When you’re trying to help the planet, it might seem like it’s an expensive lifestyle. Surprisingly, though, there’s actually so many things that you can do that will actually save you money instead! From the kitchen to general environmentally tweaks you can make in your home, there are plenty of eco-friendly ways you can start saving money today!
Start in the Kitchen
One of the best things you can do is to invest in reusable products. When you spend money on reusable products, you are investing in something that will last years. Whereas, when you buy single use products, sure you spend less in the moment but in the long run, you waste a lot. Some reusable items that you should definitely invest in are: water bottle, reusable bags and stasher bags.Likewise, you should also look into using glass containers. Glass containers will last a lot longer than plastic containers plus they are better for the environment which will save you money. They can be recycled forever whereas plastic containers can’t.
Cooking from homeis such a great way to save money. Want to help the environment with it? Meal prepping will save you even more money plus help reduce your food waste. When you meal prep, you know exactly what foods you need to make each dish. This prevents you from impulse buying food that ends up rotting away without you realizing it.
Shop in bulk
When you buy items in bulk, you spend less money in the long run. Plus, you reduce the amount of packaging you bring home. One large bag 10 lb bag of rice is less packaging than 10 small 1 lb bags of rice.You might also look to buying tea in bulk vs individually packed tea bags. Teabags might seem like a small thing to think about but if you’re drinking one cup of tea a day, that’s 365 tea bags sent straight to the landfill. Instead, buy tea leaves which are cheaper to buy in bulk and can be composted so they leave behind no waste.
Eco-Friendly Bathroom Tips
It might be an adjustment, but have you heard of a shower bucket? A shower bucket is basically a bucket that you keep in your shower to catch excess water. So much water is wasted in the shower so catch the excess and use it around your home to water plants or clean the floors.Something else that might seem different, but worth it, is investing in a bidet. A bidet will save you so much toilet paper down the line. Not only is it great for your wallet but it also cleans way better than using just toilet paper.Lastly, think about using an epilator instead of a razor. Disposable razors can only be used once before they should be replaced. Epilators can be used forever since they just need to be charged
Soap + Shampoo/Conditioner
Making your own soap is surprisingly easy! Mix 1 part water and 1 part castile soap from Dr. Bronner’s in a pump bottle. It’ll make a lot more soap for a lot less compared to buying it from brand name stores. Plus, there’s no plastic bottle to throw out after each use!Also, instead of throwing out shampoo and conditioner bottles, get shampoo and conditioner bars. They last much longer than your standard shampoo or conditioner bottle. And since they simply dissolve when they’re used up, they create with no waste at all.
15 Eco-Friendly Tips For Your Home That Will Save You Money
All Around the Home
Have you ever thought about how the junk mail coming to your home impacts the environment? It’s so useless! It comes into the home and goes straight into the recycling bin (I hope). Ask your delivery person to stop giving it to you by putting a note on your mailbox saying you no longer want junk mail. This eco-friendly tip will let the delivery people know not to give you any.
Saving on Electricity
Don’t forget to unplug unused appliances! Did you know that appliances that are plugged in use energy even if they are turned off? Save that money and help the environment by unplugging anything not in use. Things like tea kettle, fans and laptop chargers don’t need to be plugged in if they aren’t being used.You should also use a power strip when possible. It might seem annoying to have to unplug a bunch of outlets every day. Instead, use a power strip that you can turn off so the power doesn’t come through.
Saving Money on Laundry
Not only are there special tricks to saving time when doing laundry, but you can save money, too! Start by using dryer balls with your laundry. Dryer balls are put into the dryer help dry your clothes faster. Since your dryer isn’t running as long, it’ll reduce your electricity bill. Plus, this will reduce your need to but single use, disposable dryer sheets. Instead, you can add some drops of essential oil to the ball if you want to add some scent to your clothes.Also, don’t forget about hang drying. Instead of using a ton of energy to dry your clothes in the dryer, try to hang dry them when you have time. In the summer, they dry really quickly if you hang them outside. The rest of the year, invest in a sturdy drying rack.This eco-friendly, money saving tips might seem basic, but they can truly go a long way! They’re easy to do and you can implement most of them today and save money within a month. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
About the author: Youmna Rab is the author and blogger at Sustainably-Yours.com. She has a passion for helping the environment and living sustainably. She loves teaching her friends, family and readers how they can help the environment too. When she’s not blogging, you can find her curled up on a couch reading. Find her on Pinterest and Instagram.
When I served in AmeriCorps from 2009-2011, one of the requirements was that we make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.” What this meant was that even if the establishment we were stationed at was closed, we were to commit ourselves to work that day in the form of volunteering.
Now that I have children of my own, it’s all the more important to me to establish this idea of service to others. I’ve previously spoken about volunteer ideas for those with kids, but as I write this we’re at the start of 2021 – and still in the midst of a worldwide health crisis. So as we head toward this Day of Service, I find myself wondering – what socially distant volunteer opportunities can I do with my two young children?
