Green Living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4805/all en-US 10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-501121750.jpg" alt="Woman learning what to plant in her garden this spring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the days getting longer and warmer, I find myself looking out the window thinking about what to plant in my garden. I usually decide what to plant by choosing things that I like to eat, or things that grow well in my location. This year I decided to look at garden planting strategy from an economic angle. Considering the value of the produce, the likely amount of production, the garden space required, and the general desirability of the produce, here are the 10 most valuable things to plant in your garden this year.</p> <h2>1. Garlic</h2> <p>Since garlic is one of the <a href="https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/wa_lo100.txt" target="_blank">most expensive produce items to buy in-store</a>, growing it yourself is a much better plan. Whether you're buying the full cloves, the striped cloves that are pre-washed, or the pre-minced garlic, you're paying way more for this plantable item than necessary. To save even more money on your garlic harvest, you can <a href="http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Article_Garlic_Plant_Once.html" target="_blank">grow it as a perennial</a>, and not have to replant it every year.</p> <h2>2. Cilantro</h2> <p>Cilantro can be a relatively inexpensive item to buy, but how often do you use up everything you buy? It is also a plant that <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">produces the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions. <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/cilantro-perennial-herb-67386.html" target="_blank">Cilantro is an annual</a>, but it seeds itself so well that you might think it is a perennial.</p> <h2>3. Lettuce/Mixed Greens/Spinach</h2> <p>Whatever green, leafy base your favorite salad requires, you would be wise to grow it yourself this spring. Spinach, mixed greens, and lettuce are all quite pricey in the produce aisle. You're usually paying for convenience with these items, so they're often found bagged or boxed, pre-washed, and free of stems. But if you plant them yourself, along with arugula and Swiss chard, you'll get the most value per square foot. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're getting and just how clean it is.</p> <h2>4. Chive</h2> <p>Like garlic, chives are a perennial plant, so you only have to plant once and can count on it growing back every year. It's also another produce item found on the list of <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">crops that produce the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions.</p> <h2>5. Cherry Tomato</h2> <p>There's something particularly satisfying about biting into a juicy tomato you grew in your very own garden. And since cherry tomatoes are small, you tend to go through them quickly. You'll no longer be paying top dollar for each box when you can pick what you need from your garden.</p> <h2>6. Peas</h2> <p>Instead of shucking store-bought peas, why not experience the pride of shucking peas that emerged from the ground outside your house? Freeze the surplus from your harvest and you'll have peas to use year-round.</p> <h2>7. Bell Pepper</h2> <p>Have you ever watched a bell pepper grow in a garden? It's kind of amazing. They start small, then they gain some length and width, and then the finale is when the robust color shines through the pale green. Depending on how long you let them ripen, you'll get red, orange, yellow, or green. But when you buy these in-store, you're paying a premium. So why not save some cash and grow them at home?</p> <h2>8. Jalapeño Pepper</h2> <p>A spicey member of the pepper family, jalapeño peppers are also cheaper to grow than they are to buy. Just make sure you give them direct access to sunlight as these guys love to sunbathe.</p> <h2>9. Artichoke</h2> <p>Artichokes are another perennial gem. They are cheaper to grow, but they do need moist soil in order to thrive. Also, make sure you keep them free of surrounding weeds that could get in their way.</p> <h2>10. Onion</h2> <p>Onions might not be a produce item that you feel like you're spending a lot on at the store. But just because you're used to a certain, fairly low price doesn't mean you need to pay it. Grow your own onions and you'll be saving money over time. Plus, if you plant scallions, they could be ready for eating in 20-30 days!</p> <h2>Growing your own most valuable plants</h2> <p>You can grow these plants even if you don't have space for a garden. Start these plants in containers on a patio or balcony.</p> <p>Another factor to consider in selecting the most valuable things to grow is how much space is required per plant. Plants that take up less room work better in small gardens, and smaller plants allow more variety in whatever size garden you have to work with.</p> <h3>Check for hardiness, too</h3> <p>The hardiness of plants and the climate that they need to grow must also be considered when deciding what to plant in your garden. It would not work out well to try to harvest a high value crop from a plant that will not grow in your climate. You can check your <a href="http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/" target="_blank">hardiness zone using a map available from the USDA</a> and then check seed packets or listings in seed catalogs to make sure that the things you want to plant will grow in your area before you buy them. If you have more room available, you will be able to grow some of the larger plants such as squash, pumpkins, and large tomatoes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">The Best Cooking Oils: For Your Heart and Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living gardening gardening tips growing plants healthy eating herbs plants vegetable garden veggies Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1913522 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-129944919.jpg" alt="Woman saving on energy and going solar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more electricity you use, the more you pay for it. And in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent upon tech devices, something's gotta give. Luckily, there's a way to save money on those bills and help the environment, all at the same time. You just need to capture those intense rays of sunshine and use them for free energy. There are many ways you can harvest energy from the sun. Some methods are free and have been in use for thousands of years. Others require an investment in technology, but in some cases you can even make money by capturing free energy from the sun and selling it!</p> <h2>1. Solar panels</h2> <p>A few years ago, it would have been unusual to spot a house with solar panels on the roof, but now solar panels seem to be popping up in neighborhoods all over. If you have a south-facing roof (or west-facing) and get lots of sunny days in your area, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=internal" target="_blank">installing solar panels</a> to generate electricity can be a smart investment. The cost of solar panels has dropped in recent years, and with major players such as Tesla starting to produce solar panels, further price drops and improvements in capability may lie ahead. If your solar panels generate more electricity than you use, in many states you can sell this extra energy to the utility company and make money through net metering programs.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Thousands of dollars up front, depending on square footage installed.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> About a thousand dollars per year, depending on your location.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> No, solar panels typically require professional installation.</p> <h2>2. Passive solar heating</h2> <p>This method of harvesting energy from the sun is not new and does not require any special technology. My house has a solarium with south-facing windows to allow sunlight to flood in during winter months. The solarium walls capture the warmth and radiate it back into the house, providing free heating. Any south-facing windows you have in your house will work to provide heating benefits in winter. Open curtains on your south-facing windows on winter days to let light and heat in. Close curtains at night during winter and when the sun is shining in during the summer.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free if you have south-facing windows.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> No, look for south-facing windows when choosing or building a house.</p> <h2>3. Solar water heater</h2> <p>Heating water requires a lot of energy, so why not capture some of that free energy from the sun instead of running up your electric or gas bill? A solar water heater circulates water through an insulated collector using a water tank that is painted black to maximize heat collection. This hot water can be used directly or can be fed into a traditional water heater to save energy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> A few hundred dollars, depending on whether or not you can install yourself.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> A solar water heater can be built from plans and scavenged materials, but you may need a plumber to install.</p> <h2>4. Clothesline</h2> <p>With a clothesline in your yard, you can use free energy from the sun to dry clothes and avoid running your clothes' dryer on hot summer days. You can save the energy it takes to run your dryer, plus you'll save on cooling costs as well. Without having to use a fan or air conditioner just to cool down a part of your apartment or home that's hot from a running dryer, those summer energy bills will go way down. And if you don't have the available yard space outside to hang a clothesline, you can also install one indoors near a window.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> About a hundred dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, installing a clothesline is a simple do-it-yourself project.</p> <h2>5. Solar food dehydrator</h2> <p>Instead of buying and powering yet another kitchen appliance, you can use free energy from the sun to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and even meat for storage. Solar food dehydrators use a heat collection box to collect solar energy and a dehydrator box where food is placed to be dried.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>A few dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can easily be built from plans.</p> <h2>6. Solar oven</h2> <p>You can build your own solar oven and enjoy some off-the-grid cooking. Can a solar oven really get hot enough to cook food, though? A solar oven typically reaches temperatures of 250-350 F. You can safely prepare food, including meat, by cooking at a lower temperature for a longer time. A big advantage of a solar oven is that you can cook in places without any utility hookups and without burning any fuel.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>A few dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can easily be built from plans.</p> <h2>7. Grow plants</h2> <p>What does growing plants have to do with solar energy? Plants capture energy from the sun directly and use this energy to produce edible leaves, fruits, and vegetables. Harvesting food from plants is an effective and inexpensive way to take advantage of free solar energy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Less than $100.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year, depends of size of garden.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> You bet!</p> <h2>8. Wind turbine</h2> <p>Heating of the earth's atmosphere from the sun provides the energy that causes wind to blow. If you have a site that gets a lot of wind, you can capture some of this indirect solar energy by using a wind turbine to generate electricity. As with solar panels, in many places you can take advantage of net metering and get paid for excess electricity that you generate and put on the power grid for others to use.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Thousands of dollars up front, depending on size.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Smaller units could be assembled and installed by a homeowner; larger units require professional installation.</p> <h2>9. Solar furnace</h2> <p>With a solar furnace, you can warm up air for free using energy from the sun and direct the warm air to a space you want to heat. A solar furnace can be operated independently from your main furnace to provide supplemental heating during daytime hours.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Hundreds of dollars up front.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can be built from plans.