They're supposed to make our lives simpler, but do they?

Cut Costs by Eliminating Disposables

by Lisa M. Maloney

How to Conquer Debt eBook

"Where is all the money going?" I asked myself as I scoured my household budget for a chance to cut back. Imagine my surprise at realizing that a lot of it goes right into the trash. Here's how to save money, and the planet, by getting rid of the disposable products in your life.

Paper Towels

Throwing our messes out instead of washing and reusing may be nice for us, but it's not so good for your wallet. Cut worn-out towels, bed sheets or clothing into usable sizes and you've got reusable rags absolutely free.

Take it a step further and stop buying disposable "brooms," "mops" or "toilet cleaners" and ditch the toxic cleaning liquids. Other than a good reusable mop and broom, the only other cleaning products you need are rags, vinegar, baking soda, and a little newspaper (for wiping glass).

Paper Plates, Paper Cups and Disposable Utensils

If you use paper plates and cups or disposable utensils, whether at work, home, or for special occasions, try using thrift store dishes and utensils instead. They cost less (the savings add up as you rinse and reuse them), last longer, and have no hidden energy costs from production and shipping. They're already made and they're already close by.

Subscribe Smartly

It can be hard to give up reading the morning paper, but if you've got an Internet connection, you can probably read your local paper (and many others) online for free.

For magazines, visit your local library or a bookstore. Even if you have to buy a cup of coffee to justify loitering, it's still cheaper than paying for the magazines. Best of all, you're not creating any clutter to be thrown away or recycled.


It's easy to go overboard with toiletry use. The monetary difference between a big dab of toothpaste or a little one may not be immediately obvious, but they do add up. I save a lot of money by only using just as much shampoo, toothpaste, floss, and so on as I need to. Choosing not to wear makeup saves me even more.

Private Matters

I've started blowing my nose into hankies or bandanas (which as a hiker I have on hand anyway) instead of disposable tissue. When laundry day comes, I just toss the used bandanas in with my clothes and they come out clean at no extra cost. If you do a lot of sneezing, your savings by doing this will add up fast.

Disposable items have become so much a part of our lives that we tend to take them for granted. They were supposed to make our lives simpler, but most have the opposite effect. Start taking your life and your money back today.

Reviewed October 2017

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