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Reusable shopping bags: frugal and green

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I am sure you all have seen those reusable bags in most every store you walk into. Their sole purpose is to be reused when shopping, as well as offering some advertisement for the store. However, they do require that you buy them, usually for around a dollar or so per bag. So how do they save you money?

To start with, reusable grocery bags are environmentally friendly, so that in itself really makes it worth the investment. To add to that you don’t end up with an overwhelming supply of plastic bags that you don’t know what to do with. But they do save you money in some hidden ways as well. Some stores will even offer a bag credit for using them, such as Bi-Lo, which offers a five cent per bag credit.

Another benefit is the durability. Plastic grocery bags break and rip. Have you ever had the bottom come out of one? It’s not a good thing when it’s holding breakable items, like glass jars. The store is not going to reimburse you for that jar of spaghetti sauce or dozen of eggs that just ended up all over the parking lot. The reusable bags also don’t tip over in the car and allow your groceries to roll out. You can end up with quite a mess if its dairy or meat products that end up under the back seat until you discover it.

The insulated bags tend to cost a little more, but they are well worth it, especially in the summer when you’re transporting ice cream and frozen foods. You can even use the ice blocks for coolers to help out if it’s really hot out. Not to mention, they can be used when going on trips and other places as well, or even as a lunch cooler for work.

An additional use I have found for a reusable grocery bag is to take it as my shopping bag. I devoted one to carry my coupon book, scissors for additional coupon clipping, calculator, and sale ads. I keep these things in the bag and take it any time I go shopping, that way I am sure to always have my coupons. It is especially helpful for price comparisons, and trips to club stores, like BJ’s or Sam’s Club. You can even carry a bottle of water and some crackers in it if it’s a big shopping trip!

Reusable grocery bags do save money in the long run. Each broken jar on average pays for 2 bags. When you factor in the added uses, lack of frustration, and the environmental benefits of thousands of these bags not ending up in the landfill they are definitely frugal and green. Until next time, happy saving!

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