Green Living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4805/all en-US 9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-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="/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_gardening_000019625064.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter using gardening skills to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like most activities, a little planning and preparation will save you money in the garden. Why? Because many of the tasks that help make a garden grow need to be completed weeks, or months, before you actually begin planting. Planning your garden in advance will give you an edge over nature (which will do its best to destroy your garden) and will save you some serious money.</p> <p>The following nine skills will help you to plan, plant, and enjoy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">healthy garden</a> (while saving some money, too).</p> <h2>1. Soil Analysis</h2> <p>Okay, you're not expected to become an actual expert on soil pH, but if you doubt that your soil provides ideal growing conditions for the plants you intend to grow, it would behoove you to test your soil's pH before planting your garden. You can either use a <a href="http://preparednessmama.com/testing-your-soil-ph-without-a-kit/">DIY soil pH test</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001LEPYA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001LEPYA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W2QZBKKFSEYAQTKG">soil pH kit</a> online or from your local hardware store. Once you know if your soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline, you can <a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/ph-preferences">plant your garden according to pH</a>, or try to <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-adjust-soil-ph-for-your-garden.html">change your soil's pH</a> to meet your plants' needs.</p> <p>Also, being able to ascertain if your soil type meets the needs of the plants you are sowing can save you time and money in the long run. What kind of soil do you have in your garden? Knowing which of the six types of soil that you are dealing with can help you better plan and plant your garden so that you don't lose any plants to soil compatibility problems. Soil type can vary even within your yard, and will determine, as much as sunlight, what kinds of plants are successful in a given spot.</p> <p>Of course, you can always alter soil by removing or adding elements. If you have soil that is too sandy for your needs, you can remove some of the sand, and add silt and clay to it to aid water retention and infuse nutrients.</p> <p>Speaking of nutrients, you can save lots of money if you do your own&hellip;</p> <h2>2. Composting (or Worm Binning)</h2> <p>Composting is a great way to reuse yard waste, lawn clippings, and food stuff that you might normally throw away and turn it into nutrients for your garden. Yes, of course you can buy commercially produced compost, but if you have the space and the time, why not DIY it and save some money?</p> <p>Composting can be a bit smelly, but there are ways to <a href="http://citygirlfarming.com/Compost/ControlCompostOdor.html">compost while minimizing odors</a>.</p> <p>Composting is fairly easy to get started, and will provide you with plenty of excellent, nutrient-rich soil for your garden. To be ready for spring planting, start your compost bin/pile in early autumn.</p> <h2>3. Sun Exposure Charting</h2> <p>Another key consideration when planning your garden is to determine how many hours of daily sunlight each part of your garden receives. My neighbors, recent transplants from Southern California, recently planted a bunch of shade-loving plants in their front yard, assuming that because we live in a mossy, rainy area, those were the types of plants that would do best. What they didn't consider is that, during the summer months, their front yard receives about six hours of direct sunlight per day.</p> <p>You can use <a href="http://getbusygardening.com/how-to-determine-sun-exposure/">DIY sun exposure charts</a> to determine how much sun your garden receives, or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002XZLLXU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002XZLLXU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KBQYAAZ5OVB2FZBZ">sunlight meter</a> for less than $20 and let the little machine do the work for you. Once you have your garden mapped for sun exposure, you can plan for your plants.</p> <h2>4. Seed Germination</h2> <p>Buying seeds is a smart way to save money, especially if you buy them on sale at the end of summer and plant them the next year. Seed starts are usually much cheaper than buying grown plants or seedlings (although this depends on the size of your garden; if it's quite small, buying grown plants might make more sense). Buying seeds also gives you the option to seek out unusual or heirloom varieties of the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can't necessarily be found in plant form at your local nursery.</p> <p>Some plants can be sown directly into your garden soil, and other seeds need to be germinated inside and transplanted as seedlings after the final frost. Make sure to read the instructions on the packet of each type of seed that you buy to understand the best way to plant.</p> <h2>5. Planter Building</h2> <p>If you want a slightly more ergonomic garden (and a leg up on pest control), you'd be smart to consider <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/">building raised garden beds</a> yourself. If you can't stand the thought of doing this, you can always <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=raised%20garden%20bed&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=raise%2Caps&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4RAQVJDG4GOMPUPD">buy raised garden beds</a>, but trust me, building them is much cheaper.</p> <h2>6. Diligent Pest Control</h2> <p>I have to be honest &mdash; I'm perfectly comfortable using chemical sprays and slug death pellets in my garden, because I've had no luck with copper tape or bug traps. Whatever your preferences for pest control (organic and earth-friendly pest control or <em>death-to-bugs</em>-type methods), pest control is a money-saver. After all, letting all your veggies succumb to some creepy-crawly insect isn't a wise investment of time or cash.</p> <p>Veggie gardeners who prefer natural pest control methods report success when planting flowers like zinnias, nasturtiums, calendula, cosmos, and sweet alyssum in their vegetable gardens. These plants attract predator bugs that take out annoying pests like tomato hornworms and aphids. You can buy batches of ladybugs online and in garden stores, too.</p> <h2>7. Pollenating</h2> <p>You've probably heard about the significant decline in the bee population. If you want your trees and bushes to bear fruit, you're going to need pollinators like bees and moths to visit your garden. You can attract these helpful insects by <a href="http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/attracting-beneficial-bees/5024.html">planting bee-attracting wildflowers</a> in your garden, either interspersed with your fruits and veggies or alongside them.</p> <p>If you aren't seeing the volume of pollinating insects that you normally do, you can use the trick my husband uses to get our tomatoes to yield more fruit through airborne pollen &mdash; run an electric toothbrush against the back of your blossoms. After all, there are few things more frustrating to a gardener than a paltry tomato crop!</p> <h2>8. Tool Care and Maintenance</h2> <p>You don't have to buy expensive garden tools in order to be a good gardener, but you should treat your gardening implements well in order to keep them in working order for years. I'm a lazy, lazy gardener, and I can attest that having to buy a new shovel every few months is not only costly, but it's also kind of stupid.</p> <p>To keep your garden tools in good working order, remember to clean them, hang them up dry, and occasionally oil what needs oiling. Clean, well-stored tools will continue to work for you season after season.</p> <h2>9. Intelligent Harvesting and Pruning</h2> <p>Part of being a smart gardener is knowing how to care for perennials, and that means learning when and how to prune your plants. Pruning isn't just about keeping plants a manageable size; it's the art of learning what superfluous matter to cut away so that a plant will concentrate its energy on producing what matters most to you &mdash; whether that's fruit, flowers, or perfect leaves.</p> <p>If you are growing food in your garden, you'll want to learn <a href="http://abundantminigardens.com/training-and-pruning-trellised-vegetables/">how to prune your vegetable plants</a> and <a href="http://www.homegrown.org/forum/topics/harvesting-herbs-101-basil-chives-cilantro-coriander-mint-parsley">harvest herbs</a>, fruits, and vegetables in a way that allows the plant to continue growing. For instance, pruning herbs like mint can actually promote more plant growth.</p> <p><em>How green is your garden?