Green trends are everywhere these days – in the news, politics, fashion and even technology. Everyone is trying to be environmentally conscious and that’s great – but I am trying to be money conscious.
My family and I have been recycling since before it was the “in” thing to do. Recycling is one of the green changes that makes sense and cents. But when I think about changing my lifestyle to be more eco-friendly, the money adds up. Is being green actually frugal?
There are many benefits to organic food, like the fresh taste and lack of hormones and pesticides. With the high prices, however, not every one can afford it. Thankfully I have a garden that provides me some organic fruits and vegetables. I’ve learned to cut corners by using Organic.com’s Dirty Dozen list, which shares the 12 most and least contaminated produce items. The list helps me decide when it’s best to buy organic. Organic milk and meat are often twice as much as non-organic. Overall eating organic food, which is greener than non-organic, is not frugal.
Like organic food, the down side to organic beauty products is added expense. Organic shampoos and lotions can run anywhere from $10 to $20 a bottle and there aren’t a lot of coupons. Similar non-organic beauty products cost about $1-5. Unless prices drop, organic beauty products remain decidedly not frugal.
Solar panels are another green change that is too expensive for me to afford. Residential solar panels can cost tens of thousands of dollars and they generally pay for themselves in 10-20 years, but I just simply do not have the money to invest in them today. A cheaper alternative is changing incandescent light bulbs to florescent light bulbs around the home. Florescent light bulbs are a few dollars more than regular bulbs but will reduce your energy costs. A couple years ago, we changed out our bulbs for florescent bulbs and saw a major dip in our utilities bill, from $54 every two months to $33. Energy is one area that can be frugal.
How do you reduce the cost of being green?