Wednesday, January 2, 2013
7 Ways To Save Money By Rethinking Your Green Strategy For 2013
#1: Rethink Your Budget
Many people set a budget at the beginning of each new year - however, most fall off of the budget bandwagon within the first month. The simple act of taking the time to set up a budget isn't enough to actually stick with it. I highly recommend using a budgeting system such as Mint - which will allow you to see exactly where every single penny goes - and will alert you when you go over your budget for any category.
#2: Rethink Organization
If you aren't organized, chances are you are wasting money and energy. For example, if you are running to the store because you can't find something that you are positive you have in your home - you are wasting both money and energy. Organization is one of those things that ties everything else together - if you are organized you will easily see how you can save money and the environment. I suggest starting with your finances and then moving on to organize every room in your home.
#3: Rethink Energy, Water, and other Resources
Being conscious of the amount of energy, water and other resources that you are using in your home is the first step to green living. Next, it's time to consider how you are using those resources. If you are taking 30 minute showers or filling that giant garden tub everyday - you should reconsider your bathing options. Instead of turning the heater up during the night, add a couple of blankets to your bed and during the day, throw on a sweater! The idea is to rethink how you are using our natural resources and then make tweaks to get the most bang from the environment's buck.
#4: Rethink Your Kitchen
Our family has decided to rethink our kitchen this year - especially our refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Our main goal in the kitchen this year is to eat down our refrigerator, freezer and pantry each month. Our reason behind this - we want to utilize all of those food odds and ends that find their way to the back of the pantry, and the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer. We are planning on consuming a lot of smoothies and soups - since they are great for throwing in all of the leftover produce! The second part of our reasoning - we want to eat all of the food that we have on hand before adding new items to our stock. Not only will we save money (since we won't have to buy as many groceries each month), we are saving the environment by eating all of the food we have including some that may otherwise go to waste.
#5: Rethink, then Join a CSA
Are you less than impressed with the quality of your supermarket's produce section? Or, are you tired of the less than stellar selection of organic produce? Have you considered joining a CSA? We joined a CSA a couple of months ago and the quality and quantity of produce that we are receiving definitely outshines anything we could find at the grocery store - and it's organic too! The best part, our CSA is actually very affordable, we get to support a fantastic local organic farm and we are experimenting with new recipes every week!
#6: Rethink Fun
As a mother I know how easy it can be to spend money on entertainment. Also, as a green lifestyle writer, I can see how easy it can be to have an amazing time with your family without spending a dime. This is an area where if you add a little creativity, you will be amazed at how much fun your family can have. It's the time that you spend with your family that matters, the activity is just an added bonus.
#7: Rethink the Way you Buy
It all comes down to this one question, "Do you need it?" I ask myself this question every time I am considering making a purchase - if the item isn't something that we need, I skip it. If it is something that we need, then I try to find it via an eco-friendly vendor or second hand store. And although there will be purchases that you don't necessarily need but want - that is alright, because all of those previous times you were able to say no.
#8: Rethink Your Eating
Eating out is expensive, if you are looking to save money in your budget - this is a great place to start. Not only is getting out expensive, many times the quality of food isn't as good as what you could prepare at home. When you make your own meals, you can choose to use the freshest, whole ingredients and will get a lot more bang for your buck. This idea also goes for lunch, instead of picking up fast food or going out to lunch, spend a few minutes each morning making a healthy, organic lunch that you can take with you. This goes for your morning cup of Joe too - have a cup at home in the morning and if you need another one to-go, fill up your reusable mug on your way out the door.
#9: Rethink Your Cleaning Routine
Cleaning products in general are expensive - however, you don't have to buy any cleaners when they are so simple to make at home. Cleaners are easy to make using a few ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. To get your started you started, here are my favorite diy laundry cleaners.
What ways are you rethinking your green strategy for the year - are these ways going to save you money in the new year too?
photo courtesy of cinnamon*