You will most likely find both saving money and saving the environment at the top of your 2012 New Year's intentions list. In fact, these are at the top of my families own list. When it comes to saving the environment, it comes almost naturally when your family is focused on saving money. And since there are many ways that you save a little green while saving the planet at the same time, it's a win-win for your family and the environment. Read on to learn my seven favorite ways to save money while helping the planet at the same time.
1. Clean Green
Let’s face it, those cleaning supplies are pretty expensive – especially when you are purchasing eco-friendly cleaners to clean everything in your home. And since there is a specialized product to clean everything from your oven to your clothing, those expenses can add up quickly. If you aren’t purchasing your cleaners in bulk or refilling your containers at your local co-op, that equals a lot of cleaning supply bottles hitting the recycling bin each month. Instead, consider reusing those empty spray bottles and filling them with your own, homemade cleaning supplies. Making your own cleaners will not only save you a lot of money over the course of a year, but will save the environment too. Try our how to for making your own eco-safe cleaning supplies here.
2. Winterize Your Home
If you can hear the wind whistling through the cracks and gaps in your doors and windows, then you are letting money and resources fly out the window. Take the extra time to fill in all of those gaps and cracks, and use draft stoppers to keep that cold basement air downstairs. It’s also a good idea to have an energy audit done on your home to find out where hidden cracks and gaps are that you can’t see, for example around your electrical outlets.
3. Recycle for Cash
You may be surprised to find out how many recycling programs in your area will pay you cash for simply recycling. Many areas have programs that will pay you for your metal, cardboard, ink cartridges, golf balls, and electronic recyclables. Most often all you have to is take your recyclables in, have them weighed and you will be paid on the spot.
4. Shop Secondhand
Shopping at your local secondhand stores is a great way to buy something that you need without impacting the environment. Thrift stores are great places to grab lightly used clothing, books, toys, and housewares. You will really be surprised at the treasures that you will find when you shop at your local secondhand stores. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you will give a second life to something that someone else no longer needed.
5. Get Cooking
If your grocery bill is out of control it may be due to the large number of pre-packaged items that your family is purchasing. It is much more cost effective and healthy to purchase whole food ingredients and prepare your own meals than it is to buy food in a box. You also save the environment when you purchase food products sans packaging and when marketing the best option is always to buy as much of your groceries as possible, locally. And when possible in bulk, since the more that you purchase the better price you will get. However, remember to only purchase what you will be able to consume or freeze before it spoils.
6. Get Creative
The next time that your child is asking for a new video game or toy, consider organizing a swap with a close friend or family member. Chances are that your child’s close friends and cousins have different toys or games than your child. Swapping games or toys is a great way for your child to get something new to play with, without impacting the environment. Plus, after your child has played with those toys for a while, chances are they will be excited to see their old toys again.
7. Fun for Free
You don’t need to spend the day skiing, eating at expensive restaurants or going out to the movies to have fun as a family. There are literally thousands of ways that you can have fun as a family that don’t have an impact on your wallet or the environment. Instead of spending the day skiing, go for a winter hike and picnic. Instead of an expensive meal out, prepare a homemade meal together at home, and instead of a trip to the movie theater, grab blankets, pillows and air popped popcorn and rent a movie to watch at home.
What thrifty ways is your family saving money and the planet this year?
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