As the readers of Prairie EcoThrifter know: money, or lack thereof, is driving many people to become more frugal. However, it’s not just lack of money that makes people want to cut back, re-purpose, or live within their means… it’s also a case of wanting to be ecologically responsible. Here are a few ideas to cultivate a more eco-friendly atmosphere – and save money – around your home.
Save on Entertainment
In the U.S., the Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks that have popped up on every corner have helped people save money by offering newly released DVD’s for just $1 per night. Renting movies in this way is a great way to stick to your budget, over maintaining a dish or satellite TV system. Now take it one step further: save money on entertainment by checking out your movies at the public library. Nearly every library has expanded their catalog to include a diverse range of media offerings. In general, DVD’s and CD’s check out the same as a book does – and the selection in my hometown library seems to get better by the week! If you happen to have an extensive library of DVD’s at home, consider donating them to the library so others can live a little bit thriftier as well. Another way to save money – explore your local library’s connections for books on tape or eBooks – downloading these from your libraries’ resource or website could save a bundle.
I had never really been a proponent of online shopping, because it when I lived in the city it was easier to stop at the grocery store or mall after work than it was to order online and wait for the item to be delivered. Then I moved to the country – 25 miles each way from any sort of store – and learned a big secret: always, always Google for a free shipping code before you place an order online. While some sites openly display specials like “Free Shipping With $50 Order,” it pays to search the internet for any recent promotional codes. Another way to get a discount is if you’ve signed up to receive updates from specific retailers who you normally shop with. I’m pretty picky about who I’ll subscribe to, and I’m not saying you should open yourself up to a bunch of spam email, but as applies to the online stores you shop at the most, taking part in their loyalty plan or receiving an occasional newsletter can rack up the savings. You’ll learn about current specials – and even the big clearance sales.
Rent It Out
From becoming a landlord to renting out tools, vehicles and high-fashion attire… opportunities exist for people to make money off items they already own. Sites like My Tool Trader and SnobSwap.com are but two websites that allow people to list and rent out or sell their personal items. And according to Jeff Yeager, author of “The Cheapskate Next Door,” owning a rental property can help you pay bills – or pay off your mortgage – in half the time. He encourages people to consider owning a duplex which would allow them to downsize a bit, and collect rent off the other half of the structure. Renting out your garage or backyard for RV or classic car owners could bring in $25 to $150 per month, depending on the space you allocate. Another thought… if you live in a scenic area and have ample room to host events, consider licensing your property and holding appropriately-sized functions there. The investment of tables, chairs and the like might be worth it when you consider the potential earnings. And the best part: you may have just cut a developer out of building another cookie-cutter high-rise.
From television commercials featuring flashy new cars, to radio commercials pushing diamond anniversary rings and tempting top-shelf foods portrayed on interstate billboards, consumers are slammed with choices every day of the week. It’s easy to be influenced if you’re not on target
Surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals is a great way to save money because when you’re all in the same boat it’s easy to share tips to help one another out. Whether you co-op for fresh vegetables, trade plumbing services for lawn care, or spare auto parts for fire wood, keeping in touch with others who embrace the same frugal lifestyle concepts can actually help you save money, and potentially reduce your carbon footprint in the long run.
So, how what have you done to go green and save money?
Guest Post Author Bio: The following is a guest post by Lisa.