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Archive for March, 2012

Many college students are eco-minded individuals who want to lead sustainable lives. But the challenge to live sustainably can be daunting, especially for those on limited incomes.

As a college student myself, I have been faced with this challenge for the past four years. Let me share some tips with you for how I made sustainable choices that also saved me money. Couponing.about.com has some great additional ideas that I will also share.

1) Buy used textbooks whenever possible. Used textbooks can be found at your campus bookstore, Amazon, Ebay or Half Price Books. Also check out Facebook to see if there is a specific page set up by students at your university to buy and sell textbooks from their classmates.

Renting is also another viable, green option.

And be sure to sell your books back to your campus bookstore or to Amazon at the end of the semester if you don’t intend to use the book again.

2) Walk to campus if you can. Save yourself the money for an on-campus parking permit (which typically runs about $100 per semester) and give yourself the exercise you need by walking to campus. If you’re like me and don’t live close enough to campus to walk, park your car in a parking zone on a city street off campus and walk a couple of blocks to campus.

3) Buy basic clothing rather than what’s trendy. It will cost you less, and you can wear it for more than one season. You can find lots of great stuff at secondhand stores such as Goodwill, such as these two shirts:

4) Shop Craigslist or Goodwill for furniture and other household items needed for your dorm, apartment or house.

5) Another blog, called Just Ask Asa, suggests using reusable plates, cups and shopping bags, rather than disposable paper and plastic ones, to reduce waste and to save money in the long run.

These are some of the ways I and many others have tried to live a frugal and green life in college.

How have you saved money while living green in college or as a young adult?

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Beyond reducing what we consume, or buy, we can also reduce how much energy we use on a daily basis.

There are tons of great articles and blogs out there with tips for making your homes more energy-efficient and learning to save money by cutting back on energy consumption. Here are the top seven practical tips I’ve found for reducing the energy you use:

1) Conserve heat in your home by adding insulation to your home, filling in cracks around windows and doors and using weather-stripping.

2) Conserve energy by air-drying laundry. Walmart sells drying racks that you can put up inside your house. To hang your shirts inside, use something like this, which my husband built for me. During the warmer seasons, a clothesline can also be used outside.

3) Wash all of your laundry in cold water to save energy. The blog Strive to Simplify suggests that switching to cold water when doing laundry saves 25 cents per load, which adds up to about $65 in savings per year for the average household.

4) When you are asleep or not home, program your thermostat to hold the temperature five degrees cooler than when you’re home.

5) Frugal Living suggests that you keep your fridge and freezer full. The food acts as an insulator and keeps the food cooler without requiring your refrigerator to run.

6) Drive the speed limit! According to The Bargainlist blog, driving faster is less fuel-efficient. Using cruise control can also save energy because it reduces the amount of heavy accelerating and heavy braking required when your cruise is not set.

7) Have a professional conduct a home energy audit, which will show you where you’re wasting the most energy and offer the best solutions to your specific problems. Green Living Ideas offers some great advice for having a home energy audit done.

For more great energy and money-saving tips, visit Frugal Living‘s blog.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for reducing energy on a daily basis! Please share your comments here!

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Consuming less is difficult. We live in a society that is bombarded by advertising and driven by fads and trends, which all encourage us to buy more.

Saying “no” to consumerism requires a lot of self-control. Reducing what we consume becomes easier when we adopt a mindset to save money, preserve resources, or lead a simpler life with less “stuff.”

Here are a few tips to get started on living an anti-consumerist lifestyle:

1) Bring a list of what you need to the store and stick to the list. This will prevent impulse and unnecessary purchases.

2) Use your library. Not only is it free, but borrowing is also environmentally-friendly. One book being used by 20 people is much more “green” than each of those 20 people purchasing the same book (or magazine, DVD, CD, etc.), using more energy and other resources to make each copy.

3) Sell things you don’t need any more or haven’t used recently. Have your own rummage sale or sell items online through Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist. Not only will you make money by selling these items, but someone else can make use of them, too.

4) Use items you already own for multiple purposes whenever possible. For example, my husband and I connect our TV screen to our desktop so that our TV screen also functions as our computer monitor and our computer also functions as our DVD player.

5) Buy quality items. Sometimes, paying more up front for an item will save you money in the long run. For example, I bought this belt at Target three years ago for $23. To me, that seems like a lot for a belt, but it’s made of genuine leather and has lasted me twice as long already as a synthetic belt which costs $15.

Consuming less isn’t easy. But hopefully these tips will get you started on an anti-consumerist lifestyle that will save you money and help you live greener.

How do you fight the tide of consumerism? Feel free to share your thoughts here!

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