Reusable vs. Single Use

These past few months I’ve been trying to save money and reduce our grocery spending by making my own household products. So far, I’ve had really great results and while I’m not saving tons of dough each week, I know those pinched pennies add up over time. Another way I’ve found to cut back on our grocery spending is to use reusable items rather than single use items.

Instead of using a Swiffer I use a steam mop. Granted steam mops are not cheap, but as mine was a Christmas gift from my mother in law I didn’t have the initial investment expense. Steam mops use only water to get your floors sparkly clean and germ free-ish. No chemicals and no recurring expense. The mop pads are washable – reduces waste and, again, no recurring expense.

Instead of a Swiffer duster I use a microfiber duster that can be washed and reused. I bought mine several years ago for about $15 at Bed Bath and Beyond. I imagine you could find them a bit cheaper at Target. They work just like a Swiffer duster (maybe even a bit better) but you just wash and reuse the same one rather than throwing it away and having to buy new ones.

Instead of buying cases of water bottles (a ridiculous expense, by the way) we use the washable/refillable kind and fill them with filtered tap water. No more water bottle trash. No more paying for water. And, really, is it that inconvenient to fill a bottle yourself? I think not.

Instead of cleaning with paper towels I use microfiber cloths that can be washed and reused. I’ll admit this was a tough one for me. Paper towels are so convenient and papery – you just wipe up a mess and throw it away never to be dealt with again. Using a reusable towel means I’ll have to either rinse the mess down the sink or wash it in the washing machine later. But paper towels are expensive. Even on sale you can expect to pay $8-10 for 12 rolls (I use Bounty, I’m sure there are cheaper brands). And you think those 12 rolls are going to last FOREVER until you open the closet a few weeks down the road and pull out your last roll. I paid $4 for 4 microfiber cloths in the automotive section at Target and they will probably last a few years. Huge savings here.

I’d like to eventually be 100% paper towel free. I haven’t really found a good substitute for kitchen use. We re-heat food on paper towels. Sure you can use a plate sometimes but sometimes you just need a paper towel. And after preparing raw chicken – I’d rather throw the salmonella in the trash than have it sit in my laundry basket. But at least doing the general cleaning with a cloth is a good start. We will slowly break our paper towel dependence.

What other reusable products have you used in place of a disposable?

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