Green everywhere I look

image courtesy pixabay.com

Green is the color of spring

Temperatures are warming up, spring is right around the corner.  The rains have begun, I was lulled to sleep last night by a thunderstorm (yes I am strange enough to find a thunderstorm soothing), and this morning I noticed the bulbs are starting to bloom around town. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day so I thought it would be fitting today to go over a few ideas for greening our lives.

“Going green” is something which not only will make your home healthier for you and your family, provide the means to improve the health of the earth, but is also easier on your wallet.

Green is also the color of money

With the price of everything rising, being greener is important now more than ever.  Have you seen the cost of gasoline today?  In my town gasoline is selling for $3.85 a gallon. No guarantee what it will be in a few hours or even tomorrow.  Let’s see what we can do to keep more of our hard-earned money in our possession.  Here are a few ways I have saved money.

Groceries: While this is one item in everyone’s budget, there are ways you can save money here and be more green.

  • Eat lighter and locally. Eat more unprocessed foods. Plant a garden and shop farmers’ markets. You will be amazed at the flavors fresh locally grown food has.
  • If you eat meat, consider buying a part of, or a  whole cow or pig. You will know how the animal was raised and be able to select the cuts you want for your family
  • Eat at home more. It goes without saying that eating out is more expensive than preparing a meal at home.
  • Reduce the cost of eating out on special occasions. Purchase restaurant gift cards for a fraction of their cost. A $25 dollar card can be purchased for $10, better yet, buying a $100 gift card will only cost you $40.
  • Have picnics and pot luck dinners.  Preparing one dish is less costly than preparing several dishes. Invite friends or family to prepare a dish to share and enjoy the company of those you love.
  • Cook once a week or once a month.  While I love the warmth an oven can provide in the colder months, it does cost money to heat an oven every day.  Taking just a couple of hours to prepare all your main dishes for the week will save you time, money and in the warmer months make your home feel more comfortable without the extra heat produced by preparing a meal from scratch daily.

Laundry

  • Wash in cold water. You will save the money you would have spent to heat the water, and your clothes will thank you.
  • Weather permitting, avoid using a dryer.  A clothes dryer shortens the life of your clothing, costs money to run, heats not only your clothes but your home.  Take a few minutes to hang your clothes in the sunshine. Why not get a dose of Vitamin D while doing chores.
  • Replace laundry detergent with baking soda and vinegar or borax. These are less toxic, and easier on your wallet.
  • Eliminate fabric softener, both liquid and softener sheets. Liquid fabric softener will actually waterproof your fabrics. I learned this the hard way when I couldn’t figure out why my towels weren’t absorbing water when I used them. Dryer sheets leave a residue in your dryer which will shorten the life of your machines. Static isn’t much of a problem for most fabrics in the warmer months, in the colder months when static is a problem try using dryer balls they are made from recycled wool and reusable.

Home heating and cooling

  • Keep the heat outside: Use shades on windows to block the heat of the sun from heating up your home.
  • Open curtains to let the sun in on cold days.
  • Use proper amount of insulation in walls and attic spaces. This is just as important in the summer months as the winter
  • Use natural light for task. For most of us the hottest side of our home is the south.  Keep windows uncovered on the other three sides of the home to allow natural light to brighten your home, eliminating the need to turn on lamps.

Water cost    Whether you pay for municipal water or have a well water should be conserved at all costs.

  • Take showers not baths.  Filling a bathtub up takes more water than a quick shower.  Try taking a “Navy Shower”, simply get wet, turn the water off, lather then turn on water to rinse. You will be amazed at how little water you use and how much your water bill will go down.
  • When rinsing, or draining the cooking liquid, of fruits and vegetables put a pot in the sink to catch the water. When cool use this to water plants, both inside and out.
  • If you enjoy a flower garden, you can also use the leftover water from washing your dishes and other areas around your home if you use non-toxic cleaners when cleaning.
  • Washing your car. I never wash my car. I live where I get enough rain, and heavy rain at that, to keep the outside of my car regularly clean. I have lived in areas which didn’t get the rain and refused to waste water. To wash my car I used a bucket of water (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar and just a couple of drops of a dish or vegetable based soap), and a rag. Start on the cleanest areas first, such as the windows.  When you have cleaned the grime, get another bucket of water and slowly pour the water over the car to rinse residue of grime or soap off.

I hope you found one, or more, ideas here to help you to save a little money on the necessities. Have I left off something you think is important? Leave your ideas here to share.

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