11 Tips for Living Green & Frugal

Living a green lifestyle isn’t supposed to be an expensive venture. Sure, there are all kinds of cool yet pricey eco-friendly products out there, but when it comes down to basic living expenses taking a green approach and plugging it into your daily life can make a big monetary difference.  It’s like being frugal with a green ribbon.

How so? Consider the following frugal/green tips for saving money around the apartment:

1.      Seal drafts: Whether in the summer or winter energy usage can be drastically affected by drafts. Not only do they cause heating and air-conditioning bills to skyrocket but the added fuel usage on temperature control systems creates extra pollution. The answer: stop by your local hardware store and find out how to seal drafts around your windows and doors.

2.      Use CFLs: Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) are those spiral looking bulbs that have been on the market for a number of years now. Ask any electrician and they will tell you that not only will CFLs lower your electric bill but they are pro-environment because they cause less pollution during manufacturing and when switched on.

3.      Unplug samall appliances: To further limit how much electricity is being used in your home unplug small appliances when they are sitting idle because many still draw on power when plugged in. (But leave the refrigerator on!)

4.      Organize the fridge: Keeping the refrigerator door open as your hunt for that leftover pizza, causes the machine’s mechanism to work hard towards regaining its set temperature when the door is finally closed. Keeping an orderly fridge, so you know where everything is before you grab the handle, minimizes the amount of time the door is open , helps keep food fresher, and extends the fridge’s life span. Green and frugal all around.

5.      Line dry: Dryers use a lot of electricity, which translates into money being spent and pollution being spewed into the air by the electric company. Whenever possible line dry, even if it’s indoors during the winter. Added plus: drying clothes adds moisture to the dry indoor air in the winter.

6.      Conserve water: The US has just been through one of the worst droughts in years. That’s why conserving water is not only an environmental concern but will reflect on the monthly bill. Before spilling water down the drain ask yourself if it can be reused for anything, even to water the plants.

7.      Repurpose: Many things we throw out can still be repurposed for other uses; paper for wrapping presents, ripped clothing for quilt making, and wood scraps for the garden or shredded for mulch.

8.      Thrift shopping: Buying things for the apartment at thrift shops is an exercise in frugality. It’s also green to reuse instead of buying new.

9.      Clothing swap: Get a bunch of friends together and have each bring a few pieces of clothing (in good condition) they have outgrown or no longer use. Then take turns picking yourself a “new” outfit or two.  You can use the same idea after the holidays for swapping gifts that did not work for you, but maybe were on someone else’s wish list.

10.      Group buy: Want to eat organic but have trouble with the prices? Form a group of like-minded people and try negotiating for a better price with a local store or the farm where the produce is coming from.

11.     Garden: When it comes to food there’s nothing more frugal and green than having a garden, even if it’s a few pots of herbs kept on your window sill during the winter. It saves money both on the produce aisle and the gas station, with fewer drives to the supermarket. And think, what would be greener than growing your own food?

Our guest blogger Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs about Green topics for pros across the U.S. like heating contractors in Tacoma, WA.

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