Green Living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4805/all en-US 18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/empty_glass_bottles_000056169688.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways t reuse empty glass bottles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was in a secondhand store recently and saw a beautiful corked bottle on the shelf for sale. It wasn't until I had it in my hand, reading the $3 price tag, that I recognized it as identical to the empty tequila bottle I'd tossed into the recycling earlier.</p> <p>Maybe you're embarrassed (like me) by the loud jingling sound when you push your bins to the curb, or you'd rather spend your money on a fine vintage than on home decor (like me); either way, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash" target="_blank">turning empty bottles into art</a>, light fixtures, and useful household objects is a smart move. Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Without a Glass Cutter</h2> <p>If you don't own a glass cutter or any other fancy tools, you can still get artsy with intact empties. For all these ideas, start by soaking the bottle in warm soapy water to get the label off. If there is any residue left after the soak, a solvent such as lighter fluid can get it off.</p> <h3>1. Bird Feeder</h3> <p>All you need to make an inverted <a href="https://thechickenstreet.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/wine-bottle-bird-feeder/">wine bottle into a bird feeder</a> is one plank of wood and some basic woodworking tools.</p> <h3>2. Candy Jar</h3> <p>Fill a clean, dry bottle with candy as an alternative to a treat bowl on your desk &mdash; or use mini bottles for candy-filled adult party favors. To dress it up, add a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Chalkboard-Painted-Wine-Bottle/step3/Actually-Painting-the-Bottle/">stripe of chalkboard paint</a>, where you can write the name of the gift recipient or party guest, or the type of candy.</p> <h3>3. Yard Torch</h3> <p>Anyone can stick a candle in an empty wine bottle, but with a few dollars' worth of supplies from the hardware store, you can <a href="http://helloglow.co/diy-wine-bottle-citronella-candles/">turn your empties into torches</a> that could stylishly illuminate your whole backyard. Just fill the bottle with marbles and fuel, stick a tiki wick through a metal coupler, and light it up.</p> <h3>4. Table Card Holder</h3> <p>At a rustic-style wedding, a wine bottle with a cork in the top could handily <a href="http://www.weddingchicks.com/2013/09/24/natural-chic-wedding/">hold a table number</a>. Slice the cork halfway down from the top, and place the card in the resulting slot.</p> <h3>5. Vase</h3> <p>While an unadorned empty bottle can hold flowers as is, you can also dress it up by painting the surface, swirling paint inside for a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/craft-of-the-day-paint-swirl-vase_n_1466328.html">Venetian glass effect</a>, or spraying it with adhesive and wrapping with a pretty ribbon.</p> <h3>6. Candelabra</h3> <p>Line up half a dozen identical empties (hello, six-pack discount) and put candles in the tops to make a casual candelabra. For more polish, spray the bottles with metallic paint. Or spring for one of these <a href="http://www.beveragefactory.com/wine/wine-gifts/fleur_wine_bottle_candelabra_42-232.html?CAWELAID=1372128416&amp;CAGPSPN=pla&amp;CAAGID=28020747258&amp;CATCI=pla-93389998458&amp;catargetid=320012430000341573&amp;cadevice=c&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw6sC5BRCogcaY_dKZ2nESJABsZihxgCrTjzNzhxPcnCAvSK_Iox2dRDGStb08-ayllmuLmBoCqunw_wcB">candelabra bottle toppers</a> to hold all your candles in a single bottle. You could <a href="http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2015/03/diy-wine-bottle-wall-sconce.html">attach your bottle candelabras to a sconce</a> to make them into permanent wall decor.</p> <h3>7. Rolling Pin</h3> <p>Keep a clean empty in the kitchen for this purpose.</p> <h3>8. Boot Holder</h3> <p>Have tall leather or vinyl boots that flop over on the closet floor and get unsightly creases? Put some pebbles in the bottom of empty bottles, and stand them up inside the boots to make them stand at attention.</p> <h3>9. Vessel for a Gift</h3> <p>A pretty, very clean bottle can be repurposed to hold so many homemade goodies: infused oils, homemade infused vodka, bubble bath &mdash; the options are endless. If the gift will take a long time to use, securely attach a fancy drawer pull to the cork to make the bottle easy to unstop.</p> <h3>10. Garden Edger</h3> <p>Bury your bottles upside down to demarcate the borders of your garden. This idea is probably best used in a yard not frequented by children who could break a bottle and get hurt.</p> <h3>11. Slow-Drip Irrigator</h3> <p>Drill a small hole through the cork, fill the bottle with water, replace cork, and place upside down in the planter.</p> <h3>12. Leveling Tool</h3> <p>When hanging framed pictures on the wall, use a bottle to make sure it's exactly straight. Fill the bottle with water even with the top of the label and hold it so that it's bottom is perfectly aligned with the frame's top. Adjust until the water in the bottle is level.</p> <h3>13. Bottle Tree</h3> <p>Popular in the <a href="http://ritamonette.blogspot.com/2010/12/legend-of-bottle-tree.html">American South</a> and linked to folk beliefs about trapping bad spirits in the glass, trees festooned with colored bottles can be a beautiful landscaping feature, especially in winter. There are many <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/2309jrw/bottle-trees/">spectacular ways to arrange bottles</a> on real trees or frames specially built for the purpose. Blue is the most popular color for these, so bring on the Bombay Sapphire gin, Skyy vodka, and Blue Nun wine.</p> <h2>With a Glass Cutter</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2210p40">Glass cutting tools</a> run from about $5 to $30 (not as fancy as I thought!). They can come in the form of a simple hand tool, or in the form of a drill bit. What they do is score the glass so that you can break it off along the score line. To break it, you need to alternately heat and cool the glass a few times. Or, you can knock the portion of the bottle below the score line off using a hammer. Then you need to sand the sharp edge. Using this technique, you can remove the bottom or top from a bottle, opening up more ways to reuse it.</p> <h3>14. Hanging Planter</h3> <p>Remove the bottom, then <a href="http://diyready.com/wine-bottle-crafts-how-to-make-wine-bottle-planters/">fill with plants</a> wrapped in moss for a cool upside-down, sun-catching planter.</p> <h3>15. Drinking Glasses</h3> <p>You'll see a lot of online tutorials on turning empty wine bottles into drinking glasses. While this is possible, keep in mind that the freshly cut edge of a bottle will be extremely sharp, and <a href="http://thespacebetweenblog.net/cut-bottle-string-trick-really-work/">may not cut cleanly</a>, depending on your method and skill. You'll need to do a lot of <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Drinking-Glasses-from-Wine-Bottles/">grinding and sanding</a> to get the edge smooth enough to raise to your lips.</p> <h3>16. Bottle Chandelier</h3> <p>There are many, many possible designs for chandeliers made of wine bottles online. What most designs have in common is that you cut your bottle open, <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/make-and-decorate/decorating/how-to-make-a-chandelier-from-old-wine-bottles">string a light inside it</a>, and attach it to a wood or metal holder to suspend from the ceiling. What with the glass cutting, the wood or metal working, and some minor electrical work, it's a bit of a project. But the results can be stunning, and would be great decor for a rec room, man cave, or deck.</p> <h2>With a Drill</h2> <p>Using a tile and glass bit, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/drills/how-to-drill-a-hole-in-glass/view-all#step2">drill a hole in a glass bottle</a> with a little practice and care.</p> <h3>17. Lantern</h3> <p>Drill a hole into the back of a wine bottle and thread through a string of small LED lights to make a beautiful lantern. This technique could also be used when making a chandelier.</p> <h3>18. Party Lights</h3> <p>Drill a hole in the bottom or side of a bottle, then <a href="http://witandwhistle.com/2009/11/03/diy-wine-bottle-light/">shove in a string of holiday lights</a>. You could also push the lights in the top of the bottle, but it wouldn't look as elegant.</p> <p><em>Any clever re-uses for glass bottles we've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">5 Pretty Projects for Pine Cones</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living crafts decorating eco friendly empty bottles glass bottles lighting projects recycling Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1721636 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000013042218.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gardening is a satisfying lifelong hobby that keeps me fit, saves me money on food, and &mdash; without sounding too cheesy, I hope &mdash; lets me live a more beautiful life.</p> <p>Many people turn to home gardening hoping to gain these benefits, only to find at the end of the summer that they've spent hundreds of dollars on dead trees and bug-ravaged vegetables.</p> <p>Many garden failures are caused by human error, rather than a plague of locusts. The following 13 basic skills are worth spending time to master, as they will not only help you get the most enjoyment out of your garden, but also save you money, too.</p> <h2>1. Soil Analysis</h2> <p>Before you plant, it's important to know if your garden soil can actually support life.