In childcare, we consume a lot! I hate waste. I hate wasting my time, I hate wasting my money and I hate wasting environmental resources. I can’t stand it. So how can we cut down on waste when there is so much we have to do with our kids? Families are no different than a daycare when it comes to waste. You can use the same techniques to save money in your own household even if you don’t have a daycare.
We must have disposable paper towels for hand washing. There are a thousand little messy fingers to wash throughout the day. We have to clean up tons of spills and messes. We have to cook meals. The diapers are endless. Art supplies, paperwork, messy faces, the usage of resources is unending.
By the time I buy all of the supplies it requires to run my business, there is not a lot of the income I make left for myself and my family. I try to waste as little as possible so I can keep more of the profit. I hate spending money on things that aren’t important. How can I cut back?
Let’s start with food.
How can we stop wasting so much food? My food budget for the daycare kids is over $7,000 a year. There is a lot of potential for cutting waste there.
- Plan your menu and only buy the food you need so you make sure you will use it. Click here to see how to plan a daycare menu. This can be used for your family as well.
- My food program allows us to serve food family style. As long as the components are on the table that should be served, children can choose how much of something they want. This helps less food end up in the trash. It’s a fact that you will have to throw away some food from their plates, but you can compost it as long as it’s not meat. This helps less food end up in our landfill and it’s great for our gardens! Click here for info on composting.
- Grow your own food. Kids are a lot more likely to eat something they helped to grow, so growing food with them will cut down on waste. It’s much cheaper to buy a packet of seeds than the food it produces, so that helps cut waste from the budget as well. We have tons of gardening posts on the blog. Click here to get started.
- Learn to use the parts of the food you would normally throw away. Stems and leaves of many foods are perfectly edible and very nutritious! Click here to see some great tips for that.
- Cook in bulk and freeze your food in portions. This helps cut down a lot of wasted time and energy. You only have to make the mess one time when you make a double batch of something but you can use one batch and freeze the other cutting down on a lot of dish washing and area clean up.
Let’s talk about art supplies.
- Recycle used paper and let the kids create with it. They can draw on the back, practice cutting, fold it up to make creations or all kinds of things. Think of all the thinks you could do with all that junk mail!
- Repurpose food containers and other trash. You can use a cereal box or paper towel tube to create all kinds of imagination using creations. This cuts down on your budget and the amount of trash you are throwing in the landfill.
- Make your own paints and playdough. There are tons of cool recipes you can make in a snap. Check out Pinterest!
What about toys?
- Get toys for less at consignment shops or garage sales. So many toys get broken in childcare, this is a great way to save a ton of money. You need toys, but getting them second hand just requires some looking and a little cleaning.
- Less is more. You don’t need every toy ever made. Actually the more toys you give the kids the more behavior problems you will see. If they are overstimulated they get bored and act out. Save on your sanity and your pocketbook by simplifying what you have for them to play with.
- Make your own. You can make lots of toys for less like discovery bottles and homemade books. You can also let the kids make toys as well. Instruments, books, and all kinds of stuff are even better if the kids create them. Click here to see more ways to save on toys.
What about household supplies?
- Buy the paper towels that have the half size tear marks and use half what you would normally use. If you are dripping your bacon or fried okra onto a paper towel, one little half sheet will do the job. Lots of messes will clean up off the floor with only a half sheet.
- Cloth diapers could save a ton of money and resources. I don’t use them, but some providers do and it’s a great way to cut back on waste. Look into it.
- Clean up your messes with a towel or rag instead of using any paper towels for that.
- Send the kids to the bathroom to wash their hands and face instead of using wet wipes. You will save a ton of resources that way. I think it gets them cleaner anyway.
- Use foaming soap in the bathroom for them. This helps them to regulate how much soap they use which is good for your budget and the sewage system.
- Use single fold paper towels in the bathroom for them. Mr. Kent found me a paper towel dispenser at the thrift store and it has saved me hundreds of dollars on paper towels. When I had a roll dispenser, they would tear off 5 at a time or more and use a whole roll in a day or two. I can get the bulk cases of individual paper towels at the janitor supply store (and they have ones made with recyclable materials) The towels come out one at a time. Since the kids don’t have to tear them, they don’t pull off half the roll each time they use them. This saves so much on the environment and my pocket book.
- Don’t use disposable dishes. It’s not that hard to wash a plate. Using regular cups, plates, and silverware saves you tons of money over the course of a year AND saves all that disposable product from filling up our landfill. We have the power to do a lot to help the environment. Don’t think it’s not important. If you care about the kids you’re taking care of, care about what kind of earth you leave for them to live on.
- Use a steamer on your floors. It disinfects them with the heat. Steamers don’t use any harsh chemicals that will get in the air and get breathed in by you and the kids. They use very little water compared to a mop and they get the floor so much cleaner. Steamers save time and energy as well as resources.
- Don’t waste wipeys. I KNOW that when you need several wipes for one diaper, you NEED them. Consider wiping their hands and face first and then starting on the poopy diaper. Wipe as much of the doodie off as you can with the diaper to cut down on wipes needed. Get good quality wipes like Huggies that get a lot of it off with one pass so you don’t have to use 40 to get the job done. Use as few as you can, but as many as you have to. You gotta do what you gotta doo doo.
- Buy in bulk. The prices are less and you will be throwing less plastic into the landfill in packaging.
- Use vinegar to clean. It kills germs and is super cost effective, plus it’s not harmful to the environment. We use as few cleaners as possible to cut down on allergy problems. Vinegar can be used as fabric softener, window cleaner, deodorizer, disinfectant, and many other things.
There are tons of ways you can cut corners and save money on your budget while wasting less resources to leave the earth better than you found it. Our kids deserve that.
What are your best money/time/resource saving tips? I can’t wait to hear them!
Don’t forget to pin for later.