Like many families, we don't have a lot of money. What we do have, I attempt to stretch as far as possible. I have heard a lot of people say that they would love to be more friendly towards the environment but they feel like it will cost them too much money. So I have put together a list of my favorite five ways to go green on the cheap. Seriously, these things will cost you less than $10 and many will end up saving you money in addition to giving you that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing you did good!
1. Buy a 6-pack of CFL bulbs (the crazy looking spiral ones) and replace 6 of the light bulbs in your house. The 6-pack is around $10 and you will end up saving over $200. Plus you won't be changing bulbs as often because these last way longer meaning you will have time to go spend that $200 you'll be saving.
2. Stop using paper towels. I know it sounds hard, but you can do it! You don't even have to buy anything to do this one. Grab some old t-shirts and cut them into rags. The great thing about these homemade rags is that you can customize them to whatever size you use the most. Don't have any old shirts to sacrifice? No worries, just take a trip to your local Goodwill store. Not a fan of the shirt idea? Ok, just pick up one of those multi-packs of washclothes at Target or Wal-Mart.
3. Donate anything that can still be used to a local charity such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army or a woman's shelter. Clothes, shoes, books, magazines, kitchen stuff, almost anything....It's the one-man's-trash-is-another's-treasure concept. Donating costs you nothing, plus if you donate enough and get receipts you can deduct these on your taxes! Don't forget to shop at these stores too! You'd be amazed at some of the stuff you can find. (I've bought clothes for the kiddos at our local Goodwill store that still had tags on them!)
4. Stop doing your dishes by hand. Seriously! Save your manicure and load up that dishwasher. An efficient dishwasher actually uses less water than doing dishes by hand. Not only will you save water (meaning your bill will go down), you will have fewer chips in your nail polish which will save you a little money too :)
5. Reuse plastic bags from the store. Put them in your small trash cans or any of a zillion other things. Read the side of Target bags, they give you ideas! Or better yet, spend a few dollars and get reusable bags for you groceries and other purchases. Also, Wal-Mart has bins in their entrance ways for recycling those plastic bags. If I forget my bags and am forced to use the plastic ones, I always take the ones I've not been able to reuse with me and put them in the recycle bin. (These, sadly, are never full.)
As you can tell, I am cheap but still manage to find ways in which to do my part for the environment. Hey, I'd rather my grandkids not have to wear 1000 SPF sunscreen just to look out the window :) Oh, and I guess a bonus tip is to pass these ideas along especially to kids. Going green doesn't have to cost you a fortune. It really is about changing habits. Kids have not developed the bad habits we have yet, so get them young and maybe the next generation will do less damage than we have.
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