Want to help the environment, but not too keen on all of the expensive suggestions floating around out there? Here are ten frugal ways to incorporate green living into your life without throwing your well laid budget plans to the wind.
1. Safety razors
Giving up disposable razors for the old fashioned safety razor is a great way to save money and the environment. The multi-packs of flat razor blades are not only inexpensive, they come without all of the extra plastic housing that ultimately ends up in land fills. We’ve been doing this in our house for a few years now, and have noticed a tremendous savings. An added bonus? We don’t have to carve out extra storage in the cabinets when we stock up. Flat packs of blades store very efficiently in a minimal amount of space.
2. Mineral salt deodorant sticks
You can find these at nearly any health food or natural living store. They last an incredibly long time, don’t contain any harmful ingredients, and as with the safety razor idea listed above, don’t come with a ton of obnoxious plastic packaging to toss in the land fill once the product has been used up. My husband and I used this product on a recent six-month trip around the world. It lasted the duration of the trip and is still going strong. It also takes up minimal room in the back pack.
3. Re-usable coffee filters
Just imagine never having to buy or run out of these little babies again!
4. Give up paper towels
Okay, I’ll be honest. This is not easy in the beginning. The trick? Having a simple, workable system for having clean rags on hand. I ended up using several of those fabric sleeves with elastic on both ends … you know, the kind most people use to store empty plastic grocery bags in for quick access? I hung one in each place we routinely used paper towels. Then, I raided the pile of old T-shirts we had set aside to go to Goodwill and cut up a bunch of cleaning rags. These were what I used to fill up each of the disposal “sleeves.” When we need to reach for something to wipe up a spill or do a quick clean up of a particular space, we can now reach for a washable cleaning rag instead of a paper towel.
5. Recycle old athletic socks
Not possible you say? I beg to differ. Cut each old sock off just slightly above the ankle, and below the ribbed leg section. The left over foot portion is what I use instead of those expensive disposable dusting mittens. These things are great for getting around stair banister railings, gripping table and chair legs to dust—you won’t go back, I promise you! The other ribbed section, particularly if it is ribbed the entire length of the piece, is great to slice up one side and use for a great moisture holding dish rag. The ridges give you extra scrubbing power too.
6. Shopping for second hand goods
Anything you are comfortable buying second hand keeps that same item from ending up in a garbage dump. This applies to furniture, clothing, toys, kitchenware, and to a certain extent, automobiles. This personal finance procedure goes a long way to helping out the planet and your pocketbook at the same time.
7. Think before you print
Save money on ink and paper by checking to see if you really need a paper copy of a particular document before hitting the print button. Still think you really need it? Check out the econo mode for printing which will at least use less ink and save you money in the long run on those refilled cartridges.
8. Celebrate the power of tie-dye
This is a great affordable way to give lightly stained, lighter colored linens and clothing items a second shelf life. Some ideas? Old sheets, curtains, pillow cases, socks, and T-shirts to name a few.
9. Find a second use for those plastic grocery bags
These things really can help out a time or two more after making it home from the grocery store. Use them to line small trash cans (one less item to buy), pick up after your dog in the park or provide extra cushioning in those holiday postal packages.
10. Consider a personal filter for your kitchen faucet
This will enable you to skip the extra packaging that comes with large cases of bottled water and carve some extra cash out of your personal budget at the same time. We’ve been using one for at least five or six years now and really like not having to find extra room for those bottles.
There you have it. Ten ways that won’t break the bank or the planet. Have another idea? Pop me a line, I’d love to hear about it!
By Myscha Theriault for WiseBread