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Looking for inexpensive ways to go green at home? Some tips on how to be eco-friendly at home frugally.
By Prerna Malik
To be honest, I never thought of using eco-friendly products or solutions until I became a parent – and paranoid one at that. I wanted to know what was in the toys that my baby played with, the food she ate and the soap she bathed with. What I found out scared me. A lot. (Read, 6 Great Tips For Eco-Friendly Parenting)
So, I turned to finding ways and means to make life safer, greener and less polluted with toxins and chemicals. What I found out was that buying products labelled ‘green’ was usually way more expensive than buying regular products.
Did that deter me from going green? Actually no. It made me more determined to find budget-friendly ways to go green at home.
Here’s how to go green at home and not bust your budget as well:
Start by going back to the basics. For instance, if you’ve resorted to eating packaged food or ready-to-cook mixes too often, start by spending some time every weekend planning the menu for the next week and chopping up all the vegetables you’d need. Store them in the refrigerator and cooking healthy, wholesome and fresh meals would never be a problem.
Similarly, I found that using plain olive oil or coconut oil worked just as well as any lotion, plus no chemicals. Yay!
Going green doesn’t mean buying the latest in the eco-friendly market. It also means reducing your carbon footprint…
Going green doesn’t mean buying the latest in the eco-friendly market. It also means reducing your carbon footprint by basically consuming less. So, use what you have. Recycle where possible. Before you buy, ask yourself whether you really need the product or is it just a whim?
Sure, we all may have cars and scooters but don’t use them unless you really have to. Instead walk or cycle where possible. We walk to our grocery store every evening. It gives us some good exercise, we breathe in fresh air, catch up with our daughter on her day and generally, get some family time as well. Win-win!
See where could you stop using the car and instead, go walking or even cycling.
One thing I learnt while trying to be greener is the art of reusing. You can reuse just about anything under the sun and make things do double duty. Some ideas:
– Reuse jam or pickle glass jars to store stationery supplies.
– Paint empty glass bottles to turn them into lovely candle holders or single stem holders.
– Cut up old t-shirts and turn them into dusters.
– Use extra or spare ice-cube trays to organize your earrings or hair clips.
– Make an extra muffin tray do double duty as a drawer organizer.
– Reuse large glass jars to store coins or turn it into a pretty piggy bank – for your child.
– Use plastic boxes to store visiting cards or craft supplies.
– Reuse wrapping paper to line drawers or shelves.
– Mom and popular parenting blogger, Poonam Maria Prem of Mommy Gyan recommends keeping cloth bags in the car to use and reuse when shopping.
– Surabhi Surendra of Womanantics, another green and budget-conscious mom blogger, reuses various odds and ends to make creative gifts. For instance, she painted seashells, made a doll out of yarn and a mouse from a used egg shell to make a sweet gift for her daughter.
For me personally, one of the best ways to go green was to go the DIY way. A few ways to get started with DIY are:
– Make your own jams and pickles.
– Bake your own cakes and cookies.
– Have a craft session with your kids to make cards and personalized stationery.
– Mix up simple ingredients like, gramflour and yogurt, to make chemical-free scrubs.
– Turn your kitchen garden (even if you have just a balcony), into a herb paradise with potted herbs that you can pluck fresh for that pesto or salad.
– Cook from scratch wherever possible. Minimal chemicals and expense for maximum health and wholesomeness.
– Make your own cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water. Decant into a spray bottle. Use it to clean your glass, countertops and toys. Simple, easy and chemical-free.
Going green does not have to burn a hole in your pocket. In fact, it can put a neat bundle in it.
Here are some more tips from moms around the country to help you live greener while saving money as well:
– Vandana Mahajan Khemka, mom to a 6 month old, who blogs at Mumsphere, makes her own baby wipes using paper towels or baby pads and moistening them with a solution of almond or baby oil, baby soap and uses it to clean baby easily.
– Vandana also recommends using cloth diapers to save money on disposables and also, be more eco-friendly.
– Swapna Thomas, mom and blogger at The Mom Views, shares how her family has started growing their own vegetables without any pesticides or chemical manure. She also recycles water from the washing machine for cleaning the backyard, patio and driveway; now she is planning to start a compost bin as well.
Going green does not have to burn a hole in your pocket. In fact, it can put a neat bundle in it. So, go ahead, switch to safer, eco-friendly options and save money!
Do you use green and eco-friendly products? How have they helped you to save money? Do share in the comments.
*Photo credit: Rjabinnik and Rounien (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
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