</p> <h2>10. Solar charger</h2> <p>Solar chargers, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-power-banks?ref=internal" target="_blank">solar power banks</a> directly use energy from the sun to power electronic devices. Many are small and easy to travel with, so you won't need to stress if you're somewhere outdoors and you can't plug in your phone charger. Use those intense rays to give your phone or other device the juice it needs before the sun goes down. You can also make this a regular charging option if you leave your charger out during the day, and use it at night to charge your devices while you sleep.</p> <p><strong>Cost: </strong>Less than $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>It varies, depending on how much you currently use your devices at home.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, but the DIY won&rsquo;t save much compared to buying one.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home electricity energy costs environmental costs gardening go green saving money solar heating solar panels Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:31:12 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1911513 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of Keeping Warm http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-175238511.jpg" alt="Spend less to heat your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling chilly? You're not alone. As temperatures plummet across the United States and beyond, people are reaching for their scarves and sweaters, inching up their thermostats, and finding all sorts of other ways to keep warm. How much does it all cost? Here are a few numbers to mull over while you microwave your hot cocoa.</p> <h2>Cost of Keeping Warm</h2> <p>Let's start our look at the costs associated with keeping warm close to home &mdash; in fact this starts right at home.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Heating</h3> <p>Likely one of the biggest ticket items of all is heating your home. The state of Massachusetts, for example, released projections for <a href="http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/misc/household-heating-costs.html" target="_blank">annual home heating costs</a> last year by fuel type. These numbers are staggering, but &mdash; surprisingly &mdash; are down an average of 22% from the previous year.</p> <ul> <li>$879 for natural gas;</li> <li>$2,248 for oil;</li> <li>$2,569 for propane;</li> <li>$697 for electric heating.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Note</strong>: How much you'll spend on heat depends on a number of factors, including how energy efficient your home is, as well as the condition of your furnace or other heating appliances.</p> <p>My husband and I learned the hard way that a new gas furnace and installation can set you back $4,000 or more. And it's not exactly one of those things you can put off until next season or even next week, especially if it dies when the temperatures are below zero and you have a newborn in the house.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Energy Efficiency</h3> <p>Many people choose to undertake big home projects to make their houses more energy efficient. Adding insulation to attics and walls is a popular choice to help keep heat inside. The average cost of installing blown-in insulation ranges from $875 to $1,897, according to HomeAdvisor.</p> <p>Other insulation price averages include:</p> <ul> <li>$1,000 for spray foam insulation;</li> <li>$300 to $500 for fiberglass batt;</li> <li>$675 to $1,075 for reflective or radiant barrier.</li> </ul> <p>Thankfully, this cost is most often a one-time thing. And increasing your home's insulation can help save up to $500 (spray foam) a year in heating/cooling costs. Plus, some states even offer weatherization rebates and tax credits. To see if you apply, visit <a href="http://energy.gov/savings" target="_blank">Energy.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Environmental Costs</h3> <p>Perhaps more important than money, heating homes taxes the Earth's resources. It burns fossil fuels that are in relatively short supply. Not only that, but there's also energy and expense involved in extracting the fuels, transporting them, and &mdash; in the end &mdash; waste that is left behind when the process is done.</p> <p>Currently, fossil fuels are used in the United States to power up to <a href="http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/fossil-fuels/" target="_blank">81% of our energy needs</a>. And when you're talking about global warming &mdash; a good chunk of that has to do with home heating as well. In 2014, the fossil fuels burned for heating made up <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions" target="_blank">12% of overall greenhouse gas emissions</a>.</p> <h2>Sustainable and Cost-Effective Ways to Cozy Up</h2> <p>There's good news here: You can tweak your routine slightly and still keep warm, all while not breaking the bank or harming the environment.</p> <h3>Layer Up</h3> <p>Before you crank up the heat, look at what you're wearing. Slip on a base layer of a moisture-wicking fabric, like polyester, and don't skimp on the hats and scarves. Yes, even indoors! The folks at The Old Farmer's Almanac remind us to <a href="http://www.almanac.com/blog/editors-musings/blog-keeping-warm-winter" target="_blank">cover our feet as well</a>. Consider buying an inexpensive pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hFI0ML" target="_blank">rubber-soled slippers</a> or warming feet with a bulky pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hO0TZQ" target="_blank">wool socks</a>.</p> <h3>Program Your Thermostat</h3> <p>You can save up to <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats" target="_blank">10% off your energy bill</a> by setting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees cooler in the eight hours when you're at work. Better yet, take your own forgetfulness out of the equation and install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2illZ23" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> that will automatically do the work for you.</p> <h3>Try the Fan Trick</h3> <p>Switch the direction of your ceiling fan so it will circulate warm air during the winter (usually clockwise). How it works: The air is sucked up by the fan in the center of the room and then pushed down around the edges. The result is a more even temperature throughout the room (and your whole house, if you're performing this trick in multiple rooms).</p> <h3>Fill in Cracks</h3> <p>You may want to take a walk around your home to do a mini energy audit. Basically, you're looking for drafts around windows, doors, and any other openings or cracks in your home. You can inexpensively add weather stripping to doors and windows.</p> <p>You may even want to use some plastic or bubble wrap for particularly drafty windows. To do this yourself, frame the window with double-sided tape, peel off backing, and apply bubble wrap. You may want to add another layer of tape and cover the bubble wrap with <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLzMRy" target="_blank">plastic film insulation</a>.</p> <h3>Use the Sun</h3> <p>Try opening your curtains and letting the sunlight indoors during the day. Alternatively, close the curtains at night to keep the warm air inside. You could also consider investing in some <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLD6ff" target="_blank">thermal curtains</a>. Some claim they can help you save up to 25% on your heating and cooling bills.</p> <h3>Rearrange Your Spaces</h3> <p>Give your rooms a new look and feel by moving furniture around so it won't block vents, radiators, and other heating elements. You don't want your couch hogging all the heat and making your system less efficient. If your floors are bare, add a rug that helps insulate your space and keeps your toes warmer.</p> <p>Oh, and if you have rooms you don't often use, close them up. This way, you're heating a smaller area. Just make sure you close the vents in these spaces.</p> <h3>Use Alternatives</h3> <p>There are other ways to heat your home that don't involve using a furnace or boiler. Wood heat is sustainable &mdash; if carbon intensive &mdash; because it utilizes a renewable resource. Modern woodstoves are much more efficient and produce less pollution than older models. Still, many environmentalists shy from wood because it does cause the most pollution of alternative heating sources. Pellet stoves, on the other hand, run on a similar idea, but they are friendlier to the planet.</p> <p>One of the cleanest alternatives? Harnessing the power of the sun. You may want to look into a solar hot air system to supplement your primary heating source. It involves collectors placed on southern-facing walls and fans to push the air indoors. If you're building a new home, look into passive solar design, which can supply <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/energy-efficiency/home-heating-options-zm0z12djzsor?pageid=6#PageContent6" target="_blank">50% to 80% of your home's heat</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry">Opt-out of the wasteful $26 billion phone directory industry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cost-effective heating costs efficiency energy environment heating costs natural gas oil tricks Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1859597 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Easy Steps for a Greener Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycle_green_christmas_182187349.jpg" alt="Taking easy steps for a greener holiday season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to have a green holiday season, opportunities to save money in 2017, and simple but smart ways to improve your home security.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://blog.shoplet.com/environment/how-to-green-your-holiday-in-9-easy-steps/">How to Green Your Holiday in 9 Easy Steps</a> &mdash; Instead of wrapping gifts for your nuclear family, put all gifts for each person in a large holiday sack. It's like a stocking, but bigger! [Shoplet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/7-opportunities-to-save-money-in-2017/">7 Opportunities to Save Money in 2017</a> &mdash; Why spend more when you don&rsquo;t need to? Plan the year's purchases so that you only shop during big sales. [Northern Cheapskate]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/506374/7-smart-and-simple-ways-improve-your-home-security">7 Smart and Simple Ways to Improve Your Home Security</a> &mdash; Use a bracket, sliding window lock, or corner braces to secure window air conditioning units in place. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://untemplater.com/self-improvement/dont-forget-these-year-end-must-dos/">Don&rsquo;t Forget These Year-end Must Dos</a> &mdash; If you get paid time off, make sure you use it by the end of the year. You've earned it! [Untemplater]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/10-money-saving-skills-to-teach-your-kids-in-2017/71784">10 Money Saving Skills to Teach Your Kids in 2017</a> &mdash; Teach your kids how to track their spending on a notebook or a computer. By the time they're all grown up, this skill will be second nature to them. [SheBudgets[</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-More-Positive-42854814">27 Ways to Be More Positive in 2017</a> &mdash; Set yourself up for more positivity in 2017. Swear off media sites that make you feel dread or negativity, listen to motivational podcasts, and plan a trip that will expand your cultural horizons. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theorderexpert.com/ways-keep-resolution/">10 Ways to Keep Your New Year&rsquo;s Resolution</a> &mdash; Check in with yourself each day to review your goal and give yourself a pep talk. [The Order Expert]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/4-ways-to-boost-productivity-and-enter-flow-states-consistently/">4 Ways to Boost Productivity and Enter Flow States Consistently</a> &mdash; When you're in a flow state, you are focused, energized, and immersed in the task at hand. It can be easier to get to a flow state when you play to your natural strengths when you work. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.asianefficiency.com/productivity/10-myths-about-personal-productivity-and-procrastination/">10 Myths about Personal Productivity and Procrastination</a> &mdash; Productivity isn't about getting things exactly the way you want them. Do things right, but accept that they don't need to be perfect. [Asian Efficiency]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-reduce-your-childs-stress-when-getting-a-flu-shot">How to Reduce Your Child's Stress When Getting a Flu Shot</a> &mdash; Help your kids get through the flu shot appointment with less stress and fewer tears by following these tips. