When people hear about green & clean living, they often think of it as being unaffordable. That may be the case if you spare no expense and “go green to the max” in a matter of a few weeks. But if you make gradual changes in order of priority, and opt for the more cost effective lifestyle adjustments, the bottom line really isn’t unmanageable.
I’m pretty thrifty myself, so I’ve learned how to get the most bang for my health with every dollar I spend. For me, it’s a no-brainer to prioritize my family’s health. Besides, it saves on the medical bills in the long run!
Organic groceries are not as scarce as they were a decade ago. There may still be some rural areas where choices are rather limited, but for the most part organic is now everywhere.
Costco is one of my favorite sources for organic, due to their wide variety in addition to their bulk quantities that ultimately leave less packaging waste. Some of my favorite things to buy there that also bring me the greatest savings are their oversized bags of frozen fruits.
I have found that any of Costco’s frozen organic berries bring me significant savings over my local supermarket. Strawberries are number one on the dirty dozen list, so this is an important purchase.
Conventional chicken is raised in tight confines that does not produce the healthiest meat. While that should encourage families to choose organic, it can be a real strain on the budget. To keep costs down, I often select the drumsticks-only bulk packages that Costco sells, at a margin of the cost of supermarket breasts.
Other organic groceries I prefer to buy at Costco for their low price and high quality include eggs, bread, refrigerated greens, cheeses, jams, nut butters, frozen veggies, coffee beans, cooking oils and Ecos laundry detergent. Also, check their monthly ad online for product discounts.
Aldi is another amazing source of low-price organics. Simply Nature is the brand to look for when in their stores. Some of the products I like to shop for while there are frozen pizzas, salsas, pasta sauces and all kinds of produce.
Thrivemarket.com is a wonderful option for anyone who lives more remotely and doesn’t have easy access to a good selection of organics. Products generally run between 25 and 50% off retail prices, and they offer categories for every diet from keto and gluten-free, to paleo and beyond.
Sign up for a membership and receive up to $20 cash back. They are a very ethically-minded, sustainable company, and even donate your $60 annual membership fee to another family who can’t afford it. I especially love their option for purchasing clean wines in bulk at a discounted cost.
Other Household Products
I just started making my own bath soaps out of goat’s milk meltable soap base. I made them at Christmastime for gifts, and we were able to make so many extra out of that 2 lbs, that we haven’t run out of soap yet! Here’s the simple recipe I used, and there are a lot of other good DIY product recipes on my pinterest board for you to try as well.
If you are open to buying secondhand clothing, it’s not hard to go low-toxin on the cheap in this category. Just take a look at all the great options I featured in this recent post!
For those of you that still prefer to purchase clothing that has never been worn, go with a more natural fabric and wash it before wearing in order to remove some of the chemicals that many brands add prior to placing them on the market.
You can now find GOTS certified bedsheets at your local Target stores at very reasonable prices. This is now the trusted organic certification in the textile industry. You spend a great deal of your lifetime deeply inhaling your bed sheet fabrics as you sleep, so this is important. Anything from heavy metals to flame retardants and more are added to conventional fabrics. The accumulation of these chemicals in your system can lead to reproductive issues and numerous other health issues.
This one is easy–simply substitute baking soda and vinegar for most household cleaners! Here are some recipes I have used. An added benefit to making your own cleaners is the avoidance of all those plastic packaging materials that end up in our environment. Check out my pinterest board for more ideas!
Meal Prep & Food Storage
The most important thing to remember in these categories is to look the other way when you see teflon or plastics. Teflon has long been appreciated for its non-stick properties, but the chemicals that make this coating work are far from harmless. Opt for these affordable cast iron or high-quality stainless steel skillets instead. Not sure how to care for cast iron? Check out this video that will teach you how simple it can be.
Fresh Air & Clean Water
Depending on your household furnishings, the construction of your home and the products you use in your daily life; you could be breathing in a ton of different indoor pollutants as you sit in your living room. But don’t worry, you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for an expensive air purifier in order to improve your air quality. Start with opening some windows! Just doing that will allow many of the VOCs and other toxins to escape. You can also pick up a few houseplants that are good for removing toxins from the air.
You may not be able to afford an expensive whole house water filter or even a Big Berkey, but what about Berkey’s awesome water bottle that filters as it comes through the straw?
Furnishings & Decor
Whenever possible, choose hardwoods and natural fabrics. Avoid chemical glazes. Skip the carpet. If it’s in the budget, paint your walls using low-voc paints. There are more and more companies with natural alternatives, but many tend to run on the expensive side. Secondhand is always less costly, and most of the off-gassing is already complete by the time that couch or table gets to you.
Landscaping & Gardening
The best thing you can do for your garden or yard is to find natural alternatives to pesticides and herbicides. The synthetic commercial products kill our bees and endanger the world’s food sources. Homemade products are also a lot easier on the wallet, and they can be just as effective
Other little changes you can make
Remove your shoes when you enter your home and ensure that everyone else is doing the same. Imagine all of the chemicals the soles of your shoes pick up in a day’s time. It’s such a simple adjustment, and can be so effective at decreasing the toxins in your home.
Find ways to get involved in the green movement. Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a wonderful organization lobbying for more testing of the 80,000 chemicals we currently have at our exposure.
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