The 5 R’s of Not Wasting (MONEY)

Exactly two months ago today I stumbled across the fascinating world of No Waste.

It hit me at the perfect stage when my brain was open and ready for more knowledge, and my desire for minimalism was ready to be pushed into overdrive. So on an emotional high I vowed to never throw anything away again this year! WOW!

Okay, not really, haha – that was a lie – but I did swear to pay attention to my trash more and stop being such an asshat to the environment ;) And so far we’re doing pretty decently! I’m even a composter now – what??!

But it all started with Bea and her 5 R’s of No Wasting, of which I have adopted as my own personal set of No Wasting MONEY. Because as much as I love helping Mother Earth, I have to be honest and say I love how it affects my mindset and wealth building even more. The wins go all around with this lifestyle.

Here is my adapted set of R’s:

  1. Refuse stuff you don’t need — The less you bring into your home, the less you’re spending! Even when the stuff comes for free (remember – clutter is clutter).
  2. Reduce stuff you don’t need — Less house, less car, less stuff = faster retirement! This goes for *information* consumption too. No need to be subscribed to every last news channel or social media update, not to mention stores or coupons or even every finance site (*gasp*).
  3. Reuse what’s not broken — Old TV, iPhone, Gameboy? Keep rocking it ’til it dies!
  4. Reshare/Resell what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse — Done with your clothes, records, awesome money books? Pass them on to others to enjoy! :) “When you’re holding stuff you don’t need, you’re keeping them from other people. You’re keeping them from being useful to other people.” – one of my favorite lines from Bea. My new favorite person if you haven’t caught on yet.
  5. And lastly, don’t Rot your financial future! (See what I did there?) — Any time you’re spending more than you have, you’re turning your cold hard cash into cold hard dirt. And you’re not having that much fun in the process. Stop composting all that beautiful cash and start building a savings garden instead! Get those money trees growing!

I’m telling you, this whole No Waste thing really changes your outlook… it’s no wonder Bea’s family has cut their expenses down by 40% with this lifestyle – it keeps you so conscious of your actions!

I don’t have any grand illusions that I’ll be as hardcore as she is w/ waste (her family of 4 literally produces one single mason jar worth of trash in A YEAR!!), but I’m much better for having re-assessed things. You really do have to check out her blog – it’s empowering: And again, you don’t have to be a Rah Rah Save-The-Environment-Type person either to appreciate it.

Anyways, here’s how my experimenting has gone so far…

Refusing Stuff: B+. It should be an A+, but I’m having a hard time saying no to gifts and items people (*ahem* my mother) bring me that I normally would have accepted. They’re just so sweet and thoughtful that whenever I politely try to decline I can’t help but feel like I’m offending them! It’s hard to explain such a downsizing effort when most people are doing the complete opposite. And God forbid I say it’s one of the first R’s of “No Waste” Haha…

Reusing Stuff: C. This one’s been a bit harder than the rest, but we’re getting better thanks to kids and their love for art projects :) We’ve started incorporating a lot of the junk mail, as well as old newspapers, magazines, and even corporate stickers I get randomly from $$$ companies that I didn’t refuse, haha… Here’s the latest artwork from my 3 y/o:

payoff acorns artwork

(Payoff and Acorns appreciated this as it got passed around Twitter :))

Recycling Stuff. A. We’ve donated over 7 boxes of stuff in the past two months – more than in the past two years! – and we’re also in the process of giving y’all a ton of great money books. With more to come on Friday :) Our recycling efforts have doubled as well, by simply taking an extra second before chucking stuff directly into the trash. It’s amazing what we throw away out of pure laziness!

Rotting/Composting: A+. We’re doing great here too! I now put all scraps and leftovers we’re not eating into my little jar beneath the sink, and then once a week take it all to the composting bin and give it an ol’ spin or two. And slowly but surely the nasty food is becoming not-so-nasty dirt :) I have a growing infestation of worms going on inside the bin now (they’re the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen), but baby steps on getting all the levels right inside of that thing for the perfect compost… I was under the impression you just left it alone and magical dirt spilled out, haha… oops.

