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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. Tracy

    Thank you so much for these series that you have been doing over the past weeks – it’s all great information and I will definitely use many of the tips here and in the other posts!

    • Sara

      I’m so glad you found value in this post and so many other Tracy! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

  2. Annie

    LOVE this post!!! I have adopted most of these things and love the better options.

    The only place I still use plastic wrap is for microwave steaming. Are the silicone lids microwavable?

    • Sara

      Yes, they’re heat resistant up to 450 degrees. Hope this helps Annie!

    • animity

      Eek, no plastic in the microwave! It leaches unpleasant things into your food. Steam baskets are super fast and so much healthier.

  3. Anne Kellogg

    Great ideas thank you. Since Save the planet was mentioned…Can I get anybody to take an educated guess on how much Amazon wastes/spends on cardboard shipping boxes sent out to millions? Probably exceeds the minds imagination or a least mine. Thank you H2S for the ideas for me at home though.

    • Sara

      That’s a scary thought, Anne! I wish they could find a better way to ship stuff since ordering from them is so convenient!

    • JD

      You are very right. I try to get a lot of use from them though. Cut down and use for cats to sleep in or play in. Cat owners love to have them. Cut down and use as boot and shoe trays in the entryway. Line your car trunk with them as a protector and they come in handy in snowy weather to place under the back wheels of your car for traction. Got toddlers?-decorate and let them stack, move them around, and sit inside them. Call your local school art teacher. They are in high demand to use as table protectors. Call any organization that moves books and materials between different locations or has a print shop that sends materials through interdepartmental mail. Somewhere someone is moving and would love those boxes reach out through NextDoor, etc. I always keep a few handy to put donation items in. When a box is full it goes to Salvation Army. Cover with contact paper and place on window sills where you have plants. Cut apart and place below and on top of items you are mailing to reduce the amount of bubble wrap used in mailing things. Subzero weather and that window is a little drafty or that door is leaking more air at the bottom than you thought? Cut a strip and it’s a temporary fix.

    • C

      Where I’m at it’s actually ILLEGAL now to throw away cardboard (it has to be recycled)… I can’t believe how green Cali pretends it is when they don’t even have curbside recycling… and here we are in the middle and we have so much recycling- curbside (glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, compost), centers you can go to (which even have a giant pile of free mulch from all the trees the city picks up after storms or Christmas), recycling in school and recycling as part of elementary science, earth day service projects in k-8.. Cali does none of that aside from having centers they can go to, which most ppl don’t.. pretty sad in a state that has such a big impact given the proximity to the ocean and giant population

      • Tina

        I live in California and we have curbside recycling. So do my family members spread around the state.

      • Sara

        I do wish our country would get more on board with educating people on how to properly recycle. Thanks for sharing your info with us C!

  4. lily

    I do a lot of these things already, but the sponge one brings me to the comments. I currently use microfiber dishcloths to clean my dishes. But when I get something I need to scrub I am guilty of using a scrub sponge(the one without the soft side). I’ve tried that exact brush in the picture and it’s not stiff enough and I never use it. I’ve tried multiple scrub brushes and I haven’t had luck. My mom had a great one when I was a little girl (dishes were my chore). But that was in the 90’s and you just can’t find the same things anymore. I soak dishes. I put water and dish soap in them and put them on the stove. I’ve tried a lot of things. So, anyone have a really good scrub brush to share? I’d love to replace my scrub sponge.

    • njustice

      I scrape out anything I can, let it soak with hot water for a minute, rinse and put a good amount of baking soda in it (so that its more of a powder than paste) and scrub it with a dishcloth or paper towel. Rinse and dry. Or in my case put it in the dishwasher after because I’m a germaphobe.

    • Mel

      Save the bags your onions come in. They have amazing scrubbing power, just cut off the metal parts before using!

    • JuJu

      IKEA sells a dish brush (I think it costs $1 or $1.50) that NEVER wears out and rinses clean easily. It is dishwasher safe. I’ve had mine for over 5 years and the bristles still look brand new.

      • rebeccahessingmacdonald

        I was going to mention the IKEA brush too. I’ve had mine for years and just put it in the dishwasher whenever it gets gross.

