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How to Save Green on Your Grocery Budget 724 483 Alex Linardi

How to Save Green on Your Grocery Budget

Sometimes when I talk about ‘going green’ I’m met with an eye-roll and a shrug, but the truth is whether you live tiny or not, there are ‘eco-tweaks’ that you can make that will save you money and benefit your well-being, especially when it comes to your grocery shopping. If you like the idea of having more cash in your wallet, read on.

Buy In Bulk: If what you’re picturing is a whole pantry full of paper towels that’s not what I am talking about. I am referring to the bulk aisles that you find in most local health food stores or markets. This can be spices, beans, seeds, nuts, coffee, grains, baking products, etc. Just take an empty glass jar with you and get as much as you’d like. By buying this way, you’re saving money (often these items are 15-30% off when they aren’t pre-packaged), saving the earth from unnecessary packaging, and saving on waste because you are controlling exactly how much you buy. Win, Win, Win.

Drink More: but only from your own reusable bottles. I personally prefer stainless steel. It keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold, plus it’s dishwasher safe which makes me very happy. Plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups take up a huge amount of space in our landfills. We can do better than that. There’s a reusable bottle for every personality out there. A bottle of water at the airport is $5. Bringing your own bottle and filling it up at the water fountain is free. And if you need more incentive in the morning, there are many companies that offer discounts on your coffee if you bring your own bottle (hello Starbucks, Dunkin and Peet’s). If you’re like me and drink A LOT of coffee and water all day long, you could save yourself as much as $1,500. That’s a huge savings, let alone all of the bottles and coffee cups that aren’t going into the landfill.

Shop Local: Depending on where you live, farmer’s markets can be seasonal or year-round. Visit them. Take advantage of them. They aren’t just vegetables; you can find many awesome products there at a fraction of the price. Also, learn from them. The people doing the selling are more than likely the ones that are also doing the growing. Which means those vendors know exactly what they used when growing the food you are about to ingest. Bonus: you can save lots on organics. And even if a product isn’t considered organic, ask. You may learn that they use sustainable practices, but haven’t pursued the certifications yet. Take your own reusable bags & totes and leave knowing that you just saved some cash and unnecessary packaging waste.

Shop Smart & Prep Right: Buy only what you can eat before it goes bad. I am often guilty of having eyes bigger than my stomach, but the truth is that food waste is a huge problem. Americans throw out an average of 40% of their food each year, mostly due to poor planning. Take a list with you. Plan out your week. If you aren’t going to have an opportunity to eat it, don’t buy it. Things will come up, it’s inevitable. An unexpected brunch invite from a friend or a late night at the office could mean ordering in. When that happens, the prep is key. Take 30-minutes when you get home from the farmer’s market to wash, chop and prep everything. This way it’s ready-to-go when the hunger strikes or easy to toss in the freezer for later.

Skip The Brown Bag: But take the lunch. Packing your lunch everyday can sound old-school, but the truth is, it will save you a ton of money, it’s usually healthier and it’s better for the environment. You are in control of what’s on your plate, instead of being at the mercy of whatever restaurant you can get a meal from on your quick lunch break. Plus, when you take your own reusable containers (hello Pyrex and stainless steel bentos) you aren’t dealing with the mess of your food being wrapped in trash. You can save yourself $200 a month just by packing your own lunch.

Tiny Living 101 1024 683 Lexi Long

Tiny Living 101

“What is a tiny house?” is a question that I get asked all of the time. Along with, “Why would someone want to live in one?”. The best debates happen when we are on the road, giving tours, and we get 2 or more people in the house that can talk about the pros and cons of living the tiny house lifestyle. Someone who isn’t familiar with the concept, talking to someone that is well-versed in the lifestyle, can result in a very informative and open discussion. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to witness such a dialogue, so I wanted to address it in our monthly blog.


