I’ve been green since before the term was invented. I have always enjoyed the challenge of trying to do everything in the greenest, most efficient and cost effective way I can.
Finally, being cheap is fashionable!
As a result, I know how to make do with very little, and how to live lightly on the Earth.
I am sharing some of the things I have learned over the years.
Following are some suggestions:
Turn off the television. Use to time to read a good book, learn a new skill, make gifts, do yoga, play cards and board games with your family. Have a family game night once a week. Allow each member of the family to pick the families entertainment for the night.
Unplug your television and all appliances that are not in use. Or, better yet, put them on surge protectors, and keep them off when not in use. Most appliances draw energy even when they are not in use. This is called vampire energy and uses an incredible amount of energy. This can save the average household up to $200 yearly.
Pick up a good book. Snuggle up under a cover on the couch and read away a lazy afternoon. Read aloud as a family activity. Pick a thick book you have always meant to read, and read a chapter a night.
Turn your heat down. This not only saves energy and money, but it is healthier. Lower the heat at night and when you are gone. Install a programmable thermostat. Use it.
Instead of getting coffee while you are out, buy a nice thermal cup and make your own.
Grind fresh coffee beans. Keep a couple of different flavors around for variety. Use a French press. Or, use a canning jar, a kettle of boiling water, and a tea ball filled with coffee, or put the ground coffee in the bottom of the pre-heated jar and pour it through a strainer. I came up with this method several years ago when I got tired of replacing the French presses when they broke. It looks funny, but it makes good coffee, and it takes up no counter space.
Get a kettle and nice tea pot. Buy teas in bulk and a tea ball. A cup of tea can brighten a dreary day.
Buy a good water bottle and use it. Wash it out often. Deposable water bottles are filling up the dumps and will take many generations to decompose.
Carry cloth bags for shopping. Keep them where you can grab them easily.
Learn to bake. It’s a lot easier than most folks think, and tea and scones make for a very enjoyable afternoon.
Use cloth table clothes and napkins. They are elegant as well as frugal. You can often find them in thrift stores.
Shop in thrift stores. Not only can you find great deals, but also much more variety. If you don’t like the current fashion that is all the new stores are carrying, try thrift stores and garage sales. You never know what treasures are awaiting you.
Use rags instead of paper towels. If it’s just a spill or something minor, grab a rag. I play a game with myself to see how long I can make a roll of paper towels last. I have made it to 4 months, so far, by saving the paper products for gross stuff, and using rags for the rest. I throw them in the washer whenever I do a load.
Speaking of washing clothes, use a clothes line. Using the free solar power not only saves energy, but also makes your clothing smell much better than any artificial fragrance you can add. In the winter, or you can’t put up a clothes line, you can use a clothes rack.
Give your house a thorough cleaning every spring and fall, and a weekly one on a smaller scale. This is a great workout-who needs the gym! Make your own cleaning supplies. As an example, I keep a squirt bottle of ½ vinegar and ½ water in the kitchen and bathroom.
Compost. Why throw away free fertilizer? Compost your garden leaves as well. Burning them pollutes the air.
Recycle everything. Reuse first. For instance, I bought some spice bottles at a yard sale and labeled them. I buy spices in bulk and refill my jars whenever needed. Bulk spices are less than a quarter of the cost of buying a new bottle each time.
Save plastic containers to reuse I wash and save yogurt, sour cream and other containers to store leftovers in and to freeze food. I call them hippy tuperware.
Buy organic. Even if it costs a bit more, it’s so important for your health—and the health of the planet.
Buy on sale, local and in season. For instance, buy a flat of strawberries in June when they are ripe and abundant. Wash and freeze them for winter, when strawberries are expensive.
Learn to can, dry and otherwise preserve food. It’s a joyous feeling to behold your pantry full of jams, jellies, salsa, and other wonderful food that you have put up yourself. Plus, it makes you look forward to winter, when you can enjoy it all!
Plant a garden. Even if it’s just a pot of lettuce or a tomato plant on your porch.
Go to your local farmers market. Support your local farmer!
Go vegetarian, or at least eat less meat. Research has proven the health benefits, and it also benefits your wallet.
Get a bike. Ride it. Invite a friend or two, and go on a picnic.
Leave your car at home and walk if you live in or near town. I like to leave a shoe print, instead of a carbon footprint. When you do need to drive, drive smarter. Plan ahead and get all your errands done at one time.
When it’s time, buy green appliances. Don’t update unless you need to. Get full use of your current one.
Have an energy audit done on your home, Follow the suggestions. Love the earth. It’s the only one we have.
Take time to notice what a beautiful home we have. We hope you have enjoyed this, and perhaps found a little inspiration to help you make your part of this world bit of a better place.
We encourage and look forward to your questions, comments and feedback! Thanks for allowing us to share with you.