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</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-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</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/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</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/6-high-tech-tools-to-help-your-garden-grow">6 High-Tech Tools to Help Your Garden Grow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living composting flowers gardening outdoors vegetables Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:00:18 +0000 Andrea Karim 1448400 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Frugal Ways to Live Chemical-Free http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-ways-to-live-chemical-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-frugal-ways-to-live-chemical-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-iStock_000030316756_Small.jpg" alt="woman at home" title="woman at home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></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 some great articles on frugal ways to live chemical-free, simple strategies for storing and preparing food, and tips to burn belly fat fast.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Live-Chemical-Free-26294537">10 Frugal Ways to Live Chemical-Free</a> &mdash; Leave your shoes at the front door.&nbsp;You don't want to track lead, pesticides, and other pollutants from outside into your home, do you? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/fifteen-simple-money-saving-strategies-for-storing-and-preparing-food-at-home">15 Simple Money-Saving Strategies for Storing and Preparing Food at Home</a> &mdash; Preserve any herbs and freeze any vegetables that you don't use; you'll save money and reduce waste!&nbsp;[The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.redesignmyexistence.com/7-tips-to-burn-belly-fat">7 Tips To Burn Belly Fat &amp; Get Lean Immediately</a> &mdash; Eat most of your daily carbs in the 20-60 minutes after your main workout session, when they're more likely to get stored as muscle energy instead of fat. [Redesign My Existence]</p> <p><a href="http://adebtfreestressfreelife.com/5-cleaning-mistakes-you-probably-made-last-time-you-cleaned/">5 Cleaning Mistakes You Probably Made Last Time You Cleaned</a> &mdash; Don't just spray and wipe! Allow your cleaning product to sit for a while. [A Debt Free Stress Free Life]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacksmag.com/7-signs-you-are-not-drinking-enough-water/">7 Signs You&rsquo;re Drinking Less Water Than You Should</a> &mdash; When you don't have enough water in your body, your skin and eyes will feel dry. [LifehacksMag]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://untemplater.com/mobile-lifestyle/practical-travel-tips-and-tidbits/">Practical Travel Tips And Tidbits Of Advice</a> &mdash; Get an international travel adapter so you can plug your devices no matter what region of the world you're in. [Untemplater]</p> <p><a href="http://personalexcellence.co/blog/better-internet/">Online Negativity: How to Create a Better Internet for Everyone</a> &mdash; Use the 3-question rule before you post something online. [Personal Excellence]</p> <p><a href="http://naturemoms.com/blog/2015/05/26/3-effective-ways-to-save-power-money-this-summer/">3 Effective Ways To Save Power &amp; Money This Summer</a> &mdash; In the evenings, turn off the AC and use fans to circulate the cooler outside air throughout the house. [Nature Moms]</p> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/05/homemade-mocha-frappuchino">Homemade Mocha Frappuccino</a> &mdash; This delicious treat only takes a minute to make! [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-perfect-alternatives-to-the-goody-bag">5 Perfect Alternatives To The Goody Bag</a> &mdash; Replace the usual bag of party junk with items that encourage the kiddos to play outdoors. Things like jump ropes, bubbles, and bug catchers are fun and affordable! [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-frugal-ways-to-live-chemical-free">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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</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/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</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 best money tips chemical free Fri, 29 May 2015 19:00:06 +0000 Amy Lu 1439988 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 14 Urban Gardening Tips http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-14-urban-gardening-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-14-urban-gardening-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_urban_garden_000053690034.jpg" alt="Two women sharing their best urban gardening tips" 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 some great articles on urban gardening tips, awesome products that will improve your life, and budget-friendly gifts you can make for Mother&rsquo;s Day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2015/04/14-urban-gardening-tips-that-will-save-you-time-energy-money/">14 Urban Gardening Tips That Will Save You Time, Energy &amp; Money</a> &mdash; Spray vegetable oil on the line on your string trimmer before installing it to keep it from jamming or breaking. [Urban Organic Gardener]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cool-Products-35262431">33 Awesome Products That Will Vastly Improve Your Life</a> &mdash; Save time in the kitchen with a foldable chopping board that comes with holes for rinsing. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.papernstitchblog.com/2015/05/05/21-totally-awesome-budget-friendly-mothers-day-diys-to-try">21 Budget-Friendly Mother&rsquo;s Day DIYs to Try Before Sunday</a> &mdash; Want to treat your mom to something special? Make candied blood oranges! [Paper &amp; Stitch]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrush.com/12-money-saving-ideas-for-summertime/">12 Money-Saving Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat</a> &mdash; Change or clean your air conditioner's filter every month to make sure it runs efficiently. [Money Crush]</p> <p><a href="http://www.modestmoney.com/how-to-make-sure-your-moneys-safe-while-traveling/">How to Make Sure Your Money&rsquo;s Safe While Traveling</a> &mdash; Make photocopies of the front and back of each credit card you're traveling with. Leave copies with someone at home, and lock additional copies in your hotel room safe. [Modest Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/turn-loose-change-into-savings">Struggle to Save Regularly? 4 Tools That Turn Loose Change into Savings</a> &mdash; The app Acorns will round up your credit or debit card transactions and invest the change for you. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <p><a href="http://www.menuism.com/blog/ask-for-menu-modifications/">How to Ask for Menu Modifications Without Being &ldquo;That Guy&rdquo;</a> &mdash; Be specific about your dietary needs and let your server know exactly what you would like to be left out or substituted. [Menuism Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/4-warning-signs-your-car-is-fueling-a-future-financial-disaster/">4 Warning Signs Your Car Is Fueling A Future Financial Disaster</a> &mdash; Are you taking out a loan that will outlive the car? [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://fitzvillafuerte.com/how-to-find-what-youre-meant-to-do-in-life.html">How To Find What You&rsquo;re Meant To Do in Life</a> &mdash; Try as many things as you can &mdash; don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. [Ready To Be Rich]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-incorporate-more-romance-into-your-life-as-a-working-dad">How to Incorporate More Romance Into Your Life as a Working Dad</a> &mdash; Spend 15-20 minutes to connect with your partner when you come home, even if you're tired after a long day. [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-14-urban-gardening-tips">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/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That 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/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</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/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">Save the Tomatoes! Autumn Tips to Prolong the Growing Season</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/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</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/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips gardening Thu, 07 May 2015 19:00:15 +0000 Amy Lu 1415282 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_panels_000016723163_0.jpg" alt="Solar panels are green energy option for home rebate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously consider buying a home and I'm deep into the research and learning phase. One of the aspects I'm most intrigued by these days is how to perform a &quot;green&quot; renovation on an existing home. I've been happy to learn that there are multiple green rebates and credits that you can use in 2015 toward specific green improvements.</p> <h2>1. Geothermal Heat Pumps</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, energy consumption is one of the key areas that benefit from tax credits. