Affordable green living isn't as difficult as most people might think. While it does require you to change some habits and mindsets, it can be done.
Small Changes Over Time
Green living is a lot like losing weight. Most people intend to do it at some point but have difficulty implementing the discipline to do so. It is easy if you take it in small steps and make a series of lasting changes over the period of a year rather than making huge changes in a short period of time.
While you might find that you are paying more for some things, this will be balanced by the money that you save in other areas. For example, using organic produce is a little more expensive than buying conventional fruits and vegetables, but you can balance this expense with the savings you realize on other household expenses as a direct result of your new, green lifestyle.
Steps to Affordable Green Living
Basic small steps add up to big changes. There are several areas where you can make changes to establish a green base.
Water conservation benefits the environment as well as the budget. By replacing leaky faucets, using water saving shower heads and toilets, and taking showers rather than baths, you can make a huge difference in the amount of water your family uses. This also translates into savings on your water bill.
Some other ways to save water are:
- Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
- Collect rainwater in a big plastic trash can or rain barrel to use for watering your plants.
- Save up to 1,000 gallons of water every month by running only full loads in your washer and dishwasher.
- Compost food scraps rather than using the garbage disposal.
- Collect a small amount of water in a bowl or pan to wash your produce rather than running water over them or using an entire sink full of water.
- Water your plants with the water from your fish tank. This water is rich with nutrients that will fertilize your plants.
- Use instant, tankless water heaters for on demand hot water uses, such as for your kitchen sink or shower.
Save Electricity and Gas
Saving electricity and gas is another simple thing, but is part of affordable green living. By using less power, you reduce the demand for fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. You also save money on your electric bill. Some things you can do to save electricity and gas include:
- Use compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). These bulbs save energy, don't emit heat and last a long time.
- Turn down your thermostat in the winter and wear layered clothing.
- Turn up your thermostat in the summer and drink ice water or other cold drinks to stay hydrated.
- Keep your water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hang clothes to dry rather than using the dryer.
- Install weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Plant shade trees near your home and use foundation plantings to help insulate it.
Plant a Garden
Even though organic produce is typically more expensive than conventional produce, you can cut down on the expense by planting your own organic vegetable garden. If you live in an apartment you use a small area on your balcony or front step for a container garden.
Easy to grow vegetables include:
- Green beans
- Snap peas
- Leaf lettuces
Not only do you benefit from fresh, organic vegetables you can encourage a green lifestyle for your children by getting your whole family involved in gardening.
More Ideas for Green Living
There are other things you can do to cut down on your carbon footprint and adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. These include:
- Buy used items whenever possible.
- Recycle everything that is recyclable.
- Buy items in bulk rather than individual packaging.
- Use canvas shopping bags. Many stores give a discount when you do.
- Buy local foods in season as much as possible.
- Use your slow cooker rather than the oven, especially in the summer.
- Eat more salads and other cold foods in the summer to keep from heating up your kitchen.
- Laptop computers use about three quarters less power than a desktop computer.
- Use public transportation when available.
- If you have older appliances, upgrade to the new energy saving models as you can afford it. You will save money as well as energy.
- Keep the tires on your car inflated to the correct pressure to get the longest wear on your tires and to save gasoline.
Simple Steps Make a Big Difference
Not everyone can afford to switch to solar power or buy a new hybrid vehicle. Affordable green living is a matter of implementing new habits into your old lifestyle. While many of these steps may seem too simple to make an impact, when they are used by a large number of people these changes can make a big difference.