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens">How to Raise Backyard Chickens</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips Holidays Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:30:34 +0000 Amy Lu 1855465 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67797601_XLARGE2.jpg" alt="these products are killing the family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling, flipping off the lights when we leave a room, and weatherproofing our homes. And while those are all important efforts, we sometimes forget that the biggest environmental impact we can make happens at the cash register.</p> <p>As we strive to leave a better planet for our kids and grandkids, it's time to take a new look at how our everyday consumer habits affect the health of our natural environment. Here are eight things we keep buying that are killing the planet &mdash; along with some greener (and less expensive) alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>According to statistics from Ban the Bottle, an environmental organization that advocates for an organized phase-out of the single-use plastic water bottle, Americans toss out 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Besides the bottles themselves, the plastic netting or wrapping that holds cases of bottles together takes a huge toll on the environment.</p> <p>Instead of single-use water bottles, invest in an easy-to-use filtration pitcher and a refillable metal or glass water bottle that you can use for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Water Bottle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coffee On-the-Go</h2> <p>That quick cup of coffee we buy on the way to work is composed of three parts: A paper (or worse &mdash; polystyrene) body, a cardboard sleeve, and a plastic lid. One cup every workday means that each of us is contributing 240 cups (or 720 individual pieces of waste) to the landfill every year.</p> <p>The solution? Learn to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">brew a better cup of coffee</a> at home or buy a cheap reusable travel mug and tote it to the coffee shop with you every morning. Besides helping the planet, many coffee vendors offer modest discounts if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).</p> <h2>3. Disposable Flatware</h2> <p>From carry-out restaurant orders, to family barbeques, disposable flatware is everywhere. And every single plastic knife, fork, spoon, and spork we use takes about 1,000 years to disintegrate. That's a big environmental impact for a couple bites of potato salad.</p> <p>Instead of plastic, collect mismatched pieces of stainless steel flatware at garage sales or thrift stores. If you lose a piece, it won't be the end of the world. And most importantly, keep them handy in your purse, computer bag, or a special container in the car.</p> <h2>4. Paper Plates</h2> <p>It's hard to argue that disposable plates have their place &mdash; say a company cookout or similar event where plumbing isn't readily accessible. But I've noticed a curious shift with some of my acquaintances and coworkers &mdash; they're using disposable plates on a daily basis at home simply to make cleanup easier.</p> <p>The old debate about the environmental effects of using paper plates versus the soap, water, and electricity used to clean traditional ceramic dinnerware has been settled. In environmental terms, paper loses. The resources used to manufacture, wrap, ship, and recycle a neverending stream of single-use paper plates make them an ecological burden. Whenever possible, use what's reusable.</p> <h2>5. Disposable Cleaning Cloths</h2> <p>I know they're dirt-grabbing wonders, but those single-use cloths for dusting and floor cleaning are usually made from synthetic material that takes generations to biodegrade. Skip the expense and invest in a microfiber cloth that can be washed and reused.</p> <h2>6. Single-Use Razors</h2> <p>Because of their design (inexpensive metal mixed with plastic) recycling disposable razors is a challenge. As a result, a whopping two billion end up in U.S. landfills each year. If you shave every day, consider buying an electric shaver or a razor that only requires refillable cartridges. Feeling brave? Go old-school and invest in a straight razor.</p> <h2>7. Plastic Bags</h2> <p>According to facts compiled by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Americans go through an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, and only 6% are recycled after use. The rest take 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in landfills. While consumers don't technically buy these bags, we can help make them obsolete by choosing (and diligently using!) cotton, canvas, or mesh shopping totes.</p> <p>Have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags in your closet or pantry? Explore some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">clever ways to reuse them</a>.</p> <h2>8. Meat</h2> <p>According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 60% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to animal agriculture. All politics aside, reducing the need to grow crops solely for animal feed means we can devote more land to food crops destined for direct human consumption (maximizing fuel and water resources and minimizing the threat of continued deforestation). Another bonus? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless">Going (mostly) meatless saves money</a>. Start by experimenting with alternative sources of healthy protein such as beans, nuts, and quinoa. Integrate meatless main dishes into your meals a few times each week.</p> <p><em>What products have you phased out of your life in an effort to help the environment? Share your ideas with us!</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring">9 No-Fuss Plants That Will Brighten Your Home Until Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping convenience eat green environment environmental issues green living recycle waste Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:44:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1789690 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_energy_audit_47402620.jpg" alt="Learning how a home energy audit will save you money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like your home's utility bills are too high? You're not alone. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the average monthly electrical bill for U.S. homes stood at just over $114 a month in 2014. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests that U.S. homes relying on natural gas would spend an average of $578 during the winter for heat.</p> <p>If your monthly electric and gas bills are too high, it might be time to <a href="http://www.resnet.us/directory/search">call in an energy auditor</a> to perform a home energy audit. During an audit, an inspector will tour your home and run tests to determine where your home is losing energy, and money &mdash; potentially helping you shave 15% or more off your utility bills.</p> <p>Here are four ways in which a home energy audit can save you money.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Install More Efficient Windows</h2> <p>An energy auditor will take a close look at your home's windows. It's more costly to cool and heat your home when leaky windows are letting that hot and cold air escape. Your furnace and air conditioning units have to work harder, consuming more energy, and therefore money.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, homeowners can save $126 to $465 a year in energy costs when replacing drafty single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified replacements. That figure is less impressive when homeowners replace inefficient double-pane windows, but you can still save from $27 to $111 a year with more efficient versions, according to ENERGY STAR.</p> <h2>Identify Other Leaks in Your Home's Envelope</h2> <p>Hot and cool air can escape through plenty of cracks in your home's seal. That's why energy auditors will test your home with a blower door. According to RESNET, this is a powerful fan that an auditor will mount in the frame of an exterior door. The fan will then pull air out of your home, lowering the air pressure inside your residence.</p> <p>The higher outside air pressure will then flow into your home through all of its unsealed cracks and openings. Your auditor will then use diagnostic tools to determine how much air is leaking from your home and from where it is escaping. Sealing these leaky areas will reduce your monthly energy bills.</p> <h2>Help You Determine if You Need More Insulation</h2> <p>A home energy audit will also help you decide if your home's walls lack proper insulation.</p> <p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. homeowners can save an average of 15% on their home's heating and cooling costs, or an average of 11% on their home's total energy costs, by air-sealing their homes and adding insulation to their attics and walls.</p> <p>During an inspection, an energy auditor will use thermal cameras to determine hot and cold spots in a home's walls and flooring. This will help the auditor determine where your home is lacking proper insulation. Installing new energy-efficient insulation can then have a significant impact on your home's monthly utility bills.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Replace That Washing Machine From 1995</h2> <p>You might be thrilled that your home's washing machine is 20 years old and still chugging along, or that you haven't had to replace your refrigerator in 15 years. But those reliable, old appliances might be costing you too much money each month.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that home appliances account for about 13% of your home's total energy costs. Replacing older, inefficient models can save you money each month.</p> <p>The Department of Energy says that ENERGY STAR-qualified washing machines and refrigerators are about 20% more energy efficient than are standard models. ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water each cycle or less, according to the Department of Energy, while dishwashers purchased before 1994 use an average of more than 10 gallons for each cycle.</p> <p>Newer, more energy-efficient models of these appliances will cost more. But those savings will add up each month. Do some quick math to determine how long it will take before your average energy savings outweigh the extra cost of buying an energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer and dryer.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had an energy audit done on your home? What did it tell you about your home's energy use?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Real Estate and Housing appliances energy audit energy efficiency energy star inspection insulation leaks wasting money Windows Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Dan Rafter 1780053 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/empty_glass_bottles_000056169688.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways t reuse empty glass bottles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was in a secondhand store recently and saw a beautiful corked bottle on the shelf for sale. It wasn't until I had it in my hand, reading the $3 price tag, that I recognized it as identical to the empty tequila bottle I'd tossed into the recycling earlier.</p> <p>Maybe you're embarrassed (like me) by the loud jingling sound when you push your bins to the curb, or you'd rather spend your money on a fine vintage than on home decor (like me); either way, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash" target="_blank">turning empty bottles into art</a>, light fixtures, and useful household objects is a smart move. Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Without a Glass Cutter</h2> <p>If you don't own a glass cutter or any other fancy tools, you can still get artsy with intact empties. For all these ideas, start by soaking the bottle in warm soapy water to get the label off. If there is any residue left after the soak, a solvent such as lighter fluid can get it off.</p> <h3>1. Bird Feeder</h3> <p>All you need to make an inverted <a href="https://thechickenstreet.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/wine-bottle-bird-feeder/">wine bottle into a bird feeder</a> is one plank of wood and some basic woodworking tools.</p> <h3>2. Candy Jar</h3> <p>Fill a clean, dry bottle with candy as an alternative to a treat bowl on your desk &mdash; or use mini bottles for candy-filled adult party favors. To dress it up, add a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Chalkboard-Painted-Wine-Bottle/step3/Actually-Painting-the-Bottle/">stripe of chalkboard paint</a>, where you can write the name of the gift recipient or party guest, or the type of candy.</p> <h3>3. Yard Torch</h3> <p>Anyone can stick a candle in an empty wine bottle, but with a few dollars' worth of supplies from the hardware store, you can <a href="http://helloglow.co/diy-wine-bottle-citronella-candles/">turn your empties into torches</a> that could stylishly illuminate your whole backyard. Just fill the bottle with marbles and fuel, stick a tiki wick through a metal coupler, and light it up.