      • Sara

        That’s wonderful to read, JuJu! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen

      A great trick I just recently learned is if you have stuff stuck on our pots, put enough water to cover the bottom and bring to a boil. Then once boiling add some baking soda to cover the bottom in a thin layer and continue simmering down while it foams and lifts the food and the rest can be wiped off!

      • Sara

        Such a great tip, Jen. Thanks for sharing!

    • animity

      Microwave sponges for two minutes to sanitize them.

  5. Joyce

    I put kitchen sponge in dishwasher every time I run it to sanitize sponge.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the helpful tip, Joyce!

    • JES

      Thanks for the tip, my husband is the worlds worst about not ringing out a sponge. Maybe I can get him to remember to put it in the dishwasher.

      • KellZoll

        You can clean a sponge with soapy water, ring out and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes too. My husband does this a lot. Do not touch it right away. Let it cool.

        • Clippy

          The microwave will kill off the weak bacteria and leave the disease causing bacteria on the sponge. Then it is free to multiply making it even more hazardous to your health.
          This is truth. The recent studies warn against using microwaves to sanitize.
          I use my instant pot to sterilize my microfiber cloths. it’s the only way to raise the temperatures above boiling which is required to completely sanitized.

  6. Impactbrianna

    Any tips on alternatives to aluminum foil when grilling? My husband likes to cook ribs on his grill or smoker and I don’t think silicone baking mats would work as an alternative in this situation.

    • Staci

      We havent tried them yet but my husband was given some non-stick grill liners for Christmas.

    • kelli gol

      We use grilling mats (lots of options on Amazon). They are washable, withstand high heat and typically last about a year before needing replacement. We’re in the south and grill year round 🙂

  7. Jackie

    I do a lot of these thing but some of them I struggle with. We. Ever go to the store without reusable bags👍. We have the metal straws but I waste so much water when it’s time to clean them! Plus you also need to purchase the little brushes. We have wash rags but you have to constantly wash them with your laundry and sometimes you just have to replace them because they smell. I try to get the one that you can bleach but they are expensive. Yes paper towels are also expensive with time but I feel like I have to replace my rags also. Paper towels will disintegrate the rags will not. I’m trying to help the environment and my pocket but sometimes it doesn’t add up to me 🤷‍♀️.

    • Jill L.

      I just throw in some vinegar with my wash rags when they smell mildewy and it works like a charm! Rags actually do break down (in compost) but it does take awhile! I absolutely LOVE having mostly eliminated paper towels by simply using bar rags! I still have paper towels for the occasional need (like cleaning up cat puke – I can’t bring myself to do that with a reusable rag 🤮) but very rarely need them! Next up I’d like to switch to cloth napkins but I’m not sure it really helps the environment since you still have to wash them??

      • Annie

        Agree on the extra yuck cleanups. I still use paper towels if I need to clean up chicken juice because I just can’t get over the thought of using a reusable cloth for it. Other than that I absolutely love using wash cloths, dish cloths, or bamboo cloths instead of paper towels.

        • Jackie

          Thank you for all the replies. It makes me feel better that I’m not alone here 😊. Yes, I agree 100% with the paper towels and using it to clean disgusting messes. I buy the Brawny (tear a square) it comes not only with the select a size (1 sheet cut in half to make 2) but it also comes in 1/4 sizes. They cut one sheet into 4. It seams to last longer like this and I don’t feel so guilty when I use it 😉.

          • Maher Nicole Saegh

            Ditto… I use about two rolls of paper towels per year. Sometimes you just need one! Otherwise, I’ve been using the same cloths for over a decade. Got them at Menards (like home depot) in the carwash section. Sometimes when the cloths get smelly, I wash them with no detergent in super hot water a couple of times to get the “detergent build up” off of them, which causes other things to stick to the fibers and is generally behind the stink. Vinegar or bleach are great too..

            Sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing because we can’t succeed 100% of the time! Pick and choose when to use cloth knowing that any time you reduce waste it’s a win. Cat puke = paper towel… bacon in the microwave = paper towel… 😉

    • Lora

      Yeah I feel the same way about some of these swaps where you have to wash the items so then you’re still using natural resources. I guess try to find a balance of what makes sense and works for you.