Paper Towel Swapping: C. I picked up this batch of microfiber towels to replace all the paper towels we use in the house, but sadly the habit just hasn’t caught on yet. But I give myself a couple grades above failing for a) buying them in the first place (can’t use what you don’t have! haha….) and b) because on the days I actually try hard I absolutely kill it :) I just need to find a better system or have better patience or both.

Milk Substituting: A+/F+ Last we chatted I had started buying gallons of milk from our local butcher since they came in glass jars which they’d then recycle and use again for future milks. But after paying DOUBLE for an entire month (no exaggeration – we were paying $8.00 a gallon!) my wallet just couldn’t take it any longer. Even though the milk did seem to taste better and feel healthier too. It’s also nice not having to make an extra trip each week since we still shop at regular ol’ grocery stores (another area we’ve failed at because it seems we don’t have many options that’s super close by).

All other changes I’ve made: F. Because I haven’t made any other changes – yet ;) Those three alone were more than enough to handle at the same time, so now that I’ve gotten the composting on lock and I’m at least making progress w/ the microfiber towels, I’d like to start trying other areas of this lifestyle… Perhaps making some of the things I use regularly from scratch, which Bea says is super easy to do. Like making mustard and even lip balm! Can you imagine never having to pay for Chapstick again??? That’s what, at least $100,000 a year saved, jeesh…

All this to say that the mission continues on, and every week it seems like I’m learning something new. I’ve been failing too along the way as you see, but hey – at least it means I’M DOING SOMETHING right? Which should make up for the previous 34 years of hardly paying attention :(

So remember: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Reshare, and don’t Rot your financial future.

Go ahead and print that line off now and stick it to your computer. You can thank me and Bea later when you’re rolling in trash-free millions :)

PS: Here’s the original post we did on this stuff – it’s worth a read! The Zero Waste Lifestyle

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  1. Chris Muller October 7, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    Awesome! I love your point about ‘at least you’re doing something’ – that’s more than most of us can say I’m sure. Reducing waste is tough. One thing we really struggle with is paper towels – we blow through those puppies like it’s nobody’s business. It’s so bad. I have tried kitchen towels but they just seem to get gross and then I end up washing them super frequently which just wastes water and detergent. Still trying to figure this one out.

    The other point you make (from Bea) is that by not donating stuff, we’re keeping it from other people. I never thought of it that way. It does change your perspective on letting go of clutter. Someone else could really get value out of it.

    Nice update sir, and keep at it!

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      Yeah dude – I literally think about that Bea quote at LEAST once a day, no joke. Every time I see something in my house I pretty much ask myself if someone else could use it more than me – it’s bad! Haha… and driving my wife crazy ;)

      (I share the same struggles with the dirty nasty kitchen towels too. I bought like 12 of them in a package and now try to use like 3-4 a day (when I’m on point) and it helps having more and being okay with them getting so dirty. But you’re right – it then just means more water/electricity/detergent so it’s a diff set of evils… though I guess less of one comparatively?)

      1. One Broke B October 7, 2015 at 10:32 AM

        I compost the paper towels. So, that still counts right?

    2. Beck October 13, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      The thing that works for me is using sponges instead of paper towels OR microfiber cloths. I tried to use microfiber and it was just gross, they’re hard to wash and I felt gross using a clean cloth to wipe up nasty stuff. But with sponges, you can have a dedicated gross sponge for the floor or other areas like that and a basic cleaning sponge for countertops and such. Easy to clean and soaks up wet messes.

    3. Donna Wallerstein October 15, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      We are trying so hard to reduce our waste, too! The best substitute for paper towels that I’ve found is a stack of cloth diapers. The material is super absorbent :) and I keep a stack in a kitchen drawer. Once they are used, I throw them directly into the washing machine to go through the next time I do laundry. We’ve been paper towel free for about 2 months now.

