What The Economy Has Taught Me About Being Green

I’m going to get a little personal in this post, which is unusual for me. But, I have been out of my full-time career for nearly three years, which is a written communications professional. It’s really irritating, but I’m working a “survivor” retail job full-time while working on writing and editing jobs on the side. So, needless to say, I’ve had to learn to become extremely frugal in these past few years, which in a way is another way of “being green”.

One thing I’ve learned is to make some of my own cleaning supplies — good old vinegar and water works just as good for cleaning windows as Windex and it’s cheaper. Sure, it may not smell as good, but who really needs all of those smelly chemicals anyway?

I’ve also rediscovered libraries and used bookstores! Reusing is the ultimate green task. Do you really need that hardcover fiction book sitting on your bookcase collecting dust? Probably not. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve read a fiction book I usually never read it again. But, if it’s a reference book, something I know I’m going to refer back to later on, then I go to a used book store. You can really find some gems at these stores — books or music that is out of print, titles you have been searching for forever, you’d be surprised!

I’m eating simpler now too, which is both easy on your pocketbook and your waistline. Also, I can’t afford to go anywhere, but I at least get out and go for a walk (as long as the weather cooperates — I live in the Midwest United States where winters can be terrible). But right now I get to enjoy the glorious fall that Mother Nature gives us.

Sure, I get down in the dumps and wonder if I’ll ever make decent money again — lots of times. But, when that happens I just go over to the library and check a book on CD out or a funny movie.

I would love to hear from you how you have become more frugal in these tough economic times.

And, if you or anyone you know of needs some written communications work, I do freelance writing and editing. Please contact me at lara@lrjwritingandeditingservices.com or visit my Web site (which needs to be update, sorry) at http://www.lrjwritingandeditingservices.com

Green Ways to Winterize Your Home

Already October, and if you live where it gets frigid in the winter, like I do, then it’s not too soon to start preparing for the winter, which is right around the corner! But, how can you save on energy costs and still winterize your home? There are many things you can do to be green and stay warm and save on energy costs.

First, take care of any drafts you many have throughout your home. Drafts suck energy. According to the United States Department of Energy, drafts can waste between 5 % and 30% of your energy costs. A simple solution is a draft snake, which you can easily make yourself instead of forking out a bundle of money. According to The Daily Green (www.thedailygreen.com), “Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more…draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like (visit http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/door-draft-stoppers-draft-snakes-460109 for examples). You can use any scraps of fabric — even neckties — and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.”

Keep an eye on the thermostat. When leaving your home turn down the thermostat. Do you really need it set higher when you’re not home?  For every degree you lower your thermostat, you will save between one and three percent of your heating bill.

And, changing your furnace filters is another easy and cheap way to save money and the environment too. It’s important to change filters once a month during the winter months because dirty filters limit air flow and increase energy demand. A permanent filter should be considered because it reduces waste and the trouble of replacing the filter.  According to The Daily Green, disposable filters only trap between 10 and 40% of debris, whereas permanent filters, or electrostatic filters, trap approximately 88% of debris and are better at controlling mold, bacteria, viruses and pollen, which cause irritation and illness. These filters can cost between $1,000 and up, but would save you money in the long run because you are not constantly changing the disposable filters and they have proven to be more effective and have less of an impact on the earth.

These are just three tips to winterize your home. Other tips include reverse the direction of ceiling fans and turn down the water heater.