      • Annie

        I see your point, but many of the single use items take more natural resources to produce then washing several times and you also aren’t then putting them immediately into the landfill. I agree that balance is key though and one of the biggest mindset shifts for me was thinking small. It doesn’t have to be grandiose and all or nothing to make a difference.

    • Nastia

      You can put straw in the dishwasher. Try Swedish dishcloths, these are somewhere in between a dish cloth and paper towel. You use them for a while, they don’t smell and you can throw them into dishwasher.
      I use them to reduce paper towel use, but I couldn’t completely stop using paper towels. (yet)

  8. Gunbunny135

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve made a lot of zero waste changes recently and I’ve found that mason jars are amazing for storing everything.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Oh cool! You’re SO welcome! Thanks for letting us know that mason jars have been so useful!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How cool! Thanks for the suggestion, Elaine!

  9. ndavis1988

    Great post! I’m always looking for ways to reduce waste. I bring reusable bags half the time while shopping, but with the plastic bags we do get, we use for trash. I’ve actually never purchased trash bags, since we recycle enough that what we do throw away is small enough to use grocery bags. To reduce food waste, we freeze a lot of stuff. I was using a lot of plastic storage bags, but recently started putting things like berries in glass containers (instead of recycling the container, refusing it) and it’s working well so far. Love all the tips!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      That’s wonderful to hear! Thank YOU for the feedback! Good to know how you have been able to have less waste.

  10. Jill L.

    THANK YOU for this post – I’ve been wanting to try particularly the beeswax paper but I worry that I’ll spend all the money and will hate it…I think I’ll take the plunge today!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome! Hope you love it!

    • Sara

      I’m glad I could make such a great recommendation for you Jill and hope that you love your beeswax wraps! I really love ours and can’t imagine ever going back to baggies!

  11. patricialavenz-goff

    Thank you. I am already doing most of them. I have never bought straws. We don’t use them. I don’t buy water, we use the tap. We don’t even use re-useable water bottles. We use cups and glasses or old Tupperware cups with lids when we travel. Our coffee mugs fit perfectly in the truck cup holders. At work I use my green anchor-hocking charm cup and saucer (and plate when we have food at work). I can’t remember the last time I bought paper plates or plastic utensils. I buy a lot of vintage things at thrift shops and I use them daily. I have some beautiful hand painted creamer and sugar sets at work on my desk to hold paper clips and other items. They are beautiful and useful.

    • Sara

      I love your tips, thanks so much for sharing, patricialavenz-goff!

  12. amanda

    We switched to E-cloths for cleaning a little over a year ago and now it takes us 2-3 weeks to use a single roll of paper towels— we are saving so much money on paper towels and spray cleaner alone! They also have GREAT reusable sponges that you can just toss in your washer so we save money on sponges as well.

    • Sara

      That is so great to hear, Amanda. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Annieg1979

    I truly appreciate you posting this! I have been a little hesitant to use your site these past few months because everything you post is for products that are so wasteful. It seems like everything lately is for single use items shipped directly to your house. Climate change is real! I know I’m not prefect by any means, believe me, but it took me reading articles and watching documentaries to really open my eyes to the terrible things we have done to our planet. Imagine the amount of money we could save by not buying something you are going to throw away! We don’t need individual bags of chips, juice pouches, styrofoam plates, paper towels etc.

    • Sara

      Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts with us, Annieg1979! It means a lot of us and we value your opinion!

  14. ep

    Can anyone comment on how roasted vegetables turn out using silicone mats? We roast almost daily & go through so much parchment paper. I would love something reusable but also don’t want mushy veggies. Thanks!

    • C

      I roast my veggies right on a baking sheet.

    • Annieg1979

      I roast a ton of veggies with my mat! Come out great and you don’t need a lot of oil.

    • Jackie

      Two words word…air fryer. I use it and they turn out perfect and they roast faster. Use the basket that comes with it for less mess and zero waste

      • Anne

        My mom got me an air fryer tray for the oven – it’s copper and it’s pretty much a basket on a baking sheet. It’s great for veggies and waste free!

    • AuntT

      Silicone baking sheets work equally as effective as parchment paper for roasting vegetables! I love my Amazon Basics set I have. They wash easily in the dishwasher also 😉

    • nita

      You can just use great sheet pans for roasting..small, medium or large..Durapans from Curtis Stone are great! Nothing sticks.