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/geothermal_heat_pumps">Geothermal heat pumps</a> are renewable energy appliances that are not only good for the environment, but also an incredibly comfortable way to heat and cool your home. These heat pumps utilize the ground to generate hot water, heat, and air conditioning, unlike traditional heat pumps which utilize air. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient &mdash; and therefore less expensive &mdash; to run than traditional heat pumps.</p> <h2>2. Small Wind Turbines</h2> <p>Windmills may conjure visions of Holland or Don Quixote. But they should also give you visions of green, as in green energy and green back in your pocket. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/small_wind_turbines">Small wind turbines</a> convert kinetic wind energy into electricity that connects to your home's electrical system, and homeowners enjoy significant tax credits for their implementation</p> <h2>3. Solar Energy Systems</h2> <p>Solar energy systems have undergone significant innovation over the years, making them more efficient and less expensive than when they first appeared on the residential energy scene. In terms of tax rebates, there are two types of <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems">solar energy systems</a> that qualify: solar water heaters and solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fuel Cells</h2> <p>Of all of the green home rebates, the <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/fuel_cells">fuel cell</a> is the newest kid on the block. Fuel cells take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy to power cars and other consumer goods that have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. They offer a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.</p> <p>While these are the formal green home rebates offered by the federal government, there are plenty of other ways to save money (and the environment) with improvements to your home. ENERGY STAR offers an online <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted">Home Energy Yardstick</a> that will help you determine the energy efficiency of your home as it currently stands, and will make suggestions for ways to improve it.</p> <p>These improvements include better insulation and sealing, ENERGY STAR appliances and proper use of light fixtures, and even changes as simple as installing drapes, storm windows, and programmable thermostats. While these improvements don't carry tax rebates, they will help lower your energy costs without compromising your comfort. Good for you, good for the planet.</p> <p><em>How have you made your home more &quot;green&quot;? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">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/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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 Taxes eco friendly energy efficiency rebates renovations solar tax credits wind Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1392475 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_recycling_000013114340.jpg" alt="Woman happy because she made environmentally friendly investment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We'd all love to invest our money in a way that benefits our finances while helping to build a better world. If that sounds like a pipe dream to you, it's not. Impact investing is a growing trend, and there are plenty of ways to do well and do good with your money. Here are five classes of green investments that are kind to the Earth:</p> <h2>1. Green Bonds</h2> <p><a href="http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/gmtl/3382260/Green-Bonds-Planting-Seeds-for-Eco-Friendly-Investment.html#.VRmawpPF-l0">Green bonds</a> are a perfect entry point for someone interested in making a social investment. Like other bonds, you pay a certain amount of money for the bond now to get a larger amount of money at a specific future date. With green bonds, your up-front investment is used to finance environmentally friendly projects. They're relatively low-risk and provide critical funds that are urgently needed in the short-term for these green initiatives.</p> <h2>2. Green Mutual Funds</h2> <p>Chances are that if you have any type of retirement account, at least a portion of it is invested in mutual funds. If you'd like to use that money to support green projects, choose green funds when allocating your investments. Broadly speaking, these investments are also included under the umbrella of socially responsible investments.</p> <h2>3. Green Stocks</h2> <p>As an investor, you also have the option to invest directly in companies that have a green mission, product, or service. This means you can buy stock in a publicly traded company that produces renewable energy products such as solar panels, or any other &quot;green&quot; mission of your choice.</p> <h2>4. Green Startups</h2> <p>One of the riskiest (but perhaps one of the most potentially lucrative) green investments you can make is in a green startup. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who are founding companies in the environmentally-friendly space. They range from new composting techniques, to energy-saving products, to innovative concepts such as carbon credits that are bought and traded to compensate for energy consumption.</p> <h2>5. Sustainable Product Stocks</h2> <p>Many companies are taking up the green mantle by transforming their products and using renewable resources. Some also pledge a portion of their earnings to environmental nonprofits, and support green efforts in the communities where they operate. These companies can contribute enormously to protecting the environment, and supporting their efforts with your investment dollars and purchases can help encourage them to continue and enhance these practices.</p> <p>As always, it's important to make informed investment decisions. It's best to educate yourself about these options by reading about the ins and outs of green investing. I also suggest seeking the advice of a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Together, we can build a bright future for ourselves and for the planet as a whole through our investment dollars.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">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/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</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/7-ways-to-invest-in-biotech-without-getting-burned">7 Ways to Invest in Biotech Without Getting Burned</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-times-you-shouldnt-invest-in-stocks">10 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Invest in Stocks</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-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</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/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio">The Most Important Thing You&#039;re Probably Not Doing With Your Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Investment bonds eco-friendly environment mutual funds startups stocks sustainability Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Christa Avampato 1380916 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">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/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</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/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</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-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</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/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</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-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb recipes vegetables Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1345644 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Hidden Sources of Toxins in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-home-sponge-soap-iStock_000054343990_Small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning home" title="woman cleaning home" 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 some great articles on hidden sources of toxins in your home, signs your aging parents need help with their finances, and mind-blowing life hacks from Instagram.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/sources-of-indoor-air-pollution">8 Hidden Sources of Toxins in Your Home</a> &mdash; Most store-bought air fresheners emit enough toxic pollutants to lead to various health risks. [Small Footprint Family]</p> <p><a href="https://smartasset.com/personal-finance/5-signs-your-aging-parents-need-help-with-finances">5 Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help With Finances</a> &mdash; Do your parents seem careless or forgetful about their money? Envelopes of cash under the couch and uncashed checks on the kitchen table are signs that your parents need help managing their finances. [SmartAsset]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Life-Hacks-From-Instagram-31035085">16 Mind-Blowing Life Hacks From Instagram</a> &mdash; Need to crank up the tunes? Just drop your smartphone into a plastic, paper, or glass cup for extra volume. