One of the myths of being eco-friendly is that it takes a lot of money. While some large-scale changes may require a chunk of change, such as buying a tankless water heater or adding solar panels to your roof, the majority of going green choices don't have to cost a fortune. Here are 7 ways to go green on the cheap.
Be a Friend to Farmers The best prices on organic produce are usually close to home at your local farmers' market. Organic is best for your body and the planet. By shopping more directly with the organic producers you can not only save money but also put more cash in the farmers' pockets and support local food production. Find out more about living and eating organically.
Clean for Under a Buck Did you know that you can clean most of your house with a non-toxic cleaner that usually costs less than a dollar? That magic bullet is baking soda. A little water and baking soda makes a terrific cleaning paste for tubs, sinks, stoves, and other surfaces. Its whitening effect is great for cleaning grout. Add a handful to your whites in the wash for brighter clothes. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, and it won't irritate your lungs.
Fertilize with Garbage One of the great benefits of eating is that there's waste. Seriously. Put your food scraps to work in an at-home compost and voila! You'll have a free supply of soil amendment and mulch from the compost that can also be used as fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Compost is organic and non-toxic, extremely healthy for plants and the soil, and gives back to the planet with minimal effort from you.
Super Sun Savings Open those blinds and curtains and turn off the lights. Sunlight is free ... and completely renewable. You'll save on electricity. And sunshine is better for your body. The sun's rays are just the right brightness and spectrum to give you more energy, better regulate your sleep patterns, and improve your mood. Sun equals smiles.
Well-Contained Lunches Opt for reusable containers for lunches whenever possible. You have a one-time investment on the containers that can save you a boatload – throwaway baggies and individually packaged lunch items (like juice boxes and applesauce cups) are much more expensive than if you filled up reusable containers at home with juice, fruit, and a sandwich. And that means less goes to the landfill too.
Old News is Good News Have a package to send? Avoid the expense and waste of bubble wrap. Instead, reach for yesterday's newspaper as packing material. It might seem old fashioned, but what was good for grandma is still good for you.
Save Money and Miles Put on your thinking cap next time you plan errands and schedule them together on a miles-saving route. By strategically combining errands and avoiding unplanned trips to the store, you'll save gas and make your wallet a little fatter. Plus, you'll be spewing less pollution into the air from your car.
Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home. She figures that anytime she can save a few cents while being green her wallet gets a little fatter and that brings her one step closer to spending money on what really counts – fun-filled family outings.