Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Greenify: 3 Green Things That Can Actually Save You Money

We're starting out slow with the whole greenify thing- more mint green than forest if you know what I mean. I found a few simple (and some pretty obvious) tips for those who, like me, are just starting out with the whole green thing.

Most obvious tip #1: Turn the lights off.
I don't know about you all, but this is something my grandpa ingrained in me when I was little (even though sometimes, ahem, I still forget). Any time I so much as thought about stepping foot outside a room with the lights on, I'd hear a great booming "TURN THOSE LIGHTS OFF- DO YOU WANT TO PAY THE ELECTRICITY BILL?" Besides having a very loud voice, I swear my grandpa had radar for left-on lights, and he was so frugal that he probably would have sat in the dark all night if he could have. His motives were more related to his check book, but turning the lights off when they aren't being used is for the environment, too. According to this article, electricity production creates more than 1.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year- that's a huge amount. And while eco-bulbs do a lot to decrease that amount, the easiest way is to not use the electricity in the first place.

Still pretty obvious tip #2: Think before you throw away
I would guesstimate that maybe 25% of my garbage on average is stuff that could be reused in some way- old tee shirts and sweat pants can become dust rags (no more paper towels!), old glasswear can hold toiletries, empty lotion jars can become mini storage canisters for things like earrings and bobby pins that you'd otherwise lose constantly (not that I do that). You can even artfully arrange used items to become home decor, like this cool glasswear centerpiece that I found here. It's made entirely of old glass jars and bottles, which look sweet bunched together holding different types of plantlife.
Maybe less obvious? Tip #3: Think before you buy
When I'm considering buying something, I know that the first thing I always think of is how I could use it. If I can come up with a good enough use, I'll buy it. I've found, though, that I can usually come up with a good enough use if I really want something, so that doesn't always work. Instead, now I try to think "how can I not use this item?" Do I already own something like it? Do I honestly need it? Almost everything we own ends up in a landfill some day. One of the ways we can decrease the amount of stuff we throw away is by decreasing the amount of stuff we buy. As a bonus, it's pretty good for your checking account too (my grandpa would have been so proud). I'll admit, though, that this is probably the most difficult tip for me, because I love buying stuff. But it's something I could definitely work on.

Images: lightbuld, MSN Lifestyle via marthastewart.com; glass centerpiece, WholeLiving


  1. these are great tips. i also learned recently that it's great to unplug your phone charger, hair dryer, etc when you're not using them. otherwise they use "phantom power" and still use energy. hope you're having a good day, amanda!

  2. Hi Joanna! I learned not too long ago about unplugging things too- I thought it was so weird that a cell phone charger could suck up that much energy being plugged in, because it's not being used!

    Thanks for commenting :)


  3. Great tips. I always, always turn off the lights and I try to keep the heat as low as possible in the winter. My bf hates that but I always tell him he can just put on a blanket or sweater if he's cold!

    We've been taking our pop cans to the bottle depot lately, we only get about $5 a month out of them, but still, it's $5 a month we wouldn't have otherwise and we're recycling so it's good!

  4. Slightly off topic, but I saw a Mythbusters episode on whether is always saved energy to turn light off, or if you are coming right back you should leave them on due to the extra energy needed to turn the light on. Turns out with an average light bulb as long as you are leaving somewhere for more than 1/2 a second you should turn it off. I thought that was a fun little tidbit.