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

by Katy on September 27, 2010 · 20 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.”

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary H September 27, 2010 at 7:08 am

Why is not using a credit card considered greener and more frugal?


namastemama September 27, 2010 at 5:24 pm

When you use plastic instead of cash, you spend 12-18% more.


namastemama September 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Grocery stores are issuing plastic now because the typical grocery purchase doubles when you charge it! MCard, Visa, Am Ex and Discover will spend a combined $567+ BILLION in advertising this year. You can bet they make a lot more than that. Think of all the things, the stuff we buy because we use credit or that 18% more stuff. When I use cash I buy less; plain and simple. I might rethink a purchase and often buy used. When the cash runs out the buying stops. NOT using credit is very green.


WilliamB September 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Namastemama, before I run off digging up economic stats and furiously doing math in my head, I should check: do you mean that number ($567 billion) literally?


Mary H September 28, 2010 at 6:39 am

This is a generalization. Not everyone spends more. I pay off my balance every month, always shop with a list and get cash back rewards on my card. And I know a lot of people who use credit cards the same way I do.


Maureen September 27, 2010 at 7:49 am

Have to tell you I went on a very expensive trip to Ireland this summer with some family (a family dream trip that was not frugal at all). The last time I went to Ireland I didn’t get to see the Book of Kells, but was definately going to this time around. Yes, it was an impressive book, but what was even more impressive was the library at Trinity College which you have pictured here. I was amazed at the 200,000 books that are archived in this one room, some held together by silk cords. Thank you for reminding us to your our libraries!


Rachel September 27, 2010 at 9:11 am

I hope you don’t mind…i am going to repost this on my blog…it just is so cut and dry and i pretty much love that! thanks for posting!


Katy September 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

Please do share this post with your readers!



WilliamB September 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

Re Homemade cleaning products: what do you use to replace Fantastik/409?


Molly On Money September 27, 2010 at 10:28 am

Keep the 409 bottle, rinse well.
Fill 1/2 distilled vinegar and 1/2 water.
Start spraying!


Tracy Balazy September 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

That’s what I use, Molly, and it works great!


WilliamB September 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Thanks. I’ve been looking for a reliable substitute.


Zann September 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I have a little different perspective on the credit card issue. I use my cards to pay for everything I can possibly put on it, and then pay it off each month. I get cash back on my cards, and there are no annual fees for using them, so they end up saving me money.

But if you don’t plan to pay off your cards each month, then I agree, avoid them like the plague.


Rebecca September 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Make your own laundry detergent, don’t use softener, and only use a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer to get rid of static. This has saved us tons of money!


Ann September 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Decide how much you can give to charity each year. I decided years ago that I would never turn down a child who came to the door. If they want to jump rope for cancer, I will give them five or ten dollars. I don’t have a problem turning down a neighbor who is collecting for Easter Seals. I check all the usual organizations on Charity Navigator.com and only give to the ones with the best ratings.
Decide how much you can afford to give for gifts every year. Hundreds or thousands can be spent each year on relatives’ birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s and Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. I recently moved my parents from their home to an assisted living facility and got to see all the presents I had sent over the years in their original boxes, never used, and
not even taken out for inspection. My father never wore the expensive Land’s End pairs of cotton pants I had sent because they were “too hot” for Florida. What a waste.


Pat September 28, 2010 at 5:10 am

I stopped going to all home parties which sell products. The reason? I get invited to so many of these parties that I cannot attend them all. They are often for the same products with the same salespeople. I simply say, “I get invited to many buying parties, so I just decline all.” And that is the truth.


Jen @ Lita's World October 1, 2010 at 6:31 am

Amen! You’re speaking my language…great list! Simple to follow and understand because really it IS simple to live a greener more frugal life – I say it’s all about choices – you just have to be brave enough to make them.


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