  15. Cristine

    Instead of the beeswax paper, we switched to these sandwich containers: They can be washed and reused and keep the sandwich or crackers or whatever from getting crushed. I have not bought ziplocs in about a year!
    I only use plastic baggies for freezing meat that I buy in big portions (since the grocery store wrapping is also plastic).
    Looking to try the silicone mats to get rid of foil. I will check it out!

    • amanda

      YES! These Sistema sandwich containers are THE BEST. You can find them at places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx too!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing the containers you have been using, Cristine!

  16. Em C

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but how do you use silicone mats in place of aluminum foil? Do you just flop them over the dish? How do you make sure they don’t slide off? And is there a way to keep them from touching the food, the way foil can be tented?

    • Kathleen

      The silicone mats go under the food in place of lining your pan on the bottom with foil or parchment paper

    • Rebecca

      They’re talking about using foil to line a tray, not cover food. I thought that too. The only thing I see on here to cover food would be the stretchy lids, which wouldn’t work for a lot of foil uses, imo.

      • Em C

        Oh, OK. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually put aluminum foil *under* the food, just over it.

    • Erika maxwell

      Use a cookie sheet for covering your baking pans in the oven.

      • Susan

        Thanks for this tip!

    • MommySpendsLess

      Em, I figured out what they meant but I agree that silicone mats don’t really replace any of my aluminum foil uses. When I line a pan with foil it’s so I don’t have to clean off baked on food or bacon grease off my pan. It seems like I’d be replacing scrubbing the pan with scrubbing the mat.
      I may try using them instead of parchment paper IF they do a good job of preventing sticking.
      I typically put away left overs in plastic or glass containers with lids but sometimes I use foil or plastic wrap for oddly shaped items that I want to snugly wrap in hopes of keeping them from drying out.

  17. klemetson101

    Loooooove that you posted this! Thank you! Gave me some great ideas and simple things to switch out!🙌🏻

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Yay! SO glad this was helpful! You’re most welcome!

  18. tipaye

    Great post—thank you!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome! Glad you enjoyed this list!

  19. chenga57

    Anyone have suggestions on what to do with the wasteful items in the home? For example, I recently purchased metal straws but we still have a small box of plastic straws. I want to move towards washable cloths and wool balls but I still have paper towels and dryer sheets. Are people donating these items? I don’t want to throw them away because that would be even more wasteful!

    • Rebecca

      Paper towels you could probably donate to any shelter. Personally if I already had bought the item, I would just use it before switching over. Maybe keep the paper towels for messes that arise(pets or kids), keep them & straws in your car or use on vacation etc. Dryer sheets….if they are scented, you can stick them in drawers, gym bags etc if you really don’t want to use them.

    • JD

      Paper towels are at the top of the list for animal shelters. Hang onto the straws for times when family members are down with the flu and you dont want to share germs.

  20. Rebecca

    As others have said, you have to weigh the costs of maintaining some of these items as well. A lot of them aren’t cheap either, and looking at replacing some of them fairly regularly (yearly at least) is another concern.

  21. countrygal

    Love the ideas. Anyone needs a good brush for dishes, I got a Dawn brush, its very stiff. I use one for dishes, etc. and one for cleaning the bird bath and brushing off firewood, yep, its a stiff brush. I bought it at Dollar General but I’m sure other stores carry it. If it works on brushing off firewood it’ll work on anything, lol. I found some plastic bowl covers in RiteAid a few weeks ago, I remember using these when I grew up, yep, I’m a dinasaur, lol. You just wash and reuse. But these silicone lids sound interesting, I’ll be checking into those.

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for your feedback, countrygal!

  22. JD

    Highly recommend using Lysol laundry sanitizer on kitchen cleaning cloths, towels, etc. Regular wash leaves a lot of germs behind, vinegar helps because it has antibacterial properties but may not be good for your washing machine or get it all. Save money on cloths by cutting up old cotton undershirts—lint free for cleaning windows. The very best for getting streak free windows is newspaper which is what everyone used when I was growing up in the dark ages. Definitely clothes are a huge problem. If you have professional clothes you are no longer using and in good condition find a local organization that can use them. Colleges often have “interview closets” for needy students. The one I donate to takes shoes. I love thrift shops but I would say put anything you buy in sealable plastic bags before you put in your car and take straight to the washing machine and wash in hot water and dry on high heat—I know that ruins a lot of fabrics but bedbugs and their eggs are rampant. And yes people are inconsiderate enough to share. Thank you so much for a great article. I’m going to try some of these products.