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3438/life-skills-for-young-adults">10 Essential Life Skills for 20-Somethings</a> &mdash; Learn sewing basics, like hemming and sewing on a button. They're easy skills to learn and will help you save on alterations! [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/health/diet-fitness/10-types-stretches-known-provide-stress-relief">10 Types of Stretches Known to Provide Stress Relief</a> &mdash; The Warrior Pose is a classic yoga pose that relieves stress and builds muscle. [SheBudgets]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/5-important-elements-success-people-seldom-mention.html">5 Important Elements of Success People Seldom Mention</a> &mdash; Sometimes, success is more about knowing the right people rather than working hard. It's often a collaborative effort. [Lifehack.org]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/03/08/9-ways-to-feel-less-stress-when-life-gets-crazy-busy/">9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy</a> &mdash; Before you go to bed each night, write down three things that went well that day and their causes. This daily gratitude exercise only takes 5 minutes, but it works wonders! [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/dealing-with-difficult-people/">5 Invincible Ways to Keep Your Cool When Dealing With Difficult People</a> &mdash; Don't take it personally. Difficult people tend to be difficult towards everyone &mdash; it isn't you. [Leading Edge Advocate]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacksmag.com/seven-cool-habits-of-very-punctual-people/">Seven Cool Habits of Very Punctual People</a> &mdash; Punctual people factor in time to deal with unexpected circumstances that may delay them. They might early often, but they're rarely late. [Life Hacks Magazine]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/11-ways-to-help-your-struggling-student">11 Ways to Help Your Struggling Student</a> &mdash; Children have different learning styles, and there are many ways to learn. Try different approaches with your child to see what works best for him. [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-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home">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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</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/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</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 best money tips home toxins Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:00:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1336821 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Outdoor Adventures That Don't Cost a Dime http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-outdoor-hiking-climbing-Dollarphotoclub_37077216.jpg" alt="woman climbing hiking" title="woman climbing hiking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Believe it or not, winter will end soon, and spring will bring perfect weather for experiencing the great outdoors. Fortunately, many of the greatest outdoor adventures can be had for free. Here are six of our favorites. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun?ref=seealso">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a>)</p> <h2>1. Foraging</h2> <p>Next time you are looking for a new outdoor activity, follow your stomach. Not only is foraging free, you'll return home with free food, too!</p> <p>Before setting out, it's important to do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foragingguide.com/">foraging research.</a> You don't want to end up eating something gross, or worse, poisonous. Get informed and start out by going in search of a couple of specific items that grow in your area. With a little practice, you can find a variety of herbs, edible flowers, and even delicious mushrooms. Connect with other local foragers to get tips and learn where to look. You can even practice foraging if you <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/23/178603623/want-to-forage-in-your-city-theres-a-map-for-that">live in a city</a>!&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Hiking</h2> <p>For the ultimate in outdoor exercise and adventure, go on a hike. Hikes come in all shapes and sizes, from short, leisurely affairs on well-maintained trails, to intense up-and-down treks that are off the beaten path. Some lead to waterfalls or canyons, while others traverse hilltop neighborhoods.</p> <p>Start by researching hikes people are doing in your area. Decide what intensity you're up for, pack necessary supplies like water, and consider going with a friend or two. Many cities and colleges have hiking groups that meet up regularly to try different routes, and some parks even offer <a href="http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ranger-led-activities.htm">free guided hikes</a>. If you're an experienced hiker, try something different, like a full moon hike.</p> <h2>3. Bird Watching</h2> <p>It's easy to overlook the amazing variety of birds in our surroundings, but there's a good reason that bird watchers are so passionate about their hobby. Study up on local species online or at the library, and take a walk through the wilderness or a park to experience the startling diversity of this fauna first-hand. Start with a few common species, making it your goal to spot them while on your first expedition. There are <a href="http://www.audubon.org/audubon-near-you">Audubon centers</a> in most cities and in some parks, frequently offering free resources like talks, guided nature walks, and binocular rentals.</p> <h2>4. Outdoor Sports</h2> <p>Chances are you've already got the items needed for a fun outdoor game. Take your bike out for a spin on a new route. Grab some friends, scraps of cloth (cut from old t-shirts or a sheet), and play a game of capture the flag. Cut the cloth smaller, and find yourself a football for a game of flag football. Use a round ball to play kickball, or gather various smaller balls to play bocce. Ask your friends what items they have available and pool your resources to play any number of games. It's a great way to spend a sunny day in the park or someone's backyard.</p> <h2>5. Star Gazing</h2> <p>How often do you stop and really look up at the night sky? It can be a beautiful and humbling experience, and is further enriched by a bit of knowledge. Find a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html">star chart</a> for your location and the appropriate month, perch yourself on a good vantage point, and see what stars you can identify. There are a few night sky apps with free versions that help you identify stars by pointing your smartphone at the sky. If you are astronomically inclined, check out your local observatory. They frequently have free programs and many host regular star watching groups where you can peer through a telescope zoomed in on current points of interest.</p> <h2>6. Geocaching</h2> <p>If you own a smartphone or GPS and feel like having a bit of an adventure on your own, try geocaching. This is basically a <a href="https://www.geocaching.com">tech-savvy scavenger hunt</a>, featuring items hidden all over, especially in major cities. Just open up the app and see if there are geocaches near you. Use your GPS to navigate and get ready to hunt for your chosen geocache. Once you've found a geocache, explore what's hidden inside, sign your name in the log, and share your experience online. The app is free, and more advanced geocaches are available with a paid upgrade.</p> <p><em>What free outdoors adventures do you enjoy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime">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-8"> <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/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks">Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks</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-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</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/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</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/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</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/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Green Living adventures camping cheap thrills hiking outdoors Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:00:09 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1316475 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Green Habits of Thrifty People http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-green-habits-of-thrifty-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-green-habits-of-thrifty-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-recycling-bottles-glass-Dollarphotoclub_39201903.jpg" alt="couple recycling" title="couple recycling" 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 some great articles on the green habits of thrifty people, how to be more productive with the 10 minute rule, and why restaurants don't want you to order dessert.