Every purchase comes with an extra item to deal with

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Welcome to our month long buy less plan! Read here to get caught up on what’s going on.

Day: 1

Product: Plastic bags. We get these at almost every store. Without asking, the clerk whisks our purchases into these conveniently handled bags for us to carry home. Often they even take that bag and put it into ANOTHER bag so we don’t have to worry about the plastic ripping.

But we get them home and they accumulate under the sink or in the closet or in our trash cans. We may realize the negative impact they have on our environment, but we have to store them until we have a chance to take them back to the store for recycling. And recycling, although a very good practice, is still at bottom of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto because it still requires tremendous energy and resources to recreate our trash into… new things to trash.

Hello! I don't like to live under your sink. And by the way, your drain is leaking. It may be my fault. I bumped it. Sorry.

Hello! I don’t like to live under your sink. And by the way, your drain is leaking. It may be my fault. I bumped it. Sorry.

One of my very first jobs was as a bagger at a grocery store. This was nearly 20 years ago. I still remember some of our regulars and one was a lady who came in every Saturday morning. She always handed me four heavy canvas bags, “Please use these.” No one else did such a thing– just this one lady in the entire town. She was religious about it too. Her groceries always went into those same bags every week.

Nowadays this is not at all uncommon. Stores have discovered this is another way they can make a buck—they are all selling reusable bags. It’s easy to do and now I fondly remember that regular from my early working years as I hand my bags to the clerk, “Please use these.”

And they’re great. They have nice long handles you can put over your shoulder. They don’t blink an eye at boxes with corners that would have a plastic bag terrified. They’re also unafraid of watermelons or even two or three gallons of milk at a time. They are faithful workhorses to accompany us on our errand days.

And we can use them over, and over, and over, and over again and never allow another plastic shopping bag into our house if we don’t want to. We reduce the amount of plastic we use and we reuse our fabric bags many times over. Two points from the top of the earth saving mantra.

Good for the earth and doubles as good for us with less things accumulating in our houses. Win, win!

Reason: Minimalism rocks

Suggestion: This is an oldie but a goodie. It’s been shown over and over that shopping with cash helps keep us in line—so do it! It’s a lot easier to overspend if you have magical plastic that takes care of everything uncomfortable in the checkout lane… and diverts it to the end of the month.

Set a budget and take the cash. It keeps the purchases in the realm of reality. The reality is this: when we choose to take more things into our lives, it costs money of which we each have a limited amount. When you use cash it is much easier to accurately gage if the reward from the purchase is in line with the proportion of funds you allocate to the product.

And you will be much happier with yourself come the end of the month.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/21222992@N00/2110613434″>Christmas @ Eden 2007_S12567</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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