  2. Slackerjo October 7, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    The microfiber cloths are nice (we use them at work) but I just chop up old t-shirts, pillow cases, pj’s, anything that is not fleece or denim and turn them into cleaning rags. Great for spills and scrubbing. Old socks are great for dusting. I have a pile of about 200 rags that I use and then I wash them separately (it’s cool outside now so they sit on the balcony to avoid any stink) and they are ready to go. I could say it’s the whole old ‘reuse’ thing which it is, but my inner cheapiness screams ‘hey dumbass, a paper towel is a one time thing, a rag lasts for years.’

    Of course your delightful angel children would never destroy clothing so I bet you have no old clothes around to chop up :-)

    Good job with the composting!

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:24 AM

      Haha…. thanks friend ;)

  3. Thias @It Pays Dividends October 7, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Going up on the wall right now!

    We have been doing the reshare thing right now. I have a big box of items put together that I just need to stop being lazy and drop off as a donation. It is amazing, when you start going through things, how much stuff you keep that you don’t realize. I feel like we don’t purchase a lot of physical items but I am proving myself wrong (or we are just terrible at getting rid of things so it just piles up).

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:47 AM

      Yup! At some point though – at least in theory – you’ll get down to the bare minimum of what you want to keep. Then – also in theory – you don’t need to declutter ever again! :)

  4. Brian @ Debt Discipline October 7, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Power towels are my weakness too. Just so dam convenient. We are trying to use washable towels more often. We resharing clothes, especially kids clothes. They grow out of them so fast. We have a few families with younger kids that we donate to and a few with older kids that share with us.

  5. Tara October 7, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    I’m bad at wasting paper towels too. Our family definitely needs to work on that. It’s just when I drop an egg on the floor, I don’t always want to use a towel. But I can! It’s what people used for years before paper towel. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I’m a little hesitant to believe in the trash collection of the family like you mention. I remember one anti-trash fanatic said she avoided trash on produce by purposely picking the fruit without stickers (or taking the stickers off the items) which as someone who worked at a grocery store is really annoying to ring up. I remember another was a single lady who said she didn’t count condom waste as that was waste that belonged to her partner so you always wonder what other kind of tricks or rules they use to say they “only create a cup of trash a year.” Plus, some things you can’t make home made, like my dentist prescribed fluoride mouth wash to prevent further tooth decay (Act) which always has a small plastic wrapper on the lid. I definitely am a big believer in reducing trash, and recycle/reduce/reuse as much as possible (and try to avoid products in non-recyclable packaging), but I think there are some limits to how much trash you can avoid. (for the record, I have ziploc bags I bought years ago and feel guilty using them so they just sit there!)

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      Haha yeah – i’m sure there are “tricks” and other ways not to count stuff in, but even so they’re rockin’ it more than any of us which I admire. And from what I hear you can recycle a lot of stuff that you normally wouldn’t even guess, so it’s possible they’re workin’ those angles too? I think the takeaway is to just do our best to get to our desired lifestyle – whatever that looks like :)

  6. Kalie October 7, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    These are great principles and examples, too. There is absolutely a correction between waste & wealth,hence Ben Franklin’s “waste not, want not.” I’ll take money advice from the guy on the $100 bill!

    On the paper towels–once we got reusable cloth towels we found we preferred them to napkins and paper towels in many cases. But we still use paper towels for really dirty jobs–like flu season with little ones. Sick babies are almost biohazards.

  7. Robin @ The Thrifty Peach October 7, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    Take your paper towel roll and put it under the cabinet rather than keeping it on the counter. You’ll have to think about it before you grab one. When that one is gone, don’t buy anymore. It’ll kind of force you to use alternatives. That’s how I kicked my habit. :)

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:52 AM


      I’ll try it :) Whenever I leave my cloths out on the table I ALWAYS grab them first, so I need a habit to remember what to out out and then also to use them haha… all a work in progress!

    2. Heather Mentzer October 7, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      That’s what I did too Robin, out of sight, out of mind.

    3. Slackerjo October 7, 2015 at 3:12 PM

      And it’s like a habit that needs kicking.

    4. Patricia October 15, 2015 at 10:24 PM

      I saw a great idea on a blog a year ago. The woman took old towels and cut them into 8 x8 squares and sewed around them to minimize fraying and would put them in a basket on the kitchen counter. She put a diaper pail under the sink with soapy water for the used ones. She emptied it every few days.

