20 Things You Can Do Today To Live A Greener, More Frugal Life

by Katy on March 12, 2012 · 22 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!


  1. Use your library.

  2. Eat the food you’ve bought, and eat then your leftovers.

  3. Shop from your closet instead of buying new clothes.

  4. Give gifts that you already own, like a couple of great books or an admired knick-knack.

  5. Go for a walk outside instead of on a treadmill.

  6. Cook from scratch.

  7. Send your kids into the backyard instead of taking them to a movie or arcade.

  8. Repair items instead of replacing them.

  9. Turn the thermostat down in your house and add an extra layer.

  10. Plant a vegetable garden. It’s amazing what you can grow in even a small space. (We grow all our own lettuce for the summer in a single wheelbarrow.)

  11. Make your own cleaning products, or better yet, clean with water.

  12. When a friend wants to get together, go for a walk instead of eating out.

  13. Choose a simple close-to-home vacation instead of a can-only-get-there-by-flying elaborate trip.

  14. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Always. And then make sure they give you that three cent per-bag refund.

  15. Minimize your garbage output, then go to a less frequent pickup service.

  16. Drive less, and then contact your insurance agent to get a discount.

  17. Hang-dry your laundry.

  18. Decline invitations to those Tupperware, Party-lite, Pampered Chef etc. parties.

  19. Buy used whenever possible. Better yet, join The Compact.

  20. Refuse to use credit cards for anything that’s not an emergency.

Did I miss something? Please add your list in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee in CA March 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

Totally understand about the credit cards. But…we get a great discount for gas in the form of a check at the end of he year and perks for other purchases so we tend to use ours whenever we can. Of course you have to pay it off each month. I don’t believe we have ever paid credit card interest. Good suggestions!


Laura March 12, 2012 at 7:53 am

Also, a small and consistent use of credit cards, paid off entirely every month, builds your credit score. I’m not saying this how things ought to be, only that this is the way it is. For those who will be applying for a mortgage someday it is a consideration. If you already own a house, avoiding credit cards won’t matter too much.


Maureen March 12, 2012 at 6:46 am

This is one of my favorite posts of yours because 1) I’ve been to Trinity Library in Dublin and was amazed at it’s beauty and 2) I need to keep a list of all these things in front of me as a reminder. Thanks again for re-posting (and hope you are feeling better than the weekend!)


Renee in CA March 12, 2012 at 6:47 am

I made some small rags from old hand towels and keep them in a basket where the paper towels used to be. Helps me remember to not automatically grab a paper towel. I put the paper out of the way in the pantry so I do still use them for certain things, but have been able to cut way back.


Penny Ritson March 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

It’s a good list. Buy locally grown, seasonal food wherever possible. Make your own bread – delicious (and therapeutic) – with local flour.
Stuck with what to do with leftovers? – Make soup 🙂
Cook some meat free meals – use lentils and beans


Ashley S. March 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

Compost! We use ours for egg shells, coffee filters and grounds, peelings, melon rinds, apple cores, corn cobs, dryer lint and yard waste and tons of other stuff. Keeps waste out of the garbage and gives us something yummy to feed our garden 🙂 We just used a large black plastic garbage can with holes bored into it for oxygenation and it works like a champ!


BrokeElizabeth March 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

These are all great ideas. I would add: exchange services or pay for meaningful experiences with friends and family instead of gifts. I’ve just started doing this last year, and so far it’s working quite well 🙂


Marla March 12, 2012 at 11:33 am

Grow extra vegetables and trade them for something else (like eggs or babysitting) with a neighbor.


Ashley S March 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Oh, I forgot something that I don’t even think about anymore – we don’t use paper napkins or paper towels! I scored some great microfiber dishcloths at the Goodwill and they work better than paper towels (never fall apart!) and we just wash them as needed. Our cloth napkins were a gift and they’ve held up for years and still look great. Sometimes I actually forget that people use those paper products since it’s been years since we have.


Tonya March 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Learn to be content. Try not to watch HGTV or other shows that promote having to have new stuff to be happy…..


Indigo March 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Moderation in all things leads to happiness in abundance. When you skew you life too far in any direction you give yourself a deficit somewhere else.


Jennifer March 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Make a budget each month and live within it!


AnnW March 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

My contribution would be to take care of your possessions and respect them. Wear a different pair of shoes every day. (They need to dry out) Polish your shoes, resole them. Take care of your clothes, and they will take care of you. Treat your car like your most prized possession. Over inflate the tires to get the best mileage, change the oil when needed, wash it. Polish your furniture, vacuum your upholstery often. Maintain your house, and make sure the wiring and plumbing work properly. Don’t be a careless person.


Lucy March 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Proper tire inflation! Overinflation reduces traction and causes premature wear in the center of the tread.


Barb March 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I’d add………substitute cloth or permanent glass/plastic for anything disposable that you can. I may never be ablet to give up tp,and we have paper towels on hand for dog gak, but other than -fabric rags, tissue, napkins and the like abount. I’ve moved to permanent storage for most tings, although a few ziploc bags still enter my life.


astrid4441 March 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

1. Don’t eat meat (unless you happen to have a farm)
2. Trade cutting and clearing timber from a friend or neighbor’s land for free firewood
3. Encourage your co-op to buy in bulk (most of ours in MN started out 35 years ago with a majority of bulk and it has unfortunately dwindled over time)


Heidi March 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

We do all of these – except actually joining the Compact. Don’t think I need to when I already live that way.


marianne March 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Freecycle. 🙂


Karen March 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I agree with some other comments about ditching the disposables. When the cat upchucks a hairball, I use a couple sheets of newspaper and then an old worn out rag. Why buy stuff to throw away?


Trish March 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

That is genius! Thanks for that suggestion!


Jan March 13, 2012 at 2:54 am

Loved this post! I’d add – handkerchiefs instead of tissue. Not sure if this was already suggested. Men’s white hankies work fine, or bandannas. I keep one in a (re-used) plastic bag in my knapsack & exchange it for a clean one as needed.


Katy @ Purposely Frugal March 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

Great post! Also, reuse ziploc bags and big sheets of aluminum foil and don’t buy bottled water! If you city water tastes bad (like ours does) then find a water place you can fill up for 25cents a gallon or get a water filter.


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