Think going green is too expensive? Think again. Here are 15 simple ways to go green and save money at the same time!
How to Go Green and Save Money
1. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. A friend blessed me with a beautiful king sized sheet, but I don’t have a king sized bed. I cut it into 16-inch squares and stitched the edging by hand (I don’t have a sewing machine). My family has lovely cloth napkins that can be washed and used again and again. Use fabric remnants you already have or search for inexpensive fabric at thrift stores.
2. Make some of your own household cleaners. Vinegar, water, baking soda, and lemon juice work wonders for most household cleaning tasks. Check your local library for books such as Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan to find specific recipes and instructions for making many different types of cleaners.
3. Start a compost pile. It’s a great way to reuse vegetable and fruit scraps, thus cutting down on the amount of trash you’re sending to the landfill. Visit Composting 101 for specific information on what to compost and how. If you cannot have a compost pile where you live (i.e. you’re renting, it’s forbidden by community deed restrictions, wildlife such as venomous snakes make it dangerous, etc.), consider making a homemade tumbler out of a garbage bin. You’ll end up with a nutrient-rich soil that’s fabulous for your outdoor plants and/or garden.
4. Reuse your junk mail. Any paper without writing can be reused for making shopping lists, library lists, children’s art doodling, etc. When you’re finished, add it to your paper recycling bin, and take pride that you gave it a second life.
5. Wash in cold water. Yes, I said cold water- it is a super easy way to go green and save money. Your laundry will be effectively cleaned, and you’ll save energy not using heated water (not to mention it will keep your electric/gas bill lower).
6. Hang laundry to dry. If you are able to use an outdoor clothesline, by all means harness the sun’s energy to dry your laundry instead of using a dryer. Community deed restrictions, apartment/condo dwelling, weather, and other factors often make outdoor drying impossible though. In those cases, utilize your indoor space to air dry at least some of your laundry. An inexpensive garment rack or shower rod will work wonderfully. Not only will you reap the benefits of a lower electric or gas bill, but your clothing will last longer not going through the wear and tear of the dryer.
7. Support your local farmers, especially those using organic or certified natural methods. Visit Local Harvest to find farms, farmer’s markets, CSA’s, and co-ops in your area. Most farmer’s markets do offer local produce, but many have it trucked in from hundreds of miles away – don’t be afraid to ask where it’s from. Buying local and in season will save you money and cut down on the amount of fossil fuels being used to transport produce to your table.
8. Give growing some of your own produce a try if you live in an area where local farms are not abundant or you really enjoy gardening. A USDA Hardiness Zone Finder for North America through search engines or search your local library for books pertaining to growing in your zone/state to help you achieve optimum results. Consider lasagna gardening as an inexpensive way to get started. Also consider checking with local bakeries for 5-gallon buckets they no longer need. Many places will give them to you for free, and they make excellent containers for growing herbs and some vegetables (be sure they food grade quality and did not previously contain any chemicals or hazardous materials).
9. Reuse your old or worn out clothing. Socks can be use for cleaning window blinds and ceiling fans. T-shirts can be turned into cleaning rags. Jeans and other clothing items can be redesigned into a rag quilt. You can even turn old t-shirts into a homemade pet bed!
10. Don’t use the heated dry feature on your dishwasher. Simply turn off the dishwasher at the end of the wash cycle, and leave the door ajar slightly to allow dishes to air dry.
11. Don’t allow the water to run while you brush your teeth. It seems logical enough, but how many people are guilty? My husband for one! Not only will you save a precious resource, you’ll cut down on your water bill if you are charged for your usage.
12. Reuse glass jars. Glass doesn’t leach chemicals, so it’s a far better choice for storage than plastic. Jelly jars, mayo jars, pasta sauce jars … you name it … are fantastic for storing dried beans, popcorn, nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts, dried herbs, etc.
13. Shop yard sales, thrift stores, and rummage sales as much as possible. Buying used instead of new is a great way to go green and save money. Plus, thrift store shopping will lessen the load on our landfills and can help reduce our dependence on petroleum.
14. Combine trips. Planning your trips is one way to shop sustainably to combine as many errands/stops as possible and reduce your vehicle’s mileage and fuel consumption.
15. Say “no” to bottled water. Using plastic bottles of water is not eco-friendly and can compromise your health. Invest in a water purifier for your home (most are quite inexpensive), and purchase a couple of lidded glass canisters to keep filled with water in your refrigerator. You can also find stainless steel, BPA-free reusable water bottles at prices that won’t break the bank in a variety of stores such as Marshall’s, TJMaxx, Target, and Walgreens.
What are some of your favorite ways to go green and save money?