      1. J. Money December 31, 2015 at 11:25 AM

        Love that idea!

    1. J. Money October 7, 2015 at 7:53 AM

      YES!! What an idiot!!!

      I just updated it :) Mashed it with Reshare since it’s the same principal, only with pay (woop!)

  8. Hannah October 7, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Those microfiber towels might be key. We’ve been trying to reduce our paper towel usage, and, like Chris, we go through about 12 cloth towels a day.

  9. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies October 7, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    I grew up in a house where paper towels were really only used for cleaning windows/mirrors. My husband, on the other hand, grew up where he used a roll a day, I think! Keeping microfiber towels clean and handy is huge. We store ours in the drawer right below the paper towel dispenser, so it’s still kind of the same habit. I’d love to hear more about your compost. I really wanted to set up a worm bin, but it’s already getting so chilly here, I didn’t want to freeze them. I supposed I could bring the bin inside, but I think I’d need to be a bit more educated about it before I was able to sell that decision to the hubs.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      Yeah – nooo idea how it’ll go in the winter but I do know there’s no way in hell it’s going INSIDE! It smells and leaks a little, haha…

  10. Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels October 7, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    I don’t use paper towels that much either anymore. I don’t have microfiber clothes, but instead I have just used my son’s t-shirts that are too small for him. Works great and saves quite a bit. For a few years already we only make holiday gifts to kids only and I am very happy about it. Not only does it save me lots of money and time (I don’t have to do gift shopping that much), but my own life is less cluttered as well.
    We are also one-car family and I try to keep it this way as long as possible.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      love it all! so many gems in there :)

  11. Kate @ Cashville Skyline October 7, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    You’ve made some great progress in a short amount of time! I really need to refuse gifts from family more often. In fact, I’m trying to get everyone to agree to no gifts for Christmas this year :) And I’m planning to declutter hardcore this winter once I’ve made some more progress on my weight loss goals.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      Hah! let me know how that goes.. I’m trying the same with gifts but easier to think/say than make it happen.. but we gotta take baby steps, eh? :)

  12. Allison October 7, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    After reading your first post about zero waste, I have become a bit obsessive about garbage. My family thinks I am nuts. So to get away from all of the garbage talk, I decided to check out Budgets are Sexy and what is it about? ZERO WASTE. Well, at least I can see that there are others out there trying to make a difference. It’s hard.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Hahhahha that is the best thing I’ve read all day. The only two times I’ve ever in my life mentioned “No Waste”. You should play the lottery :)

  13. M/M Kash October 7, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    Great read J. And great job with the composting….we haven’t started that yet, but would really like to. I agree with some other readers, put the paper towels under the sink and once you run out, don’t buy anymore or at least you won’t use so many. You know what makes good cleaning rags? Old T shirts….ours are old bar shirts, we aparently had an addiction of buying bar shirts at every place we would get drinks while traveling. They are full of holes from years of wear and some of the pictures/sayings aren’t appropriate anymore as parents. Hahaha. But they are the best for clean ups. I just found this “Buy Nothing Project” online and am interested in getting one going in my area. The purpose of the project is to share, give away, borrow what we need instead on continuing to buy and hoard more stuff. Have you heard of it? It sounds cool. Have a great day!!

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      YES! I have heard but years ago when I didn’t care as much :) Great reminder to look into again – thanks friend!

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      that’s a good idea!!! And much prettier than boring old white paper towels or clothes for that matter. Thx!

  14. Lisa O October 7, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Sounds like you are on the right path to making a difference for not only the world but your wallet! I love that you are “at least doing something” as you put it! I have to say that I started about 3 years ago and I really do think that it makes a difference to your soul & your wallet! Keep up the good work…it gets easier as you go.

  15. Fervent Finance October 7, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    That’s awesome! I always recycle, and have been doing some donating lately as well to reduce the amount of crap I have.

  16. Money Beagle October 7, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    While there are some who probably hit the mark on every one, I think they’re on an extreme end of the bell curve. To me as long as you’re on the right side of the midpoint, you’re making positive impacts in the right areas. Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring!

