One of the most common complaints in the venture to go ‘green,’ is that it’s “too expensive.” Undoubtedly, the majority of eco-friendly designs and products on the market have higher price points than their status quo counterparts. But, inventiveness, a return to some old-fashioned ideals, and finding crafty ways to work around typical expenses will help you achieve an eco makeover that will actually save you money. Here are ten easy ways to save money by greening your family’s lifestyle:
1. PLANT A VEGETABLE GARDEN.
Not only will this save you money on buying organic, local produce, your kids will also be more enthused about eating their veggies if they are able to grow them, and then pick them from their own yard!
2. HOST A BLACKOUT!
Choose one day a month to have a blackout, no electricity day in your home. Kids will love this! Pitch a tent in the living room, or sleep under the stars. In lieu of lights, use solar powered flashlights or sun or moon jars. Turning out your lights will help you prepare for Earth Hour 2009, and refraining from using all of your appliances for at least one day a month will help you save money on your utility bills! For everyday living, be sure to unplug all of your energy zappers when not in use (cell phone chargers, laptop power cords), or plug them into a power strip you can turn off.
3. HOST A TOY EXCHANGE.
Have everyone bring a toy that their tot has outgrown or grown tired of to your next playgroup get together. After all, someone’s “trash” is someone else’s treasure… especially in the land of children. Kids will revel in their “new” toy, and you’ll delight in the fact that it didn’t cost you a thing!
4. MAKE YOUR OWN ART SUPPLIES.
Doing so is fun, cost effective, and you’ll know exactly what ingredients are going into your child’s hands and masterpieces. Here’s a great recipe for homemade glue and one for finger paints to get you started!
5. CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
Borrow books as opposed to spending money buying them. Let your kids choose an armful of books from your local library, and check them all out for free. If you can walk or ride bikes to the library, that’s an added bonus, saving money on gas. Borrowing books will also help save trees.
6. ORGANIZE A MAGAZINE COOP
Any parent knows that finding time to unwind with a great, frivolous magazine is a treasured indulgence. Get together with five friends or neighbors and decide on five magazines you all love. Assign one subscription to each person, and then share and rotate all of the magazines every month. This will save you a bundle – five subscriptions for the price of one! You can also really get a bang for your buck if you use glossy magazine pages as wrapping paper… that is, after everyone’s had a chance to read the magazine.
7. USE CLOTH NAPKINS
Fabkins makes adorable sets of cloth napkins that are perfectly tailored for pint-sized hands and puckers. According to Green Guide Magazine, you can save $1.68 per week by switching from paper to cloth napkins… and you’ll also be saving the earth from all that waste!
8. GO THRIFTING!
Shop at secondhand stores for gently used babygear. You’re sure to find great deals on items that kids quickly outgrow, and in many cases have barely broken in!
9. KICK THE BOTTLED WATER HABIT
Hopefully you’ve kicked the bottled water habit, but it’s worth mentioning here that if you haven’t, you should turn to the tap or filtered water system ASAP! You’ll save a boatload of money and you’ll keep disposable bottles out of landfills.
10. BUY IN BULK
More is less. Buy in bulk. You’ll save money, and you’ll cut down on pesky packaging of smaller containers and individually wrapped products.
Got any ‘green’ money saving tips you’d like to share with us? Please do so in the comments!