Save Money and Our Earth

by Millionaire Mommy Next Door on April 22, 2010

in Save Money (frugal ideas)

My family’s values-driven lifestyle of voluntary simplicity is great for our wallet and the environment. Some of our frugal choices make a really BIG impact, like how my husband and I have shared one vehicle since getting married 23 years ago. Carpooling cuts down on carbon emissions and as I calculated for you in a previous post, sharing one car instead of owning two can make anyone a millionaire in 29 years.

The little choices we make count, too. Frugality is the art of resourcefulness. Wear it out, use it up, repurpose it! Take the life of one of my t-shirts for example:

  1. I get a free t-shirt as a promotional giveaway.
  2. While the t-shirt is new, bright and crisp, I wear it.
  3. As the t-shirt fades from frequent washings, I wear it in the garden or to the dog park.
  4. Laundered a few more months and it gets super-comfy-soft. Now it becomes my cozy sleep shirt.
  5. Once my spouse gets over the thrill of my thread-bare-wee-bit-see-through sleep shirt and then starts poking fun at it, I cut it into squares and my free t-shirt becomes lint-free cleaning rags.

Today is Earth Day. What are you doing EVERY day, both big and small, to help our Earth and your wallet?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy S April 23, 2010 at 7:59 am

I’m on a crusade to eliminate plastic bags. I realize it’s not going to make you rich if you don’t use them, but why do people need a bag for a one item purchase or 15 plastic bags for weeks worth of groceries when a few canvas bags in the car will do the trick?


Sam April 23, 2010 at 11:44 am

We use rags instead of paper towels for 95% of our messes.
We use the paper from our shredder in the cat box as litter.

We reuse envelopes that bills came in as scratch paper.

The coffee left in the pot at the end of the day I give to my house plants or potted garden plants. The grounds go in the garden composter.
Probably 90% of our “trash” is either composted or recycled. This varies – like a lot of toys given ad Christmas presents are in not recyclable plastic :( So that makes our December percentage lower.

We use cloth napkins. I have some nice ones for holidays & my Mother tucked under my kitchen towels & the daily ones are in a different drawer.

We save the seeds form our produce & use them to grow more in our garden (works 50% of the time).

We buy in bulk and don’t by packaged/processed food (that really, really cuts down on the trash).

We reuse old empty & washed out milk jugs as small buckets, temporary flower pots/containers, scoops and what ever else we can cut them into. I cut 3 square rubbing alcohol bottles in to toiletry holders for our medicine cabinet so things would stop falling out into the toilet (the sqaure shape worked really well). The remaining cut off tops from the bottles I use as funnels for soap or other not-food type things.

We put our bar soap slivers in a jar & when there’s a good handfull I pour in some water & turn it into liquid soap. They also make good travels soaps in a pinch.

Worn out washcloths (you know the really holey ones that are just a wad of cotton strings and aren’t good for scrubbing & such ) I keep to use when my son gets bloody nose or scraped knee (or other gross messes that paper towels aren’t strong enough for)- I don’t have to worry about washing out the stains, I can just toss ‘em as needed.

I saved the old copper wires (that can’t be recycled for some weird reason) from rewiring my kitchen & stripped them and with some marbles we’re currently turning them into dragon fly garden decorations. if the dragon fly idea doesn’t work then they will be “garden monsters”.

I save our salsa & spaghetti jars for either canning or for making premixed rice or grain dishes (like rice a roni). It makes it easier for my son who always gets a “tsp” confused with a “TBSP” :)

Wow – I didn’t realize how much I do until I started typing all this…


Andrea | Learning to Live Small May 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Great idea for the t-shirts!

I’ve started making appliques with fun fabrics or well-worn print clothing. I wear a lot of solid color cotton tops & if I get a stain on them, I will add a rectangular applique in a fun fabric & voila! A brand new shirt without spending a cent or consuming anything but some thread to sew it on!


Deb May 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

We’ve done so many things – we are religious about unplugging energy vampires (and brought our electric bill down 20%); we used cloth napkins purchased from estate sales/thrift stores, and now a roll of paper towels lasts us 6 months; we take our own bags into grocery stores, thrift stores, to yard sales, etc; if we must purchase something, we find it second hand when at all possible; we keep a gallon jug next to the sink and catch all of the cold water while waiting for the warm – use it for cooking, fill the kettle on the wood stove, dog water, etc. We must have two autos (husband travels for work), but I telecommute, which means I don’t drive much at al and I group my errands.

Our biggest change has been downsizing from a 1600 sq ft home to a 900 sq foot home. The move was an adjustment at first, but now we love it! Cleaning is snap, and we purged/sold so much excess stuff. Very liberating!

So many changes people can make – even the small ones add up!


poor boomer May 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I don’t own or drive a car. And I live in a 8 x 8 room in a house with six others.


dolores charbonier June 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I live on less then most people that have 5 kids living in the house.The long rides Are nomore cut gas 2/3 which cut the eating out bill also.Coupon book for the area help on buy one meal get the other free.We cut our own grass ,spray for bugs ourself.The truth is we do alot for the house ,car cleaning ourselfs.I would love to hire a house cleaner ,go for long rides in the country and eat out all the time but saving is more important oh yes no cable.


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