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10 Things To STOP Buying Now to Save $35K Over 10 Years (& Save the Planet!)

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holding ello reusable straws with Target cart in background

Buy smarter, help the planet, save more money.

While we’re constantly searching for the very best deals on everything, we think it’s time to employ ways to save money inside your home. By ditching these 10 household items, you’ll save money and the planet with these cost-effective and environmentally-friendly product swaps.

Here are 10 household items you should ditch:

1. Ditch aluminum foil and parchment paper in favor of silicone baking mats.

hand holding reynolds wrap aluminum foil with target cart in the background

According to Curiosity, aluminum foil is even more wasteful than plastic wrap. Producing 1 ton of aluminum foil takes about 170 million BTUs to produce which is about as much as 1,400 gallons of gasoline. The process also emits about 12 tons of greenhouse gases and takes 400 years to break down after it’s discarded.

hand holding two silicone baking sheets

The average family is likely to use a standard size roll of Reynolds Wrap in about a month or less. And at close to $5 (or more for larger rolls) that means you’re spending about $60 a year in tinfoil.

By switching to silicone baking mats, you’ll have a sanitary and simple way to cook all your meals. Plus, they can even be used for baking which will replace any parchment paper that you may currently be using.

If you get in the habit of using silicone baking mats, you’ll save 24,000 sq. ft. of foil and $600 over the next 10 years! 🎉 

2. Swap plastic straws in favor of reusable straws.

hand holding waste of money pink plastic straws with target cart in background

While you may not go through very many plastic straws at home unless you’re having a party or get together, plastic straws are so harmful to the environment. Did you know that a lot of huge companies are nixing plastic straws altogether, too?

hand holding box of colorful environmentally-friendly metal straws

Approximately 500 million straws are used each day in America alone. It’s been calculated that by 2050 there will be more weight in straws than fish in the oceans – that’s only 30 years away, friends. 😱

As an example, if you have a family of 5 that uses just 1 straw per week, that’s 260 straws a year! By switching to metal straws, you’ll be saving a little bit of cash at your next party, but more importantly, you’ll be making a huge impact on our environment and helping save our oceans and marine life.

If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable straws, you’ll nix about 2,600 plastic straws over the next 10 years! 🎉

3. Stop wasting paper towels and use washable cloths.

Bounty paper towels in package in red target cart

This may be a big adjustment for many people, but paper towels are a huge culprit to waste in our country. According to Durafresh “More than 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the USA, amounting to 40 pounds – the equivalent of 80 rolls – per person, per year.” 😱And in order to produce all of that paper it requires a whopping 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water per year. GULP! 😳It’s a waste of money and waste of precious resources!

hand holding stack of black washcloths

A 12 pack of Bounty paper towels will run you over $15 and if you have a family of four, statistics show that you’ll power through them in three weeks or less! 😳

Instead, of using paper towels every time you dry your hands or wipe a counter, use some kitchen washcloths to wipe your counters or a reusable kitchen towel for your hands. If you’re using washcloths to wipe down your counters, they won’t take up as much room in your laundry either.

There are also many other alternatives to paper towels, such as reusable and washable bamboo paper towels, Zap cloths, microfiber cloths, bar mops, and even some new cloth diaper inserts.

woman using zap cloth on window

Even Collin’s mom is a huge fan of Zap Cloths!

“About a year ago, a friend gave us a pack of Zap cloths to try and I am now forever hooked! Keep in mind that I’m a sloppy window cleaner. My cleaning typically ends up with so many streaks, the window looks worse than when I started. If my hubby sees me cleaning, he immediately grabs the cleaner out of my hand and he finishes the job. Well, no longer!

It is impossible to screw up with the Zap cloth and amazingly easy to use. Simply wet in water, wring out a bit, and wipe the window. I am constantly in awe of how it works. I gave my daughters sample packs to try, and they are equally impressed.”

If you and your family get in the habit of using an environmentally-friendly alternative to paper towels, you’ll save 3,200 rolls or about $4,048 over the next 10 years! 🎉

4. Skip drying sheets and toss in a wool ball.

hand holding orange box of bounce dryer sheets with target cart in background

Most dryer sheets aren’t safe for you, but even if you’re buying the all-natural ones, they’re still incredibly wasteful and most users tend to pop more than just one sheet in the dryer for good measure. 😏 Yes, I’m guilty of doing it too.