</p> <p>The first thing you will want to know about your soil is its pH. Is your soil alkaline, acidic, or neutral? Soil that is too alkaline or acidic keeps plants from absorbing key nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so your plants suffer malnutrition. Although you can send your soil to a professional lab for testing, there are several inexpensive ways to <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Test-Soil-pH">test soil pH at home</a>.</p> <p>The second thing you need to know about your soil before you plant is its structure. Soil that is too sandy won't hold nutrients, and soil that has too much clay can suffocate a plant's roots by limiting its access to water and air.</p> <p>Although some people are blessed with perfect soil, most of us have dirt with less than ideal pH and texture. Luckily, even <a href="http://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-soil-problems-and-amendment-solutions-5/">poor soils can be improved</a> by adding amendments.</p> <h2>2. Composting</h2> <p>One of the best soil amendments to add to your garden is compost. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">Compost is an excellent soil conditioner</a> that improves the texture and nutrition levels of all types of dirt. Also, since compost is made from household garbage, it saves you money in two ways: It's a free and natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, and it cuts down on your garbage bill and your water bill.</p> <p>Compost is really just controlled rotting. Contrary to popular belief, a well-tended compost pile isn't stinky, and composting is not a hard skill to learn, as microbes and worms do most of the work! Compost is made from two types of waste: green and brown. Green waste is made up of nitrogen-rich waste like grass clippings, coffee grounds, and food waste. Brown waste is made up of carbon-rich waste like dead leaves, pine needles, sawdust, or shredded paper. If the compost gets too stinky, add more brown waste. If the compost isn't breaking down fast enough, add more green waste. Well-balanced compost has a nice loamy smell and texture.</p> <p>Composting dramatically cuts down on what my household sends to the landfill, which is good for the planet. In addition to composting all of my plant-based food waste and yard trimmings, I also compost greasy pizza boxes and used cardboard food containers that cannot be recycled.</p> <p>Compost also helps my heavy clay soil retain water, which is vital, since Southern California is currently suffering from an endless drought.</p> <h2>3. Tracking Sunlight</h2> <p>Most vegetables need plenty of sun to thrive, so if your yard is shady year-round, you will be disappointed in your harvest. How much sunlight your growing area gets determines what you can grow. Although there are sun tracking apps, it's easy to <a href="http://getbusygardening.com/how-to-determine-sun-exposure/">track sun exposure</a> with just a pen and paper.</p> <h2>4. Seed Starting</h2> <p>Planting your vegetable and flower garden from seed has two huge advantages. First, there are far more varieties available in seed form than as seedlings. Second, unless you are like me and read seed catalogs with the intensity that most people reserve for pornography, <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">gardening from seed</a> is the least expensive way to grow plants.</p> <p>FYI, you can buy seeds and plants that produce food with Food Stamps! Consider stretching your SNAP benefits by keeping a small garden. If you buy a package of tomato seeds for $3.00 and grow 10 tomatoes from just one plant, that is a huge return on your investment.</p> <h2>5. Seed Saving</h2> <p>Why buy seeds when you can just use seeds that you grew yourself last season? Saving seeds isn't just a great way to shrink your garden budget. It's also a great way to grow your community. My friend Steve has an impressive victory garden that he grew from seeds that he &quot;checked out&quot; from the <a href="http://www.kclibrary.org/seedlibrary">Kansas City Public Library</a> with his library card. If you love the idea of a seed library as much as I do but can't find one in your area, the Richmond, California Public Library has a tutorial on <a href="http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/create-a-library.html">how to start your own</a>!</p> <h2>6. Container Gardening</h2> <p>Not everyone has fixable soil or even open ground to use as a growing space. Luckily, container gardening allows even apartment-dwellers to create their own green space. Although I am incredibly vain about my vast collection of terra cotta pots, you can grow ridiculous amounts of food in containers such as plastic storage tubs and recycled food buckets. That said, Pinterest is full of brilliant ideas for <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/romanapartment/upcycled-garden-planters/">upcycled planters</a>, made from items you probably already own, for all kinds of vegetation.</p> <h2>7. Plant Propagation From Stem Cuttings</h2> <p>I learned how to <a href="http://needlesandleaves.net/blog/2013/5/31/propagating-leggy-succulents">grow succulents from cuttings</a> as a kid and never looked back. Every year when I trim back my succulents, I save the cuttings to use as barter currency with the neighbors, to sell at my garage sale, or to pot up and give as gifts. Plants are great gifts, for just about every occasion. This one little skill makes/saves me at least $100 every year between what I save on buying gifts and what I sell for cold hard cash. More importantly, I managed to plant 90% of my front yard with plant cuttings I collected from my friends and neighbors. I saved hundreds of dollars on my landscaping budget because I barely had to buy any greenery.</p> <p>But why limit yourself to just succulents? There are so many great indoor and outdoor plants that can be grown from cuttings.</p> <h2>8. Transplanting</h2> <p>My husband loves to collect&hellip; everything. So he's always out in the yard, sticking something new into the ground. Unfortunately, up until recently, about 50% of what he planted immediately croaked. I only discovered the cause of his brown thumb this year. He had no idea that he needed to immediately water plants after transplanting to prevent shock. Now that he's learned the basic rules of transplanting, he hasn't lost a plant.</p> <h2>9. Watering</h2> <p>Everyone knows you can kill a plant by underwatering, but did you know the most common cause of death in indoor plants is overwatering? Fortunately, learning the proper way to water your plants, both inside and out, is not rocket science. Also, learning <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/22/six-ways-to-save-water-in-your-garden">good watering techniques</a> will cut down on your water bill, even if you don't live in a drought-stricken area.</p> <h2>10. Mulching</h2> <p>I love to mulch, because it provides immediate gratification. The yard looks instantly tidier after mulching. Also, mulch cuts down on weeds, and helps the soil retain water.</p> <p>I am a great proponent of liquor store mulch, aka <a href="http://permaculturenews.org/2012/07/20/gorgeous-gardens-from-garbage-how-to-build-a-sheet-mulch/">sheet mulching</a>, because I don't even have to weed before I lay down the sweet, sweet topcoat. Also, it's basically free. Here's how I mulch:</p> <ul> <li>Get cardboard boxes from my corner liquor store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cover my dirt, weeds and all, with flattened cardboard boxes, working around existing plants. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water until the cardboard is super wet. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shovel green waste onto the cardboard. I use manure that my chicken-raising neighbor is so happy to give me for free, but you can use compost, grass cutting, etc.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shovel brown waste on top of everything to hide the stinky green waste. I used dead leaves and shredded cardboard boxes, but you can use what you have on hand. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water, water, water.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wait. By the following year, you will have lovely topsoil to grow in and far fewer weeds.</li> </ul> <p>By the way, if you aren't planning on growing a garden next season and just want to make your current planting look better, many cities offer free mulch, made from chopped up city trees, as part of their recycling programs. Just lay down that wood mulch over cardboard and call it a day.</p> <h2>11. Managing Pests</h2> <p>My mother is a master gardener. The second she thought my sister and I were old enough to handle garden tools without goring each other, she enlisted us in slug patrol. Every morning before school, we had to go out to the garden and decapitate every slug we found. To this day, I can throw a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009JXFUMW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B009JXFUMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KTHMWMHZ3FKPFQSI">weed digger</a> five feet with deadly precision.</p> <p>But killing slugs <em>Game of Thrones-</em>style is just one of the ways I manage pests in my garden.</p> <p>My favorite method of pest management is companion planting, because the plants do most of the maintenance work. One of my very favorite garden hacks is The <a href="https://www.almanac.com/content/companion-planting-three-sisters">Three Sisters</a>, an Iroquois planting method that is perfect in its simplicity. The three sisters are corn, climbing beans, and squash. These three crops are planted together in a mound of dirt. The corn provides a trellis for the beans. The beans are nitrogen-fixers, so they fertilize the soil for the corn and the squash. The squash's prickly leaves act as mulch, and they shade the roots of the other two sisters. The squash also acts as a defense against rodents and raccoons that don't like crawling through the prickly leaves to eat the beans and the corn. So genius.