Using Economic Offsetting to Afford Green Products

Thrifty Green Thursday is the perfect place to consider a whole new version of sustainability that involves both your wallet and your green values.  If cost wasn’t an issue, many Americans would love to eat organic food and use expensive eco-friendly cleaning products.

Since our economy is struggling and prices are soaring, it sometimes feels as though green products will only reach those that can afford them. That’s where economic offsetting can come in very handy. 

Here’s how it works: make frugal choices to reduce your household costs and then apply that extra money to spendier eco-friendly items.  For example, using hand-me-downs for baby can provide hundreds of dollars for organic strawberries and eco-friendly detergent.  (Hint: Rebecca discovered that eco-friendly detergent is actually cheaper than mainstream brands!)  Switching from prepared green cleaning products to homemade versions can possibly even offset the cost of a high quality wooden toy—especially when you find that toy used at a consignment shop.

What about the family who’s already shopping at thrift stores, growing their own food, and using hand-me-downs?  Or the single parent who is working three jobs to make ends meet?  There may not be a way to offset very tight budgets, but if you’re interested in extreme savings, you might want to check out Amy Dacyzyn’s Tightwad Gazette.  After reading it, you may be motivated to go for home haircuts, recycled oatmeal muffins, and other creative solutions. 

Keep visiting us on Thrifty Green Thursday.   You’ll get plenty of tips for offsetting the cost of those eco-friendly items—and you’ll get them from people who have tried it themselves. 

In our comments section, you’ll find links to other bloggers’ Thrifty Green Thursday submissions.  Go here for more information on how to join the Thrifty Green Thursday blog carnival.  And don’t worry–we’re planning on getting a better system (such as Mr. Linky) for this blog carnival very soon!


  1. Grocery prices got you down?

    Organic foods seem out of your budget?

    Join a co-op and buy natural foods in bulk. Order ahead and get what you’d need for a month, and you’ll always have the staples at hand, being thrifty at the same time.

    Read more:

  2. Such great ideas! I’m addicted to thrift store or consignment store shopping!

    Choose rechargeable batteries! YOu will save so much more and help save the environment from senseless battery waste. Read more about it here:

  3. Here’s a hint for Thrifty, Green, & Healthy Living: head outdoors on your own two feet.

    Keep reading…

  4. Make you own green bags – For patterns etc check out our posting at Organic Baby.

  5. Green your leftovers and stop buying disposable wraps! For a tip on skipping the foil and plastic containers, check out:

  6. Here’s my contribution…keeping your house cool in summer

  7. We are so often tempted to buy new items or succumb to instant gratification, but check out this Thrifty Green Thursday story to see the benefits of waiting it out and getting goods for almost nothing or even for free!

    P.s. Thanks for hosting this again — lots of great ideas!

  8. Since school is on it’s way quickly… here is my thrifty green tip!

    I love all the tips here!


  9. Thanks everyone for the wonderful tips so far. Don’t forget to check out one another’s blogs and post comments. I’m now geared up to check out my local coop, head out for a trail run, and go on a craigslist shopping spree!

  10. I have a tip on how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy naturally and economically.

  11. This year, I’m trying to reduce my home’s electric and natural gas consumption by 20% and to it in a green and thrifty way. Here’s an update on my projects and progress for the first 6 months of the year.

  12. I’ve been shifting towards eco-friendly cleaning and hygiene products for a long time now. I’ve found that they’re cheaper, work just as well, and I actually need very little – as opposed to the piles of products I used to have under my sinks and in my cabinets. I just hope Costco doesn’t stop carrying huge jugs of vinegar and bags of baking soda! Next up… I’m going to try using baking soda in the dishwasher instead of commercial soap.

  13. Being thrifty and green no longer means living with the same old look and same old decorations day in and day out. Get inspiration for a Thrifty Green Room Makeover here:

  14. Our thrifty green tip is to use cheapo washcloths for cleaning rags. They last forever. We bought our first set five years ago and are still using them for just about everything. Saves a ton of money on paper towels, that’s for sure. Here’s the link:

  15. Thank you for those tips.

    We really don’t have much money so it is great to find new ways to continue spending green the green way.

    Visit my website and go under the camping section. There is a great tip on how to convert a adult sleeping bag into a child sized one. This way you don’t buy another product and re-used a bag that had a broken zipper or lost it’s loft.


  16. Consigning your uneeded baby clothes, toys and equipment through JBF Sales is a great way to make a little money to spend on more expensive eco-friendly purchases.

  17. Our contribution this week is a simple one: the library! It’s full of free books and everything there is recycled:

  18. I love this idea! After reading Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, I am going to try to get my produce exclusively from a CSA (share of local farm crop). I also want to switch to range-fed eggs, but they are almost twice as much as the organic eggs I buy now (which are not so cheap either). And some day I’d like to buy only organic chicken and range-fed beef. But it’s all so expensive. But I have a goal to grow my own garden (when I live somewhere where I can), and right now I’m going to start grinding my own wheat to make my own bread and I want to make my own beans too (instead of canned). I hope to eventually cut out almost all processed food from our family diet. I spend a lot at the grocery store, but we also almost never eat out. So I feel like maybe we spend about the same on food as other American families. Maybe a bit more.

    Food and health are priorities, so I try to skimp in other areas. Walking instead of driving, showering and laundering less often, etc. I’m going to try cloth diapers now too (even though my baby is already one), and that should save some dough in the long run too. I also recently decided to go through my personal products b/c of ingredient concerns and found that I could really do without almost all of them. I love it when eco-friendly also is cheaper and simpler!

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