25 Easy Ways to Live Green on a Budget

25 Easy Ways to Live Green on a Budget

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

Living green doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you could actually save green by living green, all while staying healthy and protecting our planet.

This list will get you well on your way to living greener and cleaner.

  1. Recycle. Check you local county website to see if your area offers curbside recycling.  If not, there may be a recycling location where you can drop off your recyclable.  Recycling greatly cuts down on waste that ends up in the landfills. 
  2. Save water. Take shorter showers or install a low-flow shower head. Faucet aerators conserve heat and water and you will earn your money back quickly with the money you save.
  3. Use non-toxic cleaning products. Making your own cleaning supplies is easy and very affordable. Not to mention all of the toxic chemicals that you will keep out of your home. Here are a few homemade cleaners to get your house spic and span.
  4. Switch to non-toxic body products. If your body products contain harmful ingredients such as toxic chemicals, colors, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into your body, your blood and lymphatic system. When you make your own products, you know exactly what is in them. You can easily make products like dry shampoo, body wash and toothpaste.
  5. Essential oils.  Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants.  The oils contain healing properties for relaxation, beauty products, home cleaning and natural medicine. I use essential oils in every body and cleaning product on top of using them topically for colds. These are the oils I use.  They are pure and of the highest quality.
  6. Read ingredient labels. Know what you are eating.  What are those long, unpronounceable ingredients doing to your body? Food labels provide key information like serving size, calories, total fat and vitamin content.
  7. Shop local. Support the little guy instead of companies that make millions of dollars. Shopping local creates a healthier environment because the goods are located closer to residents and create less traffic nd air pollution.
  8. Reuse. The most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. Reusing items reduces the need to harvest new raw materials (think trees), saves energy, money, and keeps wastes from the landfill.
  9. Buy Organic. There are fewer pesticides on food, it’s better for the environment, and organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal byproducts. Organic food can be more expensive but you can save money on food with these 10 super easy tips on eating organic.
  10. Grow your own food. No room for a garden? No worries, grow veggies in pots on your patio or herbs in your kitchen window.
  11. Compost. Free, easy to make and good for the environment.  You can compost vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags. You can learn more about composting in this article from NRDC.org.
  12. Install energy-efficient lighting. LED bulbs last 10 years and use 40% less electricity than traditional incandescents. Produce less waste and save more money. Sweet. 
  13. Buy a jar of Coconut Oil. Coconut oil can be used so many ways! Here is a list of 14 awesome ways to use it other than cooking.
  14. CSA. Community supported agriculture is a partnership between farmers and consumers. You pay a fee at the beginning of a growing season and receive a portion of the farm’s produce each week. Support local farmers instead of huge commercial companies.
  15. Switch to cloth diapers. Disposable diapers take 250-500 years to decompose. Switching to cloth will save you over $1000 dollars and keep the chemicals off your little ones bottom.  When my kids were babies, we used BumGenius.  The start up cost was $250 but that’s all we spent until they were potty trained.  If traveling, then we would use Seventh Generation disposable diapers. They are chemical free.
  16. Car pool. Find a buddy and take turns driving into work.  You will save money, time, the environment, wear and tear on your car and reduce traffic! You can also use a ride share service like Lyft or Uber.  Of course, I am partial to Lyft. 😉
  17. Buy rechargeable batteries. Save money, conserve resources, protect the environment and improve performance by buying recyclable batteries like these. You can use rechargeable batteries hundreds of times! They cost more initially, but save money over time.
  18. Have plants to clean the air in your home. Did you know that houseplants can actually clean indoor air of airborne toxins? These 10 houseplants will work extra hard to clean up your indoor air.
  19. Use your dishwasher. It uses less water than hand-washing. For an extra bonus use a DIY dishwashing detergent.
  20. Invest in experiences instead of things for special gifts. Take a family trip instead of expensive Christmas presents.  Or maybe go see a musical instead of an anniversary present. The memories will last longer than a physical present.
  21. Wash clothes in cold water. Washing your clothes in cold water uses less energy and clothes last longer.  If you want to take it a step farther, purchase and energy-efficient washer.  These washers measure the amount of water needed to wash per load.
  22. Buy Used. You can find really good deals on barely used products. Start shopping at thrift stores, consignment stores and garage sales. You can window shop online at sites like Thredup, Craigslist or Varage Sale.
  23. Switch to an aluminum or stainless-steel sports bottle.  Most plastic containers have a chemical called BPA, which is under investigation for its effects on the health of humans. You can opt for a BPA free plastic bottle but they are known to leach phthalates, a chemical thought to disrupt the endocrine system.
  24. Keep food in glass containers. Most plastic containers have a chemical called BPA, which is under investigation for its effects on the health of humans.  When heating in the microwave or washing in the dishwasher can break down the plastic allowing BPA to leach into food.
  25. Replace vinyl shower curtains. There are more than 100 different chemicals vinyl shower curtains emit into the air. Trade out the vinyl curtain for a PVC-free plastic shower curtain.