</p> <p>Because I am a beekeeper and own a koi pond, I cannot use chemical garden sprays without also killing my pets. Luckily, there are plenty of homemade bug sprays that do the job and are made of things you can find in your kitchen.</p> <h2>12. Pruning</h2> <p>There are a number of reasons why you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">leave tree pruning to the experts</a>, but pruning shrubs and other small plants is easy, once you know how. Although most people think of pruning as decorative, proper pruning actually keeps plants healthy by removing dead or dying parts of plants that have been damaged by weather, disease, bugs, or animals. Pruning can also make a plant more productive by forcing the plant to put more energy into producing fruit or flowers.</p> <h2>13. Maintaining Tools</h2> <p>I am terrible at this. After spending approximately $539,287 to repeatedly replace wood-handled tools that I left in the yard to the mercy of the elements, I finally had to purchase way too expensive, rust-proof, all metal tools. Don't be me.</p> <p>Actually, maintaining tools is remarkably easy. If you clean your tools after every use and store them in a dry place, you can make most hand tools last a lifetime.</p> <p><em>Do you have a green thumb? What garden skills save you the most money and time?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</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-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home composting frugal person garden gardening green thumb how-to landscaping skills Thu, 26 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Max Wong 1717714 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart and Frugal Uses for Epsom Salt http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000066532185_Large.jpg" alt="epsom salts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The next time you're at the store, pick up a bag of epsom salt. These inexpensive crystals won't only ease your aches and pains in a warm bath &mdash; there's a host of other awesome things you can do with them! From feeding your lawn to cleaning pots and pans, here are 10 smart and frugal uses for epsom salt.</p> <h2>1. Clean Cast Iron</h2> <p>We had an old cast iron skillet in need of some love, so I searched around and found this&nbsp;<a href="http://storiesofkel.blogspot.com/2013/11/how-to-clean-cast-iron-skillet.html">simple method</a> to restore it using epsom salt. Rinse off any excess rust and then scrub with epsom salt followed by baking soda or table salt. Rinse again, dry, and coat the inside with a little olive oil. Heat pan on low for 30 minutes to let the oil soak in to finish.</p> <h2>2. Feed Your Lawn</h2> <p>The folks at Bob Vila's site explain that one good way to rescue your dying lawn is to feed it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/7-remedies-to-rescue-a-dying-lawn-48982/epsom-salt-in-garden">with epsom salt</a>. It sure beats using chemicals on price and safety. You can either fill your lawn spreader with the salt, or mix it with water and apply to your lawn with a garden sprayer. The idea is to get your soil to a neutral pH of seven.</p> <h2>3. Kill Nasty Weeds</h2> <p>While you're at it, stir together this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hometalk.com/1903802/natural-weed-control-that-works">effective weed killer</a> for those trouble spots in and around the grass. You'll need a gallon of white vinegar, two cups of epsom salt, and a quarter of a cup of blue Dawn soap. You can scale this recipe down if you like so it will fit into a convenient spray bottle. Kills weeds in just a few, sunny, hours.</p> <h2>4. Boost Your Magnesium</h2> <p>Whether you take a bath or soak your feet in epsom salt, you will add some vital magnesium to your body. It may help you relax and have better sleep, among other benefits. Take your routine a step beyond by mixing together your own<a href="http://gwens-nest.com/magnesium-oil-recipe/"> magnesium oil spray</a>. Heat one cup of distilled water to boiling, turn off heat, and then mix in a half cup of epsom salt until fully dissolved. Pour cooled mixture into a spritz bottle.</p> <p>Similar oils cost around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NHN9OA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004NHN9OA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TAVWNQGUM6RN7AKJ">$8 to $20</a>. This batch? Less than $1!</p> <h2>5. Scour With a DIY Scrub</h2> <p>Add some epsom salt to your cleaning routine for an effective scour scrub that's tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My mom showed me this&nbsp;<a href="http://mycleaningsolutions.com/remove-hard-water-stains-with-this-diy-epsom-salt-scrub/">hard water remover</a>, and I can't believe how effective it is. Combine one cup epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap. Use this scrub on shower doors, stubborn sinks, and even stained glass.</p> <h2>6. Decorate Your Space</h2> <p>Whether you're hosting a Frozen-themed birthday party or planning a winter wedding, these&nbsp;<a href="http://craftsbyamanda.com/epsom-salt-luminaries-some-winter/">epsom salt luminaries</a> would make a great decor item. Start by picking up some crystal epsom salt (think Dr. Teal's, not the Dollar Store) and glass jars. Pour epsom salt onto a paper plate, slip your hand inside a jar, paint where you want to stick the crystals with Mod Podge, and roll into the epsom salt. Let dry and then coat with some clear sealer a few times.</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: You shouldn't make these far in advance &mdash; less than a week before your event &mdash; for the best results.</p> <h2>7. Entertain Your Kids</h2> <p>And if you're lost on what to do on a rainy day, try making this&nbsp;<a href="http://babbledabbledo.com/science-for-kids-crystal-garden/">overnight crystal garden</a> with your kids. Just measure out a 1:1 ratio of epsom salt to warm water in a glass jar. Add food coloring and stir this mixture well. Next, place the jar in the back of your fridge or freezer. Then wait overnight to discover your magic crystal garden.</p> <h2>8. Add Aroma to Laundry</h2> <p>Are you skeptical about all those scented chemicals you add to your wash cycle with store-bought detergent? Me, too. Add some aroma the natural way using&nbsp;<a href="http://canvasandtable.com/2015/08/06/diy-laundry-scent-booster/">epsom salt and essential oils</a>. You need just three ingredients for this project: Epsom salt, baking soda, and 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils. Mix everything together and store in an air-tight container. Add a few tablespoons to each load.</p> <h2>9. Make Great Gifts</h2> <p>Need a last-minute gift that's easy on the wallet? Mix together your own&nbsp;<a href="http://cutediyprojects.tumblr.com/post/122497968927/wokeupasaqueen-peppermint-bath-salts-supplies">DIY bath salts</a>. This stuff may even help you kick your own Lush habit. Combine three cups of epsom salt with two cups sea salt, one cup baking soda, and peppermint or other essential oil. You can also add food coloring as a fun option. Once everything is mixed, place it in a decorative, air-tight container for storage.</p> <h2>10. Ward Off Mosquitoes</h2> <p>Keep mosquitoes out of your lawn by spraying this unique&nbsp;<a href="http://frugalhomekeeping.blogspot.com/2015/07/get-rid-of-those.html">epsom salt solution</a> that's safe on grass, flowers, and more. Combine three cups of epsom salt with a large bottle of cheap blue mouthwash and 12 oz of inexpensive beer. The author of this recipe explains that he's used it for the last 15 years with success of keeping mosquitoes away for up to 80 days. I am looking forward to testing this one out for myself!</p> <p><em>What are some other clever uses for epsom salt? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/flashback-friday-55-brilliant-ways-to-turn-your-junk-into-cash">Flashback Friday: 55 Brilliant Ways to Turn Your Junk Into Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</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/15-smart-new-uses-for-hair-clips">15 Smart New Uses for Hair Clips</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/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-you-ever-seen-such-amazing-junk">Have you ever seen such amazing junk?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Green Living clever uses DIY DIY hacks DIY health epsom salts frugal living home remedies life hacks Fri, 20 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1713534 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Frugal Reasons to Compost http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016214089_Large.jpg" alt="composting is perfect for a frugal lifestyle" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard about composting, or maybe you've even considered giving it a try. This waste-reducing activity is about way more than being kind to the environment and getting some awesome plant food for your garden. Composting can also save you a good amount of cash. So, here are 10 reasons why frugal people should start composting today!</p> <h2>1. It Saves You Trash Tags</h2> <p>Think about how many banana peels, egg shells, and other organic garbage scraps you've tossed into your bin over the last week. All that waste takes up space. Duke University's Center for Sustainability &amp; Commerce shares that the average American produces <a href="https://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">over four pounds of waste</a> per day. If you have to pay for a service or buy trash tags to haul it away, reducing your garbage load is sure to save you money.