As EMG states, dryer sheets are “full of chemicals that can harm your health, damage the environment and pollute the air, both inside and outside your home.”

hand holding environmentally-friendly everspring wool dryer balls with target red cart in background

As an example, if you’re using 2 dryer sheets for 5 loads of laundry a week, you’re using an entire box of Bounce dryer sheets in just 10.5 weeks, which means you’re spending about $30 every year and adding to our country’s toxic waste problem.

The Everspring brand available at Target offers really affordable dryer balls at just under $10 for a 3-pack which will last upwards of 1,000 laundry loads or until they fall apart. Not only that, but dryer balls also helps decrease your drying time, they’re biodegradable, dye-free, non-toxic, and don’t contain any harmful fragrances. You can also opt to use nothing at all and save your cash.

If you get in the habit of using dryer balls, you’ll save 5,250 dryer sheets or about $300 over the next 10 years!  🎉

Hip Tip: We shared all the pros and cons of dryer balls vs. dryer sheets, plus we even shared our top recommendations and where to buy them!

5. Switch out plastic water bottles for a refillable one instead.

waste of money bottle water sitting in red target cart

Don’t stop drinking water, stop drinking it out of plastic. It goes without saying that bottled water is extremely wasteful. More often than not, people throw out every plastic bottle they drink once the first round of water is gone.

In fact, bottled water is ranked the #1 U.S. beverage by volume sold and according to the Container Recycling Institute, “more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day – a total of about 22 billion last year.” 😳

woman holding various styles of water bottles

While water consumption continues to grow every year (way to go us! 💦👏), the average family currently spends about $100 per person each year on bottled water. That’s about 540 bottles per person or 2,160 bottles for a family of 4 per year down the drain – literally. By investing in a great water bottle that you can reuse every day you’re not just saving money, but helping mother nature, too.

If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable bottles, you’ll save 21,600 bottles of water or $4,000 over the next 10 years! 🎉

6. Say “bye” to plastic baggies for reusable wraps.

hand holding waste of money plastic baggie with trail mix

The number of plastic sandwich baggies I was wasting occurred to me when all 3 of my kiddos started school this year. Every day, I was using at least 3 baggies per lunch! 😱That’s 45 sandwich bags in just one week – never mind the random bags I was using for other things when it was convenient.

That’s about 4 boxes of these Ziploc sandwich bags per month! If I stayed on that track, I was projected to spend about $172.32 or more just on baggies that had a lifespan of fewer than 24 hours. 😳Talk about waste!

hand holding apple wrapped in bear print environmentally-friendly bees wrap in front of open refrigerator

I recently made the switch to these wraps I found on Amazon and they’ve been working out so wonderful! Plus, they can even be used to store leftovers at home. My kids say their food stays intact and it’s easy to ball up and put back into their lunch boxes. 🙌

Bee’s Wrap is naturally antimicrobial and can be reused for up to an entire year! It’s made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. All of the ingredients combined create a malleable and easy-to-use food wrap that can be used over and over again!

Trader Joe’s also sells entire rolls of beeswax wraps for just a few bucks – and while I’ve never tried theirs, I know they’ll be another great practical choice.

Amazon has a huge selection of reusable storage bags, too!

If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable wraps, you’ll save 21,600 plastic sandwich bags and $1,723 over the next 10 years! 🎉

7. Split with your kitchen sponge and replace with a brush.

hand holding waste of money scotch brite sponges

Did you know that the sponge is considered the germiest item in your kitchen according to the NYU School of Medicine? And you’re more likely to get food poisoning from an unsanitary sponge in your home than in a restaurant. 😱

hand holding a oxo brush in package with target cart in background

It’s recommended to replace your sponge every 2-3 weeks. If you’re replacing your sponges every 2.5 weeks (on average) and buying a 3-pack of these sponges, you’re spending approximately $27 every year.

By using a brush in the kitchen, you’re not only saving on disposable sponges, but you’ll even cut down on dish soap when you go for a model with an efficient soap dispenser. Plus, brushes are dishwasher safe, so when it’s time to sanitize, you just pop it in the dishwasher and reuse it again!

