Are you making an effort to be more “green” at home? Anytime you go green, you can save green meaning money in your budget! Even with young children and the busy-ness of life with multiples (and more), there are some simple changes you can make to your lifestyle. You’ll see a big impact on your budget! Here are five strategies to help you go green and save green:

Recycle or Freecycle everything you can

If you’re not already, start recycling! Get the kids involved; they love the sorting, carrying, and dumping. Most counties no longer require sorting, which makes it even easier. By reducing your trash, you may reduce your monthly charges (some services charge by the pound or bin) while you’re helping the Earth. Donate cardboard tubes, egg cartons, plastic bottles, and magazines to your children’s preschool. Rather than toss unused household items, list them on to go to another family who can use them.

Only run full loads, and during off-peak hours

This applies to both the dishwasher and the washing machine/dryer. Obviously, quantity is not a problem in a house with multiples!  Be more aware not to run the dishwasher when it’s only half-full (ahem–hubby!), and get into the habit of running both the washer and the dishwasher in the evenings. Most utility companies charge less for power during the “off-peak hours” of evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Replace your paper towels

My family thought I was nuts when I switched all our paper towels out for white dishcloths back when my twins were in highchairs (and my son was 3). It worked great! Each meal, I used one per kid, first the face, then the tray, and kept them in a bucket under my sink until they could be washed and bleached. I’ve never gone back; I use them to clean counters, cabinets, and more. I save hundreds of dollars each year.

Replace your paper products

Another way I save hundreds of dollars per year is by avoiding paper plates and cups. I bought plastic plates and cups at IKEA years ago ($1.99 for six, and they’re still that price!), and we use those instead. For quick meals, picnics, and snacks, they take the place of paper and take seconds to wash. If you don’t have an IKEA near you, look at Target’s plastic plate selection when they go on clearance. They last many years for a great price!

Buy used items

Make a decision to buy used clothing, toys, and gear for your children, and you’ll save not only money but all the energy it takes to manufacture new products. If you haven’t tried it yet, learn to shop consignment sales. With the summer season approaching, you’ll find large community yard sales where you can practice those same skills.

Use reusable containers

You’re probably already using Snack Traps and other reusable plastic containers for your toddlers, but keep that habit up as your kids get older. Avoid plastic baggies and other disposables and pack with stainless steel and safe-plastic containers. Learn about PVC- and lead-free products, and read 5 Ways to Green Your Lunchbox. If you’re packing lunches for yourself or your spouse, save on packaging and trash by using reusable containers.

What are some other ways you’ve gone green?