The number one struggle I hear from members of my Green Product Forum about making the switch to healthier, greener, more natural products is time and money. OK, that’s two struggles. But they are more often than not connected.
It’s not surprising. Green products are notoriously more expensive than their conventional counterparts, at least when comparing the initial price tag in the store.
And trying to find healthier, greener products that actually get the job done? That’s not only a time suck, but also another money problem.
So what’s a time- and money-strapped, health- or eco-conscious consumer to do?
Start with your mindset.
Take a look at where you’re spending your money over a two to four week period. What are you prioritizing? What have you decided (unconsciously or not) is worth spending your hard-earned dollars on?
Now, decide how important it is to you to reduce your exposure to toxics, choose products that will last, or support a local business.
Is there a disconnect between where you’re spending your money now?
Chances are, there are at least some areas you can reassess in your budget. Take-out coffee, lunches or dinners. Impulse buys. Replacing a cheap gadget with another cheap gadget that will likely break after a few months. Even a utility bill that’s higher than it needs to be because you keep your home too warm or too cool depending on the season. These are all choices you make, just like the choice to invest in healthier products or not.
And it doesn’t have to mean you “give up” something. It can simply be a shift in the way you make choices.
Taking a holistic look at your expenses can help you understand whether there is room for some healthier choices. Sometimes it might take a little shuffling and effort, but if it’s really important to you, you can make it happen.
Afterall, you make those pumpkin spice lattes, Uber rides, take-out orders, or other simple luxuries happen. They all bring you joy, save time, or reduce frustration. That’s why you’re willing to invest in those things. Now you have to decide if you’re willing to invest in your health too.
Once you decide what’s important to you, then you can reassess how you spend your money. And if you truly want to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals in your home, it is doable on a budget.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start making the shift on a budget:
- Natural products often go further. I find that well-made products last longer than conventional brands – whether it be body care or housewares. So while the upfront cost may be more, you won’t have to replace them as frequently (just be sure to check the best before date on body care, as the preservatives aren’t as strong so shelf lives are often shorter).
- Healthy products might reduce your medical bills. The ingredients in every day products are impacting our health. That is no secret. You might not be directly affected, or you could be severely impacted. Choosing natural products can help reduce symptoms and medical bills. That’s not a guarantee, but it is a potentially significant cost consideration. Especially if you suffer from asthma, autoimmune disease, or hormone imbalance.
- Making is cheaper than buying. I’m the first to admit that I am not a DIYer. But I make my own cleaners (I make these 5 household cleaners in 5 minutes once I have the ingredients), lip balm, body butter, and sugar scrub. They’re incredibly simple and are much more cost effective than store-bought.
- Try before you buy. If you have a friend who has gone down this path before you, bring some containers over to her house and test some of her products. Or ask the community in my Green Product Forum for recommendations. If you tailor your shopping list, it will be much easier to find replacements.
- Buy less. If you’re investing in well-made products with a higher price tag, it can help you simplify and focus your efforts on fewer products overall. This will help reduce clutter, stress, as well as your expenses.
I hope this helps you with the initial mindset hurdle that many associate with choosing green products. Know that you’re not alone, but also that it is totally doable if you decide it’s important.
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