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/10-green-habits-of-thrifty-people/">10 Green Habits of Thrifty People</a> &mdash; Thrifty people turn off lights when they don't need them, saving energy and reducing energy costs. [The Northern Cheapskate]</p> <p><a href="http://ridiculouslyefficient.com/productivity-hack-10-minute-rule">Productivity Hack: The 10 Minute Rule</a> &mdash; Allowing yourself only 10 minutes to do each item on your to-do list will help you reevaluate how you handle these tasks. [Ridiculously Efficient]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/0210/Why-restaurants-don-t-want-customers-ordering-dessert">Why Restaurants Don't Want Customers Ordering Dessert</a> &mdash; Restaurants see a bigger profit when they turn over a table than when diners order dessert. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/5-cheap-ways-to-decorate-your-home-for-spring">5 Cheap Ways to Decorate Your Home for Spring</a> &mdash; Use a few bright throw pillows to accessorize your chairs or couch. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://smartycents.com/articles/how-to-relieve-financial-stress/">How to Relieve Financial Stress: A Four-Step&nbsp;Plan</a> &mdash; Once you have admitted that you have financial problems, open up to your spouse or a friend about it. Ask for help. [Smarty Cents]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Free-Things-You-Shouldnt-Have-Pay-18695455">12 Things You Need to Stop Paying For</a> &mdash; If you have a smartphone, you can use a free texting app instead of paying for a text plan. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/prepare-taxes-for-filing/">Prepare Your Taxes Using This Detailed Guide for Getting Organized</a> &mdash; Use a tax checklist to make sure you have all the documents you need. If you're still waiting on a form, make a note of it! [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/7-factors-that-affect-car-insurance-rates/">7 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates</a> &mdash; Living in a crowded neighborhood means more opportunities for a fender bender, which can drive up your premiums. [Cash The Checks]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cultofmoney.com/2015/02/16/how-to-save-a-ton-of-money-on-clothes/">How to Save a Ton of Money on Clothes</a> &mdash; You'll find great deals on clothing around holidays and when the seasons change. It's even better if you combine sales with coupons! [Cult of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/8-things-to-say-ask-your-child-every-day">8 Things to Say &amp; Ask Your Child Every Day</a> &mdash; Ask them questions that will spur their thinking and allow them to see how their actions affect others. [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-green-habits-of-thrifty-people">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-9"> <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-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</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/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</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 best money tips green habits Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1299810 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-cloth-towel-Dollarphotoclub_53885463.jpg" alt="woman cleaning cloth" title="woman cleaning cloth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).</p> <h2>1. Reusable Paper Towels</h2> <p>My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these <a href="http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-unpaper-towels-without-a-sewing-machine/">DIY reusable paper towels</a> don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!</p> <h2>2. T-Shirt Rags</h2> <p>This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.</p> <h2>3. The Handkerchief</h2> <p>Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also <a href="http://wastenotblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/the-simplest-diy-handkerchief-edition/">make a handkerchief</a>&nbsp;from simple squares of fabric.</p> <h2>4. Washcloths</h2> <p>They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.</p> <h2>5. Cloth Wipes</h2> <p>Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of <a href="http://lightgreenmothering.com/2013/11/24/diy-no-sew-cloth-baby-wipes/">squares of flannel fabric</a> couldn't be easier.</p> <h2>6. Napkins</h2> <p>Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-sew-simple-cloth-dinner-napkins/pictures/index.html">handy napkin tutorial</a> shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.</p> <h2>7. Toilet Paper</h2> <p>This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-WASHABLE-TOILET-PAPER-from-old-bed-sheet/">cloth toilet paper</a>. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!</p> <h2>8. Burp Cloths</h2> <p>We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes &mdash; you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.</p> <h2>9. Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p>Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: <a href="http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/homemade-homemaking-disinfectant-wipes.html">DIY disinfectant wipes</a>. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?</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/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">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/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells 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/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</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/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</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/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</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-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning DIY recycle reusable Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1288488 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Energy Costs http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-changing-thermostat-iStock_000032848840Small.jpg" alt="woman changing thermostat" title="woman changing thermostat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's snow in the forecast. As much as I'd like to ignore all the fallen leaves in our backyard and gloss over the shorter daylight hours, the fact remains: Winter is upon us.</p> <p>We're in a new-to-us home this year, so how much our heating might cost is a wildcard. Thankfully, we've lined up some defenses to keep our energy bills as low as they can be. And these simple tips are universally helpful whether you live in a 1960s ranch or an 1880s Victorian.</p> <h2>1. Tame Drafts</h2> <p>The best way to keep the warm air in is to make sure it isn't flowing out. Take a tour around your home and examine windows and doors for any drafts. Our front door had a sizable gap at its base, so we installed weatherstripping and it took care of the cold air problem immediately.</p> <p>There are many ways to <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5955246/drafty-how-to-seal-your-windows-and-doors-from-the-cold">fill in voids</a>, including stripping, insulator kits, foam, silicone, etc. If you're in an apartment or just want a temporary fix, you can also use one of those draft guards. Here's a <a href="http://thefeltmouse.blogspot.com/2009/02/we-got-new-dog.html">DIY tutorial</a> using an old pair of tights, polyfill, and only a few stitches.</p> <h2>2. Lower the Thermostat</h2> <p>How low can you go on your thermostat this winter? Start just one degree and you could <a href="http://news.discovery.com/earth/big-savings-by-degrees-120515.htm">save up to 5%</a> (or around $10 per day) on your overall heating bill according to an analysis released by EnergyHub in 2012. The EPA recommends settings on 70 degrees during the eight hours most people are home turning it down to 62 degrees for the 16 hours when people are away or sleeping. And if you can get away with keeping your thermostat on lower (we keep ours on 67 during the day), that's great, too. Using a <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Simple-Dollar/2012/0601/Properly-used-a-programmable-thermostat-cuts-energy-costs">programmable thermostat</a> also helps you save by taking out the manual temperature changing.</p> <h2>3. Cover Yourself</h2> <p>Feeling nervous about taking the plunge? Keeping comfortable at lower thermostat levels isn't difficult. Wear more clothing! Long sleeves, pants, thick socks, and layers are the fashion statements in our house during the winter. We also keep a fleece blanket on the couch to ward off chills in the evening. Our beds are topped with flannel sheets and wool covers for the nights when our thermostat is at its lowest setting. You don't want to be frigid all season long, but some common sense is employed here.</p> <h2>4. Zone It Out</h2> <p>My family lives in a 4-bedroom home, but we're currently only using two of those bedrooms on a daily basis. So, we've closed the hot air vents in those rooms to redirect the heating to the spaces we're living in and keep the doors shut most hours of the day. If you have baseboard heating, see if there's a localized switch in your room so you can turn it off and shut the door. The savings here are hard to quantify because so many factors are involved (room size, etc.), however &mdash; the less area to heat, the more money that stays in your pockets.