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      Thanks!! I agree. A little as we go and keep upping my game :)

  17. Justin @ Root of Good October 7, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Brilliant minds think alike, eh? I was just thinking about the basis of frugality on buying new things. And it’s not about saving money on new things or getting the best deal on a new purchase. It’s about these 5 Rs. Many times you don’t even need to buy something at all. And 100% off when you don’t buy something is a better price than 90% or 95% or even 99% off.

  18. Danell October 7, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    Good job on your progress thus far. It takes time to form new habits. In years past I would try to hang my laundry outside to dry but I never could seem to make it stick and would return to using the dryer. Sometimes, my excuse was it was “too hot” to keep going outside to hang it and take it down. Too “hot” to dry the clothes. Yeah, I was being lazy. This summer, however, I stuck with it and it’s not only become a habit, but I actually started enjoying the process. (I admit, it did help we had an unseasonably mild summer without all the 110 degree days of summers past.) I’ve only had to use the dryer for a couple loads since May. I’m not sure what I’ll do once it gets too cold and they won’t dry outside, but I’m considering hanging some laundry lines in the basement. We’ll see.

    As you think about your next steps in reducing what you buy and throw away, you might consider making your own laundry detergent. The recipe I use is super simple and only takes about 15-20 minutes for me to make 4-5 gallons. Not only do you save a TON of money not buying laundry detergent all the time, you’re also reusing the same jugs (in my case milk jugs) over and over, so less plastic being tossed or even recycled by not throwing out empty laundry jugs. As a bonus, it’s more natural with less chemicals and you know exactly what is in it. If you want to check out the recipe I use I wrote a post, hope it’s okay to share it

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      Oh man, I would LOVE to get to that stage at some point. I’m still a bit far away from making detergent, but it is on my list to at least try once :) So I will most def. check out that link as soon as I’m ready. The idea of making our own stuff (and saving money!) like that is huge. Great job w/ the clothes drying outside!!! I bet it smells better too from all that fresh air and sun :)

  19. Cat@BudgetBlonde October 7, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    I have also tried to replace paper towels with microfiber…..buttttt I just can’t seem to switch over 100% Definitely a convenience item!

  20. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure October 7, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    These “Rs” you identified are what got me started on this financial journey. I decided I wanted to do SOMETHING, so I tried to figure out how to get rid of stuff, how to reuse things creatively, and how to make things I needed or fix things that broke. I’m not a crafty person, but the year I really hunkered down to try to do that, I got pretty good at creatively making/fixing things using crochet or sewing (they may not look great, but they work). Just last weekend, I made my daughter ice skate blade covers from some ripped up pajama pants. Creativity has helped save us a lot of money. It’s a mindset shift.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      Hah! Awesome! I need a person like you over here in my place please :)

  21. Wiggles October 7, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Having a smaller house definitely helps with this as well. Smaller house = less room to put things = buying less unnecessary things!

  22. Free to Pursue October 7, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    Nice work J! I especially like the composting. It tends to freak a lot of people out. We’re on a similar path this year. We already compost and recycle, but I’m trying to up the ante on the other “Rs”. We’ve donated and sold some stuff this year (including a lot of books too!), but there’s SOOOO much more we can be doing. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. Enough small steps and we’ll really start to see progress!

    Thanks for the post. It’s nice to hear so many of us are working on an important aspect of reaching and living the FI lifestyle.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:47 AM

      And congrats to you on already rocking composting! I’m a bit slow on the uptake :)

  23. Suzi October 7, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    J – excuses on the paper towels? Not what I expected from YOU! The best way to stop using paper towels: stop buying them. I “reused” some flannel sheets that were for a bed size that we didn’t have (Does anybody have a “full” in their house anymore?), tore them up into “napkin-sized” squares (ish!) and now we have shabby chic napkins and “paper” towels to use. We don’t miss paper towels unless we’re cooking bacon, but I always have a couple extra paper napkins from some fast food joint that I keep hidden away for just such a need. I have a basket in the kitchen, and everyone knows that the used napkins go in there. They also work for hankies, but I can’t convince everyone to ditch the Kleenexes yet; besides, when it’s big-time cold season, there is simply no substitute on the old schnoz for my Puffs plus lotion!
    On the recycling and reusing route–hubby already thinks that I hoard trash! We haven’t thrown out a milk jug in years (they make great garden cloches and also containers for WInter Sowing). You do make me miss our fresh milk that came in jars; I may have to look for another farmer since the one we used to visit closed his co-op. I love this list–especially the part where it starts with not even bringing stuff into your house to begin with, and you won’t have to declutter it later.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 12:06 PM

