Tag Archive | "save money"

5 Ways Going Green Can Reduce Grocery Bill

5 Ways In Which Going Green Can Actually Reduce Your Grocery Bill

This guest post is by Richard Adams of EcoLivingAdvice.com.

I have a terrible admission to make. I used to work in a supermarket. You know – those giant temples to consumerism, waste, food miles and environmental degradation? That was me. And while I no longer work there it give me an intimate view of the shopping and lifestyle decisions people make every day – and why they make them.

GARD Pro Not Registered

One of my key discoveries was how many people would brush over the Fairtrade coffee, the free range eggs, and the organically-grown vegetables mentally labelling them as “overpriced”. Instead they’d snap up whatever bargains were going and anybody buying organic milk was seen as having more money than sense. “Why spend all that money unnecessarily?” I’d hear them ask again and again.

The fact is that being green and making environmentally-aware buying decisions doesn’t have to cost more when you look at your shopping as a whole and take into account the lifestyle changes that many of us concerned with living in tune with the planet make. Indeed by the time you’ve finished this article I hope you’ll have a better appreciation of how going green can actually save you money overall rather than putting a dent in your bank account.

Shunning Consumerism

One key trait of an environmentally-sustainable lifestyle is that we don’t buy things we don’t need. Sure, I’d love a new iPad, and there are some training shoes I would give my right arm for. But I don’t need them.

In essence the more we buy, the more we end up throwing away. We buy a new TV and suddenly we’re left with the problem of how to dispose of the old one. And the most common reaction is to send it to landfill which risks polluting the earth as well as releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere.

The fact that a green lifestyle means buying less immediately means more thoughtful, intelligent purchases and shunning those unnecessary items on which too many of us fritter away our hard-earned cash.

Reducing Waste

On the flip-side of only buying what is necessary is the environmental principle of reducing our waste. Whether that’s trying to recycle our plastic, cardboard and plastic, or finding ingenious ways to limit food waste from our kitchens it makes perfect sense that the less we throw away the less we need to buy.

Statistics suggest that on average over a quarter of the food we buy ends up getting thrown away. All those resources that have gone into producing, processing, packing and transporting that food was wasted, not to mention the money you spent on it.

By reducing what we throw away we make our weekly shopping go further and thus make considerable savings as a result.

Meat Use

5 Ways Going Green Can Reduce Grocery Bill - MeatTo many environmentalists meat is a luxury rather than a necessity. Some people shun it altogether while others limit their meat consumption but the fact is that meat – especially beef – uses a lot of resources to produce as well as creating significant amounts of greenhouse gases. Meat is also one of the most expensive parts of many people’s diet. Try working out how many vegetables you could buy in exchange for a single steak and I think you’ll see what I mean.

So by reducing your meat use you can save plenty of money on your shopping bill. Furthermore if you do decide to purchase meat you can easily spend that little extra on ethically produced, free-range and organic meat that is better for you, the environment and the animal itself and still come out in credit at the end.

Grow Your Own

If you’ve got a piece of land of any form – whether that’s a huge garden or a tiny window-box – it’s possible to grow some of your own vegetables at home. This reduces food miles as well as the use of unpleasant chemicals like pesticides and artificial fertilizers that many factory-farmed foods rely on.

When you consider how easy many vegetables are to grow, and how you can buy an entire packet of seeds for the price of a single butternut squash or a bag of tomatoes it’s easy to see that significant savings can be made on your grocery bill as a result.

A Taste Sensation

When I was a child, my mother used to take me to a local farm where we would pick our own organically-grown strawberries and sweetcorn straight from the plant. The fact we’d picked our own meant the farmer charged us less than the supermarkets did plus we had the satisfaction of picking and choosing only the ripest and sweetest produce. But this all faded in comparison to one thing – the taste!

Supermarket fruits and vegetables are designed to look uniform and to have a long shelf life so they don’t have too much waste if they guess the weather wrong. But by selecting for these elements taste has somewhat fallen by the wayside.

I challenge you this summer to pick a ripe, juicy, sweet strawberry straight from the plant and not find it incomparable to the impressive-looking but disappointingly-flavored supermarket version. Yes, going to the source either by growing it yourself or buying from farmers can save you money and transform humble fruits and vegetables into an experience worth savouring.

In Conclusion

Less unnecessary purchases. Less waste. Producing your own food or buying locally straight from the source. The list goes on and on – and all of these elements can help you to save money and help the planet.

