3 frugal tips for green living that you can implement today!
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You know what I love most about the green lifestyle?
Well ok I love the ‘feel good’ factor of supporting the environment and living in harmony with nature, but what I love most of all is that you can combine doing good with frugality. It’s a win-win!
One could be forgiven for thinking you have to invest in expensive technologies and gadgets to make a difference but it’s simply not true, as we’ve shown time and time again. There are plenty of companies out there doing their bit too. Vivint is one; they are a company working to help you go green, stay safe AND save money.
Here are three simple ways for you to stretch your budget at home without even noticing!
Eco friendly brands of laundry detergent found in green homes tend to be considerably more expensive than regular brands. Fortunately you can cut the cost by ditching fabric softeners in favour of white vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to remove soap residue AND it softens your clothes! If you want to take the hardcore approach you could make your own laundry gloop using castile soap and soda crystals.
Organic vegetables are often more expensive than non-organic because they need more space to grow and more time and attention to thrive. Therefore you need to think like a person in war time and maximise use of the food you buy. Making soups is the perfect solution to turn those wilting vegetables into a feast fit for a king. Nothing can beat a simple meal of home made soup and bread! Use those organic, locally farmed carrots and potatoes in a hearty stew or make miso soup. An inexpensive pot of organic fermented miso paste, tofu, green onions, soybeans, and brown rice can feed you with healthy, organic, environmentally-friendly nourishment for pennies.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll prioritise good quality food and this CAN cost you more money. We always buy organic chicken and meat which costs two or three times the price of non organic. We get around this by taking the focus off meat at the main part of our meal. If I use minced beef in a dish, for example, I pad it out with a handful of organic oats or quinoa. If we have chicken on a Sunday, I mix the leftover with chopped vegetables and lentils to make curry. Adding a handful of barley and a tin of tomatoes to chopped chicken creates a hearty casserole.
What about you – what tips do you have for making your ‘green’ budget stretch further?
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I think the ‘reduce’ aspect of going green has saved me the most money! What I buy tends to be a bit more expensive (yep, my washing up liquid now costs $3 instead of $2), but there’s so much I don’t buy any more (paper towels, napkins, bottled water, new clothing, stuff I don’t need) that my overall costs have gone down quite a bit.
i stretch the budget by putting the main focus on sales and restricting that to “known use only”..if i know that we don’t use it, i don’t buy it at any price regardless of the pretty picture on the box.
soups, salads and stews hide a lot of small savings…
shred one carrot over plain lettuce, add one radish julienne cut, some green onion slices, cut on the bias and you have a pretty serving. make the vinaigrette dressing.
1 part wine vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part olive oil, 1 spoon dark mustard, a pinch of sea salt, pepper to taste. shake well, refrigerate with a clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary in bottle if desired.
soups, make sure you include one root vege, one green veggie and a handful of whole grain, quinoa, brown rice, barley or oats..or use legumes like lentils, limas, white or black beans, mixed or single, they all marry well..a small serving of shredded meat or a bone will add minerals and vitamins to the mix.
these are some of my daily living tips.
I’ve been buying items in bulk and making a lot of things from scratch at home such as toothpaste and deodorant.
I agree with Jennifer. One of the key things in being more green is to consume less, and the less you buy the less you need to spend. We have reduced our gas use by about 60% and our electricity use by about 40% and this has saved a substantial amount of money. We also use smaller quantities of products such as detergent and washing up liquid, and no longer buy bottled water and cling film.
Using reusable things (such as cloth napkins, washable sanitary products, cloth toilet wipes, cloth handkerchiefs, etc.)instead of disposable products has saved us money, despite the initial capital outlay.
We only buy clothes new now if we cannot mend something we already own, or get what we need second hand. Also, I am going to make a couple of new pillow cases out of the salvagable part of an old sheet which has completely worn out in the middle.
Getting rid of one of our cars has saved on road tax, insurance and servicing costs.
Not sure I understand the white vinegar as a fabric softener…..won’t all your clean clothes end up smelling like vinegar (generally unpleasant)?
I agree with the eating less meat, but eating organic meat. I have incorporated more vegetarian and vegan meals. Meat is more expensive per pound than anything vegetarian or vegan.
One simple tip is to make the most of concentrated products, which save on packaging, transport costs, money (most of the time) and space in the cupboard! For example, if I was making the curry mentioned in the article, I’d use a paste as base to make a sauce rather than buying a big bulky glass jar. You can apply the same logic to detergent, fabric softener, juice etc.
@Jennifer @noteasy2begreen: I’ve found that too and I think that’s a pretty exciting aspect to green living. I can buy better quality things because I need less of them. Win-Win!
@nadine sellers: Loving all your recipes and the ‘known use only’ mantra is a fantastic one. Thank you!
@Mike Lieberman: How are you getting on with the toothpaste now? buying in bulk is a great way to reduce packaging and expenditure.
@Jane: Sounds like you have done loads Jane; it’s really inspiring to read about all the people making such positive lifestyle choices. We’re down to one car too but I wish it was less guzzly on diesel!
@miles: Hi Miles, it’s a really weird thing and I had the same concerns but clothes doesn’t smell of vinegar *at all*! They may smell a little when they come out of the machine, but as they dry the smell dissipates. So I can promise you don’t smell like a fish and chip shop 😉
@All Natural Katie: I think it’s a good compromise if you’re not ready to embrace being a vegetarian or vegan and I do LOVE most veggie meals it’s just that after 20 years of a vegetarian I felt my body needed a bit of meat and fish…
@GreenSteve: Absolutely; I love our concentrated laundry liquid and I tend to water things down anyway, even those that aren’t necessarily MEANT to be concentrated; like shampoo and washing up liquid 😉