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Friday, February 4, 2011

Green on a Budget

Going green isn't just good for the planet, it can also be good for your wallet. I've always been a collector/antiquer and it's a common joke around that community that we were the first into this green lifestyle thing, by seeking out things that were tens if not hundreds of years old rather than new furniture or bric brac.
Even if you're not into vintage, going green can still save you some green with these economical approaches:
  • Hit up your local craigslist free section or join Freecycle, which lets you trade or pick up items with others in your area.
  • Add energy star appliances, not only will they save you dough on your monthly utility bill, you may be able to qualify for additional rebates.
  • Check out these low-cost notebooks from eco-system that let you track where your notebook comes from. They also come in a variety of chic colors, and are made from 100% recycled product using veggie dyes. Meaning the next time you go to jot down a note or your grocery list, it won't come at the price of a new tree.
  • Live so green even your socks are bio-degradable. Yes, you read that right, a company called icebreaker offers cheap and chic socks that are soft and keep your tootsies toasty until they naturally biodegrade.
  • Cut back on pre-packaged foods. Sure, they're easy and some of them almost taste great but, the packaging? Not so much. Switching to fresh prepared foods can not only add an extra healthy boost to your diet but can also cut back on the use of cardboards and paper products.
  • Add a water saving shower head. I know, you're thinking this means you'll be showering under a trickle of water but that's not the case. Shower heads have come a long way and some of them even generate their own pressure while using less water, giving you the perfect showering experience while saving you some dough, and the world some water.
  • Turn off your porch light.  Unless you have solar powered outdoor lighting, you should consider turning off your porch lights and exterior lights once you're in for the night. It saves energy and also cuts down on light pollution in your neighborhood.
  • Consider buying bulk and non-disposable items.  Buying in bulk not only saves you money, but it also saves on packaging.  Which means you can cut down on the trash coming out of your home.  If you live alone, buying in bulk may not work for you, but consider buying non-disposable items as well.  Pens, swiffers, plastic forks, plastic bottles, it all adds up - and quickly too. Buying re-useable items can save you some serious dough and cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in your local landfill.
  • Consider thrifting - Goodwill is more than just a place to go for vintage looks.  Many second hand stores now have very current items at deeply discounted prices.  You can also get rid of unwanted items in a more green-friendly way by donating them or resell them at a consignment shop where you'll get a cut of the final purchase price.
Following the steps above for adopting a green lifestyle are a win-win for your pocketbook and the planet. They're also incremental enough you can ease into it.  Remember, its not green to upend your existing lifestyle and replace it with all new "recycled" goods.  Buy what you need, cut what you don't, moderation is the key here.
Have other ideas? Share them with the class in comments.

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