Trying to live an eco-friendly life when you are strapped to a strict budget can be difficult. Many green incentives require you to spend more money up front on expensive health food stores and energy saving products. Trying to save the world and not go bankrupt at the same time takes careful planning — but is possible.
Look for the Gaps
Heat escapes the home through various gaps, especially in aged homes. Blocking unnecessary gaps will help keep heat in the home in the winter and cold air in your living space during the summer. You can use caulking glue to seal open gaps that you find in open areas in the house and if you have an attic, pay extra attention to gaps on the top floor. Also seal gaps in the basement by looking carefully between the foundation and the wall closest to the floor. Also install weather-stripping around the doors and windows, which will keep drafts from coming into the house. You can find weather-stripping for under $10 and it will last more than 10 years, well worth the cost-savings you can get to keep heat or cool in the home.
Be a smart shopper when it comes to fruit & vegetables
Buying completely organic is a tall order when you have a limited budget. Instead, try to prioritize the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic, also known as the ‘dirty dozen’. The dirtiest vegetables and fruits have the highest levels of pesticides on them and buying organic will help you stay healthy. Examples of vegetables and fruits on the ‘dirty dozen’ are apples, grape, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes. On the other hand, the ‘clean fifteen’ list are the fruits and vegetables that are the safest to buy without going organic. Some of the cleanest produce includes onions, avocados, mangoes, and cabbage.
Keep the heat down
Simply keeping the heat down and wearing sweaters and slippers around the house will help save money, especially with Ontario increasing recent hydroelectricity costs. Installing a manual thermostat allows you to set the temperature instead of letting it run automatically throughout the day and wasting unnecessary heat. When you are at work during the day, remember to lower the thermostat prior to leaving the house if no one will be home for the day. Using a heater in particular rooms that you often use instead of warming the entire house will also waste less energy.
Re-usable containers and mugs for lunches
Taking the plunge and buying a good quality coffee mug and reusable water bottle will save you money in the long-run and will also keep you feeling eco-friendly. Many coffee places will charge you less when you present your fun travel mug, and buying bottled water is a huge waste of money. Packing a lunch in re-usable containers instead of purchasing plastic baggies every month saves money and helps you to avoid contributing to ‘Plastic Island’.
Instead of buying a spanking new sweater or buying the tool you need to fix the kitchen table from a big conglomerate, go to a second hand store or the tool library. Buying used items is one of the best ways to re-use and recycle, and also saves money. I have a list of thrift stores I visit regularly and love community trade groups like Bunz. Trading items online, Bunz is a great way to trade one un-needed item for something you do need without spending more money. More and more opportunities to borrow, trade or buy second hand are popping up because buying new is getting old. Embrace the trend, and get shopping! You will be shocked on the items you find.
What is your favourite eco-friendly habit on a budget? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.