</p> <h2>5. Use Curtains</h2> <p>During the day, take advantage of the sun's rays by opening your curtains to let the light in. Even on the coldest days you'll get a boost, especially with those south-facing windows in the afternoon rays. Then in the evening, close your curtains to help keep the heat indoors. If your windows are bare (or you only have sheers), consider purchasing some <a href="http://www.sparkenergy.com/blog/2012/january/save-energy-with-insulated-curtains/">insulated curtains</a>, which protect your home from heat loss through conduction, infiltration, convection, and radiation. They come in all colors and patterns, too!</p> <h2>6. Service Your Furnace</h2> <p>It's one of those annoying home maintenance tasks you don't think you should need to do, but getting your furnace cleaned and evaluated each year can help save you cash and unexpected breakdowns. (It's also a safety thing, as furnaces can leak carbon monoxide into your home without your knowledge.) You'll also need to change out the filter at least once per season &mdash; or whenever it's dirty &mdash; to keep everything flowing as it should. Check your local coupon books to see if any HVAC providers are offering promotions.</p> <h2>7. Add Insulation</h2> <p>If your house is still feeling quite cold, take a trip to your attic to assess the insulation situation. In our last home, we were surprised to find only a few inches of the stuff keeping our heat from flowing out the roof. (Insulation acts like a hat does on your body.) We added a thick fiberglass roll to the entire attic ourselves and could tell the difference in our second floor level almost immediately. How much insulation you add and where you add it is going to depend on your home. If you plan to stay there for quite a while, it certainly makes sense to <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/adding-insulation-existing-home">evaluate and correct</a> any issues that might cost you big dollars as the years go on.</p> <p><em>How do you save on your winter energy bill? 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs">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-11"> <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-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter">How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter</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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</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/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)</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/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living Home furnace heating insulation utility bill winter Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1251558 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Save Money and Be Green http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-save-money-and-be-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-save-money-and-be-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hang-dry-laundry-186332454-small.jpg" alt="hang-dry laundry" title="hang-dry laundry" 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 some terrific articles on easy ways to save money and be green, breakfast ideas for every kind of morning, and Costco shopping secrets.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/8-easy-ways-to-save-money-be-green">8 Easy Ways To Save Money &amp; Be Green</a> &mdash; Move your fridge away from the stove or direct sunlight so it doesn't use more energy than necessary to keep things cool. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bestkeptself.com/2014/10/15/healthy-breakfast-every-kind-morning/">A (Healthy) Breakfast for Every Kind of Morning</a> &mdash; If you only have five minutes to prepare breakfast, banana almond breakfast toast is full of protein and fiber to keep you full for hours. [Best Kept Self]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Costco-35890518">25 Awesome Costco Shopping Secrets That Go Way Beyond Free Samples</a> &mdash; Besides major savings on bulk goods, your Costco membership also gives you discounts on car purchases and travel. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/5-dumbest-things-people-do-credit-and-debit-cards/">The 5 Dumbest Things People Do With Credit and Debit Cards</a> &mdash; If you need to give your card information to someone over the phone, make sure you're not in a public setting where others can hear it too. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T057-C000-S002-best-cell-phone-plans-for-every-type-of-user.html">Best Cell-Phone Plans for Every Type of User</a> &mdash; If you use a lot of data, the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan offers unlimited 4G LTE data at only $80 a month for a single user. [Kiplinger]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/10-things-about-money-30-somethings-wish-we-knew-in-our-20s">10 Things About Money 30-Somethings Wish We Knew in Our 20s</a> &mdash; Buying your first home or a new car is exciting, but take the time to consider your options, needs, and finances so you don't end up regretting this huge purchase. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/16/pf/travel-tipping-guide/index.html">How Much Should You Tip Housekeeping? A Travel Tipping Guide</a> &mdash; How much should you tip for common travel services? For housekeeping, it depends on the quality of service and the hotel, but start with $2/day. [CNN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://freefrombroke.com/how-to-budget-for-christmas-shopping/">How to Budget for Christmas Shopping</a> &mdash; The first step is to make a list of all holiday expenses, not just gifts. Include travel, meals, and other holiday-related spending to help you figure out what you can afford. [Free from Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/top-10-online-resources-self-betterment-shouldnt-ignoring">Top 10 Online Resources for Self-improvement That We Shouldn&rsquo;t Be Ignoring</a> &mdash; Need some guidance? Horse's Mouth is a free online community where you can connect with a mentor who can help you reach your goals. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/frozen-party-roundup-diy-ideas-from-around-the-web">Frozen Party Roundup: DIY Ideas From Around the Web</a> &mdash; Keep your Frozen-themed party cheap and easy with DIY Olaf party favors and sparkle snow. [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-how-to-save-money-and-be-green">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-12"> <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-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</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/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</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 best money tips Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:00:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1240475 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Save Cash by Purging Your Place of Plastics http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-recycling-plastics-81266232-small.jpg" alt="recycling" title="recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard a lot of bad stuff about plastics over the years. Anything from plastic bottles leaching BPA or <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/which-plastics-are-safe.html">other hormone disrupting chemicals</a> into food and drink to the harm plastic bags have on the environment as they pile up in landfills and oceans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling?ref=seealso">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a>)</p> <p>If you've ever considered heading down a less plastic-y path &mdash; no matter the reason &mdash; start here with some sound tips for consuming less. It could even save you money.</p> <h2>1. Give Up Bottled Water</h2> <p>Not only is bottled water remarkably more expensive than the H2O you get from the tap, it comes in plastic bottles, creating a ton of waste you need to deal with after you sip. Instead, pick up a glass or metal water bottle that you can reuse again and again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you?ref=seealso">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice Might Surprise You</a>)</p> <h2>2. Eat Whole Foods</h2> <p>Another way plastic makes a sneaky appearance into our homes is through the packaged foods we buy at the grocery store. Most whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meat) come with little or no packaging, so stock your cart with them. Otherwise, make condiments, breads, and other pantry goods from scratch whenever possible to save on both waste and money. Once you get the hang, it's not as difficult as it sounds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring Your Bag</h2> <p>While you're at it, always bring reusable bags to the grocery store or skip them entirely. I shop at Aldi, so if I forget my canvas bags, I get charged for new ones. Talk about incentive. So, I go around the aisles and pick up a few cardboard boxes to carry my food. If you do have quite a stash of plastic bags, recycle them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>4. Try Cloth</h2> <p>Whether it's for diapers or sandwich bags, there are options that can help steer you away from plastic. Try some of the many cloth alternatives to everyday plastic products we consume. Though buying these items in cloth is a bigger investment initially, you can use them for years to come and eventually break even (or save money). In the case of cloth diapers, you may even be able to resell ones in good condition and get back the bulk of your dollars.