is not only helping the environment, it can also help your wallet. By
buying local foods, riding your bike, buying reused and recycled
products, and using electricity wisely, you can save money -- and save
the planet in the process.
Although filling our tires with air may help save on gas, it doesn't help with the higher prices of food, clothing, and other necessities. It used to be quite expensive to do things green-- for instance spending your whole paycheck at Whole Foods to buy eco-friendly household products and organic food. However, now there are alternatives to spending a fortune on eco-friendly products, and not only does it save you money, it's also chic (and cheap) to go green.
There are green alternatives to everything: household cleaning products, hybrid cars, pet food, appliances, cosmetics, you name it. There are even greener alternatives to some of these green products: bicycles, home-grown food, re-used furniture, and local products. Not only are some of these green alternatives eco-friendly, they are also exceptionally cheap.
Home-grown food for instance is becoming increasing popular. Food prices increased 4% in 2007, the biggest annual increase since 1990, and prices are projected to rise 4.5% to 5.5% this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By spending about $10 this spring on tomato plants I am going to have enough tomatoes to last for the entire month of August, and hopefully some of September. Plus, I have the added benefit of getting outdoors to water them every day and watch them grow. Buying local produce also helps reduce energy and shipping costs.
Another eco-friendly trick to save money is to buy products from local businesses. Instead of heading to the shopping mall where most products are manufactured in another country and then shipped to a port and then shipped to the mall, save a little money by heading to the city or town (on a bus or bike!) and shopping for hand-made, quality products. Green gifts are becoming increasingly popular to buy for people, especially during the holidays. If you hate going to the mall, try shopping for green gifts and eco-friendly home decor at Fresh Heirlooms.
And if you are a pack rat and have a ton of junk around your house, hop on the creative reuse bandwagon. Creative Reuse is the new vogue. If you're not familiar with creative reuse, the idea is simple: take reused or recycled items, and make something new out of them. If you're not craft, don't worry there are plenty of places you can buy creatively reused stuff. Just Google eco-friendly creative reuse¯ and you'll find a ton of sites which sell hand-crafted cute household items, furniture, jewelry and anything else you can think of out of recycled and reused products. Being green also saves on electricity. Just by turning my water heater down a notch, I'm saving $30 a month on my electric bill. Energy Star products and eco-friendly light bulbs also help cut down costs by as much as 75%, plus they last 10 times as long. And I despise changing light bulbs, so that's a three for one benefit time, money, and energy.
Kermit was wrong. It IS easy being green. And cheaper, too.
Jami Broom is founder of ClicksToMySite.com and has interests in nonprofits, environmentally friendly causes, and small businesses
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