How to Have a Greener Home on a Frugal Budget

Whether you live in the sticks or have someone’s closet in the city, there is always room for making a greener, more earth conscious home. We’re all about promoting an earth conscious home, helping others and the planet out while also not having to withdraw your 401K to do so. We advocate self made products, local produce and services, and previously loved gems from local thrift stores.

Here are 5 ways we help the earth and turned our home into a more eco-friendly place on a couple of dimes.

brooke-lark-194252Stop eating out

Restaurants are the kings and queens of garbage when it comes to food waste. If the color isn’t right, the produce isn’t shaped correctly, or there is a funny spot on it — it can’t be used. Plastic straws, paper napkins, mint packages, and paper place mats are all ending up in the landfill.

And what’s more? Your food at home is going to waste and possibly spoiling because you aren’t eating at home. The Beard and I’s first year together, we ate out a lot! He was working and I was going to school and waitressing. I was in charge of making our meals. If I didn’t feel up to it (OR THE DISHES WERE DIRTY) we were going out to eat that night.

And when you’re living in an apartment, composting isn’t that easy. Finding someone to take your kitchen scraps is just a hassle. We were also eating a lot of meat back then. Not only was our produce going bad, but also our meat. Do you know how expensive that was? That didn’t even include the cost of our meals out.

Now, we go out once or twice a month, being very aware of our outings. Dishes are done 3-4 times a day around here. Meals are made from scratch. And our bank account is benefiting substantially from it, while I also think the earth is screaming, “THANK YOU!” to us on a regular basis.

We no longer waste any food, even the dogs get to lick our plates. Rotten produce is inevitable at times but we either compost it or chop that spot off and cut it up. Paper and plastic products are not piling up somewhere in a landfill. And leftovers are like the greatest gift on earth!


Decorate with thrifted finds

I like to think of myself as the Queen of the Thrift Stores, though I know there are many of you out there that are far better than I at thrifting. But yes — I have a problem and yes we are working on a solution for that problem.

We’re opening up a booth in a local mall-shop to sell all my thrifted finds. Home goods, clothing, kitchenware. You name it (other than lingerie) I’ll be selling it. Killing two birds with one stone. We get to have a beautiful home, that is always changing in style — while I get to share my passion and amazing finds with like-minded people.

If you haven’t read my post on Having Your Dream House on a Frugal Budget — you really should!

annie-spratt-370980Ditch the plastic

Ya’ll better move over and make some room for my glass jars. I can’t have enough glass containers. We don’t own a single plastic container. I collect our glass jars from things like salsa, olives, pesto, etc. And I also love my double set of Pyrex storage containers.

Thrift stores are the best place to find sealable jars for dry storage foods like beans, pasta, lentils, flax seed, flour, and so on. Finding big glass jars for sugar, flour, and oats are like the biggest score for me at a thrift store.

We don’t use disposable kitchen cutlery or plates. Reusable shopping bags and produce bags help eliminate the packaging and plastic at the grocery stores. I don’t purchase water bottles. We have reusable ones and we refill our water jugs at a local store for drinking water for our brand new water dispenser that we purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond. I am so in love!

neonbrand-441844.jpgMove towards ‘zero waste’

Clearly this topic is an entire blog all in itself. But we are slowly moving towards this direction. Funny thing is, I really wanted some motivation to go totally zero waste. So, I called our trash company and tried to eliminate our trash pick up. They said as long as the gas and water are turned on at our property, we have to pay for trash pick up.

So, yes. We still have garbage pick up, which is probably a good thing because we still have things to demo in our house (still in the fixer upper stage) and animals to feed. But we have switched from paper towels to reusuable ones. I never use kitchen paper/plastic products, unless someone brings them over.

Like so many other millions of Americans, we take our reusable shopping bags everywhere, opt for glass whenever possible, and skip as much packaging as we can. I love my new mesh produce bags!

There are so many ideas in my head right now about zero waste. I suppose I should write a post just about this topic since I feel zero waste and frugality go hand-in-hand.

And since I know this isn’t enough, check out Lauren’s blog Zero Waste Memoirs or Earthy Andy because she is freaking amazing and so is her Instagram.

liush-435751Support local businesses + farmers

This should probably be at the top of the list, considering we are a local, small business. But, I guess I have reserved the best for last. However cliche it is.

I have really been into reading books about eating local. 100-mile diet, growing your own food, etc. Well, I found out winter isn’t the time to commit to this kind of lifestyle.

It starts when fresh produce starts rolling in like Amazon packages on a conveyor belt. And then, not only do we stuff our faces with that produce, but we preserve it. Can it, roast it, dry it, dehydrate it, freeze it, yadda yadda so we have enough for the winter months.

Farmer’s Markets are a great place to start. You can get massive quantities for all your preserving needs at bargain prices — and without the packaging or thousands of miles it’s takes produce to travel from Mexico and California to the Midwest.

Go to local wineries for your daily grape intake. Haha! Just kidding or maybe not. But seriously, local wineries, breweries, and distilleries are where you should be purchasing your adult beverages. Better yet, bring your own growler, wine bottles, or liquor bottles to refill.

The Beard only likes Busch Light, so I’m still wondering if I walk into a dive bar if they will fill a growler up for us. If you have personal experience with this, please comment below.

If thrift store finds aren’t your jam when it comes to decorating your home, try local, handcrafted businesses. Furniture, wooden signs, hand quilted blankets, dog beds or leashes (anything animals because we love our animals). Also think about handmade clothing or lingerie. Or how about this awesome Package Free Shop. Shopping small in your hometown helps the local economy. While it may seem like it’s costing you more, the tide will roll around if we all start purchasing local goods and services.

We cannot stress the benefits of using small, local businesses. Alright, I’ll stop jamming this one down your throat and move on.

How do you keep your home greener for the environment on a frugal budget?

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