It all adds up

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Over the past year, I've really been trying to be more "green", and to also save money. I'm not one to scrimp (unless it's really necessary), but I knew there were areas where I could cut back without feeling too much of a pinch.

For instance, Lulu and I would easily go through a case of Dasani water per week. That was costing us a minimum of $24/month, $288/year - and a minimum of 1152 plastic bottles. Granted, we recycled the bottles, but that's still a lot of plastic. So I bought a Brita water pitcher (on sale & using a coupon, I paid $3), enough filters for a year (on sale & using coupons, I paid $21), and 3 reusable water bottles (paid a total of $20). I spent a total of $44 - saving a minimum of $244 the first year! And our recycling volume went down by 1/2 to 1/3 - just by eliminating the bottles.

The other thing I knew could be trimmed down was my Starbucks expenditures. I admit it - I'm addicted to their sweetened black ice tea. I was spending a minimum of $30/week - which translates into $1560/year! On tea!! It didn't seem like much per day, but when you look at the whole picture, it adds up quickly. (Not to mention that I was always tempted to get a pastry while I was there!) I decided to make my own Starbucks tea! Gus bought their iced tea shaker and a large pump bottle of classic syrup for me, and I bought a box of their large iced tea bags and another bottle of syrup. After I used all of their syrup, I saved the bottles/pumps and made my own simple syrup from sugar and water. I even saved about a dozen of the cups, lids, & straws from Starbucks to reuse for my drinks. So factoring in shipping charges, making my own tea for a year only costs $154 - which is a savings of $1406 per year! Now that's impressive! And that doesn't include the savings on gas and wear & tear on my car - and the pastry calories I'm not consuming. I've perfected my tea-making to the point where I actually like my Starbucks tea better than theirs! LOL!

I've never been one to clip coupons much - or even really look at the grocery ads to see what is on sale. I find it frustrating because most of the time, it seems that the stuff that is on sale is unhealthy or something we would never eat/use. Same with coupons - so many of them are for things/brands that we just wouldn't use. To me, it's not a savings if you're buying stuff that's cheap, but you'll never eat/use it. But I've been giving it a shot lately. I don't stock up on a bunch of stuff, but I do look for sales - and I use a few coupons - but I only buy things that I would have bought anyway. In January, I saved $300 (a chunk of that was due to free cat/dog food from frequent buyers' cards) - and in February, I saved $140. Once again, it will add up over time - even if it's not impressive on a weekly basis.


It doesn't have to be painful - and it doesn't have to be a long, involved process. It's possible to cut back in small ways that will add up over time. And you can definitely be "green" in the process, too.
  • carry your reusable shopping bags with you (I always have at least 2 in my purse)
  • keep a small recycling container on each level of your home so that it's convenient to recycle (I use large reusable shopping bags that are waterproof)
  • buy a water pitcher/filter and use reusable water bottles
  • get a decorative rain barrel (or just use colorful plastic tubs) to catch rainwater & then use it to water plants when there is a dry spell
  • if you have a dog, save your bread bags or other plastic bags to scoop the poop in your yard and/or on walks (no need to buy special bags!)
How have you saved money? How are you helping the environment? Share your ideas!