. An effective green cleaning kit will contain white vinegar, baking soda, and borax. Want to know just what you’ll save? You can buy a 128oz jug of vinegar for about $3.49. That’s the same price of the leading glass cleaner, which is only 26oz. If you whip up a glass cleaner using 1 part vinegar to 1 part water, that jug of vinegar will last nearly 10 times longer than the store bought cleaner for the exact same price. Roll Up Your Sleeves: A few weekend projects at home can have you saving serious money each month. Half of our monthly utility usage goes towards heating and cooling our homes. Adding a little weather-stripping where needed will help you keep treated air from escaping. Insulating attic doors will make a dent in your utility bills too. Installing programmable thermostats can help you slash another 10 percent. And, doing a little maintenance like cleaning your refrigerator coils and the vent line from your clothes dryer will keep them running more efficiently.
Baker Light Industries Renewable Energy Contractors • Electricity from the Sun and Wind • Hydronic Heating Systems • Solar Hot Water Systems • Wood Fired Boilers • Geothermal Ground Source • Arco Air Dealer of Furnaces & Air Conditioning Equipment
P.O. Box 183 • Alder, MT 59710 • 406-596-1186