Families are increasingly examining the way they spend their money and how they can green their lifestyle. Simple changes like using cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers go a long way toward saving money and the planet–two of this generation’s biggest concerns!
Here are five simple tips to help parents save both cash and the planet in these challenging economic times.
- Switch to cloth diapers. Kids use an average of eight diapers a day until they are potty-trained. At this rate, most children will go through more than 7,000 diapers throughout childhood – diapers that usually sit in landfills for years! Smart, eco-responsible parents can switch to modern cloth diapers and spend less than $750 from birth to potty training – compared to $60 – $100 a month on disposable diapers.
- Breastfeed or make your own baby food. If mothers are able to breastfeed, they can save thousands of dollars! A newborn baby can consume nearly $3,200 in baby formula in a year. Furthermore, all moms and dads can save by making their own baby food. A pound of fresh carrots is only 89 cents, whereas a couple jars of carrot baby food sell for around $3. In addition to saving money, parents can eliminate the waste of the baby food jars by using reusable Baby Cubes.
- Pack lunches. According to the U.S. Dept of Education, the average family of four with two kids in school discards at least 880 disposable drink containers and lunch sacks, and up to 2,640 plastic baggies per year. At 50 cents each, the water bottles alone cost parents $400 a year. Imagine the money saved and the environmental impact of using reusable lunch sacks, water bottles, bamboo utensils and sandwich wrappers instead.
- Host toy/clothing swaps. According to Morris, a great way for parents to avoid paying the high prices of retail clothing and toys is to organize a clothing or toy swap with other local parents and neighbors. In addition to the social benefits of bringing everyone together, the swaps provide a low-cost alternative to outfitting families and keeping up with their growing needs.
- Save on gas and electricity. Plan family activities that eliminate the need for gas and electricity. Turn off the TV, Blackberry, computer and iPod for a couple hours, and play a game, go on a bike ride or check out books at the local library. Parents should explain to kids why it’s better to don a sweater on a cold evening, turn off lights when they’re not in use or wait until the dishwasher is full to start it to get their kids thinking green from an early age.