Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green and Frugal: Swap and Save

Here are some great tips from our friends at
Thanks to the frugal and green movements, more consumers are opting to swap their unused items, rather than go through the hassle of a garage sale or the expense of tossing them into the county landfill.  As a result, swap and barter websites have become vastly more popular than in their early days. We found 40 that allow you to trade just about everything, including services and jobs. Before you dive in, though, be sure to consult our checklist for "safer swapping."

For example:
  • Look for feedback on "sellers," much as you would on eBay, and avoid those with negative comments.
  • Some sites require members to register a PayPal account or credit-card number for verification purposes. Look for "https" in the url before providing this information.
For more ideas, check out 40 Website Where You Can Swap and Save

Where do you like to swap and save?
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ideas for Giving Your Kitchen a Green Makeover without Going Over-Budget

There are a lot of options that need to be considered when giving a kitchen a makeover, not least how to include some environmentally-friendly measures and stay within budget. Fortunately, there are ways to get a great looking kitchen while also being mindful of the planet and not spending a lot of money.

Going green and saving
There has been a major push the last several years to find ways of doing things that are less harmful to the environment, and remodeling a kitchen is no exception.

*Appliances – If the current appliances are still in good working order the most environmentally-friendly option is to keep them and not throw them into a landfill. They can be cleaned up and even re-painted using appliance paint. However, if new ones are needed or desired, look for those that carry the Energy Star label. These appliances contain efficiency measures that use less energy, which is good for the environment and will save on monthly electric bills. They may also have rebates or tax credits included.

*Cabinets – Again, painting or staining the current ones (using eco-friendly products) may be the best and least expensive option. The knobs can be replaced using recycled glass or some other material. If new versions are needed, consider a set of wood kitchen cabinets. These are safer for indoor air quality than those made from particle board, because they don’t emit toxic vapors, and you can save money by purchasing ready-to-assemble ones that you can build yourself. A third option is to find a store that deals in cabinets made from wood reclaimed from other uses. To keep the old cabinets from going to the landfill, see if they can find new life as storage in the garage, or give away on the Freecycle website.

*Counter tops – Look into using recycled tile if a new counter top is necessary. They are one of the most inexpensive options and also allow for a great deal of creativity because the options are nearly limitless. There are even tile patterns available that mimic more expensive tops such as marble or granite.

*Flooring – Cork can be the ideal material for the flooring in a kitchen. It is durable, fairly inexpensive and more sustainable. It has natural anti-allergen properties, repels insects and mold and has a cushion to it that is good for areas where a great deal of time is spent standing. It can come in many different colors and patterns. Recycled tile can be another inexpensive option for flooring in a kitchen.

*Other areas – Smaller measures can be taken around the rest of the kitchen to remain environmentally-friendly. Recycled glass can be used for the backsplash instead of tile, energy efficient light fixtures will save on electricity and new sink fixtures can help conserve water.

When remodeling a kitchen, it is possible to make it beautiful, functional and eco-friendly without completely breaking the budget. It will be a room to show off to guests while also being good for the planet.

This is a guest post from Katie Brooks, who enjoys the challenge of her green and frugal lifestyle. She recently built her own natural maple kitchen cabinets, saving money on labor costs and improving the air quality in her home.

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