Switching over to a healthier, more natural lifestyle can be hard enough, but doing it on a budget can be even tougher! Here are some steps that will hopefully help you on YOUR journey to becoming Green & Thrifty.
1. Don't try to do everything at once. If you try to go from eating take-out, frozen meals, and Little Debbies to all fresh, organic, homemade foods in one day you will get burned out and fail. Same goes for going from filling three big trash bags a day to being Captain Planet. Pick one thing you can easily change and when you get the hang of that, add another.
2. Decide on your priorities. Being on a budget sometimes means having to say no to certain items, but it doesn't mean you have to say no to everything. Perhaps organic produce is your top priority, or maybe it is all-natural, organic beauty products. Whatever it is, buy those first, then purchase whatever else you can with what is left.
3. Menu plan, menu plan, menu plan. This is the fastest way to cut your grocery budget. If you have never done this before, start small and figure out a way that works for you.
4. Grocery shop with a list. (link coming)
5. Cut out the processed foods. I am not saying that you have to make everything from scratch, but cereal, seasoning packets, cookies, and other boxed foods get expensive. They can also be full of many not-so-good ingredients. Cooking from scratch lets you be in control of the foods you put in your body and can actually be very rewarding.
6. Create less food waste. Don't buy more of a food than you know that you can eat before it goes bad. The only exception to this would be buying food to can or freeze. Also, stop throwing out those leftovers! Throwing away food is throwing away money and not buying food that you won't eat only keeps you from being able to buy other food or household items that you will use.
7. Learn to make your own cleaning products.
8. Eliminate or reduce paper usage. You can buy recycled versions of pretty much everything, but paper is still not the most environmentally friendly choice because there is production, packaging, transport, and disposal that never ends. Not to mention that throwing away paper products is like literally throwing away money! Family cloth and unpaper towels anyone? (link coming)
9. Do not use disposable food packaging such as foil, wax paper, and zip top bags. If you must, wash and reuse them. For baking, silicone muffin and pan liners are great investments. Store leftovers and other food in reusable containers. I prefer glass or stainless.