One great thing about frugal living is that being frugal tends to lower your impact on the environment. In honor of Earth Day, we have collected some money saving tips and articles that are also good for the environment.
Get a bicycle. Goodwill stores often have nice used ones for $10 or so. Make sure it's the right size for you, it's comfortable and you know how everything on it works. Then put reflectors on it, a basket on the front and/or back, get a lightweight lock, and go for it. Optional: light, and rear-view mirror on handlebars.
And please always wear bright-colored clothes when riding, or at least tie a bright scarf on the back. Thrifty, green people know how to avoid accidents.
A few stores in my area, like Fred Meyer, have been selling sturdy reusable cloth totes to use instead of paper or plastic bags. They have nice handles, sit flat and are good for the environment. So I always remember then when shopping, I store them in my car. It is so nice not to have all those plastic bags to deal with and recycle.
Jess in Portland, OR
You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by using a pool cover. Swimming pools lose energy in a variety of ways, but evaporation is by far the largest source of energy loss. Evaporating water requires tremendous amounts of energy. It only takes 1 Btu (British thermal unit) to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree, but each pound of 80 degree F water that evaporates takes a whopping 1,048 Btu of heat out of the pool. (Source: US Department of Energy)
If you have big garden containers, like the whiskey barrel type, you can take your old pop cans and put them in the bottom for drainage. A gardener told me about this one and it works well and the cans get put to another use.
I wash my hands many, many times a day. I use Viva paper towels. After I dry my hands, I lay the paper towel out flat on my counter and re-use it several times for drying or it's there for a quick wipe up, if you need. Saves money on my paper towel purchases. Viva is a very durable paper towel. I know it's more expensive but, in the long run, a good paper towel will withstand a lot more that a generic one.
Purchase some hand towels at the dollar store, and dry your hands with those. That way you only use water, not trees.
I haven't used paper napkins for at least 5 years and I use paper towels rarely. I buy bandanas and/or cloth napkins (usually from the Dollar Tree Store) and wash them when I wash my regular laundry. Paper towels are so wasteful if you use them for clean-up! Instead use old, worn out dish towels, socks, tee shirts, bed linens and baby blankets. I use these for all kinds of cleaning: kitchen sink, bathtub/shower, dusting or polishing furniture and/or knick-knacks. I sometimes soak the dirtiest rags overnight in baking soda and water, wring them out in the morning, then wash as usual.
One of the things that I have done for years is to store dish cloths, dish towels and cloth napkins in a 3 tiered fruit basket. It works so well to keep these items very handy, add a decorating dimension by showing off the colors, and to save precious drawer space if you are limited! Enjoy! And you can change the color scheme very easily!
By Deborah, Sherman Oaks, CA
I know most people drink milk. We started drinking powdered milk that we mix in glass jars and wash out/re-use the jars. We go through about 2-3 gallons a week and that sure does add up to a lot of those plastic jugs in the garbage (we live in the far north, there are no recycling centers for anything except aluminium and newspaper). When we burn wood for heat for our home, we use the cardboard boxes that the powdered milk comes in to help get the fire going. Waste not, want not. :)
By Frugal Gal
We look a bit weird to most people because we've chosen to live without electricity. Producing power throws all kinds of pollutants into the atmosphere. If we do get power, it will be solar. It's considered to be the least polluting source.
We raise a few head of cattle, usually six steers and a milk cow, and sell the extra (organic) beef. In the meantime, there's always milk and milk products and a small income. The cattle fertilize their own pasture and our large garden. The dog works as a "doorbell", telling us when we have visitors, whether people or coyotes. The cats keep the mice down. We never buy paper products that will be single-use, feminine hygiene products are about the only thing.
We stay home as much as possible and only go to town when we have several errands to run. The chemical-free garden and fruit trees provide year-round goodies, not to mention beauty when they're in bloom. I like to dry fruit for winter rather than canning so much (except for pears - yum!) I make apple, rhubarb-strawberry, peach and berry pies to sell at the farmer's market. Handmade soaps, too, because they're all natural and kind to skin as well as the drains.
Our washing machine is up the hill, and the wash and rinse water drain out onto a very large pine tree and hundreds of daffodils. All that dirt and detergent is actually good for them. Who knew?
Our lifestyle doesn't make much money, but it doesn't need much to maintain it. If I could stay healthy, we could live on under $400 per month. But the part of earth I like preserving best is me, so the bills go on. This earth is taking a beating, and we love our lifestyle to count as a "safe spot" for it. Love to all!
Every week, the average American generates around 23 lbs of waste. A large portion of that comes from the packaging of products we buy. Research suggests that $1 out of every $11 that Americans spend on food goes toward packaging. Here are some staggering facts about packaging:
Few of us are aware of how much water we waste. Most of us merely turn on the sprinkler and walk away. In many places, water is not only scarce, it's expensive. How you deliver water to your lawn and garden can have a major effect on your water bill and ultimately, on the environment.
Windows can account for as much as 35 to 40 percent of a home's heat loss. With heating costs on the rise, that can translate into significant dollars. New windows are not in everyone's budget, so if you are looking to increase the energy efficiency of existing windows, here are some simple tips for sizable energy savings.
More ways to save money on energy costs.
According to the EPA, if every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with one of their ENERGY STAR rated compact fluorescent bulbs, it would be the pollution equivalent of pulling one million cars off the road. That sounds easy enough right, so why isn't everyone doing it?
Finding a second use for household items is a true mark of a frugal person. Reusing items saves us money, reduces waste and is a way to do something positive for the environment.
Fall is a great time for a home-energy audit, and there are a surprising number of ways to save energy in your home without investing a major amount of money-or even time. Here are some tips that can save you from several to hundreds of dollars per year.
If you're like me, one trip down the cleaning products aisle at your local grocery store can leave your eyes burning, your head pounding and leave you gasping for fresh air. Making your own green cleaning supplies is not only better for your indoor and outdoor environment and your health; it can save you a bundle of money. On average, $20 dollars of commercial cleaners will cost you less than $5 to make.
Household batteries include both single-use and rechargeable dry cell batteries used to power toys, cameras, radios, flashlights, hearing aids, and many other portable products. Nearly all households produce waste batteries, in fact Americans use and discard about 3 billion batteries every year. That adds up to 125,000 tons of battery garbage.
When you consider that there are well over 600 million cars on the road worldwide, you begin to understand how a few negative driving and maintenance habits can add up to large environmental damage. Lessen your car's impact on the environment by following these driving and maintenance tips:
Even with the best of intentions, it's easy to generate waste and pollution while traveling. By following a few simple guidelines, you can reduce your impact on the environment and save money at the same time. Here are a few tips for traveling green.
Feel free to post your own ideas below.
I read with interest the article regarding not having electricity. I can relate to that because we didn't have electricity when I was a child. However, as I read the thought occured to me...how can she use a computer and contribute to the discussion if she doesn't have electricity. I envisioned several gerbils racing in their wheels in cages!
Good point Granny Sue! :-)
Maybe they use the computer at their local library. A lot of people don't have a computer or a fast internet connection. I know that there always seems to be a line at my local library.
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