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may make a commission off any purchases made, at no extra cost to you. This in no way impacts my recommendations of any products or services mentioned below.
Socially Distant Volunteer Ideas for MLK Day
My little ones are in Kindergarten and 1st grade, so for the most part I’m coming from the perspective of me having to do a majority of the work in this effort. While I very much look forward to the day when we can safely work together at a service site, I won’t let that impede what we can do today.
Help Around the Neighborhood
Even though hanging out face-to-face with your neighbors right now isn’t a safe idea, there are certainly things you can do to help better your neighborhood and the community at large.
Fill a Micropantry
When the pandemic first hit, residents around our city didn’t hesitate to take action. One of the things that came up often was the establishment of micro-pantries. Much like a “little library”, these pantries are a take what you need, give what you can sort of project. They’re especially great for those in need who may not have transportation to a bigger food bank.
Snow Shovel Coupons
We’ve had one snow fall thus far this year, but I’m hopeful for more – heh which isn’t something I’d normally say, but it’s already been 10 months of isolation and I don’t see us going anywhere any time soon. One thing you can do is create “snow shovel coupons” (or yard clean-up, if you live in a warmer climate!) Drop these off to those on your street who might need the assist, like those with new babies or the elderly. Be sure to include your name and phone number so they can reach out when they need you. You could also include your email address, but keep in mind there may be some without access to the internet or the know-how for email.
Bake Bread for Friends
Ahh the good ol’ trend of bread baking in 2020 – one I will admit I myself took part in. Personally I’ve become a Challah baking expert, fearful of the task that is sour dough, but there are even easier recipes out there that require little more than flour and yeast. Brighten someone’s day with a warm, fresh loaf of bread and go ahead – keep a loaf for yourself, too. I won’t tell.
Set Up a Book Exchange
If you don’t have a little library in your neighborhood nor the desire to take on the task of building one, you can still set up a porch pick-up book exchange. Personally I’ve read far more since the pandemic hit than I have in years, so I’ve gone through a LOT of books! (*psst* if you haven’t yet read The Secret Life of Addie LaRue, it’s a MUST!!)
This service project is one I’d only recommend opening up to select friends, as you don’t want to have to constantly disinfect the space, but it’s a great way to get some new reads for the family whiledecluttering your home of books you’re done with.
Offer Virtual Tutoring
If you have a slightly older child, you might consider utilizing Facebook or Nextdoor to offer some free virtual tutoring sessions. So many kids are struggling all the more these days, that just a few tutoring sessions can literally change their lives. This is one that might even inspire a “pay it forward” situation where it snowballs from your child offering help to dozens throughout the entire community doing so.
Random Acts of Kindness
While these next service ideas are certainly ones that can be done within your neighborhood, they’re also ones that can help the community at large. With these service projects, especially if doing them on MLK Day, you might also consider including a note. This way it’s not only a random act of kindness, but one that educates the recipient on why MLK is a day on, not a day off.
Redbox Rental Surprise
If you have a Redbox in your area, consider leaving a goody bag for the next renter. This can include a couple dollars to cover the cost of the rental plus an unpopped bag of popcorn or similar goodies. And if you don’t happen to have a Redbox in your area, you could still partake in the fun by sending a love one a Redbox Movie Night Care Package!
If you’ve been around a bit, you know that creating blessing bags for the homeless is something we try to do at least twice a year. For less than $7, you can create a kit for someone that could literally change their lives. When I was in AmeriCorps, I spent a lot of time working directly with those living on the street and learned a lot. One thing I found out was that one of the most sought after things when homeless are a quality pair of socks. So while things like toothpaste or soap might be items that immediately come to mind for these kits, socks, chapstick, and bus tokens are sure to go a lot further! Whatever you include in the kit, be sure to keep scented items packaged separately – no one wants to eat a granola bar that comes with a floral aftertaste!
This is another easy one that the little kids are sure to love, but the whole family can easily partake in. Now that the holiday season is coming to an end, many of those living alone or in nursing homes find themselves once again forgotten. Take an hour or two and create some cards to send to those who might be feeling lonely in the new year. What might seem like a simple act to you can truly make someone else’s entire week so much brighter.
Rainy Day Activity Kits
I actually prefer to refer to these as “crazy day kits” – an activity set for parents whose children need a special distraction. Similar to the blessing bags, I pick up a pack of gallon size baggies from The Dollar Tree. Then I buy in bulk such items as: craft kits, coloring books, sticker sets, chalk, dress-up clothes, and more! I love that they have affordable activity options that serve as a nice little surprise for the kids and a much needed break for parents. Just don’t forget to avoid items that require parent supervision if you truly want this to be an act of service.