</p> <h3>4. Table Card Holder</h3> <p>At a rustic-style wedding, a wine bottle with a cork in the top could handily <a href="http://www.weddingchicks.com/2013/09/24/natural-chic-wedding/">hold a table number</a>. Slice the cork halfway down from the top, and place the card in the resulting slot.</p> <h3>5. Vase</h3> <p>While an unadorned empty bottle can hold flowers as is, you can also dress it up by painting the surface, swirling paint inside for a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/craft-of-the-day-paint-swirl-vase_n_1466328.html">Venetian glass effect</a>, or spraying it with adhesive and wrapping with a pretty ribbon.</p> <h3>6. Candelabra</h3> <p>Line up half a dozen identical empties (hello, six-pack discount) and put candles in the tops to make a casual candelabra. For more polish, spray the bottles with metallic paint. Or spring for one of these <a href="http://www.beveragefactory.com/wine/wine-gifts/fleur_wine_bottle_candelabra_42-232.html?CAWELAID=1372128416&amp;CAGPSPN=pla&amp;CAAGID=28020747258&amp;CATCI=pla-93389998458&amp;catargetid=320012430000341573&amp;cadevice=c&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw6sC5BRCogcaY_dKZ2nESJABsZihxgCrTjzNzhxPcnCAvSK_Iox2dRDGStb08-ayllmuLmBoCqunw_wcB">candelabra bottle toppers</a> to hold all your candles in a single bottle. You could <a href="http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2015/03/diy-wine-bottle-wall-sconce.html">attach your bottle candelabras to a sconce</a> to make them into permanent wall decor.</p> <h3>7. Rolling Pin</h3> <p>Keep a clean empty in the kitchen for this purpose.</p> <h3>8. Boot Holder</h3> <p>Have tall leather or vinyl boots that flop over on the closet floor and get unsightly creases? Put some pebbles in the bottom of empty bottles, and stand them up inside the boots to make them stand at attention.</p> <h3>9. Vessel for a Gift</h3> <p>A pretty, very clean bottle can be repurposed to hold so many homemade goodies: infused oils, homemade infused vodka, bubble bath &mdash; the options are endless. If the gift will take a long time to use, securely attach a fancy drawer pull to the cork to make the bottle easy to unstop.</p> <h3>10. Garden Edger</h3> <p>Bury your bottles upside down to demarcate the borders of your garden. This idea is probably best used in a yard not frequented by children who could break a bottle and get hurt.</p> <h3>11. Slow-Drip Irrigator</h3> <p>Drill a small hole through the cork, fill the bottle with water, replace cork, and place upside down in the planter.</p> <h3>12. Leveling Tool</h3> <p>When hanging framed pictures on the wall, use a bottle to make sure it's exactly straight. Fill the bottle with water even with the top of the label and hold it so that it's bottom is perfectly aligned with the frame's top. Adjust until the water in the bottle is level.</p> <h3>13. Bottle Tree</h3> <p>Popular in the <a href="http://ritamonette.blogspot.com/2010/12/legend-of-bottle-tree.html">American South</a> and linked to folk beliefs about trapping bad spirits in the glass, trees festooned with colored bottles can be a beautiful landscaping feature, especially in winter. There are many <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/2309jrw/bottle-trees/">spectacular ways to arrange bottles</a> on real trees or frames specially built for the purpose. Blue is the most popular color for these, so bring on the Bombay Sapphire gin, Skyy vodka, and Blue Nun wine.</p> <h2>With a Glass Cutter</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2210p40">Glass cutting tools</a> run from about $5 to $30 (not as fancy as I thought!). They can come in the form of a simple hand tool, or in the form of a drill bit. What they do is score the glass so that you can break it off along the score line. To break it, you need to alternately heat and cool the glass a few times. Or, you can knock the portion of the bottle below the score line off using a hammer. Then you need to sand the sharp edge. Using this technique, you can remove the bottom or top from a bottle, opening up more ways to reuse it.</p> <h3>14. Hanging Planter</h3> <p>Remove the bottom, then <a href="http://diyready.com/wine-bottle-crafts-how-to-make-wine-bottle-planters/">fill with plants</a> wrapped in moss for a cool upside-down, sun-catching planter.</p> <h3>15. Drinking Glasses</h3> <p>You'll see a lot of online tutorials on turning empty wine bottles into drinking glasses. While this is possible, keep in mind that the freshly cut edge of a bottle will be extremely sharp, and <a href="http://thespacebetweenblog.net/cut-bottle-string-trick-really-work/">may not cut cleanly</a>, depending on your method and skill. You'll need to do a lot of <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Drinking-Glasses-from-Wine-Bottles/">grinding and sanding</a> to get the edge smooth enough to raise to your lips.</p> <h3>16. Bottle Chandelier</h3> <p>There are many, many possible designs for chandeliers made of wine bottles online. What most designs have in common is that you cut your bottle open, <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/make-and-decorate/decorating/how-to-make-a-chandelier-from-old-wine-bottles">string a light inside it</a>, and attach it to a wood or metal holder to suspend from the ceiling. What with the glass cutting, the wood or metal working, and some minor electrical work, it's a bit of a project. But the results can be stunning, and would be great decor for a rec room, man cave, or deck.</p> <h2>With a Drill</h2> <p>Using a tile and glass bit, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/drills/how-to-drill-a-hole-in-glass/view-all#step2">drill a hole in a glass bottle</a> with a little practice and care.</p> <h3>17. Lantern</h3> <p>Drill a hole into the back of a wine bottle and thread through a string of small LED lights to make a beautiful lantern. This technique could also be used when making a chandelier.</p> <h3>18. Party Lights</h3> <p>Drill a hole in the bottom or side of a bottle, then <a href="http://witandwhistle.com/2009/11/03/diy-wine-bottle-light/">shove in a string of holiday lights</a>. You could also push the lights in the top of the bottle, but it wouldn't look as elegant.</p> <p><em>Any clever re-uses for glass bottles we've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">5 Pretty Projects for Pine Cones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-beautiful-things-you-can-make-with-paint-sample-cards">25 Beautiful Things You Can Make With Paint Sample Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living crafts decorating eco friendly empty bottles glass bottles lighting projects recycling Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1721636 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000013042218.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gardening is a satisfying lifelong hobby that keeps me fit, saves me money on food, and &mdash; without sounding too cheesy, I hope &mdash; lets me live a more beautiful life.</p> <p>Many people turn to home gardening hoping to gain these benefits, only to find at the end of the summer that they've spent hundreds of dollars on dead trees and bug-ravaged vegetables.</p> <p>Many garden failures are caused by human error, rather than a plague of locusts. The following 13 basic skills are worth spending time to master, as they will not only help you get the most enjoyment out of your garden, but also save you money, too.</p> <h2>1. Soil Analysis</h2> <p>Before you plant, it's important to know if your garden soil can actually support life.</p> <p>The first thing you will want to know about your soil is its pH. Is your soil alkaline, acidic, or neutral? Soil that is too alkaline or acidic keeps plants from absorbing key nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so your plants suffer malnutrition. Although you can send your soil to a professional lab for testing, there are several inexpensive ways to <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Test-Soil-pH">test soil pH at home</a>.</p> <p>The second thing you need to know about your soil before you plant is its structure. Soil that is too sandy won't hold nutrients, and soil that has too much clay can suffocate a plant's roots by limiting its access to water and air.</p> <p>Although some people are blessed with perfect soil, most of us have dirt with less than ideal pH and texture. Luckily, even <a href="http://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-soil-problems-and-amendment-solutions-5/">poor soils can be improved</a> by adding amendments.</p> <h2>2. Composting</h2> <p>One of the best soil amendments to add to your garden is compost. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">Compost is an excellent soil conditioner</a> that improves the texture and nutrition levels of all types of dirt. Also, since compost is made from household garbage, it saves you money in two ways: It's a free and natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, and it cuts down on your garbage bill and your water bill.</p> <p>Compost is really just controlled rotting. Contrary to popular belief, a well-tended compost pile isn't stinky, and composting is not a hard skill to learn, as microbes and worms do most of the work! Compost is made from two types of waste: green and brown. Green waste is made up of nitrogen-rich waste like grass clippings, coffee grounds, and food waste. Brown waste is made up of carbon-rich waste like dead leaves, pine needles, sawdust, or shredded paper. If the compost gets too stinky, add more brown waste. If the compost isn't breaking down fast enough, add more green waste. Well-balanced compost has a nice loamy smell and texture.</p> <p>Composting dramatically cuts down on what my household sends to the landfill, which is good for the planet. In addition to composting all of my plant-based food waste and yard trimmings, I also compost greasy pizza boxes and used cardboard food containers that cannot be recycled.</p> <p>Compost also helps my heavy clay soil retain water, which is vital, since Southern California is currently suffering from an endless drought.</p> <h2>3. Tracking Sunlight</h2> <p>Most vegetables need plenty of sun to thrive, so if your yard is shady year-round, you will be disappointed in your harvest. How much sunlight your growing area gets determines what you can grow. Although there are sun tracking apps, it's easy to <a href="http://getbusygardening.com/how-to-determine-sun-exposure/">track sun exposure</a> with just a pen and paper.</p> <h2>4. Seed Starting</h2> <p>Planting your vegetable and flower garden from seed has two huge advantages. First, there are far more varieties available in seed form than as seedlings. Second, unless you are like me and read seed catalogs with the intensity that most people reserve for pornography, <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">gardening from seed</a> is the least expensive way to grow plants.</p> <p>FYI, you can buy seeds and plants that produce food with Food Stamps! Consider stretching your SNAP benefits by keeping a small garden. If you buy a package of tomato seeds for $3.00 and grow 10 tomatoes from just one plant, that is a huge return on your investment.</p> <h2>5. Seed Saving</h2> <p>Why buy seeds when you can just use seeds that you grew yourself last season? Saving seeds isn't just a great way to shrink your garden budget. It's also a great way to grow your community. My friend Steve has an impressive victory garden that he grew from seeds that he &quot;checked out&quot; from the <a href="http://www.kclibrary.org/seedlibrary">Kansas City Public Library</a> with his library card. If you love the idea of a seed library as much as I do but can't find one in your area, the Richmond, California Public Library has a tutorial on <a href="http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/create-a-library.html">how to start your own</a>!</p> <h2>6. Container Gardening</h2> <p>Not everyone has fixable soil or even open ground to use as a growing space. Luckily, container gardening allows even apartment-dwellers to create their own green space. Although I am incredibly vain about my vast collection of terra cotta pots, you can grow ridiculous amounts of food in containers such as plastic storage tubs and recycled food buckets. That said, Pinterest is full of brilliant ideas for <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/romanapartment/upcycled-garden-planters/">upcycled planters</a>, made from items you probably already own, for all kinds of vegetation.</p> <h2>7. Plant Propagation From Stem Cuttings</h2> <p>I learned how to <a href="http://needlesandleaves.net/blog/2013/5/31/propagating-leggy-succulents">grow succulents from cuttings</a> as a kid and never looked back. Every year when I trim back my succulents, I save the cuttings to use as barter currency with the neighbors, to sell at my garage sale, or to pot up and give as gifts. Plants are great gifts, for just about every occasion. This one little skill makes/saves me at least $100 every year between what I save on buying gifts and what I sell for cold hard cash. More importantly, I managed to plant 90% of my front yard with plant cuttings I collected from my friends and neighbors. I saved hundreds of dollars on my landscaping budget because I barely had to buy any greenery.