15 Cheap Ways to Go Green
Transitioning to a green lifestyle can seem daunting, and sometimes expensive. But it really doesn't have to be! I'm the first to admit that I'm a little bit on the cheap side, so here are some ways to "green up" your lifestyle that are free or inexpensive.
1) Gardening. Seeds are super cheap. You can start growing them inside in the winter, and transplant them in the spring. For a low cost, you can grow all sorts of things. Use organic soil and avoid pesticides, weed killer, etc. Gardening is also eco-friendly because you're not buying produce that's been transported in a vehicle and it doesn't have all that pesky packaging.
2) Compost! You'll save a ton of dough on soil for your garden.
3) Stop using (or cut down on) paper napkins and paper towels. Cloth napkins and kitchen towels are inexpensive and can be reused for a long time.
4) Reuse old clothes to clean and dust. (This is great for holey socks or other clothes that are in too bad of shape to donate)
5) Cloth diaper. Even though you use water to clean cloth diapers, there's no doubt that they are far better for the environment than traditional disposable diapers. (Plus, you don't get those harsh chemicals used in making a diaper right on your baby's tush!) Cloth diapers can be expensive to buy at first, but if you get the one-size-fits-all (like the bumGenius) you buy them once and you're set until they're ready to potty train. Overall, it's usually cheaper. There are also some cloth diapers that have disposable liners and you can actually COMPOST the pee diapers! But don't compost the poopy diapers...those can be flushed.
6) Get a programmable thermostat, and have the heat drop low for while you're at work.
7) Dry your clothes on a drying rack or clothesline and you'll save money on power bills. If you must use a dryer, don't use dryer sheets. Use dryer balls! They're cheap and you can use them again and again and again!
8) Make your own cleaning supplies. The ingredients are surprisingly cheap. You can reuse the spray bottles and there aren't harsh chemicals.
9) Make your own baby food. Even better if you can use homegrown ingredients from your garden! Think about all those little jars that baby food comes in. That's a lot of recycling! And if you use your homegrown ingredients, you can make baby food for practically free.
10) Walk, walk, walk! (Or bike) And if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with good public transportation, take advantage.
11) Fix drafts in your house. I live in an old New England house, and having new windows and sealing drafts is key to not wasting energy and to keeping our energy bills low during the winter!
12) When it's time to replace your old appliances, look for EnergyStar. A few years ago we needed a new fridge, so we replaced it with an EnergyStar one and it made a huge difference with our power bills.
13) Take a quick shower. I know how delightful it is to enjoy a long, hot shower, but it will make your water bills go up and it's an unnecessary waste of water.
14) Don't run the dishwasher or washing machine unless it's full. Think about all the water it saves!
15) Cloth tote bags. I know how hard it is to remember to take them to the grocery store, but whenever I forget them I realize how important it is to use them. How many times have you gone to the supermarket and before you can say anything the bagger has used 3 plastic bags to bag your 5 items? Cloth tote bags are usually inexpensive (and sometimes you can get them for free). Now most stores also have reusable bags for 99 cents.
Please add any other "green" tips that are also easy on the pocketbook!