6 Things Your Family Can Do Right Now to Go Green Without Breaking the Bank
All too often, families claim they can’t go green because the cost of being environmentally friendly is too prohibitive. At a time when it’s easier and more cost efficient than ever to lead a greener lifestyle, that excuse is frankly a load of manure. If your family is eager to make the change and save the world, start right in your own home,and enjoy the amount of money you’ll save in the process.
Neither Paper nor Plastic
Image by John Verive
At first glance, you might not think that keeping a stock of reusable bags could save you money. It’s easier to understand why saying no to paper or plastic bags at the grocery store or your local super retailer is good for the environment. Paper bags waste trees that give off valuable oxygen and plastic bags are horrible. So why should you trust reusable bags to save you money? Simply because when you go shopping with two or three of them, you’re less tempted to spend your money on junk,you just don’t have room.
Monitor Your Energy Use
There are so many ways to check your energy use that will help you save money. Your whole house gobbles up energy like it’s movie theater popcorn. You’re wasting energy without even knowing it, which means you’re harming the environment and your own wallet.
Start by looking at the big offenders. Don’t heat or cool your house when it’s empty, and make sure that all your windows and doors are safely sealed. Keep your insulation up-to-date as well. Turn your fridge settings down as low as possible and only wash and dry large loads of clothes.
Now turn toward the smaller energy-suckers. Don’t let your computer go to sleep; turn it off instead. When you’re not using unnecessary appliances, such as stoves, TVs, those pesky computers, blenders, and similar items, unplug them. Most importantly, keep the really big appliances updated.
Grow Your Own Garden
Photo by Salvadonica Borgo del Chianti
Eating organic is healthier for you, because you’re not ingesting pesticides. Buying organic, however, can get pretty expensive, so why not gather up the kids and start planning your own garden? You can plant the fruits and vegetables your family loves, you’ll get to enjoy seasonal produce, and instead of going to the market, you get to shop right in your backyard. You’re even giving back to the environment by growing some wonderful, oxygen-generating plants. You could end up saving as much as $2,000 a year.
Watch Your Water Use
Image by Alli
If you’re not careful, you’ll break your bank account through water alone. Water is essential for life, which is why you need to make sure you’re careful. When you follow these habits, you’ll save water and cash:
- Don’t run water while brushing your teeth
- Limit shower and bath times
- Use the dishwasher instead of washing in the sink
- And combine large loads of wash
DIY Cleaning Products
There are tons of amazing DIY cleaning products that use all natural ingredients. With items like baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar, you can clean just about anything in your home. It’s safer for your family and your pets, not to mention all of your belongings, and it’s kinder to your budget as well. By making your own window cleaner, furniture polish, dish washing liquid, and laundry detergent, you’ll never waste money on bundles of commercial cleaning products again.
Photo by by AGeekMom
You can recycle almost anything,and you should, because it’s so good for the environment. How does it save you money, you ask? Because in many places, you’ll get cash back when you take cans, bottles, cardboard, and paper to a recycling center. Take your old electronics to the right place, and you can get money back to put toward a new purchase. Even consignment shops and goodwill stores will give you money or credit when you take in clothes and other items.
Invite the entire family to hop aboard the green train. Remember, you’re making life better for everyone while simultaneously lining your pockets.
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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