Since many people associate efficient appliances with going green, the concept may seem too expensive for most budgets. However, green living involves much more than buying new appliances and making improvements to a dwelling structure. It is still good to plan on saving up for greener appliances, but there are several simple and affordable ways to live more frugally by making some green changes at home.
1. Make Cloth Rags
If they are used to clean the house, paper towels disappear quickly. Cut up old t-shirts to use as cleaning rags. Old washcloths, towels and other materials can also be used. By reusing rags and recycling old clothing, there is less need to buy paper products.
2. Use Cloth Napkins
An average family may use one or two packages of paper napkins each month. However, cloth napkins last a long time and are easy to wash in the machine or by hand. It is also easy to make cloth napkins from curtains or other thick cloth items that are partially damaged. Simply cut away the good pieces, finish the edges on a sewing machine and use them for many months.
3. Conserve Water
There are three easy ways to do this. First, turn off the shower water while soaping up. Second, never leave the water running while brushing teeth or shaving. Third, water the lawn only when the sun is not intense. As a rule, this means before 10:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m.
4. Turn Off Lights
If a room is vacant, the lights should always be off. Children who need lights on to sleep should be given a small lamp with a low-watt bulb. Consider opening the curtains or window shades to take advantage of natural light during the day.
5. Use Fresh Ingredients
Although many people are under the impression that fresh foods are more expensive, this is not always true. Buying organic fruits and vegetables from the grocery store may be expensive. However, most cities have farmers markets and smaller produce markets that work with local growers. The prices are more reasonable, and the food is much more nutritious than canned goods or boxed foods.
6. Reuse Plastic Bags
There are plenty of uses for plastic shopping bags. If there is a local recycling center, it is best to simply take them there instead of throwing them away. However, they can be used multiple times before they make their final trip to the recycling bin. Some stores offer cash discounts for customers who bring in their own shopping bags. If the budget allows, consider buying some cloth shopping bags. If a local store does not have a recycling bin for used plastic bags, get a petition or fundraiser going to have one added. In order to make a significant difference, everyone must pitch in to reduce plastic waste.
Every family can find ways to make greener and more frugal changes. To come up with more ways, ask kids to offer suggestions they think are helpful. Offering prizes for the best suggestions just may reveal some great ideas. The family that conserves together saves money, and the extra money can be used for daily necessities or even a family vacation.
Christine Lukes is a personal finances guru and a freelance blogger. She often recommends investing into a Certificate of Deposit for a great way to earn some interest on any cash you aren't planning to spend immediately. Learn more about cd rates at savingsaccount.org.