Saving money and living green can go hand in hand. We can all do things to reduce our carbon footprint, waste less and save money in the process. Before making a new purchase, consider other options to accomplish your goal. Here are some different ways this can work:
CLEANERS: Instead of buying toxic
cleaners, try using baking soda, vinegar and castile soap. They are much less expensive in the long run
and you can avoid contributing more toxins into the environment or into the air
you breathe in your home.
Stop using disposable products.
Instead of paper towels, use rags.
Instead of plastic bags to store foods, use containers. Instead of paper lunch bags, use a lunch
box. Bring your own reusable cloth bags
to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags each time you go. Instead of paper napkins, use cloth
napkins. Instead of paper plates and
cups, us your regular dishes. The safest
plastic products for people are numbers 2,4, and 5. Many disposable items are made of number 1
and number 6 which are not as safe.
Use one half to one third the amount of soap you regularly use to wash
your clothes. Wash only full loads of
clothes. Hang up the clothes on a
clothes line instead of using your dryer.
Clothes dryers take a lot of energy to run. You can also wash things in cold water to
save money and use less energy since you won’t be heating water to wash your
BOOKS, MOVIES, MUSIC: Instead of buying your own, reduce your
clutter and save money by using your local library. If our library doesn’t have a book I want,
they can get it through inter-library loan.
With movies, check the internet to see if it is available for free. Youtube and Hulu have many movies available
to watch. The library also has a lot of
movies and music available to check out.
For newer movies, consider renting them through Redbox instead of buying
movies when they come out. You can also
borrow a movie you want to watch from a friend.
PLANT A GARDEN:
Organic produce can be pricey.
Why not grow your own for a fraction of the cost? Plant fruit trees and grow your own apples or
whatever grows well in your area. You
can make applesauce, pie filling or jelly from your own fruit. Use these for gifts when Christmas rolls
around. Another benefit of growing your
own food is that you will know just exactly what is in the food you eat.
Use public transportation, ride your bike or walk. You will save money as well as improve your
health in the process. Combine errands
so you don’t have to drive as much. Just
cutting your trips in half by consolidating trips can save you a lot of money
that you would normally spend on gas.
Skip the processed food and junk food and soda and buy fresh healthy
food and make your own meals. Go out to
eat less or split meals when you do. You
will save money as well as eat healthier.
You will also not generate as much trash as you do when you buy
processed food or when you eat out.
USED vs. NEW: Save money by buying used
clothing instead of new. By recycling
someone else’s clothing, you are also helping the environment. You may be saving those clothes from ending
up in a landfill. You can clothe
yourself very inexpensively by buying used clothes at garage sales, thrift
stores or trading with friends. Why not
host a clothing exchange in your home and help others to save money as well?
Stop buying things you don’t need.
Not buying something saves more money than getting a great deal that you
don’t need even if you get it for a fraction of the cost. Get rid of the things you do not like, do not
use, do not need, do not fit, and do not
want. You can resell them or donate
them. One Christmas, I limited the
amount of money I spent to whatever money I got from reselling items. We didn’t go into any debt for Christmas and
I just sold things I didn’t need and used that money to buy gift cards for
everyone. The less clutter you have, the
easier it is to find things and to clean what you have.
Give gift cards instead of gifts.
You won’t have to buy wrapping paper and will create less trash this
way. If you do want to wrap a gift, wrap
it in a shirt or a scarf using the Japanese art of Furoshiki. Buy fewer gifts for people and focus on
experiences and activities instead of the gifts. Instead of buying for everyone in the family,
why not choose names and buy for one person instead? Why not try a white elephant Christmas one
year? Make less expensive, healthier
things for people. Homemade bread is a
good option since it uses less expensive ingredients than desserts. People get so many sweets during the holidays
that it is nice to get something different for a change, and healthier choices will
help to avoid the holiday weight gain. Give
homemade jam that they can use later in the year. Use last year’s decorations instead of buying
new ones this year. Make Christmas more
meaningful and at the same time find ways to decrease the amount of holiday
trash that you generate.
BORROW, BARTER AND TRADE: Why not borrow something from your neighbor
if you are only going to use it occasionally.
Maybe they have something you want and you have something they would
like. Instead of everyone owning their
own, just share!
The best way to save the environment and save money is to
refuse to bring things home in the first place.
Be careful when you shop and ask yourself if there is another way you
can accomplish what you need without buying something. You can make a difference and save money and
reduce your carbon footprint without much effort.