By: Katrina Miller
Katrina couldn’t decide what she wanted to blog about… being green or being frugal. I suggested she write about being green frugally! Personally, I think this TOS Crew Member did a fabulous job! Be sure to check her website for more green and frugal tips!
I am very happy to have been asked by Kelli to talk to you about how living green can also help you save money. As a very environmentally aware individual, my family and I strive to live as green as possible while also staying on budget. As a family we have decided for me to stay home to raise and educate our children, leaving us as a single income family. We have found just by living green we automatically end up with more money in our pockets at the end of the month. I have chosen to talk to you about my favorite three ideas for living green and saving money, but I’ll also leave you with some other ideas at the end of my post.
1. Donate to and buy from second hand shops: We have no desire to contribute to the overfilling of our landfills, so we often donate things we no longer have a use for to second hand stores or charities. In addition, we also very rarely buy anything new, choosing to browse second hand shops and the occasional garage sale to find things that we might be able to use. We’ve found wonderful deals on household items and even educational material. The vast majority of our clothes also comes for second hand stores. I’ve purchased maybe 3 or 4 items of clothing new for my children. It is amazing what some people consider garbage! Speaking of garbage you would be amazed at some of the things my husband has picked up from the side of the road on the evening before garbage pick-up – tables, filing cabinets, a couch that couldn’t be more than 6 months old, a virtually unused exercise bike. If you take the time to look you can find many of the things you might need for a fraction of the cost.
2. Reuse/Recycle/Repurpose: We have a lot of fun coming up with new ideas for things that we no longer need. We store crayons, pencils and other art supplies in tin cans. Tin cans are also often painted or decorated to hold lovely bouquets that my daughter makes for me from other recycled items (for example tulips from egg cartons). Cereal boxes get transformed into toy cars, castles or robots and then once they’ve finally been so used that they are no longer played with then they actually make it to the recycling. The kids have hours of fun building and then playing with their creations and all for FREE!
Some other ideas for repurposing are using egg cartons to hold/organize small items (like beads or jewelry), turning sheets or table clothes into aprons or cleaning cloths (reuse, reuse instead of using paper towels), or finding old wool sweater at a second hand store and turning them into carrying bags, diaper covers, or even little sweaters for the smaller ones in the household with just a little bit of sewing. I’ve been known to unravel sweaters in order to use the wool for different projects.
Almost anything can be turned into art supplies so it’s fun to be creative and try out new things with item that are no longer in use. If you Google “repurposing” you will find a whole host of wonderful ideas.
3. Eating local produce/non-processed foods: One of the biggest impacts on our budget has been to eliminate most processed foods from our diets. We are eating much healthier and not supporting big grocery chains that care more about profits than the quality of the food. Buying organic food from grocery chains can be quite expensive and we have not been able to justify the cost. When we can we do buy from local farmer’s markets and when you buy food that is in season you can usually get very good deals.
This year we have actually taken on a new project and have started quite the immense garden (for beginners) growing our own veggies-potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, peppers amongst others. While this may seem like an expense it really isn’t (even if you choose to buy already started seedlings as opposed to growing your own). The amount of produce you get certainly justifies the start-up cost and you know exactly what it going into your food.
Some other tips:
Walk whenever possible. Use public transit. Combine errands so that longer car trips can be done in a single outing.
Use less electricity. Heat less in winter and cool less in summer. Use energy saving lights (in the long run they really do save money though the initial cost can be shocking). By cancelling cable we are saving electricity, spending more time together as a family and have eliminated one monthly bill.
Make your own home made cleaning products. Vinegar, baking soda and a little essential oil can clean just about anything.
Hang your clothes to dry in summer.
Buy food at bulk food stores (like Bulk Barn in Canada). You can often find organic nuts, grains, and seeds and also save on the packaging costs (we are always shocked when we leave that store at the savings.
I will leave you with that. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment here or take a peak at my blog http://mamamanuscriptsplace.wordpress.com
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