</p> <h2>2. It Gives You Free Garden Food</h2> <p>If you maintain a garden, you know that it isn't always cheap. The Bargain Babe explains that compost is one of the nicest gifts you <a href="http://bargainbabe.com/much-money-can-composting-save/">can give your plants</a>. Making your own can spare you from buying compost at your garden center each year. She typically buys two cubic yard bags per season, equaling an investment of $16.98 per year. That may not sound like a lot, but over five years, that amounts to nearly $85 in bags of fertile dirt. And the savings grows the bigger your garden gets!</p> <h2>3. It Improves Your Soil</h2> <p>Why is compost so great for the garden? It's considered a soil conditioner. What this means is that adding compost to your soil improves its texture. It's better able to hold onto nutrients, moisture, and air &mdash; all things that plants need to stay robust and healthy. As a result, you'll need to water less (cha-ching!), and your plants will likely yield a better crop. Growing your own food can definitely cut dollars from your weekly grocery bill.</p> <h2>4. It Controls Pests</h2> <p>Another merit of adding compost to your garden is that it provides you with virtually free bug control &mdash; without chemicals. Soil treated with compost &quot;tends to produce plants with <a href="http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/benefits.cfm">fewer pest problems</a>,&quot; explains the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension. It can also help prevent diseases that regular old dirt cannot ward off on its own. Leaf compost, in particular, may even keep nematodes at bay.</p> <h2>5. It Eliminates the Need for Lawn Services</h2> <p>You can spread this &quot;black gold&quot; on your grass and skip this year's lawn spraying service. You'll get an added health boost by keeping&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/compost-for-lawn/">chemical fertilizers and herbicides</a> away from your home, loved ones, and pets. You only need to apply compost to your yard once or twice a year to see the benefits. Simply spread a modest one-half inch layer onto grass (not too deep) using a wheelbarrow and shovel, or a garden spreader. This method even treats those pesky brown spots with ease.</p> <h2>6. It Provides Low-Cost Entertainment</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uyr2wJq7REQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Spending time outdoors and engaging with nature is cheap and fun activity the whole family can enjoy. If you don't know where to start, try<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyr2wJq7REQ"> square foot gardening</a>. A raised bed is a beginner-friendly holder for your plants. Figure out what you want to grow, pick up some seeds or annuals at your local garden center, draw out your garden plan, and go from there.</p> <h2>7. It Can Earn You Money</h2> <p>That's right! Select cities across the country and beyond may offer grants or other incentives for composting. Take Plymouth, Minnesota, for example. Back in 2012, the city offered its residents a grant of up to <a href="http://www.plymouthmn.gov/index.aspx?recordid=1054&amp;page=440">$100 to start backyard composting</a>. This money helped people get composting supplies and the things they needed to start their vegetable gardens. Though programs like this one don't exist everywhere, it's worth doing a little investigation to see what incentives your local municipality provides.</p> <h2>8. It Can Forge New Friendships</h2> <p>Composting has even introduced us to people we otherwise may not have met. Check your community calendars for free composting workshops (often run through cooperative extension programs) and you may meet like-minded people to add to your circle of friends. More friends means more connections. More connections means opportunity for sharing of resources like time, tools, knowledge, etc. Plus, it's always fun meeting new people.</p> <h2>9. It Makes You More Food Waste Aware</h2> <p>One of the most notable perks composting has given our family is an awareness of our waste habits. The more we dug spoiled food out of the fridge and put it in our compost bin, the more we realized we weren't planning our meals efficiently. We started writing up our grocery list and detailing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. These days, we have very little food spoilage.</p> <p>We even tend to use food scraps before tossing them into the compost pile in stuff like&nbsp;<a href="http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/">homemade vegetable broth</a>. Simply place carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, and other veggie scraps into a bag in your freezer and simmer them with water for 45 minutes. Strain out the scraps to place in your compost and enjoy your broth.</p> <h2>10. It Costs Little to Start</h2> <p>You can build a&nbsp;<a href="http://blissfullydomestic.com/home-bliss/how-to-make-an-easy-diy-compost-bin/125672/">basic compost bin</a> for less than $5. In some cases, you might even have all the materials you need already on hand. Just find a basic plastic storage tub with a lid, drill holes all over it to allow for airflow and drainage, and place a layer of dirt at the bottom. Then throw your food scraps inside and make sure to rotate or shake it at least once a week. That's all it takes to get started. You should have viable compost in as little as four to six months.</p> <p><em>Do you compost? Share your tips with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</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/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</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/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Green Living compost composting environmental how to compost recycle Tue, 10 May 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1706758 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_yard_swings_000079618051.jpg" alt="Learning how to get the best yard in town naturally" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want a gorgeous, lush lawn without all the chemicals and other icky stuff? It's not as hard as you might think. With a little creativity and some elbow grease, you can whip your grass into shape without calling a service or spending much at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper?ref=seealso">Secret Lawn Tonic Golf Course Groundskeepers Love</a>)</p> <h2>Amazing Aeration</h2> <p>Before the season even starts, you should&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetnatural.com/aerate-the-lawn/">aerate your lawn</a> so it can have its best year yet. By letting it breathe, you get rid of nasty compaction issues that can cause bigger problems down the line. To aerate, you'll want the grass to be pretty dry. Insert a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qjqnlK">garden fork</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1TMK4yd">sod coring tool</a> every few inches to get the oxygen in. If you have a big lawn, you might consider going in with a neighbor and renting a power lawn aerator for a day or two. After you've finished this process, collect soil plugs with a bagged mower and add them to your compost heap.</p> <h2>Beer Fertilizer</h2> <p>My grandfather is known as a lawn king of sorts in my hometown. He swears by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Easily-getting-rid-of-dead-spots-on-your-lawn-effo">feeding his lawn with beer</a>. The fermented sugars and other nutrients improve the soil and help to get rid of dead spots. All you have to do is pour about eight ounces of regular beer per 10-inch spot that needs love. Beer can be fresh or flat, hot or cold. Wait about a week and if the area is still droopy, repeat the process.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part I</h2> <p>Not into brews? That's okay. You can actually use your favorite bath time soak to nurture your lawn.&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1UW0MMF">Epsom salts</a> help keep your grass green and healthy all year round &mdash; they may even soften grass. You'll want to use about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfsalt.com/epsom-salt-for-lawns">three pounds of salts</a> per 1,250 square feet of lawn. To apply, use a lawn spreader. If you'd rather add water and spray, use a tank sprayer or a hose with a spray attachment.</p> <h2>Soothing Salts, Part II</h2> <p>The National Gardening Association explains that epsom salts also work wonders in your vegetable and flower gardens by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.garden.org/articles/articles.php?q=show&amp;id=68">enriching the soil with magnesium</a>. The group conducted a study where gardeners from across the United States sprayed their peppers and roses with the stuff. The results? Four out of six gardeners reported that their pepper plants were more robust. All the rose plants were bushier with greener foliage and more roses. To try this at home, add one tablespoon of epsom salts to a gallon of water, spray plants, and repeat the process every 10 days (peppers) or six weeks (roses).</p> <h2>Kind Killer</h2> <p>This weed killer is kind to the environment and won't cost you much. In fact, you might already be using it for many tasks in your home. Simply spray all those pesky weeds with plain white vinegar. You'll want to do this on a day with no rain in the forecast (can dilute the effects). My mother-in-law says that heartier, more persistent weeds respond better to something stronger like pickling vinegar. Just pour vinegar into a spray bottle and use as liberally as necessary.</p> <h2>Wondrous Water</h2> <p>Whether or not you live someplace where you have a cap on water usage, it's a good idea to conserve this precious resource. Try building&nbsp;<a href="https://1craftylane.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/diy-rain-barrel/">your own rain barrel</a> to collect what falls from the sky. You just need a 32-gallon plastic trash can, brass faucet, flexible downspout, and utility knife. Cut a hole in your can's cover, attach the downspout to your gutter, and then connect the two components. Wait for the rain and then use your faucet to tap into the magic.