What
To answer the first question, a tiny house is exactly what the name states. It is a house that is shrunk down substantially from the average 2,600 square foot American home to 200 square feet or less and has the added bonus of being on wheels. There is nothing that is missing from one of our THOWs (Tiny House on Wheels). They all have kitchens with stove tops and refrigerators. They all have bathrooms with showers & toilets. They all have living and sleeping spaces. It’s everything that you would have in a typical home, just on a smaller scale. Living in a tiny house does not mean that you have to skimp on any comforts. You can still have Low-E windows, LED lighting, water conserving faucets, and any other designer finish you want.

Why or Who
The next question, ‘why or who would choose to live in one’, is a bit more difficult to answer. The reasons people have to live tiny, are as different as the individual themselves. At 84 Tiny Living all of our houses are specifically designed and engineered to be built on trailers. This enables the customer to haul their house and place it wherever they would like. This can be especially useful for those that travel often for work and don’t want to stay in hotels, or for those that can work from anywhere and prefer to travel while doing it, or for those that are retired and like to live in different parts of the country during different times of the year. Many individuals embrace the lifestyle for the freedom it offers, whether it be from a mortgage, maintenance, or minimalistic perspective.

I invite you to share your reasons for ‘living tiny’ below! Mine are freedom from clutter and the ability to spend more time doing the things that I enjoy as opposed to maintaining something that I don’t even get to spend that much time in.

Insider Secrets to Creating Space in Your Tiny House 1024 683 Lexi Long

Insider Secrets to Creating Space in Your Tiny House

As someone who works in the tiny house industry, one of the questions that I get the most is, “Where do you put all of your stuff?”. This is the major struggle that most people seem to have with tiny houses (yes, even more than the composting toilet). But with a little ingenuity and creativity, even 154 square feet can feel like a much larger space.

Lose It

We all know that you need less stuff to live in a tiny house, but perhaps you can pare down a little more. I know, I know, you’ve already gotten rid of so much, but hear me out. Items like extra cutlery or cooking tools that you keep around just in case are not necessary. Have you used them in the last three months? Do you have an event happening in the next three months that you will need them for? If your answer is “no,” get rid of them. Not only does this physically clear up space, but the less clutter you see in your house, the more open it will feel.

Multi-Purpose Is Always the Answer

  • In such a small space, almost everything should have more than one use. In 84 Tiny Living houses, we build in as much storage as we can while keeping the structural integrity of the house. For example, the picture below shows how the stairs in our Countryside model also have two areas for storage built into it — one closet and a shelf above it.

  • Beyond the built-in storage features, carefully consider any other furniture you bring in. For example, an ottoman that opens up can be the perfect way to add functional seating and
  • Corner shelves can also be multi-purpose as many of them make cool conversation pieces. They also act as a way to display your items (and keep them off of the floor or countertop).

Make Use of Vertical Space

  • Have wall space? Add a shelf or cabinet. Keep in mind that an open shelf gives the illusion of more space, but if you are someone who travels with your tiny house, a glass cabinet door may be helpful to keep everything in its spot.
  • A DIY ceiling-hanging clothing rack made from a pipe or bamboo dowel rod and some chain or rope is a purposeful and an efficient use of space.
  • Don’t want to mount a TV, but still want the option to watch movies or a show in your tiny house? Buy a white screen that doubles as a blind for your windows and a projector.
  • A ladder in the dead space behind your door makes for a great decorative rack to hang blankets or other items from. Or you can build a vertical shoe rack there that will help you, and your guests, remember to take your shoes off as you enter the house.

Make Room for Essentials

  • A simple mesh holder that hangs from your shower curtain can save space while keeping everything tidy and in one place.
  • Over-the-door racks or interior organizers on your cabinets are great for smaller items that you don’t want to lose in your cupboard.
  • A well-placed mirror always helps; reflective surfaces give the impression of more light in a space.

These are just a few ideas that you can use. Do you have experience living in a tiny space or have other ideas?  Share them with us below!

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