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

by Katy on January 31, 2009 · 10 comments



  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.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

marianne February 1, 2009 at 6:02 am



Julie February 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

I would add, in addition to sending the kids out to play in the yard—play cards with your kid(s), create art with your kid(s), talk to your kid(s), or better yet, just listen to your kid(s) talk. Every night before bed, my son asks “can you tell me a story from when you were little?” On many nights, the last thing I want to do is dredge up some story I’ve told him a thousand times. But he loves it so much, it always sparks a great conversation, and leads to some laughs and some snuggles. And sometimes, I ask him to tell me a story from when he was little, and it’s always fascinating to hear what he can remember…


suburbanlife February 1, 2009 at 8:35 am

I would add – ” Go to bed early; get up early – use the daylight hours to live and do.” G


Viki S February 1, 2009 at 11:30 am

What a wonderful list! Hope you don’t mind, but I copied it (with credits to you) and sent to just about everyone in my address book. They all think I’m a “tree hugger” anyway, but it wouldn’t hurt most of them to do some of these things either! #18 is especially prevalent around here. Those parties are awful and just an excuse to get out of the house and spend money on something you don’t really want anyway. If I want something from a candle group or something, I just order it on my own and avoid the party altogether. Ugh! Thanks for writing the list!


Magdalena February 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

If I can add one: Learn to sew and knit. Your clothing dollar goes a lot farther if you can repair and remake old clothes, and produce hats and mittens when needed.


thenonconsumeradvocate February 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Viki S: Please do send this list to all your friends. The more, the merrier.

Magdalena: Or . . . befriend people who knit so they will make your hats, scarves, mitten and socks. This has worked well for me. (Thank you Jessie and Sarah for all the knit-goods.)


Janet February 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm



Deb February 1, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Helpful list, I would only add… if you aren’t going to wear it/use it, hand it down… donate it…


Pennie February 2, 2009 at 11:25 am

Quit watching television.

I’m serious, folks. Invest the same number of hours in something, anything else.

Plant and nurture a vegetable garden with that time, learn to knit and produce hats and scarves for home and gifts with those hours, outreach to a friend or stranger in need, read or write meaningful words, declutter your home, anything.

There are a million things that you could be doing with that zombied screen time, none of which will bombard and saturate you with images and messages that sell you someone’s version of the American Dream.

You will be amazed at the richness brought back into your life.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley February 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Call me a low-brow, but I often knit or crochet AND watch tv, dvds. I get my mindless entertainment and have something to show for it!


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