Money: Going green on a budget

Tips on how to go green without spending a lot of hard-earned cash.
Courtesy of Lippe Taylor communications firm
March 2009
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Most Americans think by going green you are automatically committing yourself to spending hundreds of extra dollars on new cleaning supplies, light bulbs and appliances. However, one woman knows different, and let’s face it, in today’s economy, every dollar counts.

Sloan Barnett, published author, columnist, television and print journalist for more than 10 years is an expert in the art of going green. She is the green editor for KNTV in San Francisco, a regular contributor to NBC’s Today Show, and she wrote a consumer advice column for the New York Daily News when she lived on the East Coast.

Barnett is an authority on maintaining a positive and passionate green lifestyle, evidenced by her book, Green Goes with Everything, in which she offers simple steps to a healthier life and a cleaner planet. She even hosts “eco-friendly” parties to make her friends and family more aware of the positive aspects of living a green lifestyle. In addition to these activities, Barnett is also a full-time mother, which can be even more challenging than maintaining a green lifestyle. However, it was her children who inspired her to live healthier and realize that the toxins contained in everyday household products have harmful effects to our bodies.

She has developed several ways that can help consumers maintain or start a green lifestyle on a budget.

Get concentrated

Instead of buying ready-to-use cleaners, use concentrated cleaners to which you simply add water yourself. They use less packaging, saving on resources, and they also last longer than nonconcentrated products.

Use a filter

Buy a water filter system and a metal water bottle, and not only will you prevent plastic from entering landfills, you’ll also save a few dollars a day by refilling your own bottle.

Buy in bulk

Although our economy is suffering, buying economy-size products uses less packaging. Whether your family is small or large, stockpiling select items can also help reduce the size of your grocery bill. For example, have the whole family spoon out some of their favorite yogurt from a large container instead of buying individual ones.

Avoid paper towels

Reuse your old cotton T-shirts or towels to clean up messes instead of using expensive paper towels. Leave the rags right near the sink to prevent temptation.

Compost

Pick up a composting bin at your local department store and use the compost as fertilizer for your yard. By doing so, there is no more need to buy harmful, expensive chemicals to spread on your lawn.

Swap it

Sometimes the best way to save and conserve energy is to hold a swap meet with your neighbors or family members. You can exchange anything and everything from clothes, books and toys. You’ll save money on products you would normally buy new, and you don’t have to travel very far.

Dispose of disposables

Why spend money on plastic storage containers you’re going to throw away. Instead, use glass containers for food storage. They will save your money and your health.

Eat at home

Buy organic food at the supermarket and make a healthy, fun and festive dinner as a family. Worried about the high cost of organic food? Try purchasing store brand organics, which go through the same certification process as brand name organic foods. You’ll be eating healthy and saving a bundle at the same time.

Visit your library

Take the kids on a Saturday, have them pick out two books, and then return them the following week.  It's free, and it's green. Most libraries also carry new releases of movies on DVD and books on tape.

Use cloth diapers

Instead of buying disposable diapers, use cloth that can be washed and reused over and over. It saves money and the environment.

By committing yourself to Barnett’s suggestions, you’re one step closer to leading a cleaner, greener and more cost-efficient lifestyle. For more information on Sloane Barnett and tips to a healthy way of life, visit her website at www.GreenGoesWithEverything.com.


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