</p> <h2>Modified Mowing</h2> <p>How often and how short you cut your grass has an impact on its overall health as well. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, unfortunately. Regardless, grass cut too short can be more prone to problems like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/what-is-the-ideal-height-to-cut-the-grass">weeds, drought, and heat damage</a>. So, if you're experiencing little precipitation, it's a good idea to let grasses grow taller as a defense. For guidelines on how tall or short you should keep your grass in general, call your local extension office, garden center, or seed supplier.</p> <h2>Clover Comeback</h2> <p>So many of our neighbors seem to battle to keep white clover out all season long. We've embraced clover because it's actually a natural way to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/clover-comeback">crowd out weeds</a>. Clover also spreads quickly and covers the ground with greenery to blend with your other grasses. It grows well in shadier areas of your lawn and those with poor drainage. Best yet, it's a legume and can convert nitrogen into its own free fertilizer. Learn to love this misunderstood ground cover!</p> <p><em>What are some natural ways you care for&nbsp;</em><em>your lawn?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</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/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-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 Home eco friendly gardening greener grass landscaping lawn spring summer weeds Mon, 25 Apr 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1693274 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_easter_000037037264.jpg" alt="Finding smart things to do with leftover Easter goodies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Easter holiday means a house filled with pastel&hellip; everything... cluttering the house. Don't toss all those goodies right away after. Instead, here are some ingenious ways to repurpose your leftovers for immediate use or year-round enjoyment.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Plastic Eggs (Practical)</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://redeemyourground.com/easter-egg-birdseed-ornaments/">birdseed ornaments</a> will liven up your backyard for pennies. Mix together flour, birdseed, water, and corn syrup. Scoop mixture into your plastic eggs, firmly packing to fit. Then close them up to set into your egg shape. Gently open the eggs (it helps to place them in a muffin tin) and let air dry for a few hours. To hang, tie some string or yarn around them. This tutorial makes about 18 small feeders.</p> <h2>2. Plastic Eggs (Pretty)</h2> <p>This sophisticated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.taylormadecreates.com/2011/05/tealight-flight.html">tealight flight</a> is incredibly easy to make. Take your leftover plastic eggs, crack them in half (using the bottoms only), spray on a few coats of spray paint, and attach them to a piece of scrap wood with strong glue. Let everything dry before you place tealights inside to create a beautiful glow.</p> <h2>3. Plastic Eggs (Educational)</h2> <p>I've seen quite a number of ways to repurpose plastic eggs for learning. For my four-year-old daughter, I plan to work on reading skills with these&nbsp;<a href="http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/word-family-eggs/">word family eggs</a>. Just collect your eggs, and use a permanent marker to write several letters on one half and the rest of the word on the second half of the egg. (For example, b-, c-, m-, s- and -at to make bat, cat, mat, and sat.) Your child can turn the sides of the eggs to create the different words and see how they relate.</p> <h2>4. Egg Dye</h2> <p>You've finished coloring your eggs &mdash; now what? Use leftover dye to get crafty. Try&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gsheller.com/2011/04/fun-with-easter-egg-dyes-and-yarn.html">dying bare yarn</a> in a rainbow of colors for whatever projects you have on your calendar. First, soak the yarn in vinegar and water. Get your dyes ready in different containers and use plastic pipettes for coloring. Apply the dye to the yarn, microwave to set, rinse, squeeze, and hang to dry.</p> <h2>5. Jelly Beans</h2> <p>Teach your kids some&nbsp;<a href="http://lemonlimeadventures.com/engineering-for-kids-building-with-jelly-beans/">engineering basics</a> using colorful jelly beans as your guide. To set up the experiment, you'll just need toothpicks, jelly beans, and some creative minds. Make cubes to start and then move on to more complicated shapes to see how they stabilize and shift. The author of this project said that these simple supplies gave her kids over a month of educational enjoyment.</p> <h2>6. Fake Grass</h2> <p>We typically fill our Easter baskets with fake grass of the paper variety. I then use whatever we have left for wrapping gifts (usually in gift bags) throughout the year. I've also used it as cheap packing material and given handfuls of it to my daughter to add dimension to art projects. Alternatively, you can carefully collect your leftovers and reuse them next year.</p> <h2>7. Hard-Boiled Eggs</h2> <p>Before eating your hard-boiled eggs, make sure they haven't been sitting out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours, haven't been in contact with pesticides or animal waste in an outdoor hunt, and aren't more than a week old. Once you've considered these&nbsp;<a href="http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/are-eggs-dyed-easter-safe-eat">food safety points</a>, you can eat them plain, make deviled eggs, or whip up a delicious egg salad.</p> <h2>8. Candy</h2> <p>These&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/leftover-easter-candy-cookies/">leftover Easter candy cookies</a> will help clear out your pantry shelves for fresh spring produce in no time. You simply mix together the dough base with flour, baking soda, sugars, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Then chop up two cups of whatever candy you have left (assorted chocolates probably work better than jelly beans), fold it into the dough, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.</p> <h2>9. Baskets</h2> <p>Whether they're crazy colored or more neutral, you can always find great uses for baskets around your home. I store my daughter's markers, crayons, and other art supplies in small baskets that I keep in my craft room. When we're ready to do some coloring or art, I grab a basket and it helps keep everything tidy. Use yours to wrangle small toys (cars, blocks, etc.), books, or store it away to use again next year. Don't like your basket's looks? Spray paint it another color to suit your mood or decor.</p> <h2>10. Egg Crates</h2> <p>There are seriously a million ways you can reuse an egg carton in your home. My current favorite? I'm&nbsp;<a href="http://planetforward.ca/blog/my-organic-gardening-part-three-cartons-are-not-just-for-eggs-anymore-sustainable-practice/">organizing my seedlings</a> for the upcoming planting season. Just cut the lid off, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup, fill each three-quarters full with soil, place your seeds inside, and put it on a plastic tray. Then label so you know what is what. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates?ref=seealso">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a>)</p> <p><em>How are you re-using your Easter stuff? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-ways-to-have-a-cheaper-easter">10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Easter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY Green Living baskets candy Easter eggs Holidays leftovers recycling repurposing Fri, 25 Mar 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678890 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068906.jpg" alt="Woman having green living habits that&#039;ll save her every month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another Earth Day is just around the corner. Let's get a head start on saving the planet with these eco-friendly lifestyle tips that'll also save you moolah every month. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Natural Light</h2> <p>I try to keep the lights off in the house as much as possible, even when I go to the bathroom late at night (I use my phone as a flashlight instead) to reduce my overall energy costs. As an alternative to the artificial lights in my house, I take advantage of natural light from the windows during the day (open your doors and blinds) and sometimes candles or other secondary light sources (like my devices) when the sun goes down.</p> <h2>2. Plug Drafts to Reduce Heating Costs</h2> <p>If there are drafts coming in from holes and crevices around your house, the climate-controlled air for which you pay is escaping. Resolve this costly problem by plugging drafts yourself (if you're able to identify the draft location and capable of doing the work) or hiring someone to help you out. Many times, however, the solution to the problem is as simple as putting a towel or blanket in front of doors and wrapping windows and A/C units for the winter.</p> <h2>3. Adjust the Settings on Your Appliances</h2> <p>Your appliances could be working overtime unnecessarily. Check the settings on your fridge, freezer, stove, microwave, and more to determine if they're turned up too high. If they can get the job done properly on lower settings, turn them down.</p> <h2>4. Install a &quot;Greywater&quot; System</h2> <p>Greywater &mdash; essentially any household wastewater with the exception of the toilet &mdash; can be repurposed in other areas around the home to help you cut back on water usage across the board.