By Texas Homesteader ~
Saving money at mealtime oftentimes goes hand-in-had with helping the environment. Hey if I can save money and help the environment at the same time, how could I not be on board with that?
(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)
Eco Friendly Living Varies By Family
Of course not every example will work for every family. But you’ve got to start somewhere, eh?
Pick & choose items that might work easily for your home and sit back & enjoy the savings, both environmentally in your bank account.
Cooking From Scratch The EASY Way
Cooking from scratch may be one of the largest money savers in the budget since eating out too often can rack up quite a bill in no time.
People are often surprised to hear I cook from scratch each & every day. But I employ many simple shortcuts to be able to serve Homemade Meals Daily The EASY Way.
If you don’t know how to cook, start small with a beginning cookbook or internet search for easy recipes. Here are some quick tips:
Cook-Once, Eat-Twice meals. – Cook lots of an entrée & freeze some for later.
Planned Leftovers Method – Cook lots of a main ingredient and change it up for different types of meals throughout the week.
That way a homemade meal is as close as your freezer.
The key is to start small, then add to your skill little by little. I promise it will make a HUGE difference in your budget, your health and your sense of accomplishment.
How To Lower The Cost Of Food
To make that home-cooked meal even less expensive, try buying your staples in bulk. Many people report saving oodles of money purchasing groceries through Amazon.
Be sure to check *Amazon Here to compare grocery prices, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Using Up Small Amounts Of Leftover Food
Also, make sure all your leftovers are consumed:
You’ve already purchased, seasoned and cooked that food. Make sure it’s all enjoyed!
Simple Seasoning Blends To Make Yourself
Now that you’ve learned to cook from scratch it’s time to look at convenience mixes.
Pour them into a recycled spice shaker, apply a label and you’re ready to go! No need to run to the store.
Easy Substitutes For Things You Used To Buy
There are other ways to provide for yourself other than meals and spice mixes. How about these simple homemade goodies:
Homemade Stovetop Yogurt or quicker Instant Pot Yogurt
Homemade Creamy Healthy Salad Dressing in 1 Minute
Healthier Sour Cream Substitute
Chocolate Crazy Cake – no eggs, milk, butter or mixing bowls!
Homemade Cottage Cheese in minutes
It was astonishing to find out how easy it was. PLUS I’ve reduced landfill trash. And don’t even get me started on how much healthier it is without all the preservatives!
Disposables Are Costly – Money & Environment
Finally, look at your use of disposables. So many of these things don’t really save you any time and they CERTAINLY don’t save you any money!
Use Real Plates And Flatware
Real plates and flatware make even a simple meal seem more special. And there are no disposables to haul to the landfill.
Cloth Napkins An Eco-Friendly Choice
Cloth napkins are Easy to Make. But if you’re sewing-impaired (like me) they are also inexpensive to buy.
I often find whole bundles of like-new (or brand new) cloth napkins for very little money at a thrift store.
Since I throw them in the wash along with a regular load of laundry they literally cost nothing else to use. It seems so much more elegant to use a cloth napkin for our meals.
And buying those things at thrift stores adds a whole new benefit to your new zero-waste meal since you’re buying those cloth napkins used.
No new napkins needed to be manufactured for your use. And you’ve bought them inexpensively too. Win/Win!
Lowering Your Waste When Dining Out
Here’s another easy idea: I have a small covered *Pyrex take-out container that I leave in my car. When we do enjoy an occasional meal out I grab my “take-out container” and bring it into the restaurant with me.
I even made a cute Repurposed Denim Carrier for it so I don’t feel like I’m just lugging a casserole dish through the restaurant. LOL
Since the typical serving sizes at most restaurants are beyond massive I immediately place 1/2 of the meal in my Pyrex container. This keeps me from having to accept the awful styrofoam containers they typically give you (which is not recyclable in my area).
When I get home I pop it in the fridge. The next day I can pull it out and heat & eat from the same dish. Now I’ve gotten twice the value from my single meal out.
When the dish is empty I simply wash the container, place the lid back on and put it back in my car. It’s always there when I need it. Why yes… I think I’m clever – why do you ask? LOL.
Homemade Fast-Food Dining Kit
Occasionally we go to a fast-food place for a burger & fries or maybe Mexican food. I can even lower my waste there.
In the glove compartment of my car I carry a trash-fighting dining out pouch. No longer must I accept disposable single-use plastic utensils or paper napkins, or even plastic straw.
This is a handy, convenient (and let’s be honest, luxurious-feeling) way to fight the trash monster when dining out.
How Do You Save Money & The Environment?
Hopefully this list gives you food for thought. But there are many, MANY other ways to save money & the environment at the same time. What are some of your favorite ways?
Links Mentioned In This Post
- Homemade Meals Daily The EASY Way
- Cook-Once, Eat-Twice meals
- *Food Shopping On Amazon
- Buying Things at Thrift Stores
- MYO seasoned bread crumbs
- Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe
- *Pyrex take-out container
- Repurposed Denim Carrier
- Using glass in your refrigerator
- Low-waste dining out pouch
Other Posts About Reducing Household Waste
- How We Reduced Landfill Contributions
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Natural Air Freshener In Reusable Glass Jar
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junkmail
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Detergent
- 5 Handy Repurpose Ideas From An Old Sock
…and Many More
All Eco-Friendly Posts
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I have stopped using a lot of disposables and take a travel mug in the car but hadn’t thought of containers for leftovers/take-out. Thanks for sharing!
