Saving Money Through Green Means (My Top 20 Tips!)

November 18th, 2009

There was a time when I thought going green meant expensive, frou-frou organic and eco-chic “stuff.” Sure, that can be part of the picture, but for most people, going green actually saves money. I’ve been posting about how to find deals on green and organic items for the past few years now, so for this “Saving through Green Means” edition of the Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Condo Blues,  I’m sharing a round-up of my favorite tips for saving money while going green. I’ve linked to 10 posts below, and together they cover more than 20 tips for saving money! Now what are you going to do with all that money you save? Leave a comment and share!

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1.  One of my favorite “savings posts”  – and honestly, not just for “green means” either. Here are the things to AVOID doing – My Top 10 Don’ts.   Follow these rules and I swear you’ll save money!

2.   Hate spending money on kids’ stickers? So do I! So much packaging waste and they’re a total rip-off! Here’s a post about what you can do instead.

3. Buying in Bulk and Watch Those Labels! You don’t have to trek to a big box store to buy in bulk. You can save by stocking up on discounted items at your regular grocer. Read this post for more info.

apple-juice-apple-eve14.  Bigger Isn’t Always Better – the “bulk savings bin” or “special deals” aren’t always the cheapest way to go. See this post for details – but check what you need and read labels and per ounce/per serving pricing carefully. If you waste something, you’re not really saving anything – and it’s not very green, is it?

5.  CSAs are a great way to save money on organic, local, farm-fresh and even biodynamic foods. Did you know you can save even more money by sampling a CSA? Read this post to learn how.

6. Disappointed by in-store expired coupons? Don’t be – take a few minutes to go to customer service to get the money you’re owed! Here’s my experience at Whole Foods.

7. Not finding what you want? Look up, look down, look all around. Did you know that most stores put the most expensive items at eye-level? That means you have to crane your neck to look up, look down, look all around and find what you want, as this post demonstrates!

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8. Late Night Specials at Whole Foods: Perfect for tomorrow’s lunch or a late night snack, did you know you can grab the day’s freshly made gourmet sandwiches for half-off in the evening?  Read more here.

9.  Waste-free lunches are green, cheap and easy. Sure, you can buy some of the lovely waste-free lunch kits. But you don’t have to. You can make your own or brown-bag it. Here’s how.

10.    Green Household Cleansers: Make Your Own!  Vinegar, baking soda, castille soap, and maybe some lemon. That’s really all you need! Read more here, and check out The Smart Mama too. She’s a wealth of knowledge about green cleaning – she has some great “cleaning recipes” on her site to help you!

Hope you enjoyed all these “oldie but goodie” posts on saving through green means! Leave a comment and share your best tips!

Green Giveaway: Waste-Free Lunch Box by Citizen Pip and 15% off Kids Konserve

August 24th, 2009

Kindra, you are the winner of the Citizen Pip lunch kit! I used random.org to generate a winning number, which was #2 (comment #2). I’ve emailed you separately, please get back in touch with your mailing address and let us know which kit you’d like. You can contact me at organicmania at gmail dot com. Thanks to everyone for participating, and thanks to Citizen Pip for the donation of their “muck free” lunch kit! —Lynn

After a trip to Target today, I realized I’m not the only one still shopping for eco-friendly back to school supplies!  This year I got off a lot easier than last year – “just $50!,” but I wasn’t stocking up on backpacks or lunch boxes because we’re reusing last year’s, as I blogged here.

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I don’t normally do giveaways – they take time and I’d rather do other things with my time, frankly! But after blogging about “How to Pack a Cheap and Easy Waste Free Lunch”, the “Challenges of Going Green in the Schools” and my son’s Camp Eco-Challenge, I realized that purchasing a “waste-free lunch system” is just one more expense that many would rather avoid.  So when Citizen Pip and Kids Konserve reached out to me, I figured what the heck, let’s give a giveaway and a discount code a go!

So if you are in need of a lead-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and BPA-free waste-free lunch box that’s pretty darn cute,  you may be in luck!  Just leave a comment here telling me you’d like to win  Citizen Pip’s waste-free lunch system, and share your  best tip for a healthy lunch treat to pack for the kids. A winner will be randomly selected by midnight Saturday, August 29th and I’ll post the winner’s name here at OrganicMania.

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And if that’s not right up your alley,  you can get 15% off the cost of any Kids Konserve waste-free reusable lunch kits  and food-grade stainless steel containers  by using coupon code OrganicMania. (Valid until 9/30/09). Check it out here.

