“Going Green” has certainly become a buzz word recently. Many people are making conscientious efforts to protect our environment its resources. If you have been wondering what steps you can take to pitch in, there are some easy to implement ideas below. The best part about going green is that you can save money while doing it!
Ways to Save Money While Going Green
Stop Eating Out
Did you know that the average American family spends $4,000 eating out a year? That’s a staggering number. Cooking at home is fun, nutritious, and you have complete control over what ingredients go into your food. Consider cooking with organic food when possible (less pesticides and chemicals in the environment and water system), and eat locally to support your community’s farmers. Try to minimize processed foods, which are high in sodium, calories, and preservatives. By opting to cook at home instead of eating out, you can save up to $3,000 a year.
Grow a Vegetable Garden
By growing your own produce, you can opt to nix the pesticides and chemicals. The veggies come right out of your backyard, instead of having to be transported thousands of miles to your grocery store. You also save the plastic packaging that is used in commercial production. On top of all of the goodness for the environment, you can save money! The cost of seeds is very minimal, and one plant can make enough produce to last you all summer long. If you have an abundance of tomatoes, corn, peppers, etc. you can freeze or can your veggies and enjoy them all winter long. And think of the extra Vitamin D and exercise you will get tending to your garden!
Reusable Grocery Bags
Plastic bags can take from 10-100 years to partially decompose, and only .6% of them are ever recycled. Invest a few bucks and buy reusable grocery bags. They hold more groceries than plastic sacks, (which makes for fewer trips from your trunk to your car) and some stores will give you a credit for each bag you bring, every time you bring it! Sure, it may take you a while to recoup your initial investment, but think of how much trash you are keeping out of the landfill.
Make Your Own Cleaners
Are you aware of the dangers lurking below your kitchen sink? They’re loaded with cancer-causing chemicals, they’re toxic to the environment, and they’re expensive. Don’t worry though, we have you covered! Making your own cleaners is insanely easy, inexpensive and so much better for your family’s health. You can check out Natural Living Mamma’s Cleaner Recipes or Homemade for Elle’s cleaner recipes and see for yourself.
Make Your Own Beauty Products
If you don’t already know, you will be horrified when you find out what chemicals make their way into your beauty products. Soaps, lotions, toothpaste, and make-up are loaded with junk that shouldn’t be put onto your body. Go ahead, pick up a bottle of lotion and Google the ingredients, and be prepared to freak out. Luckily, you can make your own beauty products out of naturally derived ingredients, and save money doing it. Here is a list of my favorite recipes for face masks, lotions, and body scrubs.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
If your hot water is scalding, turn down your water heater. Water heaters can account for up to 25% of your total heating cost. Save money, energy, and your skin by turning the heater down to a comfortable level.
Carpool, walk or bike to work
Reduce your carbon footprint by carpooling, walking or biking to work. If you have a long commute to work, consider carpooling to save on gas and money. If you live close to your work, consider walking or biking a couple times a week. Every little bit counts and you’ll get the extra benefit of exercise!
Most companies now offer estatements that are sent directly to your inbox, instead of your mailbox. You can also save money on postage by paying your bills online, or by enrolling in auto draft programs. Paper bills are ultimately shredded or tossed, which takes energy and time. Save yourself the hassle and save the trees by going paperless.
Craigslist, Garage Sales and Freecycle
Save money by buying used items through Craigslist, Freecycle or a good ol’ fashioned garage sale. Many communities have local Facebook groups where people can sell, buy or exchange their unwanted goods. You can find great deals on things you need, and make money selling the things you don’t. This is a great way to keep trash out of landfills, and it will decrease the amount of new products that are made.
Ditch The Plastic
Certain types of plastic can take thousands of years to decompose. Sure, it may be convenient to use plastic plates and utensils instead of washing dishes, or grabbing a disposable coffee cup, but it’s costly for you and bad for the environment. If you must use disposable plates, buy paper plates instead of plastic, which will decompose much faster.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Chances are, you’ve heard this mantra. It is a great reminder of how to make small, but effective changes to our consumption in order to benefit ourselves and our earth. Live simply (and happily!) by reducing what you need to live.
We live in a heavily-commercialized era, where marketing campaigns tell us that we need, need, NEED whatever they are selling. The reality is that it doesn’t take much to live, or to live well. Before buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it. Reuse what you have, or what others have available for sell. And remember to recycle. Inspire others to make small changes in their lives, and pretty soon, we can make a difference.
How do you save money while going green?
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Hi, this is Andrea from Homemade for Elle. I am thrilled to be a contributor to Natural Living Mamma!
I live in New Mexico with my husband and my two-year-old daughter. After my daughter was born, I jumped on the “green and crunchy” bandwagon, and have been striving to eliminate toxic products from our lives. I make my own household cleaners and beauty products. I create wholesome, delicious meals from real food ingredients, and keep processed junk out of my home.
I have a background in finance, and strive to live a debt free life (although I have a ways to go). I enjoy reading, writing and living in ways that are environmentally friendly and frugal. I love taking pictures of nature, food and my daughter. I garden, I read labels, and I play the piano.
I believe by living simply and naturally, we become happy and healthy. If you’re into that kind of thing (and I assume you are, because you’re here, right?), please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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