</p> <h2>5. Use Glass</h2> <p>In the kitchen, my favorite plastic alternative is glass. I have Ball jars of various shapes and sizes that I use in place of plastic baggies for freezing foods. Some tips:</p> <ul> <li>Let foods cool completely before freezing;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Leave 2-3 inches of headroom for soups and applesauce that might expand when frozen;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>And handle carefully to avoid breaking.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, we have a shelving system for all our bulk foods that are stored in &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; Ball jars. Oh, and I also put my leftovers in them versus covering with plastic wrap.</p> <h2>6. Concoct Your Own Cleaning Products</h2> <p>If you make eco-friendly cleaners from scratch, you'll keep a load of plastic out of your home on bottles alone. My favorite all-purpose spray is just half a bottle of vinegar with half water and 10-20 drops of my favorite essential oils. You can even make your own laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar with water and castile soap &mdash; here are five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">simple detergent recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house?ref=seealso">8 Green Cleaners You Already Have in Your Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Eat In</h2> <p>A ton of waste is created when we get foods to-go. Between plastic containers, utensils, and bags, it piles up, and fast. So, if you want to enjoy food out, take the time to have a sit-down meal. Better yet, save your cash and cook your meal at home or pack your lunch for work. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids">some packable lunch recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">10 Tricks to Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>8. Examine Personal Care</h2> <p>Yes &mdash; most of those products and potions you use to clean and care for yourself are clad in plastic. They also contain some ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. You can try the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-shampoo-the-baking-soda-experiment">no-shampoo method</a> of washing your hair using baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse. I recently made my own <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/diy-natural-lotion-cubes.html">DIY lotion cubes</a> custom for my sensitive skin using shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil. And <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/5-minute-homemade-deodorant-review.html">homemade deodorant</a> really works &mdash; trust me! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>9. Buy Less and Repair</h2> <p>Rather than immediately toss a broken plastic item and buy new, try to repair it. Or just buy fewer plastic things in general. Much of what we purchase isn't terribly essential anyway. If you do need to buy something, consider second-hand versus new. Check Craigslist, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and more. You can save additional plastics from ending up in landfills this way (and keep some cash in your pocket).</p> <h2>10. Start Small</h2> <p>If you're committed to living with fewer plastics, you can become overwhelmed when you see how much of our lives is literally wrapped up in the stuff. So, pick a room or purpose and start from there. You may want to give the <a href="http://www.nationofchange.org/numbers-plastic-bottles-what-do-plastic-recycling-symbols-mean-1360168347">worst offenders</a> the boot first. Generally speaking, numbers 2, 4, and 5 are safest. Avoid the rest. Remember: Any move away is in the right direction for your health, your wallet, and your planet.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to use less plastic? 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics">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-13"> <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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</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-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</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-unique-garden-containers-and-techniques">10 Unique Garden Containers and Techniques</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-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time">How I Saved $30,000 and Helped the Earth at the Same Time</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/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living declutter extra income plastics recycling Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1233077 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cooking-oven-176826878-small.jpg" alt="woman cooking oven" title="woman cooking oven" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With energy prices on the rise and antique power grids patched together with gum and twine, it's time to take some control and get serious about reducing your use of the juice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso">15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight ways you're probably wasting electricity without realizing it.</p> <h2>1. Plugging, But Not Playing</h2> <p>Forget about the zombies; it's much more likely that your home is filled with vampires. Energy vampires are those devices and appliances we tend to leave plugged in 24/7 whether we're using them or not. And &mdash; on or off &mdash; every item that's plugged in is sucking power vampire-style. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, <a href="http://energy.gov/articles/are-energy-vampires-sucking-you-dry">vampire energy can add as much as 10%</a> to a consumer's monthly energy bill.</p> <p>Let's use your microwave as an example. How often throughout the day do you use it to prepare food? And yet, it remains plugged in, digitally displaying the time and silently sipping electricity in the process. It's a like a 30-pound clock with a motor and rotating cooking tray. Any appliance that uses energy to do virtually nothing should at least pay you a sincere compliment every time you walk by it (a feature that industrial engineers should diligently be working on, in my humble opinion).</p> <p>Help drain energy vampires by unplugging electronics and appliances you seldom use. And if you're a gadget hound, read up on the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RGF29Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000RGF29Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=C4OGZYRT3FH5G6LE">Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor</a>. For around $30.00, this handy little product calculates the energy consumed by keeping any electronic appliance plugged in and forecasts your related costs weekly, monthly, and yearly. Just plug it into an outlet, plug your device or appliance into it, and get a digital read-out. Once you see how the numbers add up, it'll be difficult to leave those vampires alone.</p> <h2>2. Cranking Up the Oven</h2> <p>When it comes to cooking a single item, an oven is often the &quot;nuclear option.&quot; That single-serving pizza or leftover tuna casserole could be warmed up in the microwave and then finished in the toaster oven. For little jobs, consider how to cook in stages using smaller appliances that sip electricity instead of automatically gravitating toward the power-sucking behemoths.</p> <h2>3. Getting in Hot Water</h2> <p>According to EnergyStar.gov, simply <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_save_energy_at_home">heating the water accounts for 90% of the total power</a> it takes wash a load of laundry. That's a whole lot of wattage. For regular loads, switch to cold water for a month and see if you notice any difference in the cleanliness of your duds. Reserve warmer water settings for fighting oil-based stains. Your budget will thank you for it.</p> <h2>4. Dish-Drying</h2> <p>Hot water helps your dishwasher do its job, but drying with heat is added energy drain that's largely unnecessary. Today, most dishwashers feature a heated drying option that you can simply choose not to use. And though heated drying does help avoid spots on dishes, you can get the same benefit by adding a rinsing agent.</p> <h2>5. Fighting the Flow</h2> <p>As obvious as it sounds, if your home features a central air-conditioning and heating system, check your vents. Vents have a way of blending into the background of our homes; many get closed inadvertently and that can result in systems that have to work extra hard to do the job. While you're at it, make sure vents, ducts, and any filters are clean and installed properly. If you find dirt or debris that's unreachable, or if you see visible signs of mold, it may be time to have your <a href="http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html#deciding">air ducts professionally cleaned</a>.