December 30, 2016

How to be green on a budget

We are all becoming aware of the need to go green. We are recycling our newspapers and switching out light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Perhaps you want to go even more green, and looking at your budget, you are wondering about more ways to go green and reduce your overall Carbon Footprint. Your family can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars each year by using some of these tips and still be in your budget.

First let’s help your budget out a little. Visit livinggreener.gov.au and book an appointment to have a home sustainability assessment, which can help you to identify where you can make the biggest savings in your home including how you can save money, save water and save energy.

Be more efficient when watering your plants. Water early in the morning or late in the evening as less water evaporates at these times. Encourage your plants to put down deep roots by giving them the occasional deep soaking rather than a frequent light watering. This will also help them to survive better during dry times.
Water the roots of your plants instead of the leaves. You can also get more water to your plants by weeding your garden – weeds love water too.

Teach your family to save water and energy. Get them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth, make sure lights are switched off in rooms not being used, unplug any appliance that doesn’t need to be plugged in, try to keep showers limited to 4 minutes each.

One way of being green is to recycle other people’s used goods to make them your own useful belongings. The Freecycle Network is a great network where people are creating local groups to exchange things for free. Ask friends and family if there are things they are willing to donate that they don’t use anymore – keep what you like and and freecycle the rest for things your family will need!

If you have unused clothing, furniture or small appliances, have a garage sale as a green way to get rid of these items and add some money to your wallet.

It might even be wise to set up a green fund/cookie jar to keep the money you make from green sales and savings. This can be to added to your family expense account or used to save for the family’s next green appliance or gadget.

When doing laundry, wash your clothing in cold or warm water rather than hot. Cold water is best because it causes less wear and tear on clothing. Always hang your clothes out to dry rather than use the energy guzzling dryers. If the budget doesn’t allow for a new clothes line, drape over railing and other places that the clothing can get some air circulation while drying.

Use heavy curtains to help keep drafts out during the winter and the heat out during the summer. Look for them them at second hand stores and garage sales in order to fit in with your budget and still stay green. Always check out Freecycle to see if you can get it for free in the first place.

Use lemon for greasy kitchen messes. Many people don’t realize the awesome cleaning power of lemon. A small amount of diluted lemon juice will clean the inside of your microwave faster and easier then any expensive, commercial cleaner. Just heat 1/4cup lemon juice with a cup of water, in a microwave safe dish, in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let sit with the microwave door closed for 3 minutes. When you open the microwave, all of the yucky stuff will easily wipe away.

Use heavy rugs, found at thrift stores and garage stores, to keep the feet warm in the cold months. Or you can easily invest in some woolly socks for the whole family. Your body will feel less cold if you don’t feel the cold floor.

Cooking your own food is extremely green, much more nutritious and extremely easy on the budget. Practice cooking in bulk and freezing meals for other dinners. Keep frozen food in smaller sized dishes to also allow for lunch sized meals too.

What are you top green tips that help your budget?

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