      That R in itself prevents 50% of the need for the rest of Rs :)

  24. Tawcan October 7, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    Great rules. Not sure if you guys are doing this but we also have two compose bins. One for the city to collect and one for our garden. Since we started having compose the amount garbage has definitely gone down.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:49 AM

      Our city doesn’t collect any compost or that would be perfect! I’m not a gardener!

  25. Simple Is The New Green October 7, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    Good for you! Living simply and environmentally conscious has definitely put me in a sweet financial spot. Plus, less stuff just makes me happier and I can focus on things that make me healthier… win-win-win. As far as all the toiletries like lip balm, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, facial cleanser and cream, etc… I have found that baking soda, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and olive oil take care of all my personal care needs (except shampoo). Both mine and my husband’s skin looks better than when we were using eco-products, and so much cheaper! Less really is more in many situations if people would just challenge everything. :)

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      Truth :) One day I’d like to go down that route too of homemade substitutes but still not ready yet haha…

  26. Dahartattack October 7, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    J. Money, my pronounced FinCon mentor. You have yet again given yourself another reason as to why I look up to you. I’m working on starting my side hustle blog ( and the idea of resource limitations (both monetary and environmental) is one of the main topics I plan to discuss. I studied Marketing & Environmental Studies in college, and it’s amazing to see how different those two mindsets are. They NEED to be the same. We NEED to have sustainable lifestyles and businesses. You rock.

    P.S. Thanks for the Payoff sticker shoutout. :)

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      I have to tell you – EVERY time I see your name/saying there (Dahartattack) I smile so big!! There’s something about it that just makes me *happy*. So if you ever catch me smiling even though you’re saying something bad or rude (which you’d never do!) that’s why :)

  27. Cheryl October 7, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    Like a few others commented – “out of sight, out of mind” – remove the paper towels/dispenser and you wont’ reach for it. Thats how I kicked the habit years ago, in a cost cutting frenzy :)
    I use old cotton t shirts cut up into squares and just toss right into washer when dirty.
    I do use plastic (store brand) ziploc bags – but I also wash and re-use said bags – anyone who comes into my kitchen knows I’m a frugal wierdo as they are hanging out to dry all over the sink area :)
    I’m just trying to leave the world a better place for your children :)
    You’re welcome :)

  28. Kathy October 7, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    I still get groceries in plastic bags, but I reuse them in bathroom waste baskets and what doesn’t get used that way get taken back to the store….they have recycle containers just inside the door.

    1. Lisa O October 8, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      I do the same thing you do with plastic grocery bags. The point is to reuse so it is reduced :) I even reuse the garbage bag that keeps my cans/bottles in them. After I recycle them, I bring it home and rinse it out…let it dry and it is good for another use or two. Not only am I cutting on one time use of bags but I probably save buying 4 boxes of garbage bags a year :)

  29. Kim@Eyesonthedollar October 7, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    I love the idea of all this and we could do almost all. But not to lie, I’m lazy! I tried composting a few years back. It was more work than I though and our dog kept getting into it and eating stuff. He’s since past on so we might try it again. Also, I don’t think I can ever fully give up paper towels. Our current dog peed on the floor last week, and I’d hate to use all my microfiber cloths to clean that up. Maybe if we just didn’t have dogs, we could be zero waste!

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:55 AM

      Haha yeah – certain things are much harder to mop up than others :) Especially in the diaper department.