My husband originally suggested this idea and my gut reaction was “Seriously who still watches DVDs??” But the I checked myself (and my privilege) because hello – not everyone can afford streaming services. We recently did a big DVD clean out, including a ton of TV series, and offered them up to anyone who might make use of them. While it was hard to part with my dearly beloved 7-Season Set of BTVS, it’s worth it knowing it can be loved by a fellow Joss Whedon fan.
Yet again – simple service, but effective! Not only is this great in that you’re supporting the USPS, but you’d be surprised at how helpful this can be for someone who might not otherwise be able to get out to the post office. For example, I have an 85 year young aunt in Minnesota who still loves to send physical mail and I know that a book of stamps can go a long way in helping her stay connected with loved ones. Plus who doesn’t love getting something (other than a bill!) in the mail.
Do you have a friend who had a new baby in 2020? Or perhaps your parents haven’t seen their grandchildren in almost a year? Or heck – do you just know someone who was maybe a wee bit stressed out (har har!) Whatever the reasoning behind it, one thing you can do as a beautiful act of service is to create a photo project for a friend/family member. This is again something that your kids can help with, regardless of their age, as they can suggest photos, colors, and designs to include. Personally I love using Printerpix to create photo books! While I often use them for myself – it’s the only way I actually have physical photos from over the years – they also have so many personalized gift options. While many might say they don’t wish to remember 2020, it’s not one we’ll ever forget, so might as well focus on the fun!
Acts of Appreciation
While I’m optimistic that this year is sure to brighter than the craziness that was 2020, acts of appreciation are still very much needed. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in making someone’s day brighter, but today I encourage you to take it one step further.
This one seems like a no-brainer and possibly even a head scratcher – how can making a video call be an act of service? Well I don’t know about you, but I know there are certainly friends and family that I’ve done a poor job keeping in touch with as this health crisis has worn on. If there’s someone you’ve been meaning to connect with lately, make today the day to do so! And even if there’s no one that comes to mind, put your kids to use and have them video call a friend. Like the “crazy day kits” this can be a great distraction for parents who need a moment to themselves.
Thank Our Delivery Friends
This is another one that I think becomes a big deal during the holiday season then tapers off as we head into the new year. Provided you have the time to gather up supplies, set out a basket with bottles of water, mini hand sanitizers, and snacks. And if a grocery store run isn’t an option, you could still create a sign or even leave a note letting those dropping off your mail and packages know that you appreciate them!
Create Hope Rocks
Painting rocks might seem like an outdated trend, but I most definitely disagree. Gather up some rocks from your backyard, bust out the acrylic paints, and get to work creating rocks with positive messages. Then go for a family hike or walk around the neighborhood and place these rocks in semi-hidden areas. It’ll be a fun and day-changing surprise!
Chalk the Sidewalks
Like the idea above, this is one that is fun but effective! While winter may not seem the season to bust out the sidewalk chalk, there’s no reason not to, provided there’s no snow in the forecast. Already dealing with the wet white stuff? Chalk your windows instead! When we had to celebrate my daughter’s graduation virtually, we picked up a set of chalk markers from Amazon and went to work on the windows of our van and the front of our home. It’s a great activity for the whole family and one that can have a big impact on anyone who happens by.
Long Term Service Ideas
These are some ideas that I would recommend starting off on MLK Day, but carrying on throughout the entire year and longer.
Host a Virtual Fundraiser
This is one that people often think about when their birthdays roll around, as Facebook often suggests holding a fundraiser for your favorite not-for-profit. Why wait! As a family, vote for your favorite not-for-profit, set a monetary goal, then utilize your social media and connections to make it happen. While things like food drives are great in “normal” times, they’re not as safe an option right now. Plus did you know that raising money directly is actually a far betteralternative to food drives?
Hopefully this is one that’s already in place in your house, but if not – start today! And if your family is already great about recycling, today is a great day to remind your kids about why it’s so important.
Set Up a Moonjar
I was first introduced to the idea of amoonjarwhen my kids are itty-bitty, like way before acat convinced me to quit my jobto run this blog! A moonjar consists of three sections – spend, save, and donate. While it’s a great tool overall toteach your kids about money, it’s also a nice way to open the conversation about the importance of donating to those in need.
Speaking of helping those in need, MLK Day is the perfect day to reflect on social issues. While 2020 taught us many things, one thing that will certainly carry through is that the United States is in serious need of bettering (and has been for quite some time!) While I won’t go too far into my own political beliefs, there’s no denying that we owe it to future generations to do better. No matter your child’s age, it’s essential that you not only start conversations on social betterment, but that you keep that door open to them for the rest of your life.
