April 4, 2011 in Features

Do Your Part: The green way to slash your grocery bill

Terri Bennett McClatchy
 

We’re all looking for ways to cut down on our bills. Grocery shopping is a necessity, but there are ways to lower your costs each week while lowering your eco-footprint.

Here are my top five ways to do your part for the planet and your pocketbook.

Stock up on green cleaners: When you create a green cleaning kit with baking soda, white vinegar, borax and hydrogen peroxide, you have all you need to clean everything in your home. And, it’s just a fraction of what it’ll cost you to buy store-bought household cleaners.

For instance, a 76-ounce box of Borax can produce 19 gallons of mold and mildew cleaner. You would need more than 150 16-ounce bottles of store-bought cleaners to produce the same amount.

Do the prep work yourself: A few extra minutes in the kitchen really can save you a few bucks each week. For example, if your family eats a lot of chicken, buying it whole or with the skin on will bring immediate savings.

Boneless and skinless chicken breasts cost about $4.99 a pound, compared to around $1.99 with the bone and skin. You could use the savings to buy organic chicken and feel good about serving your family a healthier piece of poultry.

Also, instead of buying fruits and veggies that have been cut and peeled for you, do the work yourself and pay half the price.

Buy in bulk: You know those individually packaged crackers, cookies or other snacks? You’ll probably want to ban them from your home after finding out the true cost of convenience.

Plus, the packaging on those small items is usually tough to recycle. Your best bet is to go big when it makes sense.

My family loves those popular cheese crackers. The big box of them costs $3.79, or 28 cents an ounce. But if you get them in the individual size, it costs 40 cents per ounce,

Instead, put the crackers from the large box into a small, reusable container that your child can bring to school.

Shop in season: Shopping in season for produce is smart for you, your pocketbook and the planet.

When you buy foods at their peak, they aren’t being shipped around the world to arrive at your grocery store. That means they’re usually much more affordable than at other times of the year.

If you’re not sure what’s in season where you live, check out DoYourPart.com/Columns for more information.

Do what Grandma did: When you spot organic fruits and veggies on sale, buy up. Then, you can do what our grandmothers did by preserving them.

Whether you freeze, can, or dehydrate your foods you’ll have the next best thing to fresh, organic produce for a time when you’ll want them and they are no longer in season.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and host of DoYourPart.com, where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to terri@doyourpart.com.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email