Times continue to be tough for many families. It’s just hard to bring enough money in. You need to cut back on spending to get by.
Does that mean being green is out? No way!
Having less money is a wonderful reason to be eco friendly. Simply put, many green and eco friendly products cost less in the long run, and sometimes that long run is a pretty short run too.
Packing Snacks in Reusable Bags
Reusable bags can seem a bit pricey upfront, but if you compare the cost to what you’d spend on plastic baggies, it doesn’t take that long to make up what you spent on them. Just don’t get too fancy on your initial purchases. You can buy simple cotton muslin drawstring bags for as little as $3.
This is great for when you’re on the go as a family. Kids often want snacks for in the car or for during whatever activity you’re planning. Plastic baggies may be the common solution, but you’re still going to have to take them to the trash. Not much more effort to take your reusable bags home.
These can also be used when shopping at the grocery store for carrying produce. This may not be a money saver as such, although some stores will give a discount for using your own bags. But you’ll be using much less plastic in your life if you bring a bag.
Resetting the Thermostat
How’s the weather in your area? Are you thinking about the cost of heating or cooling your home?
Change the setting of your thermostat to save money on your bills. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. Just dress a little warmer in cool weather, and cooler in warm weather, plus allow your body to adapt to the temperatures of the season. Human bodies are hugely adaptable to weather, and if you rely less on heating and air conditioning to perfectly manage the temperature of your home, you will adapt to the season in time.
Eat Less Meat
Meat production has a huge environmental cost. It’s also kind of pricey at the store. Eat more vegan and vegetarian meals to save money.
It will take time to figure out what you like if you haven’t eaten many vegetarian meals in the past. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve developed a liking for beans, quinoa, couscous and other ingredients that make for great vegetarian entrees. Vegetables… well, I’ve always liked them.
If you can’t afford it, don’t go organic for most produce. You should not be bankrupting yourself over food.
But you can grow a garden for fairly little money if you behave yourself. Don’t get all fancy about it, buying planter boxes and so forth if money’s tight. Just make a basic garden and grow your family some vegetables and herbs. Don’t forget to compost to make some great, cheap fertilizer for your garden.
Use a Clothesline
Using a clothesline is particularly practical during the summer. The sun will dry your clothes for free!
If you have homeowner’s association issues this can be challenging, as I well know. But you may be able to use a mobile clothes rack that you can take down after use, especially if it keeps everything below the top of your fence. It’s not a problem if no one else can see it!
You can also use a clothes rack indoors. Place it near a sunny, open window if you can.
If you’re concerned about crunchy clothes and towels from line drying, simply take them off the line when they’re almost dry, and finish the drying process in the dryer. You will still have used far less energy.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Know that cabinet full of cleaning products? You really don’t have to buy them for the most part. Making cleaning products at home is pretty easy.
The main ingredients you will need are baking soda and vinegar. You can buy these in larger packages to keep the overall cost down. The baking soda provides a bit of grit for scrubbing. Lemon juice can also help.
Keep a spray bottle of watered down vinegar ready for regular cleaning. You can use this for many cleaning jobs around the house.
If you want a little extra action on a tough cleaning job, sprinkle the baking soda on the area first, then spray with vinegar. The two will react, just as they do in the old volcano science fair experiment. The reaction will help you to clean up many kinds of messes.
Thrift stores and resale shops are your friends, and a delightful way to be green. When you buy used products, not only do they cost less but they aren’t using up new resources. They were made, someone else bought them and finished using them, now you can use them.
It’s amazing the quality you can get used. Clothes may be lightly worn or even not worn at all when they hit the thrift shops. Dishes will still work as dishes always do. Same for pots and pans. You can still read the books.
Yet they all cost a fraction of what they did originally.
These may not be the big things you dream of doing for the environment, but they will make a difference. We can’t all go off grid and grow all our own food. Many of us just don’t have the money to even start that process. Do the eco friendly things that fit into your budget and lifestyle, and encourage others to do the same.