Kellie of Greenhab: The Browns Go Green wrote a great review of both the Kids Konserve and the Citizen Pip systems – so you can figure out which you’d prefer.

Since I haven’t seen either system, here’s the deal:  if you win, promise that you’ll send me an email or leave a comment with your thoughts – your own mini-review!

And if you just want to re-use last year’s box but need more containers, because of course those darn lids always get lost? Guess what? I found the Gerber ones I use on sale today at the Rockville, Maryland Target – four for $4.71! photo6

What are you doing for a healthy and waste-free lunch this year? Let’s make every day waste-free lunch day, not just once a week!  I was shocked by a statistic Kids Konserve shared with me – “the amount of trash produced by one child’s lunch alone creates 67 pounds of landfill waste in a school year!”

Kindra, you are the winner of the Citizen Pip lunch kit! I used random.org to generate a winning number, which was #2 (comment #2). I’ve emailed you separately, please get back in touch with your mailing address and let us know which kit you’d like. You can contact me at organicmania at gmail dot com. Thanks to everyone for participating, and thanks to Citizen Pip for the donation of their “muck free” lunch kit! —Lynn

Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

In MoCo? Hit the WholeFoods Kentlands Tuesday/Wednesday for Huge Savings

June 16th, 2009

I have no idea what’s going on at the Whole Foods Kentlands. I normally don’t shop there – not worth the hike from Bethesda. I guess a lot of people feel that way, because they’re cutting prices to drum up business.

Check out these amazing deals:

-    Today (Tuesday) you can get buy one, get one free deals. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what’s on sale until you get to the store…so if you live a distance, better wait till
-    Wednesday, June 17th and June 24th, when you spend $100 or more you get 20% OFF
-    They also have a sale on Thursday – spend $50 and get a FREE 24-pack of 365 Everyday Value 16.9 oz water bottles.  (I dislike plastic  water bottles, but with summer birthdays coming, they’re not a bad option!)

If you make it to the Kentlands Whole Foods,   let me know!

Happy Shopping!

Lynn

Organic & Green Savings: CVS, Whole Foods & Bethesda’s Giant Food

May 31st, 2009

It’s been a while since the last Green and Organic Savings feature. With all this child advocacy, green activism, and taking care of clients, I’ve not had time for long, leisurely shopping trips. Mr. OrganicMania has picked up the slack, but that’s going to change.

Anyway, this week, you didn’t even need to make it to the stores to see some fabulous deals at Whole Foods, Safeway and CVS, thanks in part to some old-fashioned direct mail pieces and newspaper inserts.

CVS has an incredible deal running on Physician’s Formula make-up. With your CVS card, you can buy one, get 50% off one Physicians Formula cosmetic. And check your newspaper coupon insert today. The Sunday Washington Post has a $1 off coupon for Physicians Formula. As I blogged here, not all of their products score the best ratings in the Cosmetics Safety database, but five of their 185 products score “low hazard” ratings, so OrganicMania recommends you try these Physicians Formula products: liquid eyeliner, finishing veil, pressed powder, concealer stick, and extra sensitive skin sunblock. If you have questions, you can check out their ratings at the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database here.

Next time you’re in Whole Foods, be sure to use the Green & Black’s $1 off coupon from the Whole Foods Whole Deal newsletter (good through July). I’ve raved before about Green & Black’s delicious organic chocolate here at OrganicMania, over at Big Green Purse, and at The Daily Green, but since it’s nearly summer I decided to try their ice cream. Wow. It’s fantastic! Thanks again to my bloggy friend Wrekehavoc for turning me on to Green & Blacks Organic!

If you’re anywhere near Bethesda, be sure to check out the Arlington Road Giant, which is running a triple coupon deal through June 4th.  You can find the triple savings coupons in a newsprint mailer sent to area homes. Now of course you don’t want to use those coupons for junk food, so I decided to scour the net to look for organic coupons for under $1 each that could be used at Giant to qualify for triple savings. The Giant deal means you can save up to $2.97 on each of five items, for $14.85 in savings! After looking at national organic brands with distribution at Giant including Stonyfield, Ian’s, Newman’s Own, Green & Black’s, Amy’s Organic, Annie’s Naturals and Earthbound Farm, incredibly I could only find valid online coupons (those under $1) at Stonyfield Farm. (Disclosure: Stonyfield is a sponsor of OrganicMania’s trip to BlogHER, but honestly I couldn’t find valid under $1 coupons anywhere else! Leave a comment some if you happen to find them!)