  23. pjane

    Use saucers/plates to cover bowls that go yo fridge. Forget the stretchy plastic thingies.

    • countrygal

      I forgot, I do this too. It works for many foods. This is nice, we’re all helping one another with some great ideas.

  24. Keelia

    So many easy changes! We love using metal straws at home, keeps my drink colder and it has helped me to stop chewing on my straw (win win!)
    Hydroflasks! We all have one and they are the only water bottles that have lasted in our house. No leaks, take a beating from getting dropped by me and the kids. We got the kids their own(seems expenseive) but they have lasted 3 years and counting and still look brand new!
    Wool dryer balls are amazing and help my clothes dry so much faster too.
    Our reusable bags fit more than the plastic ones and I just wash them every couple weeks to keep them clean. Plus I get cash back when I use them.
    We switched to glass storage containers a couple years ago and they are amazing. Never broke or chipped or stained. We had to switch out plastic every year or so because of how gross they would get.
    I sell my clothes I don’t wear anymore and started buying 2nd hand when I can with the credit I have.
    For anyone wondering about bags in the bathroom trash cans, we go around the house and just dump all the small trash cans into one large bag and still use the little ones as liners.

    Easy peasy!

    • EH

      Please reconsider using metals straws! I almost busted my front teeth out when I was bumped while drinking. Just wanted to save your smiles! :0)

      • Gramma C

        Yes! Hate metal straws. Dangerous, especially with small children.

      • Angie

        They sell stainless straws with rubber tips, if that helps.

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for your awesome feedback, Keelia. It sounds like your household is really helping save the planet!

  25. Amy

    Imagine how much people would save if they quit smoking, drinking alcohol, and oh my that special special starbucks.

    • Angie

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t do any of these 3 things—ever—so I feel better since I am not exactly winning on the other things. 😀

  26. Sarah

    I found some silicone scrubbers on amazon a few years ago to use for dishes. The bonus is that they can be thrown in the dishwasher and are good as new. They also work as trivets for items that are hot from the oven or stove. I love them.

    • Sara

      Awesome, this is good to know. Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah!

  27. Lana

    We have done most of these things for decades. We use cloth napkins daily too. Looks like we have saved a ton of money. It all adds up. We are retired and totally debt free including a vacation house.

    • Anne

      I love using cloth napkins because it makes me feel fancy. 🙂 Plus, it saves money and it’s more eco friendly. Those usually go hand-in-hand!

    • Sara

      Wow, that is so amazing, Lana! Good for you!

  28. Rebecca

    I realize I’m already frugal & don’t even use some of these items…but for the ones I do, these figures are waaayyyy overblown. Who really spends that much on clothes, foil etc??? For a family of 4, I would guess we spend way less than $400 A YEAR on clothes, much less in a single month. Sounds like most people’s problems go way beyond just using eco friendly options.

    • Jess

      That’s impressive if you can keep your clothing budget down to $400 a year! You could teach me a trick or two. We have 4 little ones who are constantly growing out of shoes and clothes, even though most of our clothes are hand-me-downs we spend a little over $100/month for our family’s clothing. Any tips to keeping your costs down so low?

      • PH

        What worked for me was shopping local consignment sales…and I also bought frequently from The Children’s Place—-they usually have reasonable sales & clearance items.

      • animity

        Wow, a $100 a month! When you go to buy something force yourself to really think about the need vs. the want. My kids literally wear the same clothes over and over again. No matter how many clothes they have even if I rotate the drawer and closets they will seek out the same shirts and pants. They have church shoes, tennis shoes and snow boots for the winter. Don’t go overboard with their clothes. I think we tend to overspend for them because WE want them to have the clothing item more than they do. Also, challenge yourself not to buy anything new for them for a whole year, the exception being shoes. You’d be surprised and what you overspent on and what they truly don’t need.