</p> <p>But why limit yourself to just succulents? There are so many great indoor and outdoor plants that can be grown from cuttings.</p> <h2>8. Transplanting</h2> <p>My husband loves to collect&hellip; everything. So he's always out in the yard, sticking something new into the ground. Unfortunately, up until recently, about 50% of what he planted immediately croaked. I only discovered the cause of his brown thumb this year. He had no idea that he needed to immediately water plants after transplanting to prevent shock. Now that he's learned the basic rules of transplanting, he hasn't lost a plant.</p> <h2>9. Watering</h2> <p>Everyone knows you can kill a plant by underwatering, but did you know the most common cause of death in indoor plants is overwatering? Fortunately, learning the proper way to water your plants, both inside and out, is not rocket science. Also, learning <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/22/six-ways-to-save-water-in-your-garden">good watering techniques</a> will cut down on your water bill, even if you don't live in a drought-stricken area.</p> <h2>10. Mulching</h2> <p>I love to mulch, because it provides immediate gratification. The yard looks instantly tidier after mulching. Also, mulch cuts down on weeds, and helps the soil retain water.</p> <p>I am a great proponent of liquor store mulch, aka <a href="http://permaculturenews.org/2012/07/20/gorgeous-gardens-from-garbage-how-to-build-a-sheet-mulch/">sheet mulching</a>, because I don't even have to weed before I lay down the sweet, sweet topcoat. Also, it's basically free. Here's how I mulch:</p> <ul> <li>Get cardboard boxes from my corner liquor store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cover my dirt, weeds and all, with flattened cardboard boxes, working around existing plants. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water until the cardboard is super wet. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shovel green waste onto the cardboard. I use manure that my chicken-raising neighbor is so happy to give me for free, but you can use compost, grass cutting, etc.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shovel brown waste on top of everything to hide the stinky green waste. I used dead leaves and shredded cardboard boxes, but you can use what you have on hand. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water, water, water.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wait. By the following year, you will have lovely topsoil to grow in and far fewer weeds.</li> </ul> <p>By the way, if you aren't planning on growing a garden next season and just want to make your current planting look better, many cities offer free mulch, made from chopped up city trees, as part of their recycling programs. Just lay down that wood mulch over cardboard and call it a day.</p> <h2>11. Managing Pests</h2> <p>My mother is a master gardener. The second she thought my sister and I were old enough to handle garden tools without goring each other, she enlisted us in slug patrol. Every morning before school, we had to go out to the garden and decapitate every slug we found. To this day, I can throw a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009JXFUMW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B009JXFUMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KTHMWMHZ3FKPFQSI">weed digger</a> five feet with deadly precision.</p> <p>But killing slugs <em>Game of Thrones-</em>style is just one of the ways I manage pests in my garden.</p> <p>My favorite method of pest management is companion planting, because the plants do most of the maintenance work. One of my very favorite garden hacks is The <a href="https://www.almanac.com/content/companion-planting-three-sisters">Three Sisters</a>, an Iroquois planting method that is perfect in its simplicity. The three sisters are corn, climbing beans, and squash. These three crops are planted together in a mound of dirt. The corn provides a trellis for the beans. The beans are nitrogen-fixers, so they fertilize the soil for the corn and the squash. The squash's prickly leaves act as mulch, and they shade the roots of the other two sisters. The squash also acts as a defense against rodents and raccoons that don't like crawling through the prickly leaves to eat the beans and the corn. So genius.</p> <p>Because I am a beekeeper and own a koi pond, I cannot use chemical garden sprays without also killing my pets. Luckily, there are plenty of homemade bug sprays that do the job and are made of things you can find in your kitchen.</p> <h2>12. Pruning</h2> <p>There are a number of reasons why you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">leave tree pruning to the experts</a>, but pruning shrubs and other small plants is easy, once you know how. Although most people think of pruning as decorative, proper pruning actually keeps plants healthy by removing dead or dying parts of plants that have been damaged by weather, disease, bugs, or animals. Pruning can also make a plant more productive by forcing the plant to put more energy into producing fruit or flowers.</p> <h2>13. Maintaining Tools</h2> <p>I am terrible at this. After spending approximately $539,287 to repeatedly replace wood-handled tools that I left in the yard to the mercy of the elements, I finally had to purchase way too expensive, rust-proof, all metal tools. Don't be me.</p> <p>Actually, maintaining tools is remarkably easy. If you clean your tools after every use and store them in a dry place, you can make most hand tools last a lifetime.</p> <p><em>Do you have a green thumb? What garden skills save you the most money and time?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Landscaping for Energy Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home composting frugal person garden gardening green thumb how-to landscaping skills Thu, 26 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Max Wong 1717714 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart and Frugal Uses for Epsom Salt http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000066532185_Large.jpg" alt="epsom salts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The next time you're at the store, pick up a bag of epsom salt. These inexpensive crystals won't only ease your aches and pains in a warm bath &mdash; there's a host of other awesome things you can do with them! From feeding your lawn to cleaning pots and pans, here are 10 smart and frugal uses for epsom salt.</p> <h2>1. Clean Cast Iron</h2> <p>We had an old cast iron skillet in need of some love, so I searched around and found this&nbsp;<a href="http://storiesofkel.blogspot.com/2013/11/how-to-clean-cast-iron-skillet.html">simple method</a> to restore it using epsom salt. Rinse off any excess rust and then scrub with epsom salt followed by baking soda or table salt. Rinse again, dry, and coat the inside with a little olive oil. Heat pan on low for 30 minutes to let the oil soak in to finish.</p> <h2>2. Feed Your Lawn</h2> <p>The folks at Bob Vila's site explain that one good way to rescue your dying lawn is to feed it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/7-remedies-to-rescue-a-dying-lawn-48982/epsom-salt-in-garden">with epsom salt</a>. It sure beats using chemicals on price and safety. You can either fill your lawn spreader with the salt, or mix it with water and apply to your lawn with a garden sprayer. The idea is to get your soil to a neutral pH of seven.</p> <h2>3. Kill Nasty Weeds</h2> <p>While you're at it, stir together this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hometalk.com/1903802/natural-weed-control-that-works">effective weed killer</a> for those trouble spots in and around the grass. You'll need a gallon of white vinegar, two cups of epsom salt, and a quarter of a cup of blue Dawn soap. You can scale this recipe down if you like so it will fit into a convenient spray bottle. Kills weeds in just a few, sunny, hours.</p> <h2>4. Boost Your Magnesium</h2> <p>Whether you take a bath or soak your feet in epsom salt, you will add some vital magnesium to your body. It may help you relax and have better sleep, among other benefits. Take your routine a step beyond by mixing together your own<a href="http://gwens-nest.com/magnesium-oil-recipe/"> magnesium oil spray</a>. Heat one cup of distilled water to boiling, turn off heat, and then mix in a half cup of epsom salt until fully dissolved. Pour cooled mixture into a spritz bottle.</p> <p>Similar oils cost around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NHN9OA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004NHN9OA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TAVWNQGUM6RN7AKJ">$8 to $20</a>. This batch? Less than $1!</p> <h2>5. Scour With a DIY Scrub</h2> <p>Add some epsom salt to your cleaning routine for an effective scour scrub that's tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My mom showed me this&nbsp;<a href="http://mycleaningsolutions.com/remove-hard-water-stains-with-this-diy-epsom-salt-scrub/">hard water remover</a>, and I can't believe how effective it is. Combine one cup epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap. Use this scrub on shower doors, stubborn sinks, and even stained glass.</p> <h2>6. Decorate Your Space</h2> <p>Whether you're hosting a Frozen-themed birthday party or planning a winter wedding, these&nbsp;<a href="http://craftsbyamanda.com/epsom-salt-luminaries-some-winter/">epsom salt luminaries</a> would make a great decor item. Start by picking up some crystal epsom salt (think Dr. Teal's, not the Dollar Store) and glass jars. Pour epsom salt onto a paper plate, slip your hand inside a jar, paint where you want to stick the crystals with Mod Podge, and roll into the epsom salt. Let dry and then coat with some clear sealer a few times.</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: You shouldn't make these far in advance &mdash; less than a week before your event &mdash; for the best results.</p> <h2>7. Entertain Your Kids</h2> <p>And if you're lost on what to do on a rainy day, try making this&nbsp;<a href="http://babbledabbledo.com/science-for-kids-crystal-garden/">overnight crystal garden</a> with your kids. Just measure out a 1:1 ratio of epsom salt to warm water in a glass jar. Add food coloring and stir this mixture well. Next, place the jar in the back of your fridge or freezer. Then wait overnight to discover your magic crystal garden.</p> <h2>8. Add Aroma to Laundry</h2> <p>Are you skeptical about all those scented chemicals you add to your wash cycle with store-bought detergent? Me, too. Add some aroma the natural way using&nbsp;<a href="http://canvasandtable.com/2015/08/06/diy-laundry-scent-booster/">epsom salt and essential oils</a>. You need just three ingredients for this project: Epsom salt, baking soda, and 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils. Mix everything together and store in an air-tight container. Add a few tablespoons to each load.</p> <h2>9. Make Great Gifts</h2> <p>Need a last-minute gift that's easy on the wallet? Mix together your own&nbsp;<a href="http://cutediyprojects.tumblr.com/post/122497968927/wokeupasaqueen-peppermint-bath-salts-supplies">DIY bath salts</a>. This stuff may even help you kick your own Lush habit. Combine three cups of epsom salt with two cups sea salt, one cup baking soda, and peppermint or other essential oil. You can also add food coloring as a fun option. Once everything is mixed, place it in a decorative, air-tight container for storage.</p> <h2>10. Ward Off Mosquitoes</h2> <p>Keep mosquitoes out of your lawn by spraying this unique&nbsp;<a href="http://frugalhomekeeping.blogspot.com/2015/07/get-rid-of-those.html">epsom salt solution</a> that's safe on grass, flowers, and more. Combine three cups of epsom salt with a large bottle of cheap blue mouthwash and 12 oz of inexpensive beer. The author of this recipe explains that he's used it for the last 15 years with success of keeping mosquitoes away for up to 80 days. I am looking forward to testing this one out for myself!</p> <p><em>What are some other clever uses for epsom salt? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-55-brilliant-ways-to-turn-your-junk-into-cash">Flashback Friday: 55 Brilliant Ways to Turn Your Junk Into Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-smart-new-uses-for-hair-clips">15 Smart New Uses for Hair Clips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-mondays">12 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Mondays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-41-frugal-ways-to-battle-a-cold-or-flu">Flashback Friday: 41 Frugal Ways to Battle a Cold or Flu</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-you-ever-seen-such-amazing-junk">Have you ever seen such amazing junk?