Running a house is certainly expensive and there are many products out there trying to prove their necessity for you running your home efficiently but the reality is that you probably don’t need them.
Disposable Paper Products
When I’m shopping at Costco and see carts full of paper towel and napkins I have to wonder what family could possibly need that much disposable paper product. I admit that I used to use paper towel for everything, and growing up, our house always had napkins on the table but when I started buying my own household goods I realized not only how expensive it was, but also how wasteful. I think it started more out of necessity (trying to save money) than being conservative, but after a few weeks of not buying paper towels with our grocery order I realized how unnecessary they were.
I dedicated a few old kitchen towels to use while cleaning and we started using reusable napkins while eating. I noticed that there were very few times I missed using disposable paper. I keep a roll of paper towel on hand mostly for cat messes, when my cat has an accident or vomits, I prefer to use paper towel to clean up and throw in garbage rather than rinsing out and washing a reusable cloth. As well, if we have a large function (like my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding) we’ll buy disposable products but for day-to-day usage it’s an easy item to swap out.
Obviously this only applies to homes with young infants but needs to be mentioned. This is also something I admit to being guilty for (using disposable) but am in complete favor of cloth diapering. Though the initial cost can be quite high, in the end cloth diapers are significantly cheaper and hold a decent resale value (look around for used first, if considering). With our daughter we received enough disposable diapers as gifts though that I didn’t buy a pack of diapers for a full 12 months, it was kind of glorious. The other reason we opted not to cloth diaper was that when calling around to various daycare places before we had her placed somewhere, a lot of places preferred to not use the cloth and asked if while the child was there, they could be sent with disposables so it didn’t make sense for us however I still think cloth diapering trumps disposable in both cost and, certainly, waste.
Though my husband hates when I clean with vinegar (a smell he cannot stand) it’s too cheap and effective not to use. There are very few areas in my house that I can’t clean with some combination of vinegar, water, basic dishsoap or baking soda (here’s a good list of DIY cleaners). I do admit that I usually do have Windex on hand as well for windows and glass tables (the vinegar and water just won’t get streak-free to my satisfaction with greasy toddler fingerprints) but a regular sized bottle of such will last me seemingly forever.
Given that there are entire sections in grocery stores dedicated to nothing but cleaning products you don’t need basically any of it. When we first bought our house I remember going out and spending close to $10 for a cleaner that was dedicated to nothing but cleaning the top of our glass stove. I used it once, realized it was nothing but an abrasive scrub (food loves to stick to glass stoves) and that a water and baking soda paste worked just as good. Though I’m not a super health nut or anything, using a bunch of chemicals around surfaces my family lives and eats (especially things like highchairs) simply doesn’t appeal to me, nor does paying premium prices for pre-made, pre-packed, chemical free goods from the stores.
What a family will need varies between each house, but I do think in general we’re too quick to do the easiest thing possible- like buy special cleaner for your table to point, spray and wipe with paper towel, rather than wiping it off with a disposable cloth with warm soap and water which then may mean an extra laundry item- but honesty it takes no extra effort, and can make a huge difference in both finances and overall waste, so try it!
What household items do you commonly save on?