If you get in the habit of using a dish brush, you’ll save 208 sponges and $276 over the next 10 years! 🎉

Hip Tip: Here are 9 other items in your home that should be replaced more often than you think.

8. Switch out the plastic wrap for silicone stretch lids.

three boxes of reynolds plastic wrap sitting on store shelf

According to, the average family goes through close to 24 rolls of plastic wrap per year! That’s about $100 per year just for plastic wrap!

silicone lids being stretched over bowl to avoid waste of money

Now’s the time to stop throwing your money away, literally! Silicone stretch lids are perfect for storing leftovers, covering odd-shaped bowls or ones that don’t have lids, and for covering fruits and veggies after they’ve been cut in half.

The best part? They’re conveniently dishwasher safe, BPA free, non-toxic, they’ll keep your food fresher for longer, and they reduce your household waste (obviously 😏). Plus, they can be used over and over again!

If you get in the habit of using silicone stretch lids, you’ll be saving about 60,000 sq. ft. of plastic wrap or $1,000 over the next 10 years! 🎉

9. Ditch Keurig K-Cups for reusable cups or opt for a pour over coffee maker instead.

hand holding a box of starbucks k-cups with red target cart

K-cups were a huge convenient invention when they first came out, but with their growing popularity, they’re contributing to a huge amount of plastic waste. In fact, the number of K-Cups that have been trashed in landfills could wrap around the planet 10 times! 😱

If you and your spouse are brewing a cup of coffee with the Keurig every day, that’s 728 K-cups a year or about 45 of these boxes of Starbuck’s K-cups…priced at $11.99 each. Psstthat’s $539.55 a year and a huge waste of money. 😳

resuable k-cup pod with ground coffee inside

Instead, if you love the convenience of your Keurig, opt for reusable k cups pods! There are so many options available on Amazon. These will help keep more money in your pocket, create less waste, and allow you to brew your favorite ground coffee blends.

hand holding a box of bodum pour over coffee maker with target cart

If you’re interested in ditching the K-cups altogether, you may really love this pour-over brewing method as a frugal alternative. It’s actually my Hip teammate Emily’s favorite way to brew coffee for the perfect cup every morning! Check out this pour-over brewer at Target which comes with a stainless steel filter so you won’t even be wasting paper filters to brew your steamy cup of coffee. 🙌

If you and your other half get in the habit of using a pour over, you’ll save at least 7,280 K-cups or $5,395 over the next 10 years!  🎉

Hip Tip: You’re going to need to make this viral coffee that Lina whipped up! 😍

10. Stay away from new retail and buy secondhand clothing.

woman clothing shopping at Kohl's

According to Forbes, more than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year. 😳 And Americans throw away about 70 lbs of clothing per person every year.

Not only that but it’s ranked the 2nd biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet and accounts for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores which are threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply.

designer pilcro jeans on rack at thrift store

According to Credit Donkey, “the average family spends $1,800 per year on [new] clothing with $388 of this on shoes. Women spend (on average) between $150-$400 per month on clothing and are estimated to spend around $125,000 on clothes in her entire lifetime.” 😱

If you and your family get in the habit of buying secondhand clothes, you’ll be projected to save $18,000 on new clothes over the next 10 years! 🎉

Bonus tip: Bring a reusable bag instead of picking up plastic at the store.

hand holding reusable bag with cactus and family photo on it

Remember, when you’re shopping to bring along some reusable bags. Plastic bags are a huge contributing factor to our waste and if I can’t convince you to make the switch, maybe these scary facts from PADI will…

    • Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world – that’s 1 TRILLION bags a year!
    • The amount of petroleum it takes to produce 1 plastic bag could drive a car 36 feet.
    • A plastic bag is used for an average of just 12 minutes.
    • Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
    • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most found in coastal clean-ups and have affected 267 different species of animals.
    • If we joined all the plastic bags in the world together, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times!!!

