Archive for cheap

The cost of “Green”

Posted in Livin' Green, Random Rants, Saving Dough with tags , , , on July 13, 2009 by Kate

Two instances this week people have made comments to me about the cost of green products.  Instant one was when I was with my good friend as she was showing me her garden and we were talking about soap nuts.  I was of course complaining that no local business sold them.  At this point I feel I should let you all know that we live in Wisconsin, and not Madison, so we don’t have many places to buy this type of product (we’re a little slow on the whole green thing here.)  I then told her about a new local boutique that was geared towards “going green” (which does not carry soap nuts by the way, and the guy just looked at me funny when I asked) and how everything cost so much.  Natural deodorant for $8.99 , really? My baking soda works just beautifully thanks.  Anyway, she then made the comment that it was a “rich hippie” store.  Yeah, it kinda is.

The next comment was made during my son’s 5th birthday party by my mother.  Amongst his presents from me were two books made out of recycled paper and paper from sustainable forests and printed with vegetable inks, she managed to catch a glimpse at the price on the back of one of them and said, “slap a ‘green’ label on something and you can charge twice as much.”  Well yeah, sometimes.

Part of the point of this blog Scott and I started was to show that you don’t need to break the bank to go green.  There are plenty of things you can do to help the Earth (and yourself) without spending a ton of money on new green products. . .in fact, we save money.   If you can afford all of that stuff, buying organic/sustainable clothing, cleaning products, toothbrushes, deodorant, and so on, well good for you.  Unfortunately not all of us have that kind of money.  Fortunately there are many alternatives to buying these products that are also better for the Earth.  That is what we hope to bring to you, and ourselves, and that is all I have to say.  Thank you, thank you very much. . . I think I may be just a little too tired.

The Plastic Bottle Problem

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , , on June 20, 2009 by scottski74

I drink a lot of soda!  It’s probably something that I should cut from my lifestyle, but first things first.  If you buy sodas or water or even juice in those individual bottles and recycle, there is more you need to look at.  As Americans we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles per day.  Even if you recycle, it takes oil and other chemicals to make a new bottle; they can’t make new bottles from recycled plastic.  Also, the cost of buying refreshments that way is not economical.  Like most things the smaller the package, the more you pay.

So what can we do?  Well, for soda I have a couple suggestions to limit the amount of plastic we go through.  Aluminum cans would be my first choice.  They recycle well, plus you can get some money back if you go to the right places.  Otherwise go with a two liter bottle and you can cut the waste in half.  If you are industrious, you can build yourself a soda fountain.  With a tank of CO2, a compressor, and a soda gun that you could get from any bar supplies store, you can have your own mini-bar! I’m sure you will make your money back in a year or two, buying in bulk instead of individual bottle.

I hate to say it but the water drinkers are the worst in this department.  I’m not sure on the numbers (I’m sure there are more soda bottles than water), but there is really no need for bottled water.  Water from the tap has fluorides that are good for teeth and bones, and it’s free!  If you don’t think your water is safe to drink you can always get a filter.  I will try to get some info soon on how to make your own filter (I know charcoal has something to do with it).  Get an Eco-Friendly container and you are ready to go straight from the tap.

My goal is to stay away from those individual bottles.  I plan to buy two-liters for home from now on and when I’m at school I will stick to the fountain drinks.  I never really got into the bottle water gig, but I do want to try to drink more water (I think my teeth could use a break).  I have an old milk jug in my fridge for water and I will try to start filling up on of my portable containers in the morning and taking that with me.

So please take a look at what you can do to help reduce this problem!  Read Kate’s take on the situation here.

Exercise and Fun

Posted in Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by scottski74

Disc Golf is a sport that has been growing at a steady rate for a long time. I first started playing when I was 16 and there was only one course within 20 miles of my hometown. My friends and I could drive out to the park and get play 18 holes in about 45 minutes, with maybe half a dozen other groups out there at anytime. In the last twenty years, this sport has really caught on with the young and old. In our area, there are now 6 courses in within 10 miles. The speed of a game has slowed down to about an hour and 15 minutes because of the amount of people who play now, though it takes nothing from the game. Leagues have sprouted up for the more serious players and from what I hear the pros can make some pretty good money. But the real reason to play is that it is great exercise and you can play for free, since most courses are in public parks.
All you need to get started is a disc. The discs are a lot like a Frisbee, but with a thinner lip. You can find a disc at most used sporting stores, both new and used. Don’t let the huge selection of discs discourage you. I would recommend getting a basic “driver”; if you are going used; just make sure it doesn’t have too many dings in it. After that, you’re ready to hit the course!
The rules of the game are just like regular golf; you want to get your disc into the basket with the least amount of throws or “strokes”. Each hole has a set par (the average number of strokes) to help you with scoring. If it took you 5 throws to make it in the basket on a par 4, you shot 1 over (it is easier to count this way instead of the total strokes for the whole course). If you really don’t want to keep score, that’s fine! When I first started it didn’t matter to me what I shot, it was just good to get out and play.
I should also point out that some courses are more difficult than others. Open area courses, ones without a lot of trees, are great for beginners. But beyond that, just get out and give it a try! Everyone that I know that has played this game love it and still do it to this day!

Under Your Sink

Posted in Livin' Green with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by scottski74

My final speech in oral com was on going green. The thing that stood out to me the most was the chemicals that we keep under our kitchen sink. Most of these products are toxic and we keep them in our house, close to our food. In my research, I have found some simple “recipes” that are nontoxic and you might already have them in your kitchen. Give one a try, you might be surprised.

Drain De-Clogger: Drano and other de-cloggers can be among the most harmful products under your sink, and are also some of the most expensive. Go green by de-clogging your sink with old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and add vinegar; you’ll get the same drain clearing results without all the harmful toxins.

Glass cleaners: Most glass cleaners contain ammonia and surfactants that contribute to asthma. Do what your grandma did and mix vinegar and water. You can even add some lemon juice to give it a better smell.

Air fresheners: There are more eco- friendly of these products out there now, but some still contain toxic phthalates. I haven’t tried this myself (I like a good candle!), but I heard if you mix essential oils with charcoal (not the Matchlite kind!) and distilled water and put that in a spray bottle you will get the desired result. If anyone tries this please let me know how it works.