But before I do that I feel that I need to make a distinction here. I think many of you read my last post and felt that I was being elitist or saying that you're doing something wrong by using products from companies which do or have done animal testing - and I'm not! What I was, and what I AM, trying to get across is the need to be aware! Obviously in the world we have today, it's nearly impossible to never purchase a product from a company who does, did or works with a company that does animal testing... At some point, we all need to fill the gas tank - at least until we all have solar cars! (lol)
BUT, a part of MY path is striving to be as eco-friendly as possible. And I know that something many of you strive for as well. And it's something we simply can't do if I'm knowingly putting in to products or companies that are torturing innocent animals. But in now way am I telling you to toss your asthma inhaler simply because some poor bunny once had to breath it. What I am saying simply is when you have the option, when you have the opportunity to go cruelty free - try to do so.
In no way am I trying to chastise or lecture, that's never my goal. Instead look at what I'm saying and understand that I'm saying it not to make anyone feel inferior, not to make you feel as if you aren't up to par, but simply to raise awareness about an issue.
We live in a society where everything is ruled by the almighty dollar! So make your money count! One of the questions I got most often was simply "Can I afford to go cruelty free?" And the answer is simply YES! In some cases I say you can not only afford to it, but you can't afford NOT to do it. Now, why would I say that? Well, because the companies who are most aware of our furry friends are also most aware of US. I found that many of the products I switched to in an effort to go "chemical free" in my home were also companies on the list of those who are Cruelty free! So doing good for the worlds fauna, does good for us as well...
There are a few very small changes you can make which aren't going to cost you any more money and are going to be better for both you and nature as a whole. I've covered some of those in previous posts such as choosing reusable/washable personal items & baby items rather than disposable. Believe it or not but even companies like Always, Tampax and Huggies do animal testing... Switching to cloth not only saves you hundreds of dollars, saves landfills hundreds of pounds of useless waste, but also sends the message that you will not support the testing of these products on animals!
In addition to going cloth/washable you can also simply change companies. Rather than choosing Colgate, why not choose Toms Of Maine toothpaste? Instead of Chapstick, try Burts Bees! Ditch the Tide and switch to Seventh Generation or Method! And stay far away from Ivory or Johnson & Johnson and try some Dr. Bronner's or Pure & Gentle. It's about simple swap outs, not about changing how you live.
But aren't those "simply swaps" going to cost more? No, not usually. In fact, as I started switched from the name brand stuff to the healthier, family & eco-friendly, "chemical free" (or at least chemical limited) options I started to notice I'm spending LESS than every before!
So, lets talk specifics...
What companies should you choose? Well, here are some suggestions, BUT, feel free to check out the list of Cruelty Free Companies on LeapingBunny.org
Oral Care -
Tom's Of Maine*/**
You can also use baking soda instead of toothpaste.
Hair Care -
You can also use baking soda & a cider vinegar rinse instead of shampoo.
Cosmetics & Skin Care -
Everyday Minerals **
Soaps, Deodorant & Other Personal Products -
Tom's Of Maine*/**
Burt's Bees Dr Broner's Soaps*/**
Earth Friendly Products*/**
Martha Stewart Clean
OR Make your own.
General Housekeeping -
Earth Friendly Products*/**
Martha Stewart Clean
* This Company Available on MotherNature.com
** This Company Used by My Family
And of course you can always search the list on Leaping Bunny for more!
Now, what about saving money?
First, I want to talk about shopping. Most of the products I am going to talk about are available in the larger grocery and supermarkets. If your local Supermarket doesn't have them, Target, KMart and Walmart usually do...
But if you prefer to save some money over regular retail prices you can shop online. Personally I shop on MotherNature.com a good bit, I've found the prices to be better than just about anywhere else and if you spend more than $50 you get free shipping... Usually I place an order about every 4 months and get all the stuff my family will need for the next 4-5 months or more... And when I say their prices are awesome, I mean it. Just as an example - If you were to buy EcoMe Laundry Soap direct from the company website, you'll pay $12.99 for 32oz (64ish loads) if you buy if on the Mother Nature site you'll pay just $9.74, in a store you'll pay about $14.
You should also do yourself a favor and join BigCrumbs if you haven't already. BigCrumbs not only lets you access member only discounts and coupons BUT, you can earn cash back from your purchases from sites like Soap.com, Diapers.com, Drugstore.com and more! So, you can get items at a discount AND then get cash back...
Then there are sites like Ebay and Amazon... You can't always get what you want there for low prices, but they are always worth a look!
Now, once you find the products you're looking for, here are a few more tricks and tips to help with the cost... BTW, most of these tips will work for your regular brands too!
- Dr Bronner's and other Liquid Castile Soaps are concentrated! Purchase yourself foamer pumps and cut it with water. I like a 3 to 1 mix.
- If you're purchasing soaps or detergents that you want to smell good, do yourself a favor and buy the unscented! Scented versions contain more chemicals, damage your clothing, and your body and most scent components have a history of animal testing. Purchasing unscented also allows you to dilute more than usual because you can simply add a few drops of essential oils and make it smell the way YOU choose.
- When using detergents with a "fill cup" use less than recommended. They work just as well without the full amount and last longer - thus saving you money!
- Start using Washing Soda! Most dollar stores have washing soda for $1-$2 for a big tub that lasts 50 or so loads. It will allow you to cut down greatly on your detergent and give you brighter whites.
- Look up your favorite companies on Facebook and sign up for your any and all newsletters and updates. If you don't want the extra email in your regular account, start a new one just for them. Newsletters and Facebook pages are the first place companies post deals, sales & coupons.
- Visit company websites and make a point to send feedback - good and/or bad. Many companies give free items or special coupons to anyone who contacts them.
- Buy in bulk. I know it costs more up front and it's hard to see the savings right away. BUT, you'll pay less per ounce the larger your quantity!
- Contact companies for samples!