Stonyfield has 14 different online coupons available including .50 off their new Oikos organic Greek yogurt, as well as organic milk, Yo Baby, Smoothies and more. You need to register here before accessing the e-coupons.

Did you find any other great deals on organic and green products? Leave a comment and share!

Note: I’m looking for two additional sponsors to help defray the cost of my BlogHER trip. If you represent a sustainable brand that you think may be a good fit with OrganicMania, please email me at organicmania at gmail dot com.

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Organic and Green Savings: A Great Time to Try Organic Kids Food

January 6th, 2009

Just wanted to pass along the news that my client Mom Made Foods is offering a great deal to celebrate the new year. Now when you buy any 4 Mom Made Meals or Munchies at SuperTarget by January 19th, you can redeem your UPC codes for a $9 SuperTarget gift card plus special savings codes from GDiapers and Bebe au Lait! Grab your rebate form and all the details here.

The MomMade Team! (L to R, Laura Waldron, Marketing Manager; Jennifer Mulchandani, Marketing Director; Heather Stouffer, Mom Made Founder; and Lynn Miller, Miller Strategic Marketing and OrganicMania).

The MomMade Team! (L to R, Laura Waldron, Marketing Manager; Jennifer Mulchandani, Marketing Director; Heather Stouffer, Mom Made Founder; and Lynn Miller, Miller Strategic Marketing and OrganicMania).

This $9 rebate offer is a great excuse not only to try Mom Made organic frozen foods, but to visit a SuperTarget! I tweeted a while back about the surprises I found on my “roadtrip” to a SuperTarget with the Mom Made team. I had no idea that SuperTargets had such an expansive organics section – including fresh organic produce, all at great prices, of course!

For more than a year now, I’ve been blogging about the need for more healthy, organic and natural products at prices that make sense. During this time, we’ve discussed money savings tips such as the expansion of Giant’s organic lines, great savings on Archer Farms house brand organics at Target, coupons from Whole Foods, and more. And now we see SuperTarget, recently named one of the top 10 healthiest grocery stores by Health Magazine, as another high quality option for organic foods at a good price.

Take a look – and let me know what you think!

And as for the Mom Made? Well, there are four options to choose from, but I’d be holding out if I didn’t tell you that Baby Boo and Big Boy prefer the Cheesy Mac (with peas!) and the Cheese Pizza. As for me? After a long day, I’ve been known to kick back with a Mom Made Bean Burrito and a beer!

Looking for more savings tips? Check these out over at Thrifty Thursday on greenbabyguide.com and these at Frugal Friday!

Bon Appetit!

– Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Organic and Green Savings: In-Store Expired Coupons?

December 21st, 2008

Despite planning purchases ahead of time, you may find yourself, like I did, stuck in a store with a kid begging for a new toy from the “holiday shop.” As you can see from the pic above, Big Boy fell in love with the stuffed penguin at Whole Foods. Normally I would say no and move on, but I acquiesced when he found a coupon for 20% off in the Whole Foods holiday shop and calculated that he had just enough allowance money to cover the purchase.

Imagine my surprise when we hit the register only to hear the check-out clerk tell us that the coupon had expired the day prior. Sure enough, there it was printed clearly enough for all to see—except this harried Mom with two kids in tow.

When I asked him why the coupons were on display in the shop, he apologized but said the coupon would not ring through his register because it was expired. By this point, Big Boy’s smile had disappeared and he was sobbing. A happy occasion was ruined.

Never one to give up, I explained to Big Boy that this was an opportunity to learn about customer service and consumer rights. One of the many reasons I shop at Whole Foods is because their customer service is uniformly excellent. When I explained the situation to the customer service rep, she put the coupon through the register, and gladly offered Big Boy more than $5.00 off the purchase price.

Take our experience to heart, and remember this:
1) If a store is promoting in-store coupons next to a display, they owe you the reduction – even if the expiration date is past. It is their responsibility to end the promotion when it expires.
2) If a clerk cannot resolve your problem, take it to customer service, where the workers are typically more empowered to help frustrated shoppers. Yes, it will take a few minutes of your time, but you’ll be saving money and passing along important lessons in money management to your children.

Happy Shopping!

Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Buy Something that Makes a Difference Day!

November 28th, 2008

Last year at this time, I supported “Buy Nothing Day,” which encourages consumers to abstain from “Black Friday” shopping sales.

This year, it’s a different story. With “Going out of Business” signs all around the shopping centers, we see sad reminders of an economy in tatters.

