Go Green and Save on a Post-Holiday Budget
- Monday, 11 January 2010
The holidays can really put a dent in your wallet . . . or worse, max out those credit cards. If you're trying to curb excess spending in the wake of holiday over-spending, consider going green to save money.
There are lots of little (and big) green things you can do that will help you curb your spending habits, saving money and the environment at the same time, and though we're offering up five fantastic ways to go green and save, there are tons of other ways to achieve a thrifty, green lifestyle.
Make Your Own Organic Baby Food
This one really depends on having a baby in your home, but it's completely worth it. Prepared baby food is expensive, and prepared organic baby food is even pricier. Making your own organic baby food will cost less than buying regular baby food, and it has none of the energy use and emissions associated with food processing and packaging. Pick up organic peas, beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, and other produce. Steam the foods—if you boil them, you'll lose some of the nutrients in the water—and then puree in a blender. Most foods can be stored for a week, but if you're worried, you can freeze any foods you'll be using later in the week.
Work from Home
More and more companies are allowing staff to telecommute because it can save companies money—and it can save you money, too. Working from home is a great way to reduce your transportation costs and emissions, especially if you have to commute long distances. Even if you can work from home one or two days a week, it's an improvement.
Keep Tabs on Heating
Winter is the perfect time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. By programming your thermostat to drop a few degrees at night and when you're away from home, you can reduce your energy use and save on your monthly gas or electricity bills. It's a win-win all around. According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat that has been properly installed and programmed can save you $180 (based on a single-family home).
Trade or Share Books Instead of Buying
Buying books is vital for those of us who like to slip into another world for a few hours. But books are expensive, and it's not like they grow on trees—except, when you think about it, the raw material for books is trees. From the trees and energy used to make the books, to the emissions produced by shipping them to bookstores across the country, books have a hefty environmental footprint. So buying fewer books is one way to save cash and go green. There are tons of great alternatives. Get a library card (or use the one you have more often). Swap or borrow books among friends. And if you can't entirely kick your book-buying habit, limit yourself to used books, which can range from half to as little as a tenth of the cost of a new title (plus, you can find all those out of print titles!).
Make Your Own Cleaners
Cleaning products can be full of chemicals that aren't good for you or the environment-and some specialty cleaners aren't exactly cost-effective. So if you're looking to cut down on your cleaning costs and save some money, consider making your own cleaners. Naturally Savvy's Cleaning Green section offers advice on everything from making your own cleaners to safe carpet cleaning.