What are some ways that you live green? Let me know below. 🙂

10 Houseplants That Purify Indoor Air

10 Houseplants That Purify Indoor Air

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

I love being outside.  The winters, although mild in Nashville, give me cabin fever because they cut into my outside time.  I would rather be out by the lake, hiking, or working in the yard. Mad props to those of you who get cold and snow for months at a time.  I would never survive and you are my heroes.

Whenever possible, I bring the outdoors in. I love having the windows open to let the outside air in and the addition of houseplants adds the comfort of nature within the home. Now, my husband would kindly disagree with me on the houseplants, which he affectionately calls bowls of dirt. They are growing on him though.

Did you know that the color green has a soothing, healing effect? Green is the predominant color in nature and people naturally feel the most at ease in settings with this color. I have heard of people who sit under lamps with green bulbs for 10-15 minutes to help them relax and center.

Not only do houseplants brighten a room, they work hard to clean our air. Let’s take it back old school to 5th grade science class. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen and it as it turns out, some plants are doubling down to also clean toxins out of the air we breathe.

In 1989, NASA conducted a clean air study to determine which indoor plants filtered harmful toxins and pollutants from the air. NASA discovered 5 common pollutants found indoors.

  1. Trichloroethylene – Found in printing ink, paint and varnishes. Symptoms of exposure include excitement, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
  2. Formaldehyde – Found in paper bags, facial tissues, paper towels and plywood paneling. Symptoms include irritation to nose, mouth and throat.
  3. Benzene –  Used to make plastics, synthetic fibers, detergents and pesticides. Symptoms include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness and headaches
  4. Xylene – Found in printing, rubber and paint. Similar to Benzene, symptoms include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
  5. Ammonia – Used in window cleaners, floor waxes and fertilizers. Symptoms include eye irritation, coughing and sore throat.

 

10 Houseplants that

Purify Indoor Air

 

 

1. Aloe Vera

 

  • It has the ability to heal cuts and burns.
  • It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night.

 

 

2. Spider Plant

  • Helps remove benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene from the air.
  • Safe for pets.

 

3. Gerbera Daisy

  • Beautiful, bright blooms
  • Most plants respiratory cycle decreases in the evening. Gerbera Daisies continue releasing oxygen through the night to help you breathe and sleep better.

 

4. Peace Lily

  • Thrive in low light with moist soil.
  • Helps remove benzene and trichloroethylene from the air.
  • Mildy toxic to people and pets if ingested.

 

 

5. Ficus

  • Effective at cleaning the air of airborne formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
  • Low-maintenance and requires bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Poisonous to animals. Take extra precautions that your pets do not ingest any part of this plant.

 

 

6. Philodendron

  • Easily tolerates the dry conditions found inside most homes.
  • Among the best houseplants for removing higher concentrations of formaldehyde.
  • Considered poisonous if ingested by children or pets.

 

7. Orchids

  • Thrives in high humidity and with thorough watering.
  • Removes formaldehyde from the air.

 

 

8. Rubber Plant

  • Enjoys indirect light and infrequent watering.
  • Rubber plants emit high oxygen content and purifies indoor air by removing formaldehyde.

