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Politics aside, good stewardship is always a good policy. I think playing nice with the green ball we all live on has more to do with being smart than it does with any government agenda.

kids-on-rocks-at-lake-300x242The best thing about practicing green options is that, the majority of the time, they are the more cost-effective option. It seems to me that being eco-friendly will just plain save you money.

Here are a few low-cost or no-cost ideas. I practice many of them and will try to implement others. Let’s all be eco-smart (eco-nomically and eco-logically).

  • Plant a small garden in pots or in a raised bed.
  • Create a compost bin.
  • Cut down on lunch packaging. Avoid “snack size” foods by buying in bulk and filling your own snack containers.
  • Reduce the new toys you buy. Swap toys with other parents as kids outgrow them (cardboard boxes are fun too).
  • Switch to CFL lightbulbs (or at least a few).
  • Use reusable bags at the store – or make your own.
  • Buy a reusable water bottle instead of plastic disposable bottles.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room. Big one in my house trying to get the kids to do!
  • Save gas by driving the speed limit and check the air pressure in the tires. Combine errands in one trip.
  • Shop at your farmer’s market – support your local farmers.
  • Pay bills online if possible.
  • Stop unsolicited mail — opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.
  • Reuse scrap paper. Good for couponers too. Let your kids use it for crafts or drawing.
  • Before buying new, check Craigslist, Freecycle, thrift stores and yard sales.
  • Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores.
  • Support restaurants that use locally-grown food.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Line dry laundry.
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
  • Repurpose something – like egg cartons for crafts or glass jars for leftovers.
  • Collect rainwater – use it to water your houseplants and garden.
  • Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Make rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
  • Carpool. Set up carpools with friends to shop or to take kids to their activities.
  • And now my favorite… Get outside. Many kids spend very little time outdoors each week playing. Maybe go hiking and camping as a family, or simply play in the yard.