Save Money

5 Easy Ways to Save Money and Help the Planet

Save MoneyMany people think of going green as expensive – buying organic, local food at a greater cost or spending extra money on chemical-free cleaners for example, but happily this doesn’t have to be the case. Lots of green behavior is about reducing waste and using less energy: two things that will inevitably save you money. Here are five ways you could save money and help the planet at the same time.

 

 

 

Food Shopping

Make a weekly meal plan – including snacks and drinks – before you head off to the supermarket. That way, you’ll have a list of exactly what you need for the week and won’t be tempted by special offers that could end up uneaten and in the trash, wasting you money and contributing to the landfill. Don’t forget to factor leftovers into your plan, either; eating them for lunch the next day is by far preferable to throwing them away. If throwing food away is completely unavoidable and you have a garden or yard, why not use it for composting? Or if you don’t have a “green thumb” yourself but know someone who does, offer it to them!

Consider Renewable Energy

While installing a renewable energy generator can be a big initial cost, in the long run it’s something that can save loads on your electricity bills. If you’re making your own electricity, you won’t have to pay an energy company to generate it for you, and depending on who your provider is, you could sell unused energy back to them. Cut your energy bills down even further by switching to an electric cooker and electric radiators; the only thing you’ll need gas for is hot water.

Insulation

Making sure your house is well insulated is a must if you want to cut down on your heating bills. Ensuring that you’ve got adequate attic insulation and cavity wall insulation can go a long way to prevent heat from escaping and keep your house toasty in the winter. Double glazing helps as well, but if you don’t have it (and if you have drafts around your doors), investing in draft excluders to put around any cracks where heat escapes is a cheap and effective solution. Less wasted energy means that less is used – saving you money and helping out the planet.

Turn Down The Heat

We all know that throwing on a sweater or two and turning down our thermostats by a few degrees can go a long way to saving both money and energy, but did you know that doing the same with the hot water temperature on your water heater can do the same?  Having the water temperature at anything over 60C is a waste of money, and lowering the temperature means no more accidentally-too-hot baths or showers! Additionally, you can save a bit of energy by fitting an insulated jacket around your water heater to stop heat escaping there, too.

Using Your Washing Machine

85% of the energy used in doing a load of laundry goes to heating the water. Washing as much as possible on 30 degrees will cut this right down, and you’ll see a decrease in your energy bills. There shouldn’t be any difference in the quality of cleaning on a cold wash, but if you’re worried, you can buy detergents that are designed to be extra effective in cold water.  Try and do large loads instead of lots of little ones (this should cut down a bit on the time and effort you spend doing laundry, too!).

These 5 easy tips were contributed by Liberty-Belle. Liberty is a recent English graduate with a keen interest in green issues. She has done work for climate change charities in the past and now spends most of her time blogging. Thanks Liberty!

Green Shopping

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Grocery Shopping Greener

Green ShoppingOne of the best ways to make your lifestyle greener is to make small easy changes in your routine. Find something you do often, and then look for ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle.

Grocery shopping is one of those opportunities. It’s something you have to do, and you probably do it often. By making small changes and eco-friendly purchasing choices, your weekly grocery shopping routine can be an easy way to make your lifestyle greener.

Here are five easy things you can do to make grocery shopping greener.

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Would You Eat A PB & J to Help Save the Environment?

PB&J Sandwich During my recent visit to the Green Festival in Washington DC, I ran across a lot of individuals, groups, and organizations who had booths set up to get the word out about their various causes. Most of what I saw was to be expected. For example, some wanted me to sign their petition to get XYZ company to stop doing something stupid to the environment, or to encourage some person or company to do something better for the environment. At this point in my “going green” efforts, I’m not much into grass-roots activism, but I’m not opposed to lending my support to a worthwhile cause with a signature or an occasional donation. There was such a huge number of vendors and eye-candy to take in at the Green Festival, that I must admit I saved this area of the venue for last. As I’d expected, I ran short on time the last day of the festival and had to make a “mad dash” through a couple of aisles of booths. As a result, I came home with some brochures and information that I hadn’t really had a chance to investigate thoroughly at the event. As I browsed through my Green Festival loot at home, one of these brochures really struck me as an unusually out-of-the-ordinary cause.

