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8 Ways to Save Money and the Planet: In The Kitchen

So you’ve mastered the art of frugality and now you feel ready to incorporate some earth friendly habits into your money saving routine. A great place to start is in your kitchen. Check out these 8 great tips to making your kitchen greener – in order from easiest to most difficult to implement (based on cost and my own personal experience).

1. Say No to Bottled Water. You can easily spend thousands of dollars a year on bottled water – a habit that is not frugal OR green by any standard. If you are concerned about the water quality in your area, buy a filter for your kitchen faucet. For water to-go, get an earth friendly metal water bottle that you can refill and carry with you everywhere. Your wallet and the earth will thank you for it. By the way, did you know Dasani and Aquafina are just purified tap water? Need some more convincing? Watch The Story of Bottled Water.

2. Buy or Make Your Own Reusable Bags. Most stores give you a credit towards your shopping bill for every reusable bag you bring in. Not a huge savings but it’s something! Many stores in Europe charge you for each plastic bag the store provides you, so consider yourself lucky. Make sure you keep some bags in your car for those last minute shopping runs. And really think about whether each piece of produce you buy needs its own separate plastic bag. Do you have a crafty side? Check out these super cute ways to make your own reusable bags.

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3. Use Glass For Your Leftovers and Lunches. Rather than using plastic wrap or buying the plastic containers with the blue snap-on lids for your leftovers and bag lunches, consider using glass containers. Plastic containers are not only bad for the environment, but they also tend to easily wear out, crack or stain. Not to mention the fact that you don’t want to be microwaving food in plastic containers due to the potential for chemicals to leach into your food. Although you may end up spending a little more up front, you will end up saving money in the long run. Glass food containers come up in all shapes and sizes – do your research and try to find a good deal.

4. Recycle. No big surprise that recycling is on this list. As far as the money saving side to recycling, you will have to get a little creative. Some states require you to pay a deposit to the grocery store when you purchase bottles or cans. In order to get that deposit returned, you have to recycle. Bottles and cans not worth your time? Some companies will pay you to recycle your old electronics, cell phones, ink cartridges, cardboard boxes and even golf balls. Check it out!

5. Unplug Your Appliances. Did you know certain appliances continue to use electricity even when they are turned off? Some estimates claim that up to 10% of the average home electricity bill comes from these ‘energy vampires’. Consider unplugging your coffee maker, bread machine or microwave at night (or any electronics outside of the kitchen). Not sure which appliances use the most energy when turned off? Invest in a Kill A Watt electricity usage monitor. Or get PlotWatt to read and assess your energy consumption. Flipping the switch could add up to significant savings.

6. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies. If you are feeling uber-motivated after reading the first five tips on this list, it might be time to consider making your own cleaning supplies. Using natural ingredients will prevent the use of products with dangerous chemicals and nasty fumes in your home. Plus in most cases, mixing up your own batch will be cheaper than buying store products. Check out these recipes for creating a multipurpose cleaner, glass cleaner and oven cleaner.

7. Plant A Garden. If you are willing to put in some time and effort, a home garden is one of the best ways to combine being green with your frugality goals. If you don’t have much space, consider a container garden full of herbs or a hanging garden to plant tomatoes and strawberries. Not sure which fruits and vegetables will give you the best bang for your buck? Check out this article on 5 foods it’s cheaper to grow.

8. Update Your Fridge. Replacing your olive green refrigerator from the ’70s with an Energy Star appliance will significantly cut the cost of your electricity bill. Although this will end up being a significant investment up front, the savings on the back end should make it worth your while. For great deals, check out a Sears Outlet Center where you can find discounts on all kinds of appliances. Want to know exactly how much you’ll be saving with a new fridge? Enter your current refrigerator model and Energy Star will provide a savings calculation.

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