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 FRUGAL AND ECO-FRIENDLY IDEAS

  1. Live close to where you work and shop. Well, you may have to make the choice of living close to where ONE of the family wage earners works. We live one mile from where I work, and there are occasions when I have walked to the office. My husband was working out of town when we bought our house, but he can walk or ride a bicycle to his current workplace if necessary. We can walk to the downtown festivals and night spots. Most of our shopping is at stores that are within four miles of home. This choice in housing location saves gas, which is good for environment; and saves money because we have more choices in shopping and put less wear and tear on the vehicles.
  2. Recycle as much as possible. My husband and I used to live in a neighborhood where the most cost-effective trash contract for our family was two cans + recycling bin. Even though we are now allowed three cans + recycling bin, we still send only one or two cans to the curb. Michigan has the 10-cent bottle deposit law that provides a financial incentive to return pop and beer containers to the stores. But we also sort and recycle plastic, newspapers, glass, metal, magazines, cardboard and old electronics as appropriate. If you live in Monroe County, Mich., here is the countyís web page that explains where you can take what items for recycling.
  3. Shop second-hand and use hand-me-downs. Thrift shops, garage sales, rummage sales, eBay, freecyling and hand-me-downs are considered staples of frugal lifestyles. The amount of stuff my family has been able to acquire second hand means the retail purchases we do make are not quite as hard on our budget. We also send perfectly use-able, but no longer wanted, stuff out the house through the same connections. The eco-friendly angle is Ö that stuff stays out of the landfill for as long as possible.
  4. Install at least one of those new-fangled CFL light bulbs. This is a popular topic in eco-friendly discussions. I understand some people donít like the slight delay in the light bulb turning ON and would rather not use them in certain applications. But is there at least one place in your home where a CFL light bulb can be installed? I have most of our interior fixtures changed over. You can buy the light bulbs in multi-packs or take advantage of sales to keep the initial expense down. In the long run, the more CFL bulbs you install, the more savings you see on your electric bill.
  5. Purchase organic or Free Trade coffee to brew at home. Itís fair to say that organic and Free Trade coffee can be more expensive than generic coffee. But anything you brew at home is cheaper than purchasing coffee every morning at a coffee shop, drive-thru or carry-out. Iíve started to buy and grind really good coffee beans at home, and I make a slightly smaller pot of coffee now to make the supply last longer.
  6. Plant shade trees on your property. A properly placed shade tree can reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home in the summer and help keep your air conditioning bills down. We canít plant a shade tree where it would do us the most good, given the orientation of our house. But we do have two smaller trees in our yard that contribute to the outdoor environment.
  7. Use plants to add to your home decor. We thought that no plant could survive in our house because we have limited display space near windows. But we have kept a poinsettia alive since December 2006, and itís quite happy in the living room. Itís actually in full bloom stage right now. (Yes the plant is confused.) A couple of weeks ago, someone gave me an African violet and Iíve found a spot in the kitchen where it is happy. I suspect any more plant ďgiftsĒ will have to be outside ones, but weíll see!
  8. Get eco-friendly with your cleaning supplies. Thereís a time and place for individual cleaning solution wipes and static cloths. But itís not when Iím doing my weekly house cleaning. I use cut-up fleece for routine dusting, a dish towel and kitchen spray to wipe off the kitchen counter, and sponges for wiping off the kitchen sink and bath tub. Thatís a ton of money not spent on more expensive products. Paper towels are used to clean the stove and grill, where I find them more appropriate for the task than dish towels. We do use paper napkins for meals because my husband would rather not have THAT much extra laundry. I bought a trap for the bathtub drain so it will not clog up as much, and therefore reduced the number of occasions when drain chemicals are necessary. You can get even more eco-friendly and frugal by researching how to make and use homemade cleaners. (Lynnae has tips at BeingFrugal.net)
  9. Pack your lunch with re-useable containers. My husband has carried the same lunch box to work for years. My lunch box is a six-pack cooler that was originally used at a tailgate party. You can sometimes find plastic containers made in just the right size for popular snacks and lunch box items that keep food from getting smooshed in transit as compared to using plastic wrap and bags. (Iíve seen pack-and-go containers intended for Pop-Tarts, Pringles, Cheerios and sandwiches.)
  10. Use tap water for routine drinking water needs. The only times we use individual plastic water bottles is when we are camping, traveling or on our annual tailgate party at Michigan International Speedway. For drinking water at home, we used to have a water filter on our faucet. When that broke, we put water in a pitcher to chill in the refrigerator. We learned the water taste improved by just settling on its own, and we havenít bothered to replace the filter.

  Get many more frugal living ideas at: http://www.blogsmonroe.com/budget/

 

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