Reusable Purchases That Will Save You Money in the Long Run
by Amanda Finn
Why buy tons of disposable plastic baggies and bottle after bottle of expensive laundry detergent when these reusable items can save you money?
Whether shopping is a source of joy or disdain in your life, saving money (and the environment) is always a good thing. With green consciousness growing in America it’s easier than ever to find well-made products that can save you time, energy and effort. Whether it’s a household product you can use for years or one that is biodegradable to be kinder to the planet, there are tons of options out there.
Being more mindful of purchases is something I’ve been doing more frequently than ever. Not only is it kinder to my pocketbook, but I always feel better when I buy something that is made well and will help me out for a long time.
This list is more of a personal favorites list than anything else. There is a lot more out there that can save both you and our planet some green.
Ditch harsh and sometimes chemically hazardous laundry detergents, softeners and dryer sheets. Laundry balls offer the same kind of freshness for significantly less money. AND they last for a long, long time.
SmartKlean laundry balls claim to last for up to 365 washes while others available on Amazon claim up to over 1000!
Laundry balls are filled with natural ceramic alkaline balls that change the pH balance in the water and absorb the odors and waste from the clothes. All you have to do to “refresh” the ball is set it in the sun every month or two for an afternoon.
Not only does the natural laundry ball keep toxins out of the water, but it also reduces dependency on detergents that use plastic or disposable packaging. Laundry balls also help clothes retain their natural vibrancy.
Piggy Bank Principles estimates that a typical family of four can save up to $202 on detergent each year by switching to a laundry ball.
“The cost per load is only 6 cents even with the most expensive laundry ball option,” according to Piggy Bank Principles. “A load of laundry washed with a popular name-brand detergent costs about 45 cents. That’s a difference of 39 cents per load.”
Laundry balls are becoming increasingly popular and there is a wide variety available on Amazon for anywhere from $11 for a single to $45 for a pair.
On the topic of laundry, dryer balls have been a personal favorite in my household products collection for a few years. They eliminate the “need” for dryer sheets by reducing static cling and they reduce drying times.
Commercially produced dryer balls are often made with wool which makes them durable and long-lasting (so long as your tennis ball loving dog doesn’t get a hold of one!). You can even buy ones that look like penguins, sheep or other rotund animals.
You can buy plastic dryer balls too, but I personally prefer the wool ones. I put a few drops of my favorite essential oils on them to recharge my laundry with some fun, fresh scents without the chemicals found in dryer sheets or fabric softener.
Recipes With Essential Oils did an experiment with and without dryer balls in their dryer and estimates that they save about 6 cents per load of laundry. That’s not as much as the laundry ball saves, but it’s certainly better than nothing!
Dryer balls on Amazon vary in price starting at $6.99 (these are the ones I’ve had for two years).
So these aren’t going to be as long lasting as your Earth-friendly laundry options, but, honestly, that really depends on how often you use them. Beeswax wrap is a great alternative to foils and cling wrap for storing food. It’s washable (but not dishwasher safe) and can be reused until it breaks apart.
Farmers Almanac estimates that a standard beeswax food wrap will last about a year. Then the wrap can be composted so it’s 100 percent biodegradable. But I’ve had mine for just about a year and use them somewhat frequently and they’re still in good shape.
You can even use the beeswax wrap in your freezer. Folks at Wide Open Eats use it for just about everything and even say that you can cut down on your Tupperware collection too. They even suggest cutting old beeswax wraps up into twist ties instead of throwing them out.
Wide Open Eats also has a great list of uses based on wrap sizes:
- Small: Perfect for a small bunch of herbs, half a cucumber or block of cheese.
- Medium: Great for covering leftovers, a bowl of fruit, or that extra half of melon.
- Large: Wrap sandwiches, bunches of celery or a head of lettuce. They’ll even make a nice cloth when preparing homemade pasta dough or pie dough.
- Giant: A personal favorite best for covering bread or a casserole dish.
Superbee says that the average family can save over $150 a year by switching to beeswax! They said that’s going on the use of an average family which goes through 1,000 plastic baggies and over 24 rolls of plastic wrap per year!
All kinds of beeswax wraps in various patterns, cuts and styles can be found all over Amazon and elsewhere online.
Speaking of plastic baggies, the last suggestion is to switch to reusable and dishwashable baggies.
I invested in four heavy silicone freezer bags and two sets of reusable snack and sandwich bag packs and have only purchased one box of disposable plastic bags in the last three years. These things are amazing.
Plus the reusable bags come in a variety of patterns so they’re incredibly kid-friendly too. I’m not ashamed to admit that some of our zipper sandwich bags are Disney or classic Nintendo themed.
Ecomail theorizes that an average family of four would save $65 a year on plastic baggies by switching to reusable.
These reusable bags can last a long time if you treat them well. I try not to put mine through the dishwasher more than twice a month, so we generally hand wash them. We’ve had some of them for several years and they’re still just like new. It feels good to know that we’re saving money and keeping plastic from the dump at the same time.
Like the other money-saving items these things can be found en masse at Amazon. My personal favorite brands for reusable bags are Lauren&Lena, Bumkins, and Art of Lunch. To learn more about ways to save money on everyday expenses, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:
- Supercharge Your New Ride: Negotiating at Car Dealerships
- How to Use the Library to Save Money
- How to Save Money on Plane Tickets and Air Travel
- 5 Great Tips to Save Money on Your Wifi Bill