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Green Living clever uses DIY DIY hacks DIY health epsom salts frugal living home remedies life hacks Fri, 20 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1713534 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Frugal Reasons to Compost http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016214089_Large.jpg" alt="composting is perfect for a frugal lifestyle" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard about composting, or maybe you've even considered giving it a try. This waste-reducing activity is about way more than being kind to the environment and getting some awesome plant food for your garden. Composting can also save you a good amount of cash. So, here are 10 reasons why frugal people should start composting today!</p> <h2>1. It Saves You Trash Tags</h2> <p>Think about how many banana peels, egg shells, and other organic garbage scraps you've tossed into your bin over the last week. All that waste takes up space. Duke University's Center for Sustainability &amp; Commerce shares that the average American produces <a href="https://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">over four pounds of waste</a> per day. If you have to pay for a service or buy trash tags to haul it away, reducing your garbage load is sure to save you money.</p> <h2>2. It Gives You Free Garden Food</h2> <p>If you maintain a garden, you know that it isn't always cheap. The Bargain Babe explains that compost is one of the nicest gifts you <a href="http://bargainbabe.com/much-money-can-composting-save/">can give your plants</a>. Making your own can spare you from buying compost at your garden center each year. She typically buys two cubic yard bags per season, equaling an investment of $16.98 per year. That may not sound like a lot, but over five years, that amounts to nearly $85 in bags of fertile dirt. And the savings grows the bigger your garden gets!</p> <h2>3. It Improves Your Soil</h2> <p>Why is compost so great for the garden? It's considered a soil conditioner. What this means is that adding compost to your soil improves its texture. It's better able to hold onto nutrients, moisture, and air &mdash; all things that plants need to stay robust and healthy. As a result, you'll need to water less (cha-ching!), and your plants will likely yield a better crop. Growing your own food can definitely cut dollars from your weekly grocery bill.</p> <h2>4. It Controls Pests</h2> <p>Another merit of adding compost to your garden is that it provides you with virtually free bug control &mdash; without chemicals. Soil treated with compost &quot;tends to produce plants with <a href="http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/benefits.cfm">fewer pest problems</a>,&quot; explains the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension. It can also help prevent diseases that regular old dirt cannot ward off on its own. Leaf compost, in particular, may even keep nematodes at bay.</p> <h2>5. It Eliminates the Need for Lawn Services</h2> <p>You can spread this &quot;black gold&quot; on your grass and skip this year's lawn spraying service. You'll get an added health boost by keeping&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/compost-for-lawn/">chemical fertilizers and herbicides</a> away from your home, loved ones, and pets. You only need to apply compost to your yard once or twice a year to see the benefits. Simply spread a modest one-half inch layer onto grass (not too deep) using a wheelbarrow and shovel, or a garden spreader. This method even treats those pesky brown spots with ease.</p> <h2>6. It Provides Low-Cost Entertainment</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uyr2wJq7REQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Spending time outdoors and engaging with nature is cheap and fun activity the whole family can enjoy. If you don't know where to start, try<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyr2wJq7REQ"> square foot gardening</a>. A raised bed is a beginner-friendly holder for your plants. Figure out what you want to grow, pick up some seeds or annuals at your local garden center, draw out your garden plan, and go from there.</p> <h2>7. It Can Earn You Money</h2> <p>That's right! Select cities across the country and beyond may offer grants or other incentives for composting. Take Plymouth, Minnesota, for example. Back in 2012, the city offered its residents a grant of up to <a href="http://www.plymouthmn.gov/index.aspx?recordid=1054&amp;page=440">$100 to start backyard composting</a>. This money helped people get composting supplies and the things they needed to start their vegetable gardens. Though programs like this one don't exist everywhere, it's worth doing a little investigation to see what incentives your local municipality provides.</p> <h2>8. It Can Forge New Friendships</h2> <p>Composting has even introduced us to people we otherwise may not have met. Check your community calendars for free composting workshops (often run through cooperative extension programs) and you may meet like-minded people to add to your circle of friends. More friends means more connections. More connections means opportunity for sharing of resources like time, tools, knowledge, etc. Plus, it's always fun meeting new people.</p> <h2>9. It Makes You More Food Waste Aware</h2> <p>One of the most notable perks composting has given our family is an awareness of our waste habits. The more we dug spoiled food out of the fridge and put it in our compost bin, the more we realized we weren't planning our meals efficiently. We started writing up our grocery list and detailing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. These days, we have very little food spoilage.</p> <p>We even tend to use food scraps before tossing them into the compost pile in stuff like&nbsp;<a href="http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/">homemade vegetable broth</a>. Simply place carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, and other veggie scraps into a bag in your freezer and simmer them with water for 45 minutes. Strain out the scraps to place in your compost and enjoy your broth.</p> <h2>10. It Costs Little to Start</h2> <p>You can build a&nbsp;<a href="http://blissfullydomestic.com/home-bliss/how-to-make-an-easy-diy-compost-bin/125672/">basic compost bin</a> for less than $5. In some cases, you might even have all the materials you need already on hand. Just find a basic plastic storage tub with a lid, drill holes all over it to allow for airflow and drainage, and place a layer of dirt at the bottom. Then throw your food scraps inside and make sure to rotate or shake it at least once a week. That's all it takes to get started. You should have viable compost in as little as four to six months.</p> <p><em>Do you compost? Share your tips with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-soft-water">Do You Really Need “Soft” Water?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Green Living compost composting environmental how to compost recycle Tue, 10 May 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1706758 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_yard_swings_000079618051.jpg" alt="Learning how to get the best yard in town naturally" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want a gorgeous, lush lawn without all the chemicals and other icky stuff? It's not as hard as you might think. With a little creativity and some elbow grease, you can whip your grass into shape without calling a service or spending much at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper?ref=seealso">Secret Lawn Tonic Golf Course Groundskeepers Love</a>)</p> <h2>Amazing Aeration</h2> <p>Before the season even starts, you should&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/aerate-the-lawn/">aerate your lawn</a> so it can have its best year yet. By letting it breathe, you get rid of nasty compaction issues that can cause bigger problems down the line. To aerate, you'll want the grass to be pretty dry. Insert a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qjqnlK">garden fork</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1TMK4yd">sod coring tool</a> every few inches to get the oxygen in. If you have a big lawn, you might consider going in with a neighbor and renting a power lawn aerator for a day or two. After you've finished this process, collect soil plugs with a bagged mower and add them to your compost heap.</p> <h2>Beer Fertilizer</h2> <p>My grandfather is known as a lawn king of sorts in my hometown. He swears by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Easily-getting-rid-of-dead-spots-on-your-lawn-effo">feeding his lawn with beer</a>. The fermented sugars and other nutrients improve the soil and help to get rid of dead spots. All you have to do is pour about eight ounces of regular beer per 10-inch spot that needs love. Beer can be fresh or flat, hot or cold. Wait about a week and if the area is still droopy, repeat the process.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part I</h2> <p>Not into brews? That's okay. You can actually use your favorite bath time soak to nurture your lawn.&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1UW0MMF">Epsom salts</a> help keep your grass green and healthy all year round &mdash; they may even soften grass. You'll want to use about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfsalt.com/epsom-salt-for-lawns">three pounds of salts</a> per 1,250 square feet of lawn. To apply, use a lawn spreader. If you'd rather add water and spray, use a tank sprayer or a hose with a spray attachment.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part II</h2> <p>The National Gardening Association explains that epsom salts also work wonders in your vegetable and flower gardens by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.garden.org/articles/articles.php?q=show&amp;id=68">enriching the soil with magnesium</a>. The group conducted a study where gardeners from across the United States sprayed their peppers and roses with the stuff. The results? Four out of six gardeners reported that their pepper plants were more robust. All the rose plants were bushier with greener foliage and more roses. To try this at home, add one tablespoon of epsom salts to a gallon of water, spray plants, and repeat the process every 10 days (peppers) or six weeks (roses).</p> <h2>Kind Killer</h2> <p>This weed killer is kind to the environment and won't cost you much. In fact, you might already be using it for many tasks in your home. Simply spray all those pesky weeds with plain white vinegar. You'll want to do this on a day with no rain in the forecast (can dilute the effects). My mother-in-law says that heartier, more persistent weeds respond better to something stronger like pickling vinegar. Just pour vinegar into a spray bottle and use as liberally as necessary.</p> <h2>Wondrous Water</h2> <p>Whether or not you live someplace where you have a cap on water usage, it's a good idea to conserve this precious resource. Try building&nbsp;<a href="https://1craftylane.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/diy-rain-barrel/">your own rain barrel</a> to collect what falls from the sky. You just need a 32-gallon plastic trash can, brass faucet, flexible downspout, and utility knife. Cut a hole in your can's cover, attach the downspout to your gutter, and then connect the two components. Wait for the rain and then use your faucet to tap into the magic.</p> <h2>Modified Mowing</h2> <p>How often and how short you cut your grass has an impact on its overall health as well. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, unfortunately. Regardless, grass cut too short can be more prone to problems like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/what-is-the-ideal-height-to-cut-the-grass">weeds, drought, and heat damage</a>. So, if you're experiencing little precipitation, it's a good idea to let grasses grow taller as a defense. For guidelines on how tall or short you should keep your grass in general, call your local extension office, garden center, or seed supplier.</p> <h2>Clover Comeback</h2> <p>So many of our neighbors seem to battle to keep white clover out all season long. We've embraced clover because it's actually a natural way to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/clover-comeback">crowd out weeds</a>. Clover also spreads quickly and covers the ground with greenery to blend with your other grasses. It grows well in shadier areas of your lawn and those with poor drainage. Best yet, it's a legume and can convert nitrogen into its own free fertilizer. Learn to love this misunderstood ground cover!</p> <p><em>What are some natural ways you care for&nbsp;</em><em>your lawn?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall">10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living Home eco friendly gardening greener grass landscaping lawn spring summer weeds Mon, 25 Apr 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1693274 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_easter_000037037264.jpg" alt="Finding smart things to do with leftover Easter goodies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Easter holiday means a house filled with pastel&hellip; everything... cluttering the house. Don't toss all those goodies right away after. Instead, here are some ingenious ways to repurpose your leftovers for immediate use or year-round enjoyment.