Since I began living the green lifestyle, I’ve always been on the lookout for practical, simple, and cheap ways to go green. Our family earns a decent income but we are certainly not rich and as a mother, one of the biggest challenges for me is stretching our budget. Fortunately, you don’t need to have a lot of money to go green. I have found many different ways to help in the preservation of our natural resources and at the same time, these eco-friendly ways enable us to save money as well.
Buy organic products: Whenever an organic alternative is available, I always choose to go for the organic produce. In our local market, consumers can actually buy organic produce from farmers who also advocate organic farming.
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And because these fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with chemicals and cultivated only with organic fertilizers, I feel more at ease because I know that my family is eating natural, healthy food.
Use organic fertilizer: If you grow a garden, you can recycle food scraps and use these as fertilizer for your plants. It doesn’t require much space at all. What we do is fill in half of a large, used, biscuit container with garden soil. This is where we dump in our food scraps, fruit and vegetable peels. We make sure that the container is tightly covered to keep the pests away. After a few weeks, we have a non-toxic, organic fertilizer that we can use for the garden.
Plan your trips to save gas, money, and time: We only take a trip to the supermarket twice a month and I would never go shopping without first preparing my grocery list. Making a list is smart because you’ll know exactly how much you spend on groceries and you can be sure that you won’t forget anything you need. I usually do my shopping on the weekend so on our way to the supermarket I would drop off our kids to my parents’ house for their weekly visit. If there’s anything else that I need to buy from the mall, I make sure to go there first before doing my groceries. On the way back home, I would pick up my kids and parents and we would have a family dinner together. The point is to make a list of all your errands for the day so you can plan your trip and route. Trust me, it’s a great strategy to save on gas and time.
Use a sandwich box: Instead of using plastic sandwich bags that you’ll have to throw away after each use, we only use reusable boxes for our sandwiches and lunches. And I make sure that my family takes with them their home-cooked lunch and snacks to school and to the workplace every day. Besides, my kids and husband enjoy my recipes a lot more than the meals served in the cafeteria.
Use citrus peels as air freshener: I never bother to buy home deodorizers and air freshener’s in can. What I do is collect lemon peels. I boil them in a pot with about 2 glasses of water and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder and the house smells heavenly. Lemon juice is an effective, eco-friendly cleanser for tile countertops and flooring in the bathroom and kitchen. The natural acid in lemon is a fantastic stain remover too!
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Clean with baking soda : Baking soda is one of my favorite natural cleansers. It is also an effective deodorizer. I simply add two to three tablespoons of baking soda to a cup of water to make a paste and use it like any over-the-counter cleanser. You can use a brush to scrub the area and then just rinse it with water afterwards. It’s far cheaper and safe for your family’s health.
Recycle Paper: Before the back-to-school season arrives, I make an inventory of all unused supplies from last school year so we won’t need to buy new ones. I collect all unused pages from last year’s notebook, sew it up, and I have newly bound notebooks ready to be used again.
Repurpose unwanted things: Don’t throw away that tissue roll cardboard just yet. It’s the perfect tool to organize extension cords and cables in your drawer. Empty ice cream containers are great to hide away small stuff and keep your home uncluttered. These containers can be stacked one on top of the other to maximize space. We discard our toothbrushes after every two months and but that doesn’t mean we throw them out right away. Those worn out brushes are still effective cleaning agents especially for narrow and indented surfaces. In our home, I try to re-use just about everything possible.
Wear an extra sweater: There are days that are much colder than the others but instead of turning up the thermostat immediately, try to put on an extra sweater or warmer clothing and see if you’ll feel better. You might not know it, but adjusting your heater by even just 1 degree can increase your energy consumption by as much as 3% in 24 hours.
Unplug unused appliances from the power source: Did you know that plugged appliances make up at least 5% of your overall electricity consumption? This is known as the “phantom energy”. We used to leave our computer and television plugged in for 24 hours, 7 days a week, not knowing that it brings us unnecessary costs on our electricity bill. Since I found out about “phantom energy”, I made sure that we don’t waste a single cent. For gadgets and appliances that are not in use, we make sure that they are completely turned off by unplugging them from the source. This is probably the simplest, easiest trick to cut down your electricity bill and an incredibly cheap way to go green.
These are just some of my simple ideas of going green. How about you? Do you have your own inexpensive ideas to go green? If so, then you are welcome to share them with other readers of this blog. We would love to hear your suggestions!