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Save the Planet without Killing Your Budget

Save the Planet without Killing Your Budget

by Ayse Gider April 18th, 2013

Earth Day Hands

You are already a superhero – juggling schedules, holding down a happy household and just generally getting things done. Does adding one more thing to your list sound like it could be the straw to break the camel’s back? It can seem like overload to tackle saving the planet too. But as Henry David Thoreau best said, “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve come up with 5 easy ways that you can be both an Environmental Warrior and a Super Saver at the same time.

Get Growing

The increased cost of groceries doesn’t appear to be slowing, especially if you want to buy anything organic. Having your own garden can save you hundreds of dollars each year.  Even if all you have is a patio, you can use pots to grow a wide variety of plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and even lettuce. For a list of possible vegetables and detailed tips, read this great article by Better Homes & Gardens.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Although the broad acceptance and ability to recycle is new, the concept is not. During the Great Depression many household practiced recycling habits as a practical means to save money.  It’s really just finding new uses for things before you toss them: start seedlings in yogurt containers; donate old books or computers; print on both sides of your paper if possible.

You can also turn almost anything into a fun craft project with your kids (examples found at Spoonful: here).  Another important part of the recycling equation is to buy sustainable goods when possible, which are products that minimize impact on the environment from beginning to end. Companies such as Bambeco are committed to using recycled, renewable, and natural materials in their products.

Upcycle or Repurpose

Though technically a form of recycling, upcycling means the item finds new purpose and life in a form that doesn’t compromise its quality.  In other words, making something even better! And this practice is increasingly popular today with creative moms and handy husbands alike.  Examples include making a kite out of an old shower curtain, turning an old dresser into a kitchen island, converting an old t-shirt into a skirt. So, don’t toss that old sheet – think of new possibilities for it instead! Check out these cute possibilities.

Start a Swap

Want to get new clothes but not finding a shopping spree in the budget? Host a party where invitees each bring 3-4 items from their own closet. Each item brought is equivalent to one “swap”.  It also works for toys. Not only will you see the savings in your checkbook but a longer life is given to each item swapped.

Organize an Effort

Plan your own Earth Day activity and get a group of volunteers to help clean up a local park, river, or trail. Pack a picnic and enjoy a free day out in nature while giving back to your community.  It’s also an opportunity to go electronic free while hanging out with your family. If you are unsure where to start, check here for national organizations.

There a number of ways to get involved with the environment, and these are just a few options to help you get started. You, too, can be a superhero for our planet without being a villain to your pocketbook. Environmental activist and poet Gary Snyder has the final word today: “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”

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