Friday, January 30, 2009

Five Simple Ways You Can Go Green Today

Most people sigh when they hear about “going green” or “living frugally.” But neither one has to take much effort (or cost). Here are quick and easy ways to make a difference today:

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water.
    Save your hot water for those heavily soiled loads of clothes. Washing in cold water is just as effective. All you need is the soap and agitating action of the washer. Ninety percent of the energy used by your washer is to heat the water.

  2. Bring your own bags to the supermarket.
    Many stores offer very inexpensive tote bags, or you may already have one lying around your home. You’ll help reduce the number of paper and plastic bags. Many towns are trying to ban plastic bags all together.

  3. Lower or raise your thermostat (depending on the season).
    You’ll save money and energy by lowering your thermostat 2-3 degrees in the winter (or raising it in the summer). Put on or take off clothing as needed to achieve your ideal temperature.

  4. Recycle everything possible.
    From cardboard to aluminum, in many towns recycling is mandatory. If not, you can take on recycling by finding out where you can take your plastic, metal, newspapers and cardboard. Think about how you can reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfills!

  5. Use your good china and cloth napkins.
    Reduce or eliminate the amount of napkins, plastic utensils and paper cups and plates you use. Not only will you save money by not buying these products, these types of paper and plastic end up in the garbage. You’ll save trees, energy and save yourself some money!

Each time you do any one of these actions, you’re saving the earth…and your money!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Having Kids & Going Green – It Can Be Done

I love learning about different ways to go green and to save money. When I had my two children, who are now four and two, I was very interested to see how families can stay environmentally friendly while keeping money in their wallets. Here are some of the ways that I do it:

Cut the Juice
I don’t mean cut the juice out completely, I mean cut it in half. We buy 100% juice whenever possible in the large, plastic jugs, which are good for recycling. Then, we pour half of the juice into another large container and fill both half-filled juice containers with water. This doubles the juice, saving you money, and ensures your kids don’t get as much sugar (even if it is fruit sugar).

Buy Secondhand Whenever Possible
If you’re frugal, then you love a good garage sale. For my family, garage sales are a weekly ritual. We’ve bought toys, clothes, appliances – you name it. It’s saved us tons of money. In addition, we are also regular shoppers of and Both offer great deals on a variety of items.

Have a Garage Sale or Swap Items with Friends
I know once my children grow out of their clothes or toys, I’m dying to get rid of them. The best way is to hold a garage sale, where you can make some money. Or, ask your family and friends if they need the clothes or toys. You’ll also find that people will ask you if you need toys or clothes for your own children. Always say yes! You never know what you’ll end up needing. Plus, you can always donate items to charity if you end up not using them.

The best way to go green as a family is to teach your children what it means. Get them involved in recycling, gardening and being energy-efficient. It’s the best way to ensure they care for their environment…and learn the meaning of a dollar!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going Green & Saving Money – All in a Day’s Work

Each day, from start to finish, I’m always thinking about ways I can save money and be green. (I know, I have too much time on my hands.) But think about a typical day and the little things you can do that could go far in the long-run.

  • Make your own coffee.
    Don’t stop at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on your way into work. Make coffee at home and take it with you in a travel mug. We buy Dunkin Donuts ground coffee (when it's on sale or when we have a coupon) and make it at home. Save money, travel time (and gas), and there’s no disposable cup to throw out.

  • Pack a lunch.
    I've found that buying lunch every day to be a HUGE expense. At $5-$7 per day, 5 days a week -- that's $1,300-$1,800 annually! Now I keep a stash of non-perishable food in a drawer at work, such as cereal, oatmeal and granola bars.

  • Avoid the dry cleaners
    It kills me to have my clothes dry cleaned, since it’s approximately $5 per item. UGH! So now I make sure to only take those items that say “Dry Clean Only” to the cleaners, and I try to get at least three wearings. The other clothes, I wash in cold on gentle, tumble dry low and immediately take out of the dryer and iron. I’ve found it gets the job done…even though I absolutely hate ironing, which is why I originally dry cleaned so many of my clothes! Being lazy is expensive!

Not only will these tips help the environment, they’ll keep more green in your wallet!