</p> <h2>6. Lighting Up for the Holidays</h2> <p>Still using your dad's old string of holiday lights from 1975? Well, those incandescent bulbs are using just enough electricity to drain your gift-buying budget. Ditch the old and switch to new LED lights. You'll get hours of twinkling for a tiny fraction of the electric output.</p> <h2>7. Fridge-Gazing</h2> <p>It's a popular pastime, but standing in front of that open fridge trying decide if you have enough ingredients for a decent turkey club isn't doing your electric bill any favors. Ponder before you open the fridge or after you've quickly scanned its contents and shut the door.</p> <p>And while we're on the subject, make sure you're doing all you can to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips">help your refrigerator last for years</a>.</p> <h2>8. Ignoring Power Hours</h2> <p>Though it might not cut your electricity consumption, reserving energy-intensive tasks for off-peak hours can reduce the rate you pay. Since many power companies offer discounted rates after 8:00 p.m., focus not only on <em>how</em> you do things, but <em>when</em>. Check with your local power company to determine if it offers an off-peak discount and when off-peak hours begin and end. Then, whenever possible, schedule your laundry and dishwashing tasks to fit within that period.</p> <p>It's easy to think of electricity as a mysterious force coursing through power lines that magically illuminates all we do. But in reality, it's a concrete resource that we have direct control over. Luckily, we don't need to understand electricity to conserve it. So the next time you plug in, charge up, turn on, or warm up, think of ways to do each smarter.</p> <p><em>How do you save energy in your home? What methods have the greatest impact on your electricity bill?</em></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-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">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-14"> <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-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</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/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)</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/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</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/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home electricity utilities Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1227736 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tea-tin.jpg" alt="tea tins" title="tea tins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever the seasons change, I get this itch to do a total cleaning to our drawers, kitchen shelves, and closets. Over the years, though, I've learned that sometimes my brain gets ahead of me with all this cathartic purging. I'm not advocating that you hold onto these things to the bitter end, but definitely give yourself some time before you decide to toss or donate them for good. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <p>You can repurpose a variety of items to meet your current needs &mdash; all while saving yourself money and more clutter in the process. Here are 10 items you might want to toss away with some smart ideas for how to use them in new ways.</p> <h2>1. Old T-Shirts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/old%20tshirts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Before you take an armful of old t-shirts to the donation center, consider other ways you can use them in your home. You can cut them up into wash rags to save you cash on paper towels, for example. And if you're crafty, there are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-stylish-diy-clothing-projects-for-women">upcycled clothing projects</a> you can make, from fabric scarves to skirts.</p> <h2>2. Crib</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-crib.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Even if you don't plan to have any more babies, resist the urge to place that crib on the curb. You can make an awesome <a href="http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html">desk for your big kids</a> using a little chalkboard paint and creativity. Simply cut a piece of particle board to the size of the mattress and adjust to the correct height. Add a chair plus some hanging accessories, and you're done!</p> <h2>3. Baby Gate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-gate2.jpg" /></p> <p>And that baby gate that's collecting dust? Keep it around if you suspect you might ever want to add a puppy to your family. If that's not the case, you can also use it <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/reusing-cribs-and-baby-gates-in-the-garden-170442">in the garden</a> as a frugal trellis.</p> <h2>4. Wine Corks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/wine-corks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you haven't heard, there's quite an assortment of wine cork crafts that are as functional as they are pretty. I love this <a href="http://stephanieteaches.blogspot.com/2014/03/wine-dont-whine.html">wine cork kitchen mat</a> that took over 240 corks and a lot of patience to make. If that project is a bit too advanced, start small with this wine cork <a href="http://www.adventuresintrying.com/2011/07/25/flashback-diy-wine-cork-board/">bulletin board</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">15 Common Kitchen Castoffs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wooden Crates</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/fruit-crate.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fruit crates &mdash; old and new &mdash; can be reused for a variety of purposes. My favorite is this stylish <a href="http://www.remodelista.com/posts/diy-crate-shelves-on-wheels">rolling cart</a> made from three crates on their sides. Just fasten together and add the casters, which you can find inexpensively at most hardware stores.</p> <h2>6. Plastic Spray Bottles</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/spray-bottle.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've finished your window cleaner or all-purpose suds, save those spray bottles and try making your own green cleaners to fill them with using ingredients like vinegar, water, and castile soap. You'll save money and improve your home's health &mdash; all while being green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>7. Tea Tins</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/tea-tin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm a tea fanatic, so I have quite my share of colorful tins of all shapes and sizes. I use them to house supplies like paper clips and pushpins. I've also seen some cute indoor herb gardens or even candles made by melting wax into the container and adding a wick.</p> <h2>8. Picture Frame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/picture-frame.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We all have an old picture frame somewhere lurking in our closets. Put it to good use painting over the glass and making a functional <a href="http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2013/03/07/how-to-make-a-diy-chalkboard-from-an-old-picture-frame/">DIY chalkboard</a>. You can use it in your office or even incorporate it into your home holiday decor.</p> <h2>9. Window Shade</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/window-shade.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Changed your window dressings? No problem. Before tossing that old window shade, consider giving it to your kids as a <a href="http://www.fromgardners2bergers.com/2014/02/diy-restoration-hardware-chalkboard.html">roll-up blackboard</a>. You can also use it for some sophisticated decor in much the same way. All you do is paint with chalkboard paint and draw on your desired image.</p> <h2>10. Toothbrush</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="/files/fruganomics/u5123/toothbrush.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>According to the American Dental Association, you should be changing out your toothbrush every <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-">three to four months</a>. Use the discarded brushes for cleaning your home. They work especially well in the bathroom on tough grout stains and other hard-to-reach areas that need a little scrubbing.</p> <p><em>What do you regularly keep and re-purpose? 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">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-15"> <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/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</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/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today</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-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</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/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</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-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living crafts DIY recycle reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1209318 at http://www.wisebread.com