Going green can help keep your family save some green as well. Here are some easy ways for your family to be good stewards of the Earth, while getting the most from your hard earned cash.
Zap the wrapper
While bottled water, juice boxes, and packaged snacks are convenient, they generate an enormous amount of waste. Use a water filter to purify your own water and carry it in a reusable bottle. With juice boxes and prepackaged snacks you pay more for packaging than product. Create your own single servings by buying large quantities and packing the desired amount into your own insulated bottles and reusable containers. Watch for a new trend in the lunch room and playgroup: bento boxes and reusable snack pouches, like Wrap-N-Mats or Snack Taxis.
Shop for secondhand bargains
You can find gently used clothing, accessories, and furniture at consignment shops and thrift stores. Some Bay Area Goodwill stores have a boutique area with name-brand and designer labels. Craigslist is another local option for furnishings, as is Freecycle. You can even make back the cost of your purchase by selling or consigning some of your own no-longer-wanted items.
Make your own cleaning supplies
Pioneer Thinking has an entire section devoted to recipes for cleaning supplies. Many of these are based on simple ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and water. Vinegar devotees use this inexpensive product as a base to clean just about anything.
Shop with reusable bags
Single-use bags may be on the way out as stores look for ways to cut costs. State lawmakers are also under pressure to regulate both paper and plastic bag use. Fortunately, reusable bags are plentiful and trendy. Both Target and CVS reward customers for bringing their own bags. Target offers 5-cents off your total bill for using your own bag. CVS is promoting their Green Bag tag that pays you $1 in CVS Extra Bucks for every 4th visit.
Reduce energy and water use
Progress Energy’s “Lower My Bill Toolkit” lists practical ways that you can save on your energy bill. Keep your thermostat set between 78 and 80 degrees this summer and change your filters often. You’ll save “7 to 10 percent of your cooling costs for each degree above 78.”
SWFWMD suggests using cold water whenever possible to wash clothes and installing low-flow toilets and shower heads (low-flow technology has improved since these were first introduced to consumers). According to Progress Energy, “the cost of an average load with hot water is about 38 cents. An average load washed in cold water is about 1.5 cents.”
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