Some books to consider:
No matter what service project you choose to do with your family, I hope it’s enjoyable for all. It really is so incredibly important that we instill within our children a sense of service to others. There’s so much pain and suffering in this world, but it only takes a few moments to help heal a small part of that. If we work together, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and every day beyond that, we can make it so that our children are the shift needed for a healthier, happier, safer future for all.
The dreaded rush to get the kids prepped for back-to-school time is upon us. New clothes, new backpacks, new pencils – new, new, new. It all costs money and you might end up in an argument or two before the end of it.
Serious question – is wine an acceptable addition to a back-to-school list (for me, I mean)?
Fortunately, with a little preparation and planning, you can get everything your kids need, some of the things they want, and still have cash left in your wallet. And maybe a little sanity left in your mind!
Like so many other people right now, I miss some of the small pleasures like getting my skin professionally pampered. I have a skincare routine that I follow, but I’m always looking for ways to enhance it. Because of this, I was excited to try and review the Genesis At-Home Self-Spa kit.
If you’re just joining me on my journey to lose weight and boost my energy levels with Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion, you can read about how skeptical I was. Week two was enlightening, though, after an interview with Joel Marion. And I wrote about my thoughts after the 14-day acceleration phase, along with my absolute favorite recipe from the book (which I’m actually eating while writing this wrap-up). Bestselling author, Joel Marion, is a fitness expert and nutritionist debunking the myths underlying traditional dieting and offers a simple, highly effective weight loss program, and I’ve been following it for the last 30 days.
I do want to note that this is a piece sponsored by Always Eat After 7pm, but the thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
After a month of following the dietary guidelines that Joel Marion writes about in Always Eat After 7pm, I have to say I’m extremely happy. Though I still eat bread, pasta and other foods I crave from time to time, staying on the diet has made me far more conscious about the things I eat. I’m not longer eating sugar and breads for breakfast – in fact, I’m not hungry in the morning at all and I’ve found that intermittent fasting makes me far more focused and energetic.
Seeing Results with Always Eat After 7pm
I have lost 17 pounds, and I’m still able to run every morning, though getting up at 5 fluctuates, but that’s more because I really just love sleeping. It’s also taking some getting used to running, getting up early and changing my diet, but that’s a lot all at once. I think someone who is just trying to use this book will have marvelous results, because I’m having incredible results and I’m certainly spinning a lot of plates.
As far as sticking with it, it’s incredibly easy. The morning drink recipes provided in the book really do help suppress hunger and keep my blood sugar stable, and I love how fasting helps me focus. I often go long past the start of my feeding window without even realizing it. I’m both very focused on the work I’m doing and also simply not experiencing the hunger pangs I’m used to having, especially mid-morning.
For this next month, I’ve made sure to put one of these meals on each day of my meal plan. I’m still making the coconut cashew pancakes but there are a few other recipes which sound utterly amazing I’ve yet to try, and so far the Chocolate Very Cherry Ice Cream is another family favorite (I like sweets, what can I say). My husband found some recipes that are ketogenic or very close and he’s going to start this diet with me (of course, he’s starting on the 14-day acceleration while I’m in the main phase). I think the ability to eat a bit more freely at times is attractive to him, which makes sense.
One of my favorite parts from the book is:
Fact is, most diets are extremely narrow with regard to food choices and variety, and many even limit entire macronutrients altogether over the course of the entire program (think low-carb and low-fat diets). Three months with no carbs? No thanks. Such practices not only are entirely unnecessary, but make for a miserable, unsustainable experience.
Long Term Plans
Looking at this in the long-term as my husband starts, The Always Eat After 7 PM plan consists of: The 14-day Acceleration Phase to kick-start the program and see rapid results, The Main Phase where you’ll learn exactly which foods to eat when in order to achieve your weight-loss goals, The Lifestyle Phase to keep the weight off for good. While I have more weight I want to lose before I get to the Lifestyle Phase, the book allows you to extend the Acceleration or Main Phases longer if need be to really keep the weight loss benefits at their peak.
Continuing with This Lifestyle
I’m looking forward to the next few months as I stick to this plan effortlessly. Are there days when I want to wake up and eat breakfast or have a craving for donuts? Sure, but the book has answers to those cravings – indulge them, and expand your fasting window. There have been days where we had Chicago-style deep dish pizza and I woke up 2 pounds lighter the next day. You can’t eat like this all the time, but the diet makes allowance for human mistakes. It teaches you how to deal with slip-ups rather than feeling guilty and then binge-eating yourself into losing your progress, like many diets do.
Best of all, it’s so much easier to stick to this way of eating than traditional dieting and the benefits are extremely clear to me. I’m interested to see what my bloodwork looks like the next time I go to the doctor, because I certainly feel better.
I encourage you to give this way of eating a try, and you can learn more about the book and how to purchase here.
Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. Give it a try and see how easy getting healthy can be, even if you’re flying in the face of traditional dietary guidelines.
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed above are my own.