Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reduce your grocery bill, help the planet

I am trying very hard to stick to a grocery budget of $400 a month. That includes everything- cleaning products, health and beauty, food and dog food. For some, that might be really high, others, way low. When I first started budgeting we were spending over $600 a month on groceries! So this is a low, but very realistic goal for us.

I have done a few things to lower my grocery bill, including:
-starting a garden (fun for Addison to help with, too!)
-breastfeeding and cloth diapering (after buying formula and disposable diapers for Addison, I realized how much I could save!)
and finally, buying reusable items to replace throwaway items.

The BEST replacement I have made is switching out paper towels for microfiber cloths. We used paper towels for EVERYTHING: weekly cleaning, wiping hands and faces, wiping down the sink and counters after meals, etc. We were buying an 8 pack of paper towels every two weeks. If I didn't have a coupon, that was at least $8, or $16 month.

I bought 20 microfiber cloths (probably $10 total- I got some at Walmart and some at Walgreens on clearance). I bought so many so they can be "one use" and I don't have a wet, dirty cloth laying around the kitchen for a day or two. I just wipe down the counter, and put it down in the laundry room. If you like, you can buy different colors for different tasks- cleaning bathrooms, cleaning counters, etc. They actually clean better than paper towels, and of course it is better for the planet than using paper towels so much.

Sure, we still use paper towels- I just bought 4 rolls last week for 24 cents each! But those will probably last us at least a month. So, that brings me ahead $15 every month. That can buy us quite a bit of food!

Next step: buying microfiber Swiffer mop pads vs disposable ones. A pack of 12 is $7, and I can get a reusable one for $8.50. Even buying 2, I'll make back my money pretty fast!

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