  29. Ginger Veith

    In all seriousness- do people really spend $600 per year on foil? A container lasts me 8-9 months. I’m so out of it. Lol

    • Erin

      Nice! I always tried to limit my use of disposable items but I use more foil lately because I cook from scratch quite a bit and I am so tired of doing all the related dishes, though I do try to reuse the foil somewhat (yesterday I roasted veggies then broiled wings on it afterward). 🙂 I probably go through a smaller roll (35 ft?) every couple months but I’m not spending $600. I guess it’s possible, though! Who knows what people are using it for. Not long ago, one of the tips (albeit antithetical to the ones in this post) was cling wrapping toddlers to keep their clothes clean, but I suppose that saves on detergent. . . . 😮

    • rebeccahessingmacdonald

      I have had the same box of plastic wrap for at least two years and I probably buy foil once a year. We use pyrex bowls with lids for leftovers (they are great in the microwave for reheating). I have even bought replacement lids for them on Amazon after they cracked from too many washes in the dishwasher). I really don’t like metal straws. I use the plastic ones that come with the insulated tumblers. If the tumbler gets broken, I save the straw to use with other cups. They don’t have a bend in them and wash perfectly in the dishwasher (I just put them in with the silverware).

  30. jen

    Love this post!

    Cloth-eez two sided baby wipes are made for cloth diapering, but make awesome cleaning cloths. They are smaller than a regular washcloth, but thicker, and I generally use them for wiping down things that don’t need heavy duty scrubbing. Then just wash them with the rest of the towels.

    They aren’t cheap, but in my experience they are durable.

  31. Jennifer

    What are alternatives to wool dryer balls? I know some people in my family cannot use wool (causes allergic reaction on the skin if any is on or made of wool clothing).

    • cheri

      I am allergic to wool but the balls don’t bother me when I use them in the dryer. Are you sure they would have a reaction? (Not arguing, just not sure)

    • rhoda

      The dryer balls I use are made of silicone (I believe), maybe plastic. They have dull “spikes” that help separate the clothes. I bought mine at Ross Dress for Less but they have them at Target, Walmart, Home Depot, etc.

    • BJ

      They have alpaca ones also.

  32. cheri

    Ladies. You know when you see women with the lines all around their mouths? The number one culprit that causes these mouth wrinkles is smoking. The second worst offender? Straws. Think of how your mouths look when you’re using a straw, that’s all those lines! Try ditching them all together for a younger looking pucker!

    • Ash

      Either fine lines around your lips or coffee stained teeth!

  33. Beth P

    And one of those dome thingys for the microwave to prevent splatters. i haven’t bought wax paper in years.

  34. SusanAlyssaTurner

    That’s a lot of aluminum foil! A package a month? I buy the Costco one and it lasts like 4 years! But thanks for all of the ideas! You guys are such hard workers. I really appreciate all you do. ❤️❤️❤️Hip2Save!

    • Clippy

      I agree, I do use aluminum foil very sparingly as well. But I am always shocked at how cooking shows, internet food related posts use foil. I cringe when I see how much foil is used without any thought what’s going to happen to that foil.

  35. Shelly D

    Great ideas! It’s not too late to make these big changes! Our children shouldn’t suffer for our choices.

  36. Amber

    Does anyone have any ideas of how to reduce my antibacterial wipe obsession? I know the controversy around antibacterial stuff but I’m a germaphobe and don’t care 🤣. Any all natural solutions etc that would do the job and save money? Thanks!

    • Anne

      Lemon and vinegar! They both have natural antibacterial properties, and I find that wiping down my counters with vinegar just makes them *smell* clean.

    • Lana

      I keep a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my kitchen. Spray and wipe with my dishcloth.

    • JD

      I was trying to remember the correct proportions of things because that is crucial in the kitchen. This link is from a cooperative extension unit so it’s good information. I’m going to print out parts of it.
      Also Clorox makes a daily sanitizer that I used when I worked as a school librarian. 200 to 300 kids through daily so at the end of the day I would clean the tables, counters, door knobs with it. Please read the labels of everything you use to sanitize. Most need to be left on for minutes to actually sanitize not just spray and wipe.