  30. Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree October 7, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    This is great! These are all great steps and I believe any improvement in any area is a step in the right direction. Since your Zero Waste post a couple of months ago I have made a more conscious effort to reduce my waste as well. One additional step I made is being better about bring containers with me when buy from the bulk bins at our local co-op instead of filling up bags. It takes more planning but I feel great about it when I do this.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      YAYY!!! I love hearing that!! I want to check out a bulk bin/co-op place so bad but nothing near me :( I think that would def. propel me into the next level. And then I can get all those sleek and sexy glass jars to make our pantry pretty too like Bea :) Those are so bad ass.

  31. Shawna October 7, 2015 at 6:08 PM

    I TOTALLY support making your own chapstick!!! I started doing it about a year ago as I’m a chapstick addict. I spent around $40 for upfront costs, but have so far made 50 sticks of chapstick with TONS of ingredients left over, some of which I use for other things. I just keep the tubes as I run out so I can re-fill them once I make a new batch.

    I’m a Burt’s Bees fan, so I used this recipe but there are tons out there!

    We recently made the switch from paper napkins to cloth napkins, much to my boyfriend’s disdain. I’m trying to get him to ditch paper towels in the kitchen, but I am not quite there yet! Baby steps… :)

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      Cool!! 50 sticks is no joke, haha… you saved like $100 there alone :)

  32. Heather @ Simply Save October 7, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Refusing the stuff I don’t need is my biggest struggle. I love free stuff and hate passing up it! The frugal person in me wants everything “just in case” and thinking it may help me save money down the road. Yet lately I want NO excess, so it’s an internal struggle for me!

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      I used to keep everything just in case too. Now I ask myself how many of these times can possibly come up, and would it be the worst thing in the world if I have to go out and buy/borrow something again? Most times the answer is no and I decide and move on. It’s only screwed me once in the past 3 years, but I’ll take those odds over and over again :)

  33. christina October 7, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    What made the paper towel thing stick for us was getting a tall basket (taller than it is wide) and putting all of the paper towels, wax paper, plastic baggies, etc up there, out of sight. And we cleaned out a junk drawer in a very convenient location in our kitchen and put the rags in there, keeping a small stack out on a shelf for the first few months. Worked like a charm because it became an effort to get a paper towel.

    I didn’t read the other comments, but if i had to guess, somebody else has mentioned the out of sight, out of mind.

  34. Prudence Debtfree October 7, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    I love the way you’re so honest about your F grades – and the attitude you have about them. “At least it means I’M DOING SOMETHING, right?” I often don’t try for fear of an F. And I often don’t report those Fs when they happen. But the world really would be a happier place if we were all more honest and open and carefree about our Fs. So good on you : )

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Thanks friend :) I’m so tired of people ONLY putting out all the awesome – look how great I am! – type of stuff and hiding all the realities of life. So I’m trying to be better about not only sharing the times I suck ass, but also keeping myself more accountable too. And when you tell all your buddies online it tends to help more :) Though i wish I could report all As! One day!

  35. JH October 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    With respect to your milk purchases, you might consider another option that is consistent with the principle of No Waste generally, and, depending on how you do it, is financially responsible, too.

    Specifically, I encourage you to reduce (or even eliminate) your consumption of milk and other dairy products. Animal agriculture (including the dairy industry) is a massively wasteful use of resources. So, reducing your consumption of those products is good for the environment.

    I also know from experience (as someone who only started converting to a vegan diet about 18 months ago), that eliminating dairy from a diet can be a very challenging habit to break. So I’m not advocating that you try to change overnight. I also have a husband who loves cheese (and enjoys drinking milk). He hasn’t changed his consumption completely, but he has significantly reduced his consumption of dairy products.

    Because of the way we’re brought up (including being taught that we “need” milk to be healthy), we have a tendency to reach for a glass of “healthy milk” when we’re thirsty. But non-human milk isn’t essential for human health, it has some side effects, and there are other sources of the nutrients in milk.

    Milk (and other dairy products) are also expensive. So, for the sake of your wallet and the environment, why not challenge yourself to reduce your family’s dairy consumption? (I know you like a good challenge.)

