The belief that green living is expensive is not always so. Sure there are some green products and processes that are very expensive, but green living does not always constitute a lot of money. There are MANY ways to live naturally and green AND save money.
Grow Your Own -If you love to get your hands dirty, starting a garden will save you enough money to go on a small weekend getaway by year’s end. With the price of food and gas today, if you have a garden you have your own fresh produce to cook with. A garden filled with herbs, grains, fruit, and vegetables will keep you from weekly trips to the store because you can make your own dressings, seasonings, and even items like bread, cookies and cakes. With a garden, your trips to the grocery store are limited to meat purchases and staples that you can’t make at home. Cut meat out of your diet and think how much more you will save. There is no need to run to the store and waste valuable fuel and time. Just go to your backyard with your reusable grocery bag and fill it up with fresh produce. Doing this is also a source of fun and exercise for the whole family.
Buy Second Hand – Many people miss the huge savings in purchasing used. Thrift stores and yard sales are a treasure trove of items that you would pay five to ten times more for in department stores. Items like clothes, books, dishes, linens, and furniture can all be found in your local thrift shop at your neighbor’s yard sale. Sure not everything is in great condition but for the most part the items are in decent to good condition; sometimes you can even find items that have never been used before. Most thrift stores also have special half off days and on those days you can add more change to your savings account.
Go Virtual – What about managing your financial affairs in the virtual world? By doing things like getting investment reports and paying bills online, doing direct deposit, and opting out of receiving catalogs in the mail, you can save $150-200 per year because you are not using checks or stamps; and you even avoid those dreaded late fees. You can also buy music and movies online and watch them right on your computer.
Clean Green – The average U.S. household spends approximately $600 per year on household cleaning products. By learning to use inexpensive items like baking soda, vinegar, lemons juice, essential oils, and borax to clean your home, you can cut the cost by about $500. Add to that a savings from using only cloth rags instead of paper towels and you have saved a bunch. Your home will be naturally clean and you will feel better knowing that you have a safer home with some cash in your pocket.
Natural Beauty – You can make natural beauty products and toiletries right at home for cheap. Make your own toothpaste, lotions, deodorant, diaper rash creme…the possibilities are endless and the solutions are just as good as what you pay top dollar for in a store.
Cloth Diapers – This option has gone mainstream and for good reason. Cloth diapers are a superior product, they are safer for children, and they save a lot of money. Parents will easily spend thousands of dollars on disposables diapers for just one child…but a nice collection of cloth diapers will usually run from $300 for the minimalist to $800 for the snazzier diapers with bells and whistles AND they cloth diapers can be used for one or more subsequent children or sold. The used cloth diaper market is huge. I cloth diapered two kids and LOVED every minute of it.
Green is Healthy – Using green and safe products and eating sustainable, organic foods often translates into health. Think about all the doctor visits and prescription drugs you can avoid because you are living healthfully. Let me just give you an inkling of what I mean. My bad choices in years past resulted in cancer. Conventional treatment was oh so modestly priced at $7000 a week, every other week for 6 months. Add to that what I spent on natural and homeopathic products and treatments and you can see why I wish I could have avoided it altogether.
Long Term Savings – Even the so-called expensive green investments like solar panels or energy star appliances are not really more expensive in the long run. You save money on lower energy costs every month for the life of the product.
There are many ways to save money living green. That is a good thing. However, the benefits of going green far outweigh the amount of cash you have in the bank at the end of the year. It is about helping your family to get healthy. It is also about the longevity of an Earth that is more than good to the people who dwell in it. Do you part and save money while you help the Earth.
Now it is your turn. How has going green saved you some green?