Indeed when you save all this money it’s entirely possible to spend that little extra on the Fairtrade coffee or the free-range eggs and still spend less than you otherwise would have done; plus the warm feeling you’ll get from knowing you’re “doing your bit” as well as the incredible flavours and colors you’ll experience from your food really does make a lot of sense. All it takes is the commitment to change.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

Posted in Food and Drink, Gardening, Lifestyle, NutritionComments (0)

Save Up to 40% on Utilities: Use What You Already Know

Your house payment, of course, stands-out as your biggest monthly expense; in most families, the monthly car payments rank second. Utility bills usually come-in a very close third; and during winter freezes or summer hot-spells, the combined cost of gas and electricity frighteningly can devour up to half of a paycheck.

This is a guest post by financial author Thomas Hathaway who suggests that at times payday loans are the perfect solution when you have a financial need before payday. If you would like to write an article, please read How to Become an Author.

GARD Pro Not Registered

Your house payment, of course, stands-out as your biggest monthly expense; in most families, the monthly car payments rank second. Utility bills usually come-in a very close third; and during winter freezes or summer hot-spells, the combined cost of gas and electricity frighteningly can devour up to half of a paycheck. Energy experts assert, however, utility bills need not remain your third largest expense; and they argue a little knowledge and initiative go a very long way in cutting your energy costs. Most families have great energy conservation plans, often the products of kids’ science classes. But most families never quite get around to putting their great plans into effect. Using what you already know, you and your family may cut your energy bills by 40% or more.

Three energy efficient light bulbs.

Image courtesy of Anton Fomkin.

  • Go naturally without gas. Most American families run-up their energy bills with the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Therefore, begin cutting utility bills at the thermostat. Set air conditioning to 78, no lower than 75; set heating to 70, keeping in mind that most experts recommend 68. Then, make the deepest cost cuts by closing vents in rooms you rarely visit—the living room and dining room, for example. For maximum savings, adjust the thermostat for minimal household heating and cooling, putting space heaters and room fans in the places where you spend most of your time. If you live in an older two-story home, you know the heat naturally rises into the upstairs bedrooms; close the vents and let physics take care of air circulation. Conversely, during the summer, cold air falls; apply the principles of physics in reverse. To boost nature’s effects, install ceiling fans in your busiest rooms.
  • Insulate everything. Put a blanket on your water heater, an extra layer of insulation in your attic, more blown-in insulation in your walls, and weather stripping on all your windows. Seriously consider “natural insulation,” too: A row of trees along the south side of your home may cut your cooling costs as much as 20 percent, and it may add 5 percent to your home’s “curb appeal.”
  • Consumer electronics need not consume your paycheck. By now, you should have replaced all the light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescents. If you haven’t quite completed the job, do it this weekend. Then, start cultivating the family’s conservation habits, encouraging them to turn off lights the split-second they have finished with them. Even more importantly, teach the family to turn-off every appliance, computer, gadget, widget, handheld and “thingie” when they have finished using it. Although no device consumes a great deal of power, turning off a whole house full of computers and kitchen gadgets can cut your ener4gy bills as much as 10%.
  • Work the water cycle. If you have a vegetable garden or orchard, irrigate with gray water from your washing machine and dishwasher; simply hook the drain pipes from the appliances to feeder lines for your drip system. If you live anywhere with decent rainfall, put rain barrels at the ends of your downspouts, collecting water for irrigation and even for some laundry. If you have not yet installed low-flow toilets, do it now, because the toilets will pay for themselves with just two month of water conservation; the same applies, of course, to shower heads and kitchen faucets. Most of all, institute a strict short-shower policy, instructing everybody in the fine art of getting wet, turning off the water to lather and scrub, and then quickly but thoroughly rinsing. You will save hundreds of gallons of water and a whole bunch of gas or electricity for heating it.
  • Make trash your treasure. Although most major cities and suburbs now offer curbside recycling as part of their standard trash pick-up, they also keep the revenue from their recycling initiatives. Now that aluminum has topped $2 per pound, and given the average American family generates at least a pound of recyclable aluminum every week, you give away $20 every month. Manage your own recycling and cash-in. Similarly, cities typically pick-up yard waste, using it for compost, while homeowners foolishly invest in fertilizers and lawn additives. Start your own compost, using all your grass clippings and plant trimmings, supplementing with organic food waste, and consulting your home improvement retailer for compost additives that accelerate decomposition and add soil nutrients. Most of all, encourage the entire family to recycle or reuse practically everything. One prominent example suffices: Why are you still buying food storage containers when butter tubs and cottage cheese containers work at least as well?

The Great Recession may limit your opportunities for investments in home improvements, but you should begin planning to replace all your appliances with new and improved “energy star” models. Even if your refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer are less than five years old, new appliances save at least 10% from 2008 models. Of course, the upgrades add value to your home, and some states and counties are offering handsome rebates for appliance upgrades. Similarly, begin planning to install solar cells for electricity or solar panels for heating water. In many large cities, solar contractors are offering lease-to-own programs, or local governments are offering big tax credits for solar installations.

Posted in Energy, Energy ConservationComments (0)