At the risk of being politically incorrect, or stepping on anyone’s toes, I’ve chosen the PB&J Campaign as the “Strangest” booth of the DC Green Festival. And I mean “Strangest” in the best possible way. Then again, I happen to be a big fan of peanut butter and jelly. If your initial reaction is similar to what mine was, you’re probably wondering what the hell a PB&J has to do with living a more eco friendly lifestyle. It’s pretty simple really…

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Green Festival Coming to San Francisco Nov 6th-7th

Green FestivalI recently attended Green Festival in Washington DC and had a blast! For those of you on the other side of the map, don’t miss the 9th Annual San Francisco Green Festival, November 6th & 7th.  It’s a great way to have some fun while learning about living an eco friendly, sustainable lifestyle. If you plan to go, make sure to bring your reusable shopping bag. I came away from the DC festival with two bags full of product samples and literature! Don’t have a reusable bag? No problem, you’ll find plenty of them at the Green Festival.

Here’s an “in-a-nutshell” rundown of the Green Festival; what it is, who’s behind it, and what you can expect to get from it.

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Trikke: My Pick for the Most Entertaining Vendor at DC Green Festival

Trikke Body Powered VehicleI had a great time at the Green Festival in Washington DC last weekend. It was my first Green Festival, but will definitely not be my last! I came home with bags full of products and samples, brochures, and more information than I could possibly digest in a weekend. So, I’ll be digging through all this stuff for a while to come.

For all who couldn’t be at Green Festival, I want to share with you some of the things I saw and learned, vendors I discovered, and some of the eco friendly products I found.

In the near future, I’ll be writing in more detail about a few individual vendors and their products – my favorites from Green Festival – beginning with this post, and my personal pick for the most entertaining vendor at the Green Festival. I’ll also tell you about my favorite new products and my pick for the strangest vendor at GreenFest.

By the way, my pick for the strangest attendee would have to go to the middle-aged guy dressed like a cheerleader. Okay, it was kind of close to Halloween. But…Really??

Okay, you get the idea. Lots of stuff to pass on to you so let’s get to it! There was a vendor at the Green Festival that had folks lined up waiting for a chance to get a close-up look at their product. This is my pick for the most entertaining vendor & product at the Green Fest…

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My Husband Turned Off My Coffee Pot (and lived)!

Coffee switchLately I’ve been trying to think of some easy ways that my husband and I can make our lifestyle a little more eco-friendly. We’re certainly not ready to move into a Tumbleweed Tiny House or do our business in a cardboard “shitbox” (hey, I didn’t name it). But we can certainly manage some small, easy changes.

My husband is not necessarily opposed to going green, but sometimes when I nonchalantly mention doing something a little different, the Hubby looks at me as if I’ve just grown a purple horn from my left nostril. You know “the look” … the one that screams, “You want me to change WHAT?!?” I swear, I’m not asking him to wear recycled underwear or anything, but any change can be difficult. I get it. So, I tread cautiously when recommending any grand upheaval of our daily routine.

Imagine my surprise when my dear husband approached me recently with his very own idea of how we can reduce the energy consumption from one of our most used (and most beloved) appliances…the coffee pot?!

He made his case, and on this rare occasion – although I saw through his charade – I had to admit that he was making sense. Admitted it to myself, that is. Never admit to your husband that he’s making sense; it’s a very slippery slope. Next thing you know he’ll think he can make sense twice in a row. But seriously (almost), you have to understand something about me, and about my husband, in order to appreciate this most recent “green” change that has become our new daily routine.

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Your Guilt-Free Guide to Green(er) Living