So often, being environmentally friendly and saving money go hand in hand. That’s good for the Earth and for personal finances. The truth is, there are plenty of things our grandparents and great grandparents did that were eco-friendly and frugal that we can easily do today. You don’t have to go back to the days of living in a log cabin without electricity to make an environmental impact.
Here are some simple things our family does to be more environmentally friendly and to save money:
1. Hang clothes to dry.
We live in the city, so we’re not allowed to hang our laundry outside. Instead, we have two large clothes drying racks in the basement. We hang all of our loads of laundry to air dry except our towels and bedding. (I tried hang drying towels before and didn’t like the way they felt like burlap on my skin.)
2. Minimize your wardrobe.
Creating clothing requires a lot of natural resources. Instead of having oodles of clothes, our family is minimizing our wardrobes. Each child has about 5 to 7 outfits, and my husband and I have about the same amount. Plus, we require a lot less storage room for our wardrobe, which means when we get ready to buy a house, we won’t need huge walk-in closets.
3. Make your own laundry soap.
We have recently started making our own powdered laundry soap with three simple ingredients–Fels Naptha, washing soda, and borax. We’ve used this for about 6 weeks now, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how economical it is as well as how good it works.
4. Don’t wash clothes until they’re truly dirty.
We used to wash our clothes as soon as we wore them, but they weren’t truly dirty. Now, my kids might wear an outfit twice before they wash it, especially if they’ve just worn it indoors. Implementing this policy saves on running the washing machine unnecessarily and our clothes last longer.
5. Use mason jar containers.
My husband and I cook a lot and often have leftovers. We bought some plastic leftover containers, but those frequently cracked or broke. Throwing those away isn’t good for the environment. Instead, we wanted something more durable. I happened upon some old canning Mason jars at a garage sale, and now we use those for everything–making iced tea in the summer, putting leftover soup in, holding our homemade laundry detergent. They’re very durable.
6. Conserve utilities.
As much as possible, we try to only have lights on in the room that we’re in. During the summer, we turn our air conditioning up so it’s at 76 degrees (instead of the 72 or 73 degrees I’d really like it to be at), and during the winter, we turn it down to 62 degrees and pile on the blankets at night and the sweaters during the day. I’ve even read that some people wear long johns at home to endure lower heating temperatures, but we haven’t done that.
7. Conserve gas.
We are a one car family. My husband takes public transportation to work every day. I have the car, but I try to drive only a few times a week. I also bunch all of my errands together to eliminate unnecessary car trips. Doing this allows us to fill the gas tank just 1.5 times a month.
8. Wait to buy new technology.
We like to wait to buy the latest technology, and then when we do purchase, we like to buy used. For instance, a few months ago we got our first iPad. We bought it from a relative who was upgrading to a newer model. Not only do we save money this way, but we help the environment by having a slower turnover with our electronics.
These are simple, easy ways that our family takes to help the environment and to save money.
What simple things do you do in your everyday life to help the environment and save money?