</p> <p>&quot;A... laundry-to-landscape greywater system can reduce water costs by reusing water used on clothes washing or sink/shower water to irrigate the garden,&quot; says Morgan Vondrak, a certified sustainable landscape designer at Argia Designs in San Francisco. &quot;This is a great way to grow fruit trees and water intensive edible shrubs.&quot;</p> <p>Conservation and green design expert Pablo Solomon suggests a couple more uses for greywater. &quot;Put a dishwashing pan in your sinks and showers to catch water. Also dip out and save your bath water. This greywater is great to flush toilets and to water plants,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>5. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes, and Clean the Dryer Lint Trap</h2> <p>Using cold water versus hot water when washing clothes won't save you a ton, but if you're looking to shave a few bucks of your bill every month (and you're okay laundering with cold water), it's a decent solution.</p> <p>&quot;When doing laundry, use cold water instead of hot in your washing machine, which can save you over $3 per month,&quot; Solomon advises. &quot;The dryer typically accounts for 5% of your monthly electric bill, but keeping the lint trap clean on a regular basis will dry clothes faster and lower energy expenditures.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Use Sunlight to Help Control Temperature</h2> <p>Drafts can affect the temperature of your home, especially when the heat is pumping during the winter months. But the amount of sunlight in your home can also dramatically raise or lower the inside temperature, which is important to remember during both the hot and cold seasons.</p> <p>&quot;Use window coverings to keep sunlight from heating your rooms too much in summer and to let in warming rays in the winter,&quot; Solomon recommends. &quot;Window coverings can be expensive, but you can also improvise. You can use blankets, and you can also make your own curtains or buy them at resale shops. I have a friend who sewed bubble wrap between layers of cloth to make really attractive and amazingly efficient drapes.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Lower the Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater</h2> <p>I recommended using cold water instead of hot to wash clothes to save a few bucks a month, but you also should inspect your hot water heater to see if perhaps it's running too hot in general.</p> <p>&quot;If you have to turn on the cold water along with the hot so your shower isn't scalding, you are paying too much to heat your water,&quot; says Eileen Flanagan, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rlmy8l">Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope</a>. &quot;Most experts recommend 120 Fahrenheit. Once you find a temperature that is comfortable when you turn on just the hot tap, you can leave it set there and forget about it &mdash; except for vacations when you can turn it down further.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Power Your Devices From a Strip &mdash; And Remember to Turn It Off</h2> <p>Rather than plugging devices in single outlets spread all over the house, try to consolidate your energy and charging efforts onto one charging strip so you can control the power usage with one switch.</p> <p>&quot;Smart power plugs can detect how much electricity your 'energy vampires' &mdash; like TVs, game consoles, and mobile phones &mdash; are consuming and can be set to automatically turn off every night and then turn back on every morning,&quot; says Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of People Power, a tech company in California.</p> <p>As a habit, only plug in other devices and appliances &mdash; like printers, toasters, and coffeemakers &mdash; when you need to use them.</p> <h2>9. Nip Drips in the Bud ASAP</h2> <p>Hopefully we're all shutting off the sink while we're brushing our teeth and taking quick showers to conserve water, but it's all for naught if you have a leak in your pipes or a drippy faucet. If either of these situations are flushing your money down the drain, put a stop to it.</p> <h2>10. Think of Carpet and Rugs as Extra Insulation</h2> <p>Rugs and carpeting can provide extra insulation in your home, which is helpful during the winter months. It's often cheaper to install &mdash; especially area rugs &mdash; than re-insulating your home or turning the heat up. Plus, your little tootsies will thank you for not having to touch a cold floor in the morning.</p> <h2>11. Travel by Foot, Bike, or Public Transportation More Often</h2> <p>You can save a serious amount of money on gas and car maintenance by changing the way you travel, especially locally. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to the places you need to go more often when the weather is nice. Carpooling is a great option, too. I used to carpool with a buddy of mine to work &mdash; we would each have one week on and one week off, which resulted in significant fuel savings (more than $1,000) that I was able to put toward other expenses.</p> <h2>12. Consider Scheduling an Energy Audit</h2> <p>If you're serious about going green, but don't really know where to start, consider scheduling an energy audit to determine what can and needs to be done to reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy spend.</p> <p>&quot;Most utility companies offer them free or close to free,&quot; says Shel Horowitz, author and green business profitability expert. &quot;Last time we did one, they gave us hundreds of dollars worth of LED light bulbs and picked up two-thirds of the cost of re-insulating.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of your green living habits that save you money every month? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-could-mean-more-money-in-your-pocket">Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home appliances eco friendly energy efficient going green greywater saving money transportation Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1665770 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money? http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_refrigerator_000076458411.jpg" alt="Woman learning if green appliances actually save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, there's a lot of discussion about energy usage and the environment. And if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there's a push to use more energy efficient appliances.</p> <p>Most household appliances now come with models that are &quot;Energy Star&quot; certified, meaning that they've met energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In general, Energy Star appliances may cost a bit more up front, but could save you money over time through reduced electricity and water usage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent">8 Green Products That Aren't</a>)</p> <p>Here's a look at some common appliances and the possible cost savings associated with each one. Keep in mind that savings will vary depending on electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>1. Refrigerator</h2> <p>Your fridge uses a <em>ton </em>of electricity, so it's logical to think you'd save money by switching to a more energy efficient model. But the actual cost savings is only significant if your current fridge is very old. The EPA has a handy calculator to help consumers determine potential cost savings. If you have an average-sized fridge acquired between 2001 and 2008, your cost savings by switching to an Energy Star certified model are estimated to be about $15 per year, based on the average national electricity rate. But if you're replacing a fridge from the 1980s, the savings jumps to $145 annually. Your savings may be more or less depending on the electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>2. Freezer</h2> <p>If you have a standalone freezer, you may save a few bucks by switching to an energy efficient model. Most new freezers use about 10% less energy than older freezers, and the savings grows when compared to freezers that are more than 10 years old. Nearly half of the 36 million freezers in use in the U.S are older than 10 years, according to the EPA &mdash; and this is costing Americans $990 million annually.</p> <h2>3. Washing Machine</h2> <p>Another energy hog that uses up not only electricity, but water wobbles in your laundry room or garage. If you get an Energy Star certified model, you'll decrease water usage per load from 25 gallons down to 13. To put that in context, a typical family uses 400 gallons of water every day. New washers also cut down on electricity usage by 25%, resulting in a savings of $180 a year, according to the EPA. You will have a bigger impact on your utility bills by washing in only cold water &mdash; a cold rinse costs about 60% less than a warm one, according to Silicon Valley Power.</p> <h2>4. Dishwashers</h2> <p>The biggest cost savings from energy efficient dishwashers comes if you switch from a model made prior to 1994, according to the EPA. Those older models waste 10 gallons of water per cycle and use more electricity, costing you as much as $35 per year on your utility bills.</p> <h2>5. Dehumidifiers</h2> <p>The EPA says newer models of dehumidifiers are 15% more efficient than older ones. But even if you have the appliance on 10 hours a day for an entire year, you're only going to spend roughly $150. So it's not a level of savings that will impact your wallet all that much.</p> <h2>6. Air Purifiers</h2> <p>These machines that remove fine particles in the air can use more energy than you think. In fact, some suck more electricity than your fridge. But you can save as much as 40%, or 225 kilowatt hours per year. That results in a $25 savings annually, or about $215 over the life of a unit.