“Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste.”
– Catherine Pulsifer
It’s no secret that nowadays, people are aware of green living and sustainability trends. Living green has been equated to buying expensive green products, but did you know it can still be matched with the simple frugal living? As with reference to Catherine Pulsifer’s quote above, being frugal doesn’t mean being totally poor or lacking in life. Part of it includes being wise in spending and living in a practical manner that eliminates or reduces wastes.
Living the frugal way means living within your means, but how do you combine it with living green every day? If you know how to live frugal and green, you’d be amazed at the benefits and savings it can do for you, plus you can pass on these good habits to your family and friends. In reality, frugal green living is easy. We’ve listed eight tips we consider the secret ingredients for living frugal and green that you can easily do at your home.
1. Choose Cloth, Not Paper
If your home regularly uses paper napkins, it is time to switch to cloth napkins for your everyday use. This is perfect especially if you have a small household. This simple step of using cloth napkins can eliminate paper towel trash that you regularly produce every day, especially if you have visitors in your place almost every week. You can also make a simple frugal home upgrade by designating a napkin ring for each family member by using old toilet paper tubes and designing it creatively with your kids.
2. Reuse, and Still Reuse
If you plan to go all-out being frugal and green, you need to develop the habit of identifying which items in your house can still be reused or donated to a worthy cause. Set aside old toys, clothes, books, or boxes and plastic bags which can still be used. Avoid thinking of buying newer items, since this will cost you additional money. Considering home sustainability, you can include a reusable water container instead of always giving your child juices in tetra packs. You can also store food in reusable storage containers rather than using plastic bags that you use only once.
3. Eat Local and Save Money
Meat costs more than fresh vegetables. So for an organic frugal living tip, eat less meat to be able to save more money. The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that the weighted average price for fresh vegetables amounts to 64 cents per pound; while in October 2007, average price per pound of beef was $4.15 and average price for pork per pound was $2.93. These amounts clearly show you that going healthy need not be expensive. Interestingly, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even reports that 18 percent of greenhouse gases come from animal production, and giving up meat one day per week will eventually reduce and help fight the effects of climate change in the future. Eating more fruits and vegetables will not only help you to be healthy and save money but will also allow you to do your part in saving Mother Earth.
4. Cut Down on Energy Costs
A handy tip for those who really want to live green while at the same time saving on energy costs is to hang laundry out in your backyard to dry. The U.S. Department of Energy reports a home’s dryer ranks at No. 2 on their list of household energy hogs. By hanging your laundry out in the open, you efficiently use the sun’s heat, and you also prolong the good quality of your clothes.
If you’re looking for energy-efficient design for home tips, consider setting your thermostat for winter and summer seasons. This way, you don’t waste money. You can also open windows for fresh air to come inside your home. And if you use your air conditioner, regulate use by setting a specific time of use instead of turning it on for the whole day.
5. Eat at Home
Alongside our tip of eating less meat and more vegetables to save on money, why not consider eating at home most of the time? Set your regular meals as your meal dates so you can eat out less, and save money on eating at restaurants or fast-food chains. Eating at home enables you also to spend more time together as a family.
6. Walk, Bike or Share a Ride
This is where living frugal and having fun coincide. Studies show 40 percent of U.S. urban travel consists of two miles or less per trip. If you want to save money on gas or enhance your physical strength, choose to ride a bike, walk or go carpooling. This will help you in developing the habit of maintaining an active lifestyle, especially if you maintain a desk job five days a week. Another advantage to carpooling is the chance to meet like-minded friends across the neighborhood.
7. Create Your Own Household Products
Do-it-yourself cleaners are also one of the best practices in saving money and living green. As part of your green home improvement, replace commercial cleaners with DIY ones, since most cleaning products can be made the same way right at the comforts of your home. For cleaners, just check if you have baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and boiling water. Variations of these items can enable you to have your clog cleaner or your toilet bowl cleaner. Aside from saving money, you also save yourself from other harmful chemicals that commercial cleaning products might contain, which can also harm the environment.
8. Develop The “Turn Off” Habit
Last but not the least, develop a “turn off” habit; that is, turning off water or lights when not in use. When brushing teeth or washing hands, turn off the faucet when not in use. You can also employ the “military-style” of taking a bath: Use water to get wet, turn it off when soaping, and turn on again when it is time to rinse off. If your house has ample natural light during the day, turn off lights that are not in use. If there’s no one in a lighted room, turn off lights to save energy. This will help you cut costs on electricity and water bills and reduces your chance of accidents, such as flooding your house because of a faucet that was turned on or a busted light that can cause fire because it was turned on for a couple of days.
With these simple living frugal tips, you’re sure to develop green and frugal living habits. Be sure to always apply these secret ingredients for living frugal and green so you’ll be able to reap your green home living benefits in no time.