Friday, August 10, 2018

5 Ways to Save Money and Your Environmental Impact

As I have mentioned before, one of my most deeply held passions is reducing my environmental impact! We can do only so much as individuals. We can cut down on the waste we throw away, burn our paper waste and wood in our fireplaces to heat up our house instead of throwing
it away and running our heater, we can build or replace furniture at a thrift store or by buying from a friend who no longer needs theirs. So many little things can be done to cut what we use and throw away.Cutting down waste is huge because it directly impacts the environment in a positive way. I really want to inspire you to continue to reduce your use of our precious resources in any way possible. 

This post will give you five concrete ways to reuse or redefine your opinion on whether or not to just buy new or give something another go and save that space in a landfill

Using Left-overs to Create More

Saving money/space can be as simple as using your old veggie scraps to make a compost pile and then growing your food in soils and compost. Most vegetables you buy can be actually replanted and the growth used again. You can take green onions, garlic, those old nasty potatoes you forgot about, or even carrot ends can be rerooted and grown again. Plus, if you save the peelings and extra stuff you would normally throw away, you can eat/replant and then reuse them again and again. You can also save them and donate to a compost service that will pick them up and give you credit for the compost you give. At this moment, I have sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, and regular russet potatoes growing from food I bought and didn't have time to cook. Now, from the five or so original potatoes, I have over 15 new ones growing and waiting to be harvested. You may not know this either, but you can actually grow strawberry plants from year to year and harvest for multiple years.

Saving/Earning Cash

Restaining and refinishing items of furniture can give them another life. This delays their impact to the environment and actively cuts down on production of new furniture. You can't stop it all, because unfortunately, items do become unable to be reused and must eventually be replaced. Doing your part does help, no matter how small you think it is. Another way to help is to donate clothing or even reuse them by cutting them up and resewing them into something else. I'm going to do something like this by repurposing my old towels into a bath mat and rags for housekeeping. See? Little steps eventually turn into big impacts. 

Cutting Down on Transportation Waste

Gas prices are ridiculous! Take a bus, walk, or go to a pawn shop and pick up a bike and ride it to places instead of your car. You'll cut down on exhaust, get some exercise, and in many cases, cut down on repairs for your vehicle, insurance costs, and the arm and leg it sometimes costs to fill the gas tank. I understand there are many places where a car is necessary, and having lost mine last year, I totally get it. Walking miles a week is very annoying, but I just remember how much money I'm saving and gas I'm not using. Sometimes it helps...sometimes not. Also, if you're enrolled in college or university, consider taking online classes instead of driving to campus every day. This also helps you work a part time job or spend time with your family instead of constantly driving.
Buying Bulk Instead of Pre-packaged
Have you stopped to notice the ridiculous amount of packaging in even the simplest item at the grocery store? Grab a few glass jars, go to the bulk section, and then just fill them and pay for the amount you use...boom! Much less cardboard and plastic, and you have exactly what you need! Simple, easy, and if you bring reusable bags to the store, there goes the extra plastic you would have used! Simple, effective, and you can literally see the impact right there!

Household Energy Saving Tips

Don't run your air conditioner 24-7. Set the temp at 78 or so (if you can manage, lower if you just can't handle the heat) so that the air doesn't run constantly. This cuts down on electrical costs, uses less freon, and if you just go swimming or go out during the day so that you don't have to keep the air conditioner on as much. A study was done somewhere that determined that simply keeping the air conditioner on at a constant temperature was more cost effective than turning it on and off during the day. Another way you can get a little more use out of your stuff is adding a tiny bit of water to your cleaning supplies so they last longer. When you finish off your laundry soap, make sure you add water to the empty bottle and use the rest of the soap that has dried on the inside of the bottle instead of wasting that bit of soap. 

Misc Money Saving Bits of Advice

Are there options for you to ride share? This will help too...since you're sharing a ride, gas used transports more than just one person and costs are shared between more than one person. You can also work on ways to take on jobs from home. I understand it's really hard often to find a job and keep it, so even one or two jobs a week you can do at home can be very helpful. Don't forget the online programs that let you work towards a certificate that proves you have learned valid material. There really are so many ways to learn that don't cost a lot. At the moment, I'm learning Hebrew, so in order to not spend tons of money on language learning apps/programs, I'm taking advantage of Youtube videos, online free resources, and more to learn what I can and then when I can afford software, I'll be better prepared than if I just waited. Never discount the power of watching movies in the language you're trying to learn. I found this out years ago and it's been very helpful!

To Conclude

Real lasting change can only come if we all make a concerted effort to change ourselves. You must decide to want to change and lower your dependence on things to make you happy. Only you must personally decide to make the change. It's not something someone else can make you do. I would encourage you to make the jump; the results just might shock you! Feel free to comment on ways you've found to save money! I would love to hear what you have to say!

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