</p> <h2>7. Hot Water Heaters</h2> <p>Nothing in your home uses more energy, except for lighting. And if you switch to an Energy Star water heater, you could save big bucks. In some states, you may even <em>get </em>cash to buy one. The federal government reports that a family of four will spend about $300 a year on electricity from an Energy Star heat pump water heater. That's less than half of the cost of an old standard electric heat resistance pump, and a projected savings of more than $3,000 over the life of the heater. Seven states offer incentives to buy an energy efficient heater; New Hampshire tops the list with a $1,000 rebate.</p> <h2>8. Televisions</h2> <p>Televisions are growing in size and resolution, but are also getting more energy efficient overall. And that's good, because Energy Star models are reportedly 25% more efficient than older televisions. Your overall savings, however, isn't massive. Even if your audio system and Blu-ray player are Energy Star compliant, your overall saving is about $200 over the life of the equipment.</p> <h2>9. Pool Pumps</h2> <p>Owning a pool doesn't make a lot of financial sense, but you can cut down on the cost by getting an energy efficient pump. Newer pumps are two-speed or variable-speed model, which can reduce the amount of electricity used by as much as 70%. This could translate into $280 to $340 saved annually, according to the government. There may also be rebates, depending on the state where you live.</p> <h2>10. Water Coolers</h2> <p>If you like to have bottled water dispensed from a cooler in your home, you might save a few dollars by getting an energy efficient model. The savings is relatively modest, at roughly $70 over the life of a unit. For the most savings, look for units with on-demand hot and cold capability.</p> <p><em>How efficient are your appliances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/21-surprising-uses-for-vinegar">21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living appliances eco-friendly energy efficient energy star epa Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1646410 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045925468_Large.jpg" alt="finally making her finances paperless" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, the bulk of our correspondence has been digitized. But even so, it can sometimes seem like we're drowning in all that rectangular white stuff. Greeting cards. Handouts. Flyers. Warranties. Instruction manuals. Business cards. Bills.</p> <p>Here's how you can finally sweep up all the spillover. After all, a cluttered hard drive is far better &mdash; and easier to navigate &mdash; than a cluttered home.</p> <h2>1. Stop Trying to Save Everything</h2> <p>Shedding ties to paper is a form of minimalism. Indeed, many of the documents you've been storing in filing cabinets and desk drawers should be dumped rather than digitized. For some, it's a hard reality to accept. But consider this: One of the top reasons we save so much paper is for fear of needing it in the future. Honestly though, when are you going to need the tattered pages of your 10th grade English essay? And remember that since your recent utility bills and bank statements are readily available online, there's simply no need to keep your own hard copy.</p> <p>Another reason we hoard paper: Memories. Often the paper we save is tied to a moment we don't want to let go of. Without hard evidence, will we continue to remember? What we all need to realize, and accept, is that the memories live on &mdash; even when the physical evidence is gone.</p> <h2>2. Make Time for the Three S's</h2> <p>Set aside time each day to scan, save, and shred. Maybe it's 20 minutes before bedtime. Maybe it's after breakfast, but before you leave the house. Carve out a stack to start on and tackle it day by day, assessing whether each item should be added to your digital storage, saved in hard copy form, or tossed.</p> <p>You'll need to keep physical copies of documents pertaining to your identity and assets, such as social security cards, loan documents, marriage and divorce certificates, living wills, and insurance policies. Into the garbage go the product instruction manuals (most companies post these online), past bank statements (shred them first), and personal notes from 13 years ago (alright, you can save one or two&hellip;). Most other documents should be digitized.</p> <p>If you're stuck thinking, <em>Do I need to keep a hard copy of the receipt for the expensive necklace I just bought?</em> consider how difficult it would be to obtain another copy. In this case, if the necklace clasp malfunctioned and you wanted to return it to the jeweler, you probably wouldn't be able to do so without proof of purchase. But a digitized copy of the receipt will function just as well as the original. So, you should scan it and save it on your hard drive. And don't forget to label. The beauty of digitizing our paper trail is that we can more easily find miscellaneous items such as receipts and cable bills by using keywords to search, locate, and extract critical information. It sure beats sifting through the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet on your hands and knees.</p> <h2>3. Get a Scanner</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1PQfkWI">Doxie</a> is a small but powerful scanner that tackles everything from photos to legal documents. And it doesn't even require a computer. Doxie scans straight to the cloud, which is a real asset for jet setters. Another home-use scanner with a cloud storage component is <a href="http://amzn.to/1ONets8">NeatDesk</a>. It's fast and the feed takes a variety of papers, including business cards and receipts. But before you go purchasing one of these scanners &mdash; or any other &mdash; make sure it's the right fit for you. Do you plan to digitize photos? If so, you'll want to make sure that the scanner you choose is well equipped for the task. Will you be scanning large documents that might not feed into a smaller, portable scanner? Then you'll want to explore other options.</p> <p>Additionally, there's a ton of great organizing tools out there that will help you stay on top of your docs, once you've scanned them. <a href="http://www.devontechnologies.com/products/devonthink/overview.html">DEVONthink</a> and <a href="https://evernote.com/?var=2">Evernote</a> are just a couple of options to consider. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-scanners?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Scanners</a>)</p> <h2>4. Scan On-the-Go</h2> <p>Mobile apps like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/genius-scan-pdf-scanner/id377672876?mt=8">Genius Scan</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.i2e.docuscan&amp;hl=en">Docu Scan</a> can help you to easily export and sort documents as they come to you throughout the day. This way you won't have a backlog of paper to digitize because you'll be tackling your paper trail as it comes. Mobile scanning is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of your paperless game.</p> <h2>5. Don't Get Discouraged</h2> <p>All the scanning, labeling, and shredding can be a slog. When you get discouraged, remember this: The average person wastes 16 to 55 minutes per day <a href="http://iosrjournals.org/iosr-jbm/papers/Vol17-issue4/Version-1/L017417984.pdf">searching for lost items</a>. Over a lifetime, that amounts to one to three years! No matter how you dice it, the time you spend digitizing will save you time in the long run.</p> <p>If you're truly overwhelmed by the task of digitizing the paper you've accumulated thus far, why not digitize new documents and correspondence as it comes. Later, once you've got the hang of it, you'll feel more compelled to dig into the rest.</p> <p><em>Have you gone completely paperless? Was it a struggle? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-surprising-uses-for-vinegar">21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar</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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/original-ways-to-use-original-dawn">Original Ways to Use Original Dawn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Green Living digitize documents go paperless icloud paperless saving documents Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1645870 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_riding_bikes_000063700085.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways the government pays them to live green" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you care about the planet? Do you care about saving money? Those ideas are not mutually exclusive.</p> <p>If you are environmentally conscious, it's worth knowing that you can &quot;live green&quot; and get help from the government to do so. Federal, state, and local governments offer tax breaks, credits, and straight cash payments to people who keep an eye on their carbon footprints.</p> <p>There is plenty of help available, and it's worth checking with the IRS and your state and local governments to see where you can save. Here are 11 big ways that governments will pay you to live green.</p> <h2>1. Cash for Burning Biomass</h2> <p>Forget the oil burner or electric heat pump. You can get government money by using a biomass stove, which burns things like wood, plants, grass, and even corn. There's a federal tax credit of up to $300 for stoves that use biomass, and some states have additional credits. (Maryland, for example, will rebate up to $700 for a new pellet burning stove.)</p> <h2>2. Tax Breaks for Electric Cars</h2> <p>Electric and hybrid vehicles are cool, but they often have a higher price tag than regular automobiles. So the federal government wants to help out by offering a tax credit of up to $7,500. Take that into account the next time you're eyeing a Tesla, Toyota Prius, or Nissan Leaf.