In these days of green frenzy, it’s hard not to be swept up in the madness of becoming earth friendly. It’s a good thing, but the cost of going green can hit our slim budgets hard. Being a penny pincher, I have come up with 10 ways to Go Green on the cheap.
1. Plastic, Yes, recycling is good, but you can use your plastic bags for trash bags! They make perfect trash can liners. Don’t forget that those plastic water bottles can be cut in half, and used as great little seedling planters for spring vegetables and fruits. There are many ways to re-use your plastic products at home.
2. Paper. Instead of tossing that bad computer printout, or the one sided junk mail you keep receiving, cut it up into small papers to use as scrap paper for taking notes. It’s also great to staple together for tablets for your children to doodle on in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office.
3. Lightbulbs. There is some out of pocket expense for switching out your lightbulbs for the new, greener ones, but the overall cost is worth it. For under $8, you can get a pack of 5 eco-friendly lighbulbs at your local Walmart. If you don’t want to replace all the bulbs in your house quite yet, just keep one package on hand and replace the bulbs as they burn out in your house.
4. Plants. Want an excellent way to purify your air, add some color, and have a greener surrounding environment? Spend a few dollars on some plants rather than that eco friendly air purifier. Plants naturally cleanse the air of toxins, and add excellent decor and life to your household.
5. Water Filter. We all want fresh, clean water. Investing $20-$30 on a faucet water filter is super efficient. The filter can be switched on and off for when you choose to have purified water, and saves the tons of plastic you would waste on buying bottled water. Also consider purchasing a small filtered water bottle to fill up instead of buying bottled.
6. Screens and Fans. While we all like to stay cool and fresh in the summer, if you can stand slightly warmer temperatures, consider opening up your windows after installing your summer screens and running ceiling fans or room fans instead of the air conditioner. They are a fraction of the price on electric, and still provide a nice breeze.
7. Trains. The train is becoming more consumer friendly everyday. Trains are much more energy efficient, and cost effective than flying or driving. While it can be a slower commute, consider looking into local train transportation for both short and long commutes.
8. Carpool. If you need to get to and fro via automobile, check into local carpools! Not only will it save you money on gas and car expenses, it means fewer cars on the road.
9. Home Grown. Consider growing your own garden this year. Seeds are very inexpensive, and even if you do not have a yard, many vegetables can be grown in small pots with access to the sun. It’s healthier for the environment (think: no transportation needed to deliver your products to you, less chemicals, etc) and much tastier when you grow your own.
10. No Waste. Work on being a minimal waste family. While it may be hard not to buy easily disposable items, it is certainly not environmentally conscious. Instead of using paper plates, use the ceramic ones in your shelves and wash the dishes by hand. Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and if you have a small child, consider cloth diapers. It may seem old fashioned, but it will save you money, and the environment around you.
Small changes can make a big difference on your budget, and the world.