I’m not suggesting you buy a bunch of useless “stuff” just to help the economy and save a few bucks for the holidays. But what I am suggesting is that whether you’re out and about today on “Black Friday” or cruising the Net on “Cyber Monday,” you can choose to make a difference with your purchases by patronizing those companies that help us to go green – either by saving energy, using organic farming methods, or insisting on recycled paper from well managed forests.

And yes, I have a few savings tips for you – all, I’m happy to say, from some great green companies I’m representing through my consulting business.

Savings Tip #1 – Free Organic Food for Kids (With Rebate)
Is there a SuperTarget near you? I visited for the first time last week and was impressed by their attractive display of organic produce, along with the increasing variety of eco-friendly products Target stocks – all at great prices, of course. The reason for my visit was to check out their new display of Mom Made organic foods. Now’s the best time to try Mom Made — for free. Mom Made will refund the purchase price of one Mom Made for Baby, Mom Made Munchie, or Mom Made Meal purchased at SuperTarget through December 10th. Just download this form for info on where to send your receipt and proof of purchase.

Savings Tip#2 – Free Shipping on Energy Efficient LED Lights
Think compact fluorescents are the latest and greatest in energy efficiency? Think again. LEDs are the wave of the future. Prices are coming down, and the energy savings are enormous. (Check out this comparison chart to get informed on the differences between incandescent, compact fluorescent, and
LED lighting for details). Now you can order that practical someone on your list the latest in LED lighting technology – with free shipping for the holidays. Check out Mr. Beams motion sensor activated SpotLight and StairLight, and read their great consumer reviews here.

Savings Tip #3 – 10% off Soft Organic Cotton Tees and Note Cards
Got a dog lover on your list? What about an environmentally conscious dog lover who wants to support dog charities? Check out these adorable, soft, whimsical organic cotton tees printed with water-based inks and the matching note cards, printed on FSC certified paper by an FSC certified printer in a carbon-neutral facility. Coordinating envelopes made from 100% recyclable paper, packed in biodegradable/compostable packaging with hemp string. Whether you choose to shake it off or live in the moment, there’s something for you at Fundamentally Dog! Use coupon code 1EM1108 to save 10% on your first purchase by 12/20/08. 

Happy Shopping…and remember, think carefully about how you spend…you can make a real difference by patronizing firms that are working hard to protect and preserve the environment. Want to take it a step further? Sign up for my friend Diane MacEachern’s “One in a Million Challenge,” and commit to shifting $1,000 of your spending to eco-friendly products. As Diane, author of The Big Green Purse, puts it “The more money you spend on green products, the more you encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging and protect natural areas.”

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Last Day to Use the Whole Foods $5 off Coupon!

October 22nd, 2008

Don’t fret if you missed the great organic food bargains I blogged about at Target this weekend. There are always more organic food savings to be found – like this $5 off coupon deal at Whole Foods. But act quickly today, or you will miss the opportunity to use the Whole Foods $5 off coupon.

This is an e-coupon worth $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. I’ve not seen a coupon like this from Whole Foods previously. Hopefully it’s the start of a regular coupon promotion. Apparently the redemption rate has been quite high – at least at my local Whole Foods!

Tip: You’ll save even more if you remember to set your printer to “black and white only” before printing!

Happy Shopping!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Organic Savings: Get Thee to Target Today

October 18th, 2008

Big Boy asks to go to Target so often that now 23-month-old Baby Boo is saying, “Wanna go Target!” I’m a goner. In addition to all this pressure on the home front, I was working hard this week on the launch of my client Mom Made Food’s kid’s organic line at SuperTargets nationwide.

So of course we ended up there yesterday, and I’ve got some great savings to share from Target’s in-house organic brand, Archer Farms. Target is running a nationwide sale through today (Saturday) on all Archer Farms products – 15% off a line that is already value priced.

I’ve posted here before about how the half gallons of Archer Farms organic milk are the Holy Grail for cheap organic milk by the half gallon. Can you believe they’re on sale for $2.92 per half gallon? And if you drink soymilk, you’re really in luck. You can nab a half gallon of Archer Farms organic soymilk for just $2.28. I usually refuse Big Boy’s pleas for chocolate milk, but at that price, I got him some as a special treat.