If just one person used reusable bags over their lifetime, they would be removing about 22,000 plastic bags from the environment! 🙌

In summary…

If we make these environmentally-friendly changes together over the next 10 years, we can potentially save:

    • $600 on aluminum foil
    • $4,048 on paper towels
    • $300 on dryer sheets
    • $4,000 on plastic water bottles
    • $1,723 on plastic sandwich bags
    • $276 on sponges
    • $1,000 on plastic wrap
    • $5,395 on k-cups
    • And a whopping $18,000 on new clothes

That’s an incredible sum of $35,342!!! 🎉

*Note that everyone’s family is different in size and these are just estimates based on our research and what the average person uses/buys for each of these products. The outcome or sum of savings can vary greatly and will depend on the cost of what you’re replacing these household items with.

You can turn trash into treasure around your house with these genius hacks.

Join The Discussion

Comments 179

  1. Jessica

    Do you know of places that will recycle unusable clothing besides H&M? I’d much rather send it somewhere to be recycled than throw it away. Thanks!

    • Heather

      Check with your local goodwill / other thrift store- many of them have textile recycling programs!

    • Joe

      Goodwill recycles clothes…

      Textile Recycling

      Torn or stained apparel, linens, single shoes, gloves and socks were once considered garbage. Goodwill accepts ALL textile donations, in any condition (except wet or contaminated with hazardous materials) so they can be re-used or recycled into new products

    • JD

      Check with local quilt making groups. Preschools and art teachers in general often need fabric scraps. Rethink how you might use it around the house. Take some stuffing and the fabric and repurpose some of those pesky Amazon boxes into unique boxes to store things or gift presents in. Glue round frozen orange juice cans for an easy pen and pencil holder—still have the ones my kids made 30 years ago. Take pinking shears and cut out letters and shapes to hot glue on just about anything to decorate. Be sure and cut off buttons to save for those who sew or just to fix your own garments—very expensive to buy.

  2. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    I just want to thank you all for sharing great recommendations. This is why I’m totally in love with this site.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, You’re SO very welcome! Thank you so much for the kind comment! It sure means a lot! 🥰

  3. Lori Siemian

    Thank you for this article! My family has been trying to go zero waste because we just don’t want to generate all that single use plastic and we have adopted many of the changes you have listed here. I love not making all that plastic garbage! Especially the little plastic bags that seem to be such a waste, use them for such a short time and then throw them out? No more. These actions really DO add up and we have saved A LOT of money on top of saving our environment! Thank you so much.

    • Sara

      I love hearing this Lori! Keep up the great work!

  4. Judi

    I already do most of these things, including using cloths for wiping tables, counter tops, and the bathroom sink counters. But I can’t bring myself to use a cloth for the kitchen and bathroom sinks or the toilet surfaces; I feel like the germs and dirt there are more than even a hot water wash could remove and I would just be contaminating everything else. What do other people do?

    • Beverly

      I’m with you! I can’t bring myself to throw a cloth I used to clean the toilet in the wash. But, I recently discovered compostable disinfectant wipes. While they don’t have as much scrubbing power as a cloth, they work well for wiping down a lot of surfaces.

      • Judi

        I have those compostable wipes, but I haven’t yet started composting 🙂

    • JD

      Keep those rags separate. Mark with fabric marker. Use Lysol laundry sanitizer which will kill germs even in cold water. Combine with steam floor mops and regular floor rags. According to USDA university brochures rags that are used in the kitchen on stoves and counters must be washed and disinfected DAILY. Otherwise you are just spreading germs all around. Meat spills on the counter—they advise paper towels.

      • Judi

        Good to know! Now I don’t feel so crazy.

        • Connie

          How about cloth napkins? I them up at thrift stores or have even made my own from remnants of cotton fabric.

    • SW

      I do use cloth in the kitchen and the bathroom and wash them using the sanitizing program of my washer. Hey, if it worked for the cloth diapers it will work for those too.
      But I do wash them separated, different colored cloth for different tasks.

  5. GisMom

    Thank you so much for these options. I think awareness of the impact is so helpful. I honestly didn’t even know some of these products existed, so an article like this really was beneficial for me. Also, for the person who was mentioning about the packaging with amazon, here’s some information:

    If you shop on Amazon and you would like to get it in plastic-free packaging, here is what you can do-
    -Open your Amazon account
    -Go to ‘help/customer service’
    -Go to the ‘contact us’
    -Use their ‘chat’ option
    -On chat, request to make all future orders plastic-free with minimal packaging and where absolutely necessary use only degradable packaging materials like paper.
    -This information will be saved to your account for all future orders!

