Use a Reusable Bag to Save Money and the Earth!
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Use a Reusable Bag to Save Money and the Earth!

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 11:25 am
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Use a Reusable Bag to Save Money and the Environment!Reusable bags are becoming a popular trend as more and more make the switch from wasteful paper or plastic to sturdy fabric bags. Many benefit from their use including you, your pocketbook, retailers, and the environment!

The problem with conventional shopping bags is that they are extremely wasteful and harmful to the environment. Plastic bags don’t easily break down. They populate our landfills and often get into our oceans where they are harmful to sea life. Paper bags are better because they break down, but manufacturing one takes quite a toll on the environment.

Retailers love when customers make the switch to reusable bags because they don’t have to spend as much on grocery bags. Since the one -time-use bags take up a large part of their budget, they aren’t able to pass on as many savings to their customers. In opting out of these wasteful bags, you may just be helping your favorite store lower their prices in the long run.

Several retailers offer incentives to their customers for using a reusable bag. In some cases, customers get a credit on their purchase. At Trader Joe’s, customers are entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. At Ralph’s, you earn extra points on your Ralph’s Reward card. In these cases, eventually you’ll earn back what you initially spent on your new reusable bag.  Different stores offer different promotions, so check with your favorite retailer for information.

Reusable bags can be found in just about any grocery store these days and sell for as low as 99 cents to as high as $5 to $10 for a high quality or fashionable bag. You can also try shopping online for bags from top designers, so you can look good while you shop. If you’re crafty, try making your own bags out of old fabric, sheets, or T-shirts. This way, you can customize your bag to be just the right size and you can even include pockets for your coupons. You also wouldn’t be spending additional money!

Do you have a difficult time remembering your bags? Try keeping one or two on the floor of the front of your car. You can also hang a bag on your front door, so you remember it when you leave. If you always remember your coupons, start storing them in your reusable bag along with your shopping list, so the bag makes it to the store with you.

Whether your reason for switching to a reusable bag is because of the money saved, the environment, or because the county you live in forces it, it’s a good habit to have. Plus, who doesn’t need an extra bag around the house every once in a while?

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.