    • Janell

      Norwex cloths will solve the problem of not using antibacterial wipes. Much better option that can be used over and over and very effective!

      • Michele B.

        Yes to Norwex!

  37. Kelly T

    I know this may be a tough transition for some people, but I switched to the menstrual cup and washable flannel panty liners about 7 years ago and it was the absolutely best decision I have ever made. I was really skeptical and thought it would be terrible, but there are so many benefits. One is the money saved on pads and tampons and two is not having a stinky trash can. Plus sides without going into too much detail is that I used to have recurring UTis and Yeast infections. I haven’t had one since I made the switch, which has been awesome. There are several other health benefits since the bleach in tampons is so bad for you, plus the risk of TSS. I say with the price points on cups availble, it is worth trying to see if you can make the transition.

    • BJ

      Reusable pads are awesome. No more leaks. I can’t use the menstrual cup, short arms, but I only use a tampon if I’m going swimming.

      • chenga57

        BJ, I was looking into reusable pads. Any recommendations? What do you do when you’re out and about?

    • Erin

      I want to try the cup but I’m so well stocked on tampons from the days when they were near free that I suspect I’ll hit menopause first! 🤣

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing this great information, Kelly!

  38. lenin1991

    When aluminum foil is clean, it’s highly recycleable.

    There’s no evidence dryer balls actually do anything other than make noise bouncing around. See for example the experiment “Popular Mechanics” did.

    • KellZoll

      I don’t notice any big difference with wool dryer balls, but since I bought them I use them anyway.

  39. mlj211

    Awesome post! Most of these things I do already but I’m going to try the silicone lids. I occasionally use press and seal wrap and this would be a great way to replace that.

  40. Sharon O.

    I found my silicone mats get all sticky and I can’t get them unsticky.
    What’s the difference between the French press and the pour over brewer?

    • Gigi

      My husband switched from a french press to a pour over. Pour over does single serve and is easier to clean.

    • Sara

      Hey Sharon! That’s a great question! French press coffee grounds come into contact with your final brewed coffee and tend to be a stronger cup. Whereas the pour-over method drips into your canister and coffee ground do not ever come into contact with your final brewed cup. Flavors can vary as well depending on water temperature, amount of grounds used, etc. It’s truly a science if you love a great cup of Joe. 😊

  41. Sharon O.

    My silicone mats get all sticky and don’t get clean.

    • Erin

      Soak in warm water and vinegar for a little while then scrub with a little baking soda to remove residue

    • AuntT

      Don’t use cooking spray on them and that will help! Once you use the vinegar and baking soda to get them un-sticky, see if that helps.

    • Sara

      I’m sorry to hear that, Sharon, have you put in the dishwasher? I have not experienced any stickiness with mine.

  42. Katesy

    LOVE this post! Another great way to save money and help the environment: Go meatless for as many meals as you can!

  43. kelly

    I think it would be amazing to also share ecosia which is a web browser that uses 100% of profits to plant trees! And please compost your organic matter!

    • Sara

      Wow, that’s so interesting! Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

  44. Elisha

    Great post, thanks! But, word to the wise, it is super easy to chip your front teeth on the metal straws. (And that will cost you some serious money) Silicone might be a better option. 🙂

  45. rshebester

    Amazing post! Plastic is so bad for our environment. Let’s save our planet for our babies, our babies babies, etc….

  46. EH

    Please reconsider using metal straws! I almost lost my front teeth when I was bumped while drinking from them. Just wanted to save your smiles! :0)

  47. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    We use Stashers silicone zip-style bags instead of smaller Ziploc bags. Also, we live the Greenpaxx straws. They’re silicone, so you won’t impale yourself with them. They also come apart and are wide enough to get really clean in the dishwasher. Love them!! Totally agree with the menstrual cup as well as Thinx underwear, too!

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for sharing, SuzyHomemakerGoneBad! I just heard about those Stasher cups as well and would love to try them out!

  48. Dani Lewis

    Lifehacker likes the silicone mats but also warns “They don’t, however, provide a good surface for browning, so if you’re looking to make cookies with crisp, browned bottoms, parchment is the better choice.”

  49. Sarah

    Thank you all for so many holier than thou comments

    • Ap927


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