 

 

9. English Ivy

  • Helps to reduce mold in your home.
  • Cleanses formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and toluene from the air.

 

 

10. Chrysanthemum

  • Helps cleanse the air of formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene and trichloroethylene.
  • Poisonous to animals.

 

 How to improve air quality in your home.

 

  1. Add air cleansing houseplants to your home.
  2. Air purifiers are effective in your home to remove a large range of airborne pollutants like dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander, and tobacco smoke.
  3. Eliminate the source of pollutants. Dust and vacuum often to stay on top of dusty situations.
  4. Open your windows often.  The air in our homes is more polluted than fresh air from outside.  Even in winter, open a window or two occasionally to let the fresh air in and the stale air out.

 

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

Have you heard of the dirty dozen?

And I am not talking about you and 11 of your friends.

The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and veggies that contain the highest amount of pesticide residue.  This list is released annually by the Environmental working group (EWG) and is based on results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Dirty Dozen

Apples
Celery
Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Grapes
Nectarines
Peaches
Potatoes
Snap peas
Spinach
Strawberries
Sweet Bell Peppers

The EWG released this summary for the 2016 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce.

Some key findings include:

  • 99 percent of apple samples, 98 percent of peaches, and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides a piece.

Studies on pesticides have linked numerous health conditions to long-term pesticide exposure.  I don’t want to doom and gloom you but it is important to be aware.  So, here’s a list of conditions that scientists believe to be associated with pesticide exposure.

ADHD in kids
Alzheimer’s disease
Birth defects
Breast cancer
Depression
Fertility Issues
Immune system damage
Low IQ in kids
Ovarian cancer
Parkinson’s disease
Prostate cancer
Respiratory problems

Depressing, right?

Here are a few ways to be proactive and cut back on pesticide exposure.

1. Grow your own produce. Get out there and start a garden (one of my happiest places).  If a garden is not possible, grow some veggies in pots on your deck or in a sunny window.

2. Visit your local farmer’s market.  You can buy organic and support your local farmers. This is a win-win.

3. Buy organic. Organic foods are not sprayed with harmful pesticides and are not exposed to chemical fertilizers.

4. Wash your produce very well.  This produce wash will remove up to 98% of pesticide residue off of your fruits and veggies.  You can also lightly scrub your hard skinned fruits with chemical free dish soap.

Buying organic food is more expensive than conventionally grown food.  So, if you need to prioritize your organic purchases, try to at least buy the organic versions of the dirty dozen. Knowing what chemicals are on your food will help you make the best choices for your family and will reduce the exposure to toxic pesticides.

xo

14 Amazing Ways to Use Coconut Oil

14 Amazing Ways to Use Coconut Oil

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

These are my most favorite ways to use this sweet, magic potion.

14 Ways to Use Coconut Oil

1. Remove dead, dry skin. Mix with sugar to make a delicious sugar scrub. Sugar scrubs not only help to remove dry skin but keep your skin soft and moisturized. Just be careful not to slip in the shower or bath because the oil will lube up your tub and make it quite slippery.

2. Skin moisturizer. Just rub a small amount on your dry skin and allow it to soak in and work its magic. Take it one step further and you can make yourself a great body butter. It is also great in lotion bars. I keep one in a soap dish by my kitchen sink and use it after washing dishes.

3. Simple face moisturizer. Rub a dime size amount on your face, keeping away from your eyes. Coconut oil takes a few minutes to really soak in but that is because it is really nourishing your skin.

4. Eye cream. Simply dab a few drops of coconut oil around your eyes before bedtime. Here again, obviously stay away from your beautiful eyeballs. Using coconut oil around your eyes will hydrate and help with puffiness.

5. Eye makeup remover. Dip a q-tip in coconut oil and carefully remove eye makeup without pulling the sensitive under eye area.

6. Simple lip balm. You can put some coconut oil in a small container that you can take on the go and apply whenever your lips feel dry.  Add a few more ingredients and make yourself a sweet tube of lip balm.

7. Cuticle cream. Rub your cuticles down with a smidge of coconut Oil. If you have some hanging out in that small container for simple lip balm, then presto, you have cuticle cream too!

