From fruit to nuts, candles to crayons, numerous organic options are popping up all over. But sometimes these can be difficult to find, and when you find them, the extra cost may be astronomical.
Unlike the general belief, green living is expensive is not always true. Sure some green products and processes 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.
Here’s our guide to organic shopping and finding sustainable foods you need every day in a way that won’t break the bank:
Grow Your Own:
If you love to get your hands dirty, starting a garden will save you enough money to go on a weekend getaway by year’s end. With the price of food and gas today, if you have a garden you have your fresh produce to cook. A garden filled with herbs, grains, fruit, and vegetables will keep you from weekly trips to the store because you can make your 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.
Mother Nature doesn’t rely on pesticides, weed killers, and chemical fertilizers for her gardening and neither should you. Check out the tips below to keep your garden thriving while remaining eco-friendly:
Welcome Pest-Eating Bugs & Birds:
Ladybugs and lacewings eat aphids that destroy crops and butterflies, and bees are excellent pollinators, so be sure they feel welcome in your garden by planting plenty of bright flowers that they are drawn to such as candytuft, sunflowers, and goldenrods. Rid your garden of even more plant-harming insects like slugs, snails, grubs and caterpillars by welcoming birds into your garden, too. Put up bird feeders and nesting boxes to encourage them to visit.
Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. We recommend a mix of vegetable peeling, garden waste and fibrous, woody brown material like paper or cardboard that provide the right conditions for encouraging compost-making bugs and in 6-9 months it will be ready to use.
Water with Care:
Adding a rain barrel is an easy and inexpensive way to capture mineral and chlorine free water. Not only will you cut your water costs, but you will also reduce the storm water runoff that causes erosion and flooding. Also, consider investing in a soaker hose or drip irrigation that uses up to 50% less water than sprinklers.
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 at your local thrift shop for your neighbor’s yard sale. Sure not everything is in excellent condition, but for the most part, the items are in decent to good shape; sometimes you can even find items that have never been used before. Most thrift stores also have first half off days and on those days, you can add more change to your savings account.
What about managing your financial affairs in the virtual world? By doing things like getting investment reports and paying bills online, making the 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. Try Vita Cost, it’s a great place to start.
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 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.
You can make natural beauty products and toiletries right at home for cheap. Make your 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.
This option has gone mainstream and for a good reason. Cloth diapers are a superior product, they are safer for children, and they save a lot of money. Parents will spend thousands of dollars on disposable diapers for just one child, but a beautiful selection of cloth diapers will usually run from $300 to $800, and cloth diapers can be used for one or more subsequent children or can be sold. The used cloth diaper market is huge. My cloth diapered two kids 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.
Organic milk and eggs can sometimes be found at your local corner store. And if they don’t already have it, ask for it! This way you’ll always have a supply nearby.
For produce, buy what’s local and in-season. You’ll pay through the nose for peaches in Maine in December, and they won’t taste excellent, either.
Find your nearest farmers market, the best resource for fresh, organic produce, eggs and cheese. Your food will taste better, and it’s often cheaper than the supermarket.
Look for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in your area. You pay a weekly fee in exchange for a share of a farm’s weekly harvest which will be better for you and the earth.
Long Term Savings:
Even the so-called expensive green investments like solar panels or energy star appliances are not more costly 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 real 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 useful to the people who dwell in it. Do your part and save money while you help the Earth?
Now it is your turn. How has going green saved you some green?