Going green is something a lot of people are interested in these days. Besides helping the environment, going green gives a sense of contentment and peace since many green practices are simple and help remove people from the hustle and bustle of a technology and convenience packed world. Read on for 7 ways you can go green and save money at the same time.
1.) Learn how to use your blinds.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to use their blinds or just don’t have them in their windows to begin with. If you really don’t like the way blinds look, you can put curtains over them and raise the blinds all the way up when not in use, but I definitely wouldn’t skip them.
When it’s hot or cold, you can use your blinds to help create a comfortable atmosphere in your home and reduce your energy costs. During hot days, lower and close the blinds when sun is coming through the window to prevent it from heating up the room. You can use light filtering blinds to still get the brightness you crave without the excess heat. When the window is in the shade, open the blinds to let natural light in. Sure you’ll have to adjust your windows throughout the day as the sun moves, but that gives you an excuse to get up and get moving.
When it’s cold you can also use your blinds to save on energy. Just keeping them down and closed at night will add another layer of insulation to the windows to block drafts and keep air from escaping. Pair them with insulated curtains and you’ll really reduce your heating costs.
2.) Use a clothesline
Your grandmother used a clothesline and had the benefit of having the sun dry her clothes without using any excess energy. Bring this frugal practice back to dry blankets, towels and sheets each week without running the dryer. Not only will you save money on electricity, you’ll also have fresher smelling linens.
You can also hang pillows on the line to kill dust mites using the sun. If it’s a particularly bright day, bring out your whites for some all-natural sun bleaching.
3.) Use vinegar more often
Use vinegar instead of expensive fabric softener to get soft clothes without the cost. Don’t worry about the smell – it goes away on the line or in the dryer. As a bonus, if you’re line drying your clothes, vinegar helps prevent them from getting as stiff.
You can also use diluted vinegar to clean countertops or in your carpet shampooer instead of expensive specialty formulas to clean pet stains on the carpet. Buy it by the gallon for the best price.
4.) Make your own iced coffee
I say that when the weather warms up, it’s time to put the Keurig away and bring back the classic coffee pot. Every morning make a full pot and refrigerate whatever you don’t drink for cheap DIY iced coffee. If you grab a reusable cup, you can bring your iced coffee with you when you leave the house rather than stopping at the coffee shop.
This same principle works for iced tea as well. Make a big batch whenever you’re having the hot variety and refrigerate the rest for later use.
5.) Grow some food
You don’t need to have a full garden to enjoy the benefits of growing your own food. Even if you just plant a small bed of strawberries, you’ll get plenty of fruit to last you a while. As a bonus, you won’t have to spend money on the pesticide-laden variety at the grocery store. Strawberries, lavender, rosemary, oregano and mint are all perennials. Lettuce and tomatoes can be grown in containers on your deck and several types of potted herbs are known to repel mosquitoes.
When you start growing vegetables, you’ll have some waste from the plants and unusable parts of the vegetables. Compost the bits along with anything else you find in your kitchen like coffee grounds, egg shells and peels to get rich soil to use in your home garden. Get a handy lidded compost bin like the one shown above (I purchased it at Whole Foods several years ago) to easily dispose of scraps in the kitchen. Then, simply empty the bin when it’s full into a larger compost bin in your yard. Turn it regularly and you’ll have soil in no time.
7.) Release your inner farmer
Raising livestock isn’t for everyone, but if you have the time, space and energy, raising a small flock of backyard chickens can be a great hobby with an excellent yield. Pictured above is our young rooster, Elvis and a brown Easter Egger. Backyard chickens require very little care – give them a coop to sleep in, some chicken feed and water and they’ll be happy. Chickens are known for eating bugs, including mosquitoes and ticks. They also lay eggs and are quite entertaining to watch.
A word for the wise – chicken feed is expensive, so don’t think you’ll be saving a ton of money by raising your own flock. However, fresh, free range eggs and a significant bug reduction is definitely worth the time and expense in my opinion.
By the way, chicken sexing is only accurate about 93% of the time, so even if you buy all pullets, you may get a cockrel. That’s what happened to us! We picked up 6 chicks and one wound up being a rooster. That’s ok though, we’re embracing it and we are thankful the rooster was one of the buff orpingtons which are known for being friendly (and slow).