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Plastic Eggs (Practical)</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://redeemyourground.com/easter-egg-birdseed-ornaments/">birdseed ornaments</a> will liven up your backyard for pennies. Mix together flour, birdseed, water, and corn syrup. Scoop mixture into your plastic eggs, firmly packing to fit. Then close them up to set into your egg shape. Gently open the eggs (it helps to place them in a muffin tin) and let air dry for a few hours. To hang, tie some string or yarn around them. This tutorial makes about 18 small feeders.</p> <h2>2. Plastic Eggs (Pretty)</h2> <p>This sophisticated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.taylormadecreates.com/2011/05/tealight-flight.html">tealight flight</a> is incredibly easy to make. Take your leftover plastic eggs, crack them in half (using the bottoms only), spray on a few coats of spray paint, and attach them to a piece of scrap wood with strong glue. Let everything dry before you place tealights inside to create a beautiful glow.</p> <h2>3. Plastic Eggs (Educational)</h2> <p>I've seen quite a number of ways to repurpose plastic eggs for learning. For my four-year-old daughter, I plan to work on reading skills with these&nbsp;<a href="http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/word-family-eggs/">word family eggs</a>. Just collect your eggs, and use a permanent marker to write several letters on one half and the rest of the word on the second half of the egg. (For example, b-, c-, m-, s- and -at to make bat, cat, mat, and sat.) Your child can turn the sides of the eggs to create the different words and see how they relate.</p> <h2>4. Egg Dye</h2> <p>You've finished coloring your eggs &mdash; now what? Use leftover dye to get crafty. Try&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gsheller.com/2011/04/fun-with-easter-egg-dyes-and-yarn.html">dying bare yarn</a> in a rainbow of colors for whatever projects you have on your calendar. First, soak the yarn in vinegar and water. Get your dyes ready in different containers and use plastic pipettes for coloring. Apply the dye to the yarn, microwave to set, rinse, squeeze, and hang to dry.</p> <h2>5. Jelly Beans</h2> <p>Teach your kids some&nbsp;<a href="http://lemonlimeadventures.com/engineering-for-kids-building-with-jelly-beans/">engineering basics</a> using colorful jelly beans as your guide. To set up the experiment, you'll just need toothpicks, jelly beans, and some creative minds. Make cubes to start and then move on to more complicated shapes to see how they stabilize and shift. The author of this project said that these simple supplies gave her kids over a month of educational enjoyment.</p> <h2>6. Fake Grass</h2> <p>We typically fill our Easter baskets with fake grass of the paper variety. I then use whatever we have left for wrapping gifts (usually in gift bags) throughout the year. I've also used it as cheap packing material and given handfuls of it to my daughter to add dimension to art projects. Alternatively, you can carefully collect your leftovers and reuse them next year.</p> <h2>7. Hard-Boiled Eggs</h2> <p>Before eating your hard-boiled eggs, make sure they haven't been sitting out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours, haven't been in contact with pesticides or animal waste in an outdoor hunt, and aren't more than a week old. Once you've considered these&nbsp;<a href="http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/are-eggs-dyed-easter-safe-eat">food safety points</a>, you can eat them plain, make deviled eggs, or whip up a delicious egg salad.</p> <h2>8. Candy</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/leftover-easter-candy-cookies/">leftover Easter candy cookies</a> will help clear out your pantry shelves for fresh spring produce in no time. You simply mix together the dough base with flour, baking soda, sugars, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Then chop up two cups of whatever candy you have left (assorted chocolates probably work better than jelly beans), fold it into the dough, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.</p> <h2>9. Baskets</h2> <p>Whether they're crazy colored or more neutral, you can always find great uses for baskets around your home. I store my daughter's markers, crayons, and other art supplies in small baskets that I keep in my craft room. When we're ready to do some coloring or art, I grab a basket and it helps keep everything tidy. Use yours to wrangle small toys (cars, blocks, etc.), books, or store it away to use again next year. Don't like your basket's looks? Spray paint it another color to suit your mood or decor.</p> <h2>10. Egg Crates</h2> <p>There are seriously a million ways you can reuse an egg carton in your home. My current favorite? I'm&nbsp;<a href="http://planetforward.ca/blog/my-organic-gardening-part-three-cartons-are-not-just-for-eggs-anymore-sustainable-practice/">organizing my seedlings</a> for the upcoming planting season. Just cut the lid off, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup, fill each three-quarters full with soil, place your seeds inside, and put it on a plastic tray. Then label so you know what is what. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates?ref=seealso">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a>)</p> <p><em>How are you re-using your Easter stuff? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-have-a-cheaper-easter">10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Easter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY Green Living baskets candy Easter eggs Holidays leftovers recycling repurposing Fri, 25 Mar 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678890 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068906.jpg" alt="Woman having green living habits that&#039;ll save her every month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another Earth Day is just around the corner. Let's get a head start on saving the planet with these eco-friendly lifestyle tips that'll also save you moolah every month. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Natural Light</h2> <p>I try to keep the lights off in the house as much as possible, even when I go to the bathroom late at night (I use my phone as a flashlight instead) to reduce my overall energy costs. As an alternative to the artificial lights in my house, I take advantage of natural light from the windows during the day (open your doors and blinds) and sometimes candles or other secondary light sources (like my devices) when the sun goes down.</p> <h2>2. Plug Drafts to Reduce Heating Costs</h2> <p>If there are drafts coming in from holes and crevices around your house, the climate-controlled air for which you pay is escaping. Resolve this costly problem by plugging drafts yourself (if you're able to identify the draft location and capable of doing the work) or hiring someone to help you out. Many times, however, the solution to the problem is as simple as putting a towel or blanket in front of doors and wrapping windows and A/C units for the winter.</p> <h2>3. Adjust the Settings on Your Appliances</h2> <p>Your appliances could be working overtime unnecessarily. Check the settings on your fridge, freezer, stove, microwave, and more to determine if they're turned up too high. If they can get the job done properly on lower settings, turn them down.</p> <h2>4. Install a &quot;Greywater&quot; System</h2> <p>Greywater &mdash; essentially any household wastewater with the exception of the toilet &mdash; can be repurposed in other areas around the home to help you cut back on water usage across the board.</p> <p>&quot;A... laundry-to-landscape greywater system can reduce water costs by reusing water used on clothes washing or sink/shower water to irrigate the garden,&quot; says Morgan Vondrak, a certified sustainable landscape designer at Argia Designs in San Francisco. &quot;This is a great way to grow fruit trees and water intensive edible shrubs.&quot;</p> <p>Conservation and green design expert Pablo Solomon suggests a couple more uses for greywater. &quot;Put a dishwashing pan in your sinks and showers to catch water. Also dip out and save your bath water. This greywater is great to flush toilets and to water plants,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>5. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes, and Clean the Dryer Lint Trap</h2> <p>Using cold water versus hot water when washing clothes won't save you a ton, but if you're looking to shave a few bucks of your bill every month (and you're okay laundering with cold water), it's a decent solution.</p> <p>&quot;When doing laundry, use cold water instead of hot in your washing machine, which can save you over $3 per month,&quot; Solomon advises. &quot;The dryer typically accounts for 5% of your monthly electric bill, but keeping the lint trap clean on a regular basis will dry clothes faster and lower energy expenditures.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Use Sunlight to Help Control Temperature</h2> <p>Drafts can affect the temperature of your home, especially when the heat is pumping during the winter months. But the amount of sunlight in your home can also dramatically raise or lower the inside temperature, which is important to remember during both the hot and cold seasons.</p> <p>&quot;Use window coverings to keep sunlight from heating your rooms too much in summer and to let in warming rays in the winter,&quot; Solomon recommends. &quot;Window coverings can be expensive, but you can also improvise. You can use blankets, and you can also make your own curtains or buy them at resale shops. I have a friend who sewed bubble wrap between layers of cloth to make really attractive and amazingly efficient drapes.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Lower the Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater</h2> <p>I recommended using cold water instead of hot to wash clothes to save a few bucks a month, but you also should inspect your hot water heater to see if perhaps it's running too hot in general.</p> <p>&quot;If you have to turn on the cold water along with the hot so your shower isn't scalding, you are paying too much to heat your water,&quot; says Eileen Flanagan, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rlmy8l">Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope</a>. &quot;Most experts recommend 120 Fahrenheit. Once you find a temperature that is comfortable when you turn on just the hot tap, you can leave it set there and forget about it &mdash; except for vacations when you can turn it down further.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Power Your Devices From a Strip &mdash; And Remember to Turn It Off</h2> <p>Rather than plugging devices in single outlets spread all over the house, try to consolidate your energy and charging efforts onto one charging strip so you can control the power usage with one switch.</p> <p>&quot;Smart power plugs can detect how much electricity your 'energy vampires' &mdash; like TVs, game consoles, and mobile phones &mdash; are consuming and can be set to automatically turn off every night and then turn back on every morning,&quot; says Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of People Power, a tech company in California.</p> <p>As a habit, only plug in other devices and appliances &mdash; like printers, toasters, and coffeemakers &mdash; when you need to use them.</p> <h2>9. Nip Drips in the Bud ASAP</h2> <p>Hopefully we're all shutting off the sink while we're brushing our teeth and taking quick showers to conserve water, but it's all for naught if you have a leak in your pipes or a drippy faucet. If either of these situations are flushing your money down the drain, put a stop to it.</p> <h2>10. Think of Carpet and Rugs as Extra Insulation</h2> <p>Rugs and carpeting can provide extra insulation in your home, which is helpful during the winter months. It's often cheaper to install &mdash; especially area rugs &mdash; than re-insulating your home or turning the heat up. Plus, your little tootsies will thank you for not having to touch a cold floor in the morning.</p> <h2>11. Travel by Foot, Bike, or Public Transportation More Often</h2> <p>You can save a serious amount of money on gas and car maintenance by changing the way you travel, especially locally. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to the places you need to go more often when the weather is nice. Carpooling is a great option, too. I used to carpool with a buddy of mine to work &mdash; we would each have one week on and one week off, which resulted in significant fuel savings (more than $1,000) that I was able to put toward other expenses.</p> <h2>12. Consider Scheduling an Energy Audit</h2> <p>If you're serious about going green, but don't really know where to start, consider scheduling an energy audit to determine what can and needs to be done to reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy spend.