It’s interesting how one little thing over time can have a pretty powerful impact, Andrea. Then when you start adding to your successes? Awesome! ~TxH~
I love your idea about taking your own container to restaurants and using them as to-go boxes! Sounds super simple and like a great, eco-friendly tip! Thanks for sharing over at Simply Natural Saturdays!
Great ideas. I love cooking from scratch. We try to use our cloth napkins, too. And we use washcloths instead of sponges for everything else. I have to say I’ve wandered a little from truly trying to not be wasteful since I’ve been so busy. I need to get back to a place where I’m doing as much as I can.
Don’t beat yourself up – we all do what we can in our circumstances. When my kiddos were young I used lots of convenience foods, etc. Now that we’re empty nesters I have much more time to dedicate to living simply and it’s something that’s truly important to me. ~TxH~
I sure agree with about food and making things from scratch. I have many food allergies & sensitivities so I have to know exactly what I am eating. I don’t trust buying anything from a restaurant or packaged. Anything I buy I like to know the original and that is a company I can trust. I do buy some food off of Amazon but usually its in cases – like a case of Thai coconut milk or other canned things I can’t buy fresh and local. They definitely have some good prices on some food items.
I think we should all be practicing everyday conserving paper products and anything that helps save the environment I believe we all have responsibility to do our part. Sharing on tweeter & pinning..
Learned from a friend to use washcloths as napkins for every-day use; absorbant, inexpensive, come in lots of colors, easy to wash.
I’ve heard the washcloth thing as well – especially good for those with children as there’s a little extra “scrub-ability” with those. Thanks for sharing. ~TxH~
NIce article! I also bring my own container(s) for restaurant leftovers and find that it’s really more convenient in many ways. I do a lot of things that save both money and the environment, but reusable feminine hygiene products are one of my favorites because they just work so much better and are so much more comfortable than the disposable ones.
I’ve just learned the grocery shopping at Amazon trick. When we lived within five minutes of a store there was no need. Now buying in bulk and having it delivered is so much cheaper.
Very Nice Post. You suggested Amazon to check grocery prices…good idea. Turns out, according to this wekeend’s San Francisco Chronicle, buying groceries online is more environmentally friendly than shopping at the store. Check out vine.com, as well, for natural and environmentally friendly products!
Awesome Robert, saving money AND the environment. Win/Win! ~TxH~
You ARE clever! We buy from Amazon too.. good prices in a lot of organic staples!
LOVE this post! Having a Pyrex container in your car is pure genius!!!
Thanks Jayne – It was my “slaps forehead” moment after cringing over a styrofoam container coming home with us after a rare meal out one night! I’ve never looked back… 🙂 ~TxH~
You are exactly right! My family stopped buying prepackaged items and making our own stuff from scratch, we have saved tons of money in groceries….Thanks for your recipes BTW, they are helping a lot!
Excellent Heather – glad to hear. I hate that there’s so much landfill-destined packaging in stuff purchased now. It makes me feel like I’ve won in THREE places when I do it myself – less expensive – more healthy – no packaging. ~TxH~
Very nice shot of the butterfly, very nice.
Well thank you so much Bruce for your compliment! ~TxH~
Fantastic suggestions! I love your homemade yogurt recipe.
Thanks Mary – I make yogurt about once a week to week and a half. Making it unsweetened gives me so many more options with it! Give it a try. ~TxH~
Great post ~ absolutely gorgeous photography of that magnificent butterfly ~ ^_^
Thanks for your compliment! As I was walking through the pasture I was astonished at the color contrast of this beautiful butterfly with the vibrant purple flowers and wondered what this plant was that the butterflies seemed so attracted to – Per our extension agent the plant is called Ironweed. I’ll be watching for it in the pastures from now on, butterflies seemed to flock to the blooms! ~TxH~
You are so right on in this post… have you seen the book “Salt, Sugar, Fat” about the horrible way process foods are designed to make people get addicted to them… plus they are more expensive… crazy.
Thanks for your comment Diane. I always just feel better knowing what’s in my food (and what isn’t) I’ve repeated over & over again that it’s all about balance so I don’t make myself crazy over every little thing, but if it’s just as easy, it’s quick and much less expensive to make it yourself & take out any question, why not?? LOL ~TxH~
I absolutely LOVE this post. Had no idea you could buy groceries from Amazon either. Also, I am big in recycling and placing a dish in the car for leftovers from a restaurant IS clever, going to do that too!
Thank you for this post.
Michelle – thanks for your comment. Like you I was surprised when I first found out you could buy food from Amazon, but you really can often get a better deal having it shipped right to your door. We’ve included an Amazon link on our right-side bar to make it easy for you to compare prices. Give it a try! ~TxH~