Thursday, September 25, 2008

Being green in the bad economy...

Wow, lots going on in the financial world. At this point I am glad I did not have my bathroom remodeled or bought that new digital camera. Looks like things are going to get tougher and tougher.

A lot of "green" products come with a higher price tag than cheap, made in China products. So how is one supposed to do their best to take care of the environment and be healthy when money holds you back?

1) Remember that there are many things you can do to be green that don't cost anything...and may even save you money. Things like keeping your heat turned low, using low-flow shower heads and washing laundry with cold water will help the environment and you.

2) Consider alternatives to pricey products. I really like Method and Seventh Generation products...but there are plenty of recipes online for homemade cleaners that are VERY inexpensive. National Geographic's Green Guide has some here.

3) Keep an eye out for sales and clearances on natural/green products. I have never paid full price for Tom's of Maine toothpaste or any natural deodorant. Lesser known products such as these tend to be clearanced more often. I bought Tom's toothpaste at CVS for 75% off and Kiss My Face roll-on deodorant for $2 at Target...which leads me to:

4) Stock up. This is a tricky one, though. You want to make sure the products you buy won't go bad AND that you really do need them. CVS has tons of great extra care bucks deals, but most of it is stuff I don't use. But when you find something that you use everyday, buy in bulk. I have enough Tom's toothpaste to get me through most of 2009 :)

5) Seriously consider carpooling, public transportation or biking. If none of those are an option (I'm personally out of luck on all three), be conscious of combining trips, choosing efficient routes and keeping your car in shape so it doesn't use more fuel than necessary.

6) Cook your own food. Processed food isn't as healthy as your own. While some may argue that it is more expensive, I've found with a little planning and awareness of sales, I can cook for my family much more cheaply than buying frozen dinners or meals-in-a-bag.

Those are a few ideas off the top of my you have any good tips?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm Not Stinky! (or "More on Deodorant")

Way back when, I posted about antiperspirant vs. deodorant. Two years ago, I was clueless that they were two very distinct can read all about that here.

I was pretty happy using Tom's of Maine Honeysuckle Rose deodorant at that point (which was early June). Ran out of that and moved on to a Tom's of Maine deodorant (unscented). Well, warmer temperatures hit and let's just say I wasn't unscented! What to do? Many of these natural products are well worth the money once you find one that works for you and your particular body chemistry, but who wants to spend a lot of money testing out a product that may or may not work for you?

I was very lucky to find Kiss My Face roll-on deodorant in lavender scent for half price at Target. Now I really don't like lavender, but I figured that this was a good chance to try a new product at a lower cost. Guess what? It's awesome!

It is a liquid roll-on so it is wet for a little while when it goes on but that doesn't bother me. The scent is pretty light and pleasant (and actually doesn't really smell like lavender to me). Best of all, it does control the odor. Way better than Tom's (sorry Tom...but I still like your toothpaste!)

I think the Tom's will be fine to continue using when the weather is cool, and I'll use the Kiss My Face when it's hot out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Terracycle in Action

I finally received my mailing bags from Terracycle. You may remember from a previous post that Terracycle will take certain things, like Capri Sun or Honest Kids juice pouches and use then to make a new product. I saw a Terracycle Capri Sun pencil case at Target yesterday!

We've been saving our juice pouches to mail in. It may take us awhile, since we don't really buy any juice pouches except for Honest Kids and even then, only on sale :). But that's okay, especially since Terracycle donates cents to the charity of our choice.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Freezers are trendy!

A little over a year ago, we purchased a small upright freezer. Our main reason for buying it was to freeze some of our farmer's market produce to enjoy over the winter (I enjoyed a lot of good, local tasty things over the winter). We also like to make lots of casseroles ahead of time for quick dinners later on.

As you can guess, I am also one of those people who also buys in bulk when there is a sale. With a small freezer (energy star of course!) we can freeze groceries purchased on sale. Like Boca Burgers- I really like them but they are pretty expensive. When my grocery store had a sale (1.50 less than usual), I paired it with a coupon and voila: half price Boca Burgers...bought four and loaded them into the mini freezer.

It seems that this is becoming less of a "frugal" person's practice and more common place. The Associated Press reported a 7% rise in the sale of individual freezers. Even manufacturers are redesigning refrigerator/freezer combos with larger freezer sections. The article also said that about half the households in the US have a supplemental freezer...who knew?

Do you have a freezer?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Beans, beans, good for the heart...

Yesterday I posted about the most recent report on BPA concerns. I was surprised about BPA as a part of most canned goods.

We really don't use canned goods too often since we try to avoid the high sodium in them (Mr. Cheap and Green has high blood pressure) and we have been trying to avoid preprocessed foods anyway. So eliminated canned goods is kind of a non-issue with us...except for....


We eat a lot of beans. In my cheap efforts, a year or so ago, we bought dried beans and tried soaking them over night. No luck...they were hard as rocks. Tried soaking 2 days. Still no luck. This bean experiment went on for awhile before we gave up eating the hard, kinda chewy, gross beans.

I'd like to go back to the dried beans because of the lower sodium, they're cheaper and we'd avoid the whole canned goods/BPA thing. So, what are we doing wrong? Is our water too hard? Does anyone have any ideas how we can get our beans to an edible state?

More BPA Concerns

The Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program released a report today saying they have "some concern" that BPA is linked to health and developmental problems. While they don't recommend banning BPA, they do say that more research needs to be done.

Everyone has heard about BPA being present in baby bottles and reusable drinking bottles. but did you know BPA is in dental sealants? BPA is also found in canned food containers. I did a little research on my own. Did you know almost all canned goods have some amount of BPA in the can? Here's what I found at the Environmental Working Group.

This nifty little chart shows canned food items that have the highest levels of BPA in them. The red percentages show the highest toxicity levels.

EWG says "BPA is at unsafe levels in one of every 10 servings of canned foods (11%) and one of every 3 cans of infant formula (33%) ."

Yikes. We eat very little canned goods, but we do eat a fair amount of beans.

So how can you avoid BPA to be on the safe side? The Environmental Working Group has some good suggestions:

1) Avoid plastics labeled #7

2) Avoid canned liquid baby formula; instead choose powdered or liquid packaged in plastic. Canned pastas also rank high in BPA.

3) Choose a stainless steel water container that does not have any liner.

4) EWG recommends consumers avoid heating food in plastics in the microwave. Glass and ceramics are better choices.

While, some of the information we're hearing may seem a little scary, I see the report as giving us a chance to examine what we use that may not be healthy and find better alternatives.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm still here!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I've been back in school meeting all the new students and getting all the new school year things done, but I'll be posting again shortly :) Stay tuned.