Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Thoughts (and actions) on "Going Green" and Saving Money

It is both popular to keep up with the fads..and hate them. This is why I love and don't love the "going green" fad. I'd like to say that I hope this isn't just a fad. It should be a way of life.
Those of us who have been raised on these principles roll our eyes at the shock of "bright" ideas to save money. We also shake our heads at the "new" ways to lessen our carbon footprints.
First I tackle my take on "going green".

I have been taught many things about using natural and organic products since I was born really. I was raised a vegan/vegetarian and my parents owned a health food store before I was born. We always had a garden, hung our laundry (probably because we were poor, but my Mommy and I still love to hang it anyway!), had a compost, and ate as natural foods as we could. In this way it annoys me that people are just getting the idea because of a fad. On the other hand, I love this fad! It makes natural products more abundant, accessible, and more affordable. The whole supply and demand thing. What I DO NOT like is the big conglomerates using this green popularity to promote their products, which are not natural. Who cares if a cleaner has natural products added to it?!? It's like taking bleach and squeezing some lemon juice in it. Really? People, read labels. Usually if the label has a major hazard warning, it's not safe and natural! Many natural products say it's safe to use around pets and to just flush eyes if you get anything in them. Even essential oils aren't good in your eyes!
For an example, here is a warning label from an Oust Air Sanitizer I have and am throwing out.

CAUTION: Avoid contact with food and food utensils. Avoid contact with eyes. Before using product throughout your home, use in one room and wait 24 hours to ensure that no one has any physical reactions to the product.
Asthma and Allergy Sufferers: Consult your physician before using this product in your home. Before spraying, remove birds. After use, ventilate normally prior to returning birds to treated areas.

What? WHAT?!? Crazy, I know.
These are the ways I have begun to make my home a "green home:
  • I shut off a light when I leave the room. I was raised this way.
  • I reuse scrap paper.
  • Trying to use more reusable containers, instead of plastic wrap and bags.
  • I use a resuable water bottle.
  • I use reusable shopping bags when I remember. When I don't, I reuse the plastic ones in my home a few times and then recycle them at the store.
  • I use as much organic food as possible. Belonging to a local buying club (co-op) makes this really affordable and sometimes cheaper than conventional products in the store.
  • I use natural cleaners, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, brushes, baby cream, lotion, etc.
  • I use cloth diapers and wash them in natural detergent. I have started to hang them outside since it's getting warmer. The sun naturally bleaches them and leaves them smelling wonderful.
  • I make my own flannel wipes and a solution out of natural products and essential oils.
  • I recycle what I can. #1 and #2 plastics, glass, newspaper, and cardboard.
  • I use a sponge in the kitchen instead of paper towels. I assign towels to certain things. I throw my sponge in the microwave for two minutes to sanitize at the end of the day.
  • I am researching non-toxic toys for Pixie. I bought her an organic bunny for Easter.
  • I have bought some of the materials to have Scott make me a compost pile.
  • I shop less at super stores if money allows. I hardly ever go to Wal-Mart.

How I am Saving Money

Every show on TV has had a piece on this! I've seen Dr. Phil's and Oprah's recently. I was blown away! Oprah couldn't believe that you could "rent" movies for free from a library! Unless you live in Orem, UT..they charge $1!!
  • I pretty much grew up in a library, we never bought our own books or movies.
  • I always buy clothes second hand, at discount stores, or on clearance. Even sales aren't good enough for me, unless I need something specific or for a special occasion.
  • Limit my trips to the store.
  • Eat less, cook more-buying bulk ingredients makes a difference.
  • We only go to the dollar theater or rent from Red Box.
  • Buy from our buying club and get wholesale pricing.
  • Again, cloth diapering. I have spent <$370 for my diapers (plus wipe solution, detergent, and water for wash 2 a week). I have figured out that it would be over $500 for Wal-Mart brand diapers for ONE child for a year, not including wipes. These cloth diapers will go through MULTIPLE children and the majority are one size ranging from 8-30lbs or so. Will last until potty training!
  • Use coupons. Okay, I don't use many because I already get my food discounted through the buying club, but I do buy coupons on eBay to use on some staples. Every time I buy online, I do a google search for coupon codes. You can save a lot!
  • Research, research, research. Wether it's baby items or a new digital camera. Research so that you will buy the right one the first time. This will save you time, money, and hassle.
  • Buy sale items in bulk, but only the things you use. Almost never buy something just because it's on sale!
  • Garage sale! But again, only buy what you need. Don't be afraid to ask to come down on prices. I'm learning to negotiate. Don't be afraid to offer half the price on a "buy it now or best offer" on eBay. I got Scott some 0 degree sleeping bags (that zip together!) for his BD a few years ago that way! I wouldn't have been able to afford them otherwise.
  • Be patient. Look for that good deal.
  • If it doesn't matter, buy store brands.
  • Buy good deals on Christmas and BD presents throughout the year and save them.
  • If you have the time, sign up for survey sites! I get so many free products, some money, and free magazines!
  • We turn down the heater a few degrees at night. I have figured out how to program it!
  • I will turn down my water heater temp in the summer.
  • I always grow something every year. I kept an herb garden through this last winter and am going to be planting a garden with Becca at her house this year.
So...have any other good tips I left out? Do share!


Kizzie said...

I admit, I didn't read it all, most of it. But I'll read them and try and be better like you. Tomorrow. :)

She's in the kitchen! said...

Go, Greenie Girl, go! :o)