Being Green and Frugal

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that minimizes the use of the earth’s resources as well as personal expenditures. This includes being ecologically aware in personal consumption and making economical choices in spending habits.

Sustainable living is based on simple principles you can incorporate into your current lifestyle. Developing habits that will decrease your expenditures and make a smaller ecological footprint is easy when done gradually.


Using less affects you both financially and ecologically. Reusable grocery bags and refillable containers for commercial products reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. Reusable plastic storage containers for sandwiches and lunch snacks reduce the number of plastic bags you purchase and throw away.

Plan driving routes to combine errands, and reduce the number of trips you make and miles driven. This cuts down on fuel consumption and wear on your car, as well as extending time between oil changes and other scheduled maintenance.

Eliminate waste in food purchases. Buy only what you will use. If you find yourself regularly purging spoiled food from the refrigerator, you are buying more than you can reasonably consume.

Reduce the amount of disposable paper products you use. Paper towels and napkins can be replaced with cleaning cloths and cotton napkins, which can be washed with other loads of laundry and reused.


Before running to the store to make a purchase, check to see if you already own something that is an appropriate substitute. Reusing wrapping paper and bows is a common practice, but many household items can be reused or repurposed.

If you print a lot from your computer, consider reusing the backside of paper that you normally throw away. Kids can use it for drawing and coloring, or you can cut it into smaller pieces for scratch paper. Buy refillable ink cartridges for your printer and use inexpensive refill ink to extend the use of the cartridges.

Before buying new home décor items, think about the pieces you already own. Moving furniture to a new room or changing the location of paintings and wall hangings can give a fresh look without additional purchases.

If you don’t find what you need at home, consider shopping for used items. Many shops and websites sell used video games, DVD movies, books and other specialty items. Thrift shops and second hand stores carry clothing, toys, furniture and kitchen goods. Items from these stores typically cost less and may be better quality than similar items in discount stores.


You may already recycle newspapers and plastic with the garbage service in your community, but there are many other ways to recycle.

Donate or sell your unwanted items. Your donations may be charitable deductions, and selling unused items adds a little to your income.

For your yard and garden, there are ways to save money and contribute to the ecology. Build a compost system to provide nutrition for your plants and garden. It is a simple idea that costs little in time and effort. Add a rain barrel to a downspout to provide water for gardening and plantings. This reduces the amount of water you use and will decrease your sewer bill. Some communities also provide storm-water credits for residential water containment systems.

Re-evaluating what is essential and what is superfluous in your life is a step toward sustainable living. Eco-conscious living is a step in doing your part to preserve our natural environment. Both are worth doing for yourself and our planet.

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