8. Frizz tamer. Rub a small (and I really stress, small) amount between your hands and then rub your hands through your damp hair to tame frizzies.

9. Deep conditioner. If you want to get serious, rub a good amount through your dry hair and leave it for 30 minutes and wash. The coconut oil will hydrate your hair and leave it silky soft.

10. Hair growth. Mix coconut oil with rosemary oil and lavender and apply to your head to encourage regrowth of hair.

11. Moisturizes and heals cold sores. Just dab some coconut oil on cold sores at first site. For an anti-viral punch, mix a pea size drop of coconut oil with tea tree oil and show that cold sore who’s boss.

12. Homemade toothpaste. For real. Add baking soda, stevia and peppermint oil and you have yourself a mighty fine teeth cleaner.  Get my recipe here.

13. Heal cracked heels. Rub some coconut oil onto your heels to soften.

14. Massage oil. If you are lucky enough to have someone to give you a massage, you can use coconut oil to lube the bod. And I am jealous about the massage part.

Granola

Coconut oil is the most used ingredient for my skincare products and I always keep a few jars around the house. Not only is coconut oil easy to find, it is versatile and very affordable. There are literally dozens of uses for coconut oil and I almost feel guilty for only paying $7.00 a jar when I get so much use out of it.

So what’s the deal with coconut oil and its benefits?

Read on my friend.

Lauric Acid – This is the “magic Ingredient” in coconut oil. Lauric Acid is an anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil is nature’s richest source of lauric acid which is why it is beneficial to the body in so many ways.

Medium Chained Triglycerides (MCT) – Breaking down this type of healthy fat in the liver leads to efficient burning of energy. Most of the fatty acids consumed in the diet are long-chain fatty acids but medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently. MCT go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick of source energy rather than being stored as fat.

Antioxidants – Especially high in Vitamin E, which proves to be effective for maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. The antioxidants protect us from free radicals. Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage. These molecules are very unstable and therefore will bond with other molecules, destroy their health and ultimately damage them. This is especially true for the face. Just think of how much contact our face has with, well, air? Antioxidants prevent free radicals from hitching a ride on our skin and damaging the tissue.

In order to reap the full benefits of coconut oil, you will need to buy a certain kind. Unrefined, organic, extra-virgin coconut oil is your best option. But don’t stress out over finding that specific kind, just start with organic and go from there. I usually buy my oil from a local grocery but here is a whole page of choices for your viewing pleasure.

Here is a breakdown of the different kinds of coconut oil on the market.

Pure: This means that the oil is unrefined without any additives. Pure coconut oil has multiple uses and can be used externally and internally.

Unrefined: Often referred to as virgin or pure. This oil is extracted from the fresh “meat” of the coconut rather than a dry version. The process is quicker this way therefore the oil does not need additives or bleaching. Unrefined coconut oil maintains its coconut smell and flavor.

Organic: Organic oils have been extracted from coconut palms raised on organic manure without the use of synthetic fertilizers. Also, there were no chemical used in the production, giving you pure, chemical free oil. Try to use organic if you are using the oil on your skin. It only takes 26 seconds for our skin to absorb whatever we rub into it. We surely don’t want to rub chemicals and toxins into our skin.

Virgin: One of the most respected and trusted varieties. This version of oil comes from the mild of fresh coconut meat. Little to no heat is used in the extraction therefore, the oil tastes and smells like fresh coconuts. Due to the care of production, virgin coconut oil maintains the most antioxidants and anti-microbial properties.

Refined: This oil has been bleached and deodorized (I’m out on this one). Due to being extracted from the dried coconut meat, the oil has to be purified because of contaminants that arise during the drying process. High heat is used to kill the contaminants and also removes the distinct coconut smell and flavor.

Another interesting fact about coconut oil is that it has a high melting point. I keep a jar in my pantry and in the summer the oil is liquid and the winter, the oil remains solid. The oil will melt quickly once introduced to the heat of your hands or body.

So next time you are at the store, make sure you grab a jar of organic, pure coconut oil. Put it on your list! You will be glad you did.  I can’t wait to hear how you use coconut oil.