    Hope that helps!

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing that great information, GisMom, I’ll have to check that out!

  6. April

    Odd that meat isn’t on the list. It should be number one the meat industry is out of control with all the resources they use for subpar quality food thats making people sick and ill.

  7. Tina

    I am so happy to see this post! We overbuy, especially when it is a good deal rather than something we really need. All those trucks on the road delivering our “deal”, all the packaging, and all the waste if it ends up in a landfill. Posts about deals on single use plastic floss wands make me cringe (because all of them will go to a landfill, we don’t NEED wasteful products like this) but posts like these give me a glimmer of hope. Remember don’t buy items JUST because it’s on sale. It will help your wallet too.

    • Sara

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback, Tina! I love being able to help people save money and the planet!

  8. Brit

    Tried to buy the reusable coffee one or the Keurig and no one liked it ..said it didn’t taste as good :/ So I only use it, but I also don’t even like the Keurig taste over regular brewed (gasp). Never tried the pour over method…hmm. Also, never heard of the natural wrap products. Personally, I like paper towels for sanitary purposes. Also, good to have plastic straws during cold season. I just can’t trust washing those reusable ones after a nasty virus has spread around lol, but there is recycled plastic straws too 🙂 Good tips, always great to help the planet + budget!

    • Sara

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback, Brit! Virus season definitely comes with many challenges, I just went through it last week with my family. Hope yours is well!

  9. Justine

    Wow, I love this post! We Americans have such a throwaway/disposable consumer culture. In general, we buy a lot and waste a lot (I know I do!). But hopefully things will get better starting with small improvements like these substitutions! I will give them a try!

    • Sara

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post, Justine! Have a great day!

  10. Gramma C

    So many judgy do gooders. Glad you feel good about yourselves doing all these things but stop pointing fingers at those who should do what you do.

  11. markiesluv

    We have been doing these things for a while now and have noticed the savings but more than that knowing we are cutting our waste and teaching our children how to use these types of products so they can help be good stewards too! Thank you so much for this article. If each reader picked just one of these to do think of the impact! Once again Hip2Save goes above and beyond. Thank you is not enough. Love you all!!

    • Sara

      That is such a very sweet comment, markiesluv! We sure appreciate YOU and your feedback, always. Hope you have a fantastic day!

  12. susan b

    Current Martha Stewart Living magazine has a great section on repairing sweaters, socks, shirts and jeans. You can see the repairs but the results are amazing and makes the clothing so unique!

    • Sara

      That’s a great idea too, Susan! Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Olivia

    Wow, I don’t even consider myself to be an environmentalist, but we do not go through NEARLY these amounts of paper towels, foil, plastic wrap, etc. Not even close! I probably go through one roll each of foil and plastic wrap maybe every two or three years? Same with parchment. I do use cloths to wipe off counters and such, and I run in a separate load on the sanitize cycle. We also don’t spend nearly that amount on clothes. I’m too cheap. 😋 What I do have that I absolutely love is a huge set of glass containers to store leftovers. I always try to put anything I can in one of those containers before I reach for a plastic bag or whatever. I’m sure that has helped me cut down on wraps and baggies a ton without me even trying.

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing this with us Olivia! I have some new glass containers on my next shopping list!

  14. hollyp1234

    I bought some more metal straws and bees wax paper today. Thanks! I already use the stretch lids and silicone “zipper” bags as well. Thanks!

    • Sara

      That’s so great to hear! I hope you love your new Earth-friendly products, Holly!

  15. Lara

    Ok. I ordered the Zap cloths and I’m hooked! WOW. WOW!!! I have streaky mirrors and a streaky front glass door but no more. I am so grateful and I can help the environment and my pocketbook in the process. All Great!!! And it also works FABULOUSLY on my stainless steel kitchen appliances (which are a royal pain to keep clean!) and my gas stove. THANK YOU!!!!! 💕

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Woohoo! SO glad to hear how much you are loving the cloths, Lara! You’re most welcome! Thank YOU for the awesome feedback!

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