I am hoping to have lists of ten ways to save money and the environment become a regular thing on my blog. Every time I think of one I'll jot it down. If you have an idea, pass it on to me (don't worry I'll give you the credit). Whenever I get a list of ten I will post them. I can't wait to see all the fun ideas that come out of this!
1. Use plastic grocery bags as trash bags for the car and in any small trash cans (like the bathroom. This saves money on trash bags, keeps your car clean and saves you the expense of reusable grocery bags without the guilt. You could also donate your plastic grocery bags to stores, food shelves, libraries or other organizations that put things in bags for people.
2. Have small animals that eat hay? Buy a bale at a local farm instead of a tiny package at a feed store. It’s much cheaper, fresher and better for the environment.
3. If you ever get take out chinese food save the soup containers, meal containers and small sauce containers (these are great for packing salad dressing for meals to go).
4. I buy the store brand precut meat slices. This is cheaper than the meat at the deli and you get free food storage containers, dishwasher safe and recyclable if they break.
5. Make your own dog (or other pet) treats and toys. Avoid the package, the hype, the expense and they are much better for your pet. Here is a great site for homemade dog treats: http://www.bullwrinkle.com/Assets/Recipes/Recipes.htm
6. If you knit, check out your local thrift stores for cheap scarves, sweaters and other knit items that you can “recycle” into yarn for your next project. Much cheaper than buying skeins, a bit more work, but many times very worth it. (Scarves are the easiest.) Here is a great website that shows you how to do it: http://www.neauveau.com/recycledyarn.html Be careful though, there are quite a few that I have run into that a knotted instead of knitted. If I get one of these I give up and use it as stuffing instead of trying to salvage the yarn. If it is only knotted on the end of the rows and not on each stitch, I have found that it isn’t too hard to get out. You just have to pull a little ahead of where you are at so you can slip your ball of yarn through.
7. Another way to get free plastic storage containers is to reuse cottage cheese containers, yogurt containers and such. At first I didn’t do this because I couldn’t see through them. Then, I had the brainstorm of writing on them with a dry erase marker so I know what is in them and keeping them in a specific place in the fridge so that I think to check.
8. Raise chickens. It’s inexpensive fun, and you get free eggs and free fertilizer. (I haven’t done this yet. I have to wait until my kids are old enough to help.)
9. Before buying anything, search online to see if you can find plans make it yourself, or brainstorm a way to do it. I was looking around for lampshades and then I thought... “I bet these wouldn’t be too hard to make.” I couldn’t find what I wanted for plans online, but I found a site that sells the metal parts. It isn’t too hard to cut fabric in an appropriate shape. (If you take apart a lampshade you already have you could even use it as a template.) Should be fun and easy!
10. Compost. If, like me, you pay by the pound to get rid of your trash this is a big money saver. If you garden this is a great way to get free fertilizer. I save my food scraps in an empty yogurt container until it’s full, then I bring them outside and dump them into a trash barrel that is buried in the ground with the bottom cut off and holes punched in it to let in air.