</p> <p>&quot;Most utility companies offer them free or close to free,&quot; says Shel Horowitz, author and green business profitability expert. &quot;Last time we did one, they gave us hundreds of dollars worth of LED light bulbs and picked up two-thirds of the cost of re-insulating.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of your green living habits that save you money every month? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-could-mean-more-money-in-your-pocket">Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home appliances eco friendly energy efficient going green greywater saving money transportation Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1665770 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money? http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_refrigerator_000076458411.jpg" alt="Woman learning if green appliances actually save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, there's a lot of discussion about energy usage and the environment. And if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there's a push to use more energy efficient appliances.</p> <p>Most household appliances now come with models that are &quot;Energy Star&quot; certified, meaning that they've met energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In general, Energy Star appliances may cost a bit more up front, but could save you money over time through reduced electricity and water usage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent">8 Green Products That Aren't</a>)</p> <p>Here's a look at some common appliances and the possible cost savings associated with each one. Keep in mind that savings will vary depending on electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>1. Refrigerator</h2> <p>Your fridge uses a <em>ton </em>of electricity, so it's logical to think you'd save money by switching to a more energy efficient model. But the actual cost savings is only significant if your current fridge is very old. The EPA has a handy calculator to help consumers determine potential cost savings. If you have an average-sized fridge acquired between 2001 and 2008, your cost savings by switching to an Energy Star certified model are estimated to be about $15 per year, based on the average national electricity rate. But if you're replacing a fridge from the 1980s, the savings jumps to $145 annually. Your savings may be more or less depending on the electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>2. Freezer</h2> <p>If you have a standalone freezer, you may save a few bucks by switching to an energy efficient model. Most new freezers use about 10% less energy than older freezers, and the savings grows when compared to freezers that are more than 10 years old. Nearly half of the 36 million freezers in use in the U.S are older than 10 years, according to the EPA &mdash; and this is costing Americans $990 million annually.</p> <h2>3. Washing Machine</h2> <p>Another energy hog that uses up not only electricity, but water wobbles in your laundry room or garage. If you get an Energy Star certified model, you'll decrease water usage per load from 25 gallons down to 13. To put that in context, a typical family uses 400 gallons of water every day. New washers also cut down on electricity usage by 25%, resulting in a savings of $180 a year, according to the EPA. You will have a bigger impact on your utility bills by washing in only cold water &mdash; a cold rinse costs about 60% less than a warm one, according to Silicon Valley Power.</p> <h2>4. Dishwashers</h2> <p>The biggest cost savings from energy efficient dishwashers comes if you switch from a model made prior to 1994, according to the EPA. Those older models waste 10 gallons of water per cycle and use more electricity, costing you as much as $35 per year on your utility bills.</p> <h2>5. Dehumidifiers</h2> <p>The EPA says newer models of dehumidifiers are 15% more efficient than older ones. But even if you have the appliance on 10 hours a day for an entire year, you're only going to spend roughly $150. So it's not a level of savings that will impact your wallet all that much.</p> <h2>6. Air Purifiers</h2> <p>These machines that remove fine particles in the air can use more energy than you think. In fact, some suck more electricity than your fridge. But you can save as much as 40%, or 225 kilowatt hours per year. That results in a $25 savings annually, or about $215 over the life of a unit.</p> <h2>7. Hot Water Heaters</h2> <p>Nothing in your home uses more energy, except for lighting. And if you switch to an Energy Star water heater, you could save big bucks. In some states, you may even <em>get </em>cash to buy one. The federal government reports that a family of four will spend about $300 a year on electricity from an Energy Star heat pump water heater. That's less than half of the cost of an old standard electric heat resistance pump, and a projected savings of more than $3,000 over the life of the heater. Seven states offer incentives to buy an energy efficient heater; New Hampshire tops the list with a $1,000 rebate.</p> <h2>8. Televisions</h2> <p>Televisions are growing in size and resolution, but are also getting more energy efficient overall. And that's good, because Energy Star models are reportedly 25% more efficient than older televisions. Your overall savings, however, isn't massive. Even if your audio system and Blu-ray player are Energy Star compliant, your overall saving is about $200 over the life of the equipment.</p> <h2>9. Pool Pumps</h2> <p>Owning a pool doesn't make a lot of financial sense, but you can cut down on the cost by getting an energy efficient pump. Newer pumps are two-speed or variable-speed model, which can reduce the amount of electricity used by as much as 70%. This could translate into $280 to $340 saved annually, according to the government. There may also be rebates, depending on the state where you live.</p> <h2>10. Water Coolers</h2> <p>If you like to have bottled water dispensed from a cooler in your home, you might save a few dollars by getting an energy efficient model. The savings is relatively modest, at roughly $70 over the life of a unit. For the most savings, look for units with on-demand hot and cold capability.</p> <p><em>How efficient are your appliances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-eliminate-ants-without-an-exterminator">8 Ways to Eliminate Ants Without an Exterminator</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living appliances eco-friendly energy efficient energy star epa Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1646410 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045925468_Large.jpg" alt="finally making her finances paperless" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, the bulk of our correspondence has been digitized. But even so, it can sometimes seem like we're drowning in all that rectangular white stuff. Greeting cards. Handouts. Flyers. Warranties. Instruction manuals. Business cards. Bills.</p> <p>Here's how you can finally sweep up all the spillover. After all, a cluttered hard drive is far better &mdash; and easier to navigate &mdash; than a cluttered home.</p> <h2>1. Stop Trying to Save Everything</h2> <p>Shedding ties to paper is a form of minimalism. Indeed, many of the documents you've been storing in filing cabinets and desk drawers should be dumped rather than digitized. For some, it's a hard reality to accept. But consider this: One of the top reasons we save so much paper is for fear of needing it in the future. Honestly though, when are you going to need the tattered pages of your 10th grade English essay? And remember that since your recent utility bills and bank statements are readily available online, there's simply no need to keep your own hard copy.</p> <p>Another reason we hoard paper: Memories. Often the paper we save is tied to a moment we don't want to let go of. Without hard evidence, will we continue to remember? What we all need to realize, and accept, is that the memories live on &mdash; even when the physical evidence is gone.</p> <h2>2. Make Time for the Three S's</h2> <p>Set aside time each day to scan, save, and shred. Maybe it's 20 minutes before bedtime. Maybe it's after breakfast, but before you leave the house. Carve out a stack to start on and tackle it day by day, assessing whether each item should be added to your digital storage, saved in hard copy form, or tossed.</p> <p>You'll need to keep physical copies of documents pertaining to your identity and assets, such as social security cards, loan documents, marriage and divorce certificates, living wills, and insurance policies. Into the garbage go the product instruction manuals (most companies post these online), past bank statements (shred them first), and personal notes from 13 years ago (alright, you can save one or two&hellip;). Most other documents should be digitized.</p> <p>If you're stuck thinking, <em>Do I need to keep a hard copy of the receipt for the expensive necklace I just bought?</em> consider how difficult it would be to obtain another copy. In this case, if the necklace clasp malfunctioned and you wanted to return it to the jeweler, you probably wouldn't be able to do so without proof of purchase. But a digitized copy of the receipt will function just as well as the original. So, you should scan it and save it on your hard drive. And don't forget to label. The beauty of digitizing our paper trail is that we can more easily find miscellaneous items such as receipts and cable bills by using keywords to search, locate, and extract critical information. It sure beats sifting through the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet on your hands and knees.</p> <h2>3. Get a Scanner</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1PQfkWI">Doxie</a> is a small but powerful scanner that tackles everything from photos to legal documents. And it doesn't even require a computer. Doxie scans straight to the cloud, which is a real asset for jet setters. Another home-use scanner with a cloud storage component is <a href="http://amzn.to/1ONets8">NeatDesk</a>. It's fast and the feed takes a variety of papers, including business cards and receipts. But before you go purchasing one of these scanners &mdash; or any other &mdash; make sure it's the right fit for you. Do you plan to digitize photos? If so, you'll want to make sure that the scanner you choose is well equipped for the task. Will you be scanning large documents that might not feed into a smaller, portable scanner? Then you'll want to explore other options.</p> <p>Additionally, there's a ton of great organizing tools out there that will help you stay on top of your docs, once you've scanned them. <a href="http://www.devontechnologies.com/products/devonthink/overview.html">DEVONthink</a> and <a href="https://evernote.com/?var=2">Evernote</a> are just a couple of options to consider. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-scanners?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Scanners</a>)</p> <h2>4. Scan On-the-Go</h2> <p>Mobile apps like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/genius-scan-pdf-scanner/id377672876?mt=8">Genius Scan</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.i2e.docuscan&amp;hl=en">Docu Scan</a> can help you to easily export and sort documents as they come to you throughout the day. This way you won't have a backlog of paper to digitize because you'll be tackling your paper trail as it comes. Mobile scanning is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of your paperless game.</p> <h2>5. Don't Get Discouraged</h2> <p>All the scanning, labeling, and shredding can be a slog. When you get discouraged, remember this: The average person wastes 16 to 55 minutes per day <a href="http://iosrjournals.org/iosr-jbm/papers/Vol17-issue4/Version-1/L017417984.pdf">searching for lost items</a>. Over a lifetime, that amounts to one to three years! No matter how you dice it, the time you spend digitizing will save you time in the long run.</p> <p>If you're truly overwhelmed by the task of digitizing the paper you've accumulated thus far, why not digitize new documents and correspondence as it comes. Later, once you've got the hang of it, you'll feel more compelled to dig into the rest.</p> <p><em>Have you gone completely paperless? Was it a struggle? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-eliminate-ants-without-an-exterminator">8 Ways to Eliminate Ants Without an Exterminator</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homemade-stain-removers-that-actually-work">5 Homemade Stain Removers That Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/original-ways-to-use-original-dawn">Original Ways to Use Original Dawn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Green Living digitize documents go paperless icloud paperless saving documents Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1645870 at http://www.wisebread.com