    Instead of reflexively pouring a glass of milk, try other beverages (including first and foremost, tap water) when you’re just “thirsty in general”. There may be moments when you really want a glass of milk specifically – to go with your chocolate cookies, for example, Fine, have a small glass then and enjoy the treat – but save it for a treat. In other circumstances, try dairy alternatives (e.g., on your cereal, in your coffee, in baking, non-dairy ice cream, sorbets). And in the meantime, I encourage you to read up on the environmental and financial aspects of consuming animal products (including dairy), versus their alternatives.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 12:10 PM

      If this advice came from anyone outside of this blog I would just smile and nod and then not do anything, but since it comes from this community I will promise to at least read the links and consider :) I love my milk A LOT (in fact, I usually eat a string cheese stick almost every day at lunch!) but I’ll challenge myself to keep an open mind and soak in these works you speak of. It’s very akin to stopping eating meat when some of us love it and can’t understand a world without, haha… But I will look into! And appreciate the time you took to hopefully educate me :)

  36. Tiffany October 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    To go along with your Rs, there’s a program called Blue Jeans Go Green. They take your unwanted jeans and turn them into insulation for homes. I’d never heard of such a thing until they did a collection run at work. If you have old jeans you can’t fix up and can’t really be hand-me-downed, that’s an option.

    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      COOL!!! Great idea for reusing!! I know they do that with trash too – like filling up big soda liter bottles with trash and then using them all inside of walls for insulation – mainly in 3rd worlds and for other budgety type projects. Such a better way than dumping in land fills!

  37. BeSmartRich October 8, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    I am still using my 4 years old iphone 4s. It just never dies. Haha



    1. J. Money October 9, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      I’m impressed you haven’t cracked or broken it yourself! I’ve never gone more than 2 years (and mostly 1) without doing that :) I’m so damn clumsy.

  38. Mrs. Frugalwoods October 9, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Nicely done! I’m all about the reusing/giving away/decluttering thing right now. I’ve actually managed to go through the whole house and clear out a ton of stuff. We gave away loads (seriously, loads) of old clothes, books, shoes, misc. weird electronic stuff Mr. FW had stashed away, even old eye glasses. I totally agree with you that if you’re not using it, you might as well give it to someone who can. Makes me happy to see other people able to use our old stuff, and makes me happy to have less stuff under our roof. I need to get better about paper towel usage though… I’m guilty of being profligate at times, especially when there’s a, uh, hound-related mess involved.

  39. Steve Miller October 9, 2015 at 4:59 PM

    I love the idea of decluttering our lives. Great post and it was cool to see how you grade yourself on all these items.

  40. Kurt October 28, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    These are awesome, except in my situation I’d be looking at a divorce if I embraced #1 Refuse stuff you don’t need, if you know what I mean. Oh well, we all do what we can. :)

    1. J. Money October 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM

      I know exactly what you mean… unfortunately :)

  41. DP @ Someday Extraordinary October 30, 2015 at 4:34 PM

    Good stuff! Even small steps start to add up. Even if you only focus on the small steps, it puts your mind in the right place so that your subconscious directs you to make the smart choices out of habit. Keep it up!


  42. Linda Hayman December 30, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    Love your posts, I’m from Canada and send them over to my son and daughter in law. I buy Melaleuca products that save me hundreds of dollars. Eg: mela magic cleaning product, 7.95 and makes 3 large spray bottles, can’t beat that plus the products are non toxic and everything is 100% guaranteed. That’s one way I save money. Because I save animals we trade our neighbours hay for the horses and they use 30 acres of our pasture for their cattle. We trade our eggs for things out of their garden. I feel these are great ways to save money the old way, trade work or whatever so there’s no money exchanged. Thanks for your great advice once again we are trying hard but our debt is high because of my husband losing 600.00 a month in wages and not sure when he will get that back as wage is frozen at the present and not sure for how long. Linda Hayman

    1. J. Money December 31, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      Awesome about all that trading around like that! Thanks so much for passing over my articles to people you know – love hearing that :) Keep working on that debt payoff! You’ll have phases – good and bad – throughout the journey, but you’re gonna be sooooo well off once it’s all done and taken care of. Here’s to a great new year!