Now some folks dispute the notion that you need to buy organic for packaged or processed foods. Sure, we should all eat lots of fresh, whole foods, but sometimes it just makes sense to take advantage of the convenience of processed or packaged foods. And in those situations, whenever I can, I opt for products with the USDA organic seal, because it means that my children will be eating foods with no transfats, no artificial colors, no artifical preservatives, and no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Many parents don’t realize that nearly all of today’s conventional packaged foods contain GMOs, and that GMOs have been banned in places like Europe and Japan. What’s more, in the United States, companies are not required to disclose the existence of GMOs in their products.

That’s why I stocked up on Archer Farms organic flaxseed and homestyle waffles– on sale for $1.86 per package and Archer Farms organic crackers (seasalt, multigrain, rye and flax, multiseed, and Italian herb) on sale for $2.11 per package.

I tend to stay away from over sugared items – in my book, organic cane juice is just sugar, thank you very much. But for those of you with kids whose teeth can withstand “fruit leather” or roll-ups, you might want to check out the Archer Farms organic fruit strips at $2.99 per 10 count box of organic raspberry, organic strawberry, organic apricot, organic pomengranate, organic wildberry, and organic tropical fruit.

And before you go? Print out these coupons for $1 off Archer Farms juice and cookies. The coupons don’t specify if they apply to the organic varieties, but it’s worth trying.  And if you arrive and the shelves are bare? Remember you can get rain checks on all advertised sale items.

Happy Shopping! Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any shopping tips to share? Please leave a comment!

Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Green and Organic Savings Friday: Organic Milk, Bread & Tea

May 2nd, 2008

Rising food prices are all over the news these days. I was actually afraid to set foot in the store this week, nervous about just how high prices were going. Yes, I keep thinking about how blessed I am to even have the choice of organic food vs. conventional, but it still doesn’t help when you hit the check-out line.

So let’s go back to basics, and focus on some savings opportunities with organic milk, organic bread, and organic tea.

While I’ve always loved the taste of Honest Tea iced tea, I must confess I was not buying organic tea leaves for hot tea. Until the OrganicMania interview with Seth Goldman, CEO of Honest Tea, I considered organic tea “nice to do” but not a necessary organic expenditure. But when I asked Seth how he became so interested in organics, he explained that it was his interest in tea that led him to discover organics. It turns out that tea is one of the most pesticide-laden products out there, and in some countries, really nasty pesticides like atrazine are used on tea plantations. Did it ever occur to you that tea leaves are not rinsed off until they hit the hot water of your tea kettle? (You can read the OrganicMania interview with Honest Tea’s Seth Goldman here).

With some great savings opportunities this week, now’s a good time to make the switch to organic tea. Allegro organic tea is on sale at Whole Foods, 2 packs for $7.00, a significant savings off the regular price of $4.99 a pack. And the Mambo Sprouts coupon book, available at the customer service desk or the check-out registers, includes a coupon for 55 cents off Good Earth organic tea. With the coupon, Good Earth tea is $3.44 at Whole Foods. Good Earth looks like a really sustainable green company – in addition to being organic, the tea bags are unbleached, and the packaging is 100% recyclable with soy based inks. Plus the tea bags are not wrapped in plastic overwrap, as so many tea bags are.

Now that you can relax with a good cuppa tea, what about the kids’ lunch bags? Lots of school kids pack organic milk in their lunch bags. My son drinks regular white milk – not chocolate, not vanilla, not strawberry – but I could never find the money-saving bulk containers of Horizon white milk. Finally, at the Tenleytown, DC, Whole Foods, I found a carton of 18 Horizon organic milk boxes for $13.79 – or 76 cents per package. This is quite a savings over the 3-pack packages which sell for close to $4. More savings on organic milk? Check out this link where you can register for Stonyfield Farm coupons, including fifty cents off a half gallon of organic milk.

As for bread, who can resist home baked bread? I was indulging that weakness with the delicious breads at the Spring Mill Bread Company located in my local MOM’s. Yet with the price of a loaf of fresh baked organic oatmeal bread hitting nearly $5 a loaf, and many loaves well past the $5 mark, I decided it was time to call it quits on this little luxury. Instead, I picked up some basics – organic whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and white organic flour. For about $1 a loaf, we now have freshly baked organic bread that is even better than the bakery’s bread. And it’s not at all hard to bake. More on that in another post!

Happy shopping! Do you have any great organic or green savings to share? Please leave a comment!

Carnival/Mr. Linky Update – Still working those darn MIS issues to get Mr. Linky working properly. Hopefully we’ll have everything ready to go next Friday to start our own mini-carnival on Green and Organic Savings!

In the meantime, OrganicMania is participating in the Festival of Frugality for the first time.

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania