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Thursday, May 21, 2009

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New Moms Find that Being Green Won't Break the Bank

When Robin Tobin gave birth to a bouncing baby boy last year, she made two life-changing decisions: One, she would become a stay-at-home mom, reducing her family's income by half, and two, her family would strive to be more green.

Tobin, like others, is part of a trend of new families that are tightening their belts without disparaging the planet in the process.

"New moms want to do what's right for their babies without sacrificing Mother Earth or their family's finances. That's why it's important for new parents to find ways to be green without breaking the family budget," says Kelly Wels, the founder of Kellys Closet, an Internet baby boutique specializing in eco-friendly products and cloth diapers.

Tobin says she uses the bumGenius brand cloth diapers on her baby because it was important to her to find a system that was good for her baby and for the planet. "While the money-saving factor wasn't our motivating factor at first, we have to admit that we were quite excited when we hit the break-even point after our son turned about 7 months."

Wels says that Tobin, like other new moms, is part of a growing number of families who are saying "no" to disposable diapers, which are known to create the third most landfill waste in the U.S., and saying "yes" to more eco-friendly options.

"Cloth diapering isn't hard to do with all the modern brands on the market. Over time, more moms have come to realize that they can not only save thousands of dollars using cloth diapers but also that they can deter thousands of pounds of landfill waste. Now that speaks volumes to a belt-tightening family," says Wels.

While most parents think reducing diaper waste is the main way they can be green and save money, there are many other ways eco-conscious moms are saving money and the planet.

Melissa Rapp, who is raising two kids under the age of 5, says that buying gently used items and reusing the old stuff she has is her main motto these days.

"I find myself looking on Craigslist more often for children's items that I might have gone to the store to purchase. I find that these items are less expensive and that it's more environmentally friendly to reuse items than to buy new," she says.

Rapp also says that while she only serves organic meats, vegetables and fruits in her home, which are notoriously more expensive, she rarely pays full price. "I won't buy organic items until they go on sale at the grocery store and then I stock-up. I also, on occasion, buy frozen organic fruits and vegetables because those tend to be less costly."

Rapp also says that being green has always been important to her and she loves the fact that some "green" things are free.

"The city where I live just implemented a program to encourage more recycling by supplementing the cost of a large trashcan-sized recycle bin. We purchased one, as our recycle pile is much larger than our trash pile each week and it doesn't cost us anything to recycle more," she says.

While many moms are looking for ways to save money and still be green, Tobin acknowledges that even some of the more expensive eco-friendly items are not off the table, such as BPA-free bottles for her baby. "I'm happy to spend a little more for my baby's health and safety. While money is on everyone's mind these days, and we are no different, we have always tried to live below our means," she says. "That said, we are also doing our best to balance our own need for convenience with the well-being of our baby and planet."

- By Jenny L.


Upstatemomof3 said...

I love the fact that the more thrifty I get the more green I get. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the post. I also when I had my 3 baby I went greener and if I knew how easy cloth diapering was I would have done it along time ago.I have found wrap on craiglist That I traded for wipe disp.
I found 2 ladys that made cloth dipaers there great.

Amanda said...

Great article! :)

Ally said...

Wonderful post!

Brena said...

Saving money rocks. And it's so exciting knowing that doing so also saves the planet. We are getting ready for our second child and it's so exciting knowing that our TOTAL diapering cost will be about $70. (We need some x-small diaper covers!)

Jackie said...

What a great post! I agree that it can be hard to balance both being green/going organic and saving money. Some things that I will not budge on (bpa free stuff, safe sunscreens and bath products) are more expensive, but I think they are worth it! It is great to see other stories similar to mine : )

*~*a.l.s*~* said...

Wow! This was a great post--I feel like i could have read it in a newspaper! So professional!

Brittany said...

Great post on being green! Sense making the choice to cloth diaper, I have been looking for more and more ways to be green. Its nice to hear that other moms are doing the same!

AScott said...

If you really wanted to, you can save a ton of money with CD's. Unfortunatly for me, there are a ton of cute and awesome CD's out there so I really don't know how much I'm actually saving, if at all! I do it for the comfort and health of my baby first and foremost.

Thrifty Mama B said...

(User name was CalebNKylesMommy)

Great post. Going green started with CD'ing for me and its opened up a new door for my family. We have definitely started saving some green.

Tiffany said...

We also made the decision to cloth diaper our 3rd baby in large part to save money. But it's also a great feeling knowing that we're doing our small part to be eco-friendly.

Thrifty Mama B said...

Oh and nice article Jenny :)