Being Green in the Bad Economy

Wow, lots going on in the financial world. At this point I am glad I did not have my bathroom remodeled or buy that new digital camera. Looks like things are going to get tougher and tougher.

A lot of “green” products come with a higher price tag than cheap, made in China products. So how is one supposed to do their best to take care of the environment and be healthy when money holds you back?

1) Remember that there are many things you can do to be green that don’t cost anything…and may even save you money. Things like keeping your heat turned low, using low-flow shower heads and washing laundry with cold water will help the environment and you.

2) Consider alternatives to pricey products. I really like Method and Seventh Generation products…but there are plenty of recipes online for homemade cleaners that are VERY inexpensive. National Geographic’s Green Guide has some here.

3) Keep an eye out for sales and clearances on natural/green products. I have never paid full price for Tom’s of Maine toothpaste or any natural deodorant. Lesser known products such as these tend to be clearanced more often. I bought Tom’s toothpaste at CVS for 75% off and Kiss My Face roll-on deodorant for $2 at Target…which leads me to:

4) Stock up. This is a tricky one, though. You want to make sure the products you buy won’t go bad AND that you really do need them. CVS has tons of great extra care bucks deals, but most of it is stuff I don’t use. But when you find something that you use everyday, buy in bulk. I have enough Tom’s toothpaste to get me through most of 2009 🙂

5) Seriously consider carpooling, public transportation or biking. If none of those are an option (I’m personally out of luck on all three), be conscious of combining trips, choosing efficient routes and keeping your car in shape so it doesn’t use more fuel than necessary.

6) Cook your own food. Processed food isn’t as healthy as your own. While some may argue that it is more expensive, I’ve found with a little planning and awareness of sales, I can cook for my family much more cheaply than buying frozen dinners or meals-in-a-bag.

Those are a few ideas off the top of my head…do you have any good tips?

Christine Plumer is a 30-something mom, wife and art teacher.  She writes about her attempts at frugality while living green and eating healthier at Living Cheap and Green. 

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