</p> <h2>3. Incentives to Use Alternative Energy</h2> <p>There are are all kinds of incentives for you to electrify your home using something other than fossil fuels. There's a 30% federal tax credit for installing a geothermal heat pump, wind turbines, or solar panels, for example. There are also grant programs at the state and local level. The idea is that these credits will offset at least some of the relatively high cost of installing these systems, thus making it easier financially for homeowners to go green.</p> <h2>4. Money for a Home Energy Audit</h2> <p>There are some local governments that will give you cash just for an examination of how you use energy in your home. In most cases, you will get recommendations on ways to use less energy, but you can get the tax credit even if you don't make any changes. Takoma Park, MD offers $100 just to get the audit done.</p> <h2>5. Money for Windows, Doors, and Skylights</h2> <p>Sometimes getting new windows isn't just about making your house look pretty. If they exceed EnergyStar requirements for efficiency, you can get a tax credit of up to $500 on the cost. Good windows and doors can help keep out drafts and help heating and cooling systems work more efficiently. This credit also applies to new insulation and your roof.</p> <h2>6. Cash Back on Appliances</h2> <p>The federal government used to give credits for energy-efficient refrigerators and the like, but that's been phased out. However, there still may be localities that offer similar incentives for EnergyStar rated appliances. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-small-kitchen-appliances-that-arent-worth-the-money">13 Small Kitchen Appliances That Aren't Worth the Money</a>)</p> <h2>7. Public Transit Subsidies</h2> <p>The federal government and some state governments encourage employers to offer a pre-tax benefit for workers who use public transportation to commute. Under the federal tax break, workers can reduce their taxable income by as much as $255 per month. The federal benefit also works for parking, so it's not entirely a &quot;green&quot; incentive. Some states (including California) allow workers to &quot;cash-out&quot; the parking benefit if they bike, walk, or carpool to work.</p> <h2>8. Bike-to-Work Incentives</h2> <p>The IRS allows employers to reimburse workers for up to $20 a month for expenses related to biking to work.</p> <h2>9. Tax Incentives for Your Home Office</h2> <p>The federal and state government want to make it easier for you to work from home. Many expenses related to having a home office, including equipment, furniture, and some utilities, can be tax deductible. In 2013, the IRS announced a &quot;simplified&quot; deduction that allows for up to $5 per square foot of space used as a home office (up to 300 square feet.) To qualify, you must have a space that is used &quot;exclusively&quot; for work.</p> <h2>10. Tax Deductions for Supporting National Parks</h2> <p>The National Park Service operates 59 parks, most of which are known for their natural beauty and prized by conservationists. If you're the type of person who likes to camp, hike, and climb, your donation to the National Park Foundation is tax-deductible. Additionally, the Park Service will offer free admission to parks on 16 dates in 2016.</p> <h2>11. Cash for Reclaimed Water</h2> <p>In many states, businesses can reduce their taxable income by using reclaimed wastewater, or so-called &quot;greywater.&quot; And homeowners in states including Arizona can get a tax deduction on equipment to allow for recycled water usage. &quot;Greywater&quot; is generally not good to drink, but can be used for toilets, crop irrigation, and other non-potable uses.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of any of these eco incentives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-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-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/is-the-courtesy-flush-dead">Is the courtesy flush dead?</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/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</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-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</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-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</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/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle Taxes alternative energy deductions electric cars environment incentives Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1639403 at http://www.wisebread.com 19 Things You Can Buy That Make the World a Better Place http://www.wisebread.com/19-things-you-can-buy-that-make-the-world-a-better-place <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-things-you-can-buy-that-make-the-world-a-better-place" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping.jpg" alt="woman shopping to make the world a better place" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What's better than giving a great gift? Giving a great gift that gives back. If you're on the hunt for a fantastic way to brighten someone's day (or just in need of a new thingamajig for yourself), peep these companies, whose proceeds help those in need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-where-you-can-always-shop-for-a-worthy-cause?ref=seealso">20 Places Where You Can Always Shop for a Worthy Cause</a>)</p> <h2>1. AmazonSmile</h2> <p>By visiting AmazonSmile, you can choose a participating charity that will be linked to your account, to which Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases. You also can pick your own favorite charity if you don't want to donate to the featured organizations.</p> <h2>2. Warby Parker</h2> <p>Pick up a pair of Warby Parker's stylish glasses &mdash; regular or prescription, everyday or sun-ready &mdash; and they will make a monthly donation to their nonprofits partner, which, in turn, will train men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses at affordable prices. (The donation from Warby Parker also covers the cost of sourcing an equal amount of glasses sold.)</p> <h2>3. The Alpha Workshops</h2> <p>Purchase anything from the Alpha Workshops' products section &mdash; which features designer furniture, lighting, and wallpapers &mdash; and 50% of your purchase will cover design and educational programs for people with HIV/AIDS. Even without a purchase you can support the cause with a straight donation, the smallest of which is $25, and goes directly toward one Basic Trainee's weekly lunch stipend.</p> <h2>4. SoapBox</h2> <p>SoapBox, a mission-based personal care brand, provides a bar of soap or a month of cleaner water to a person in need for every product sold. The line includes body washes, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, bar soaps, and more.</p> <h2>5. Project 7</h2> <p>Your purchase of the tasty gum and mints from Project 7 will help fund one of its seven affiliated nonprofits, which include planting trees, emergency relief from natural disasters, feeding impoverished U.S. communities, providing clean drinking water in developing countries, and more.</p> <h2>6. Toms Marketplace</h2> <p>Everybody knows the one-for-one shoe program that made Toms Shoes famous, but it also has a Marketplace with a wide selection of other great goods &mdash; like clothing, accessories, and jewelry &mdash; that help fund other Toms projects, like helping to restore sight to someone through surgery, prescription glasses or medical treatment with a Toms Eyewear purchase, or training for skilled birth attendants in developing countries with a Toms Bags purchase.</p> <h2>7. State Bags</h2> <p>For each of the fashionable bags and accessories sold at State Bags, a backpack is donated to a local American child living in situation of need. Plus, Beyoncé is a fan!</p> <h2>8. Better World Books</h2> <p>Every time you make a purchase at BetterWorldBooks.com, they will donate a book to someone in need. As of July 2015, 17 million books have been distributed around the world.</p> <h2>9. Baby Teresa</h2> <p>For each 100% organic cotton accessory purchased from Baby Teresa, the company will donate formula to a baby in need. Buy a romper, and a romper will be donated to a baby in need.</p> <h2>10. Yoobi</h2> <p>For every Yoobi desk and organization supply item purchased &mdash; available exclusively at Target stores or online at Yoobi.com &mdash; the brand will donate an item to one of its Classroom Packs, which, once filled, will be given to a classroom in need.</p> <h2>11. Cooper &amp; Ella</h2> <p>A donation will be made based on the number of blouses purchased from fashion brand Cooper &amp; Ella to provide hot meals via its Empower program to a school in India, with a goal to provide 100,000 meals the first year.</p> <h2>12. Road Twenty-Two</h2> <p>Buy a shirt from Road Twenty-Two &mdash; which employs formerly incarcerated, homeless, or substance-addicted women to provide them steady income and valuable skills &mdash; and it will donate a shirt to a shelter.</p> <h2>13. The Company Store</h2> <p>You'll sleep better at night knowing that your purchase from The Company Store website or catalog results in an equal donation of a comforter to a homeless child in the United States.</p> <h2>14. Joan Hornig</h2> <p>American jewelry designer Joan Hornig donates 100% of the profit from your purchase to the charity of your choice.</p> <h2>15. Out of Print</h2> <p>Each product sold at Out of Print &mdash; a literary-minded apparel and gift brand &mdash; results in a book donation to a community in need, while also supporting the authors, publishers, and artists whose indelible work has impacted our lives.</p> <h2>16. Raven + Lily</h2> <p>Shop Raven + Lily's fair trade jewelry, apparel, accessories, and gifts to help the ethical fashion and lifestyle brand employ women in developing countries. They also provide access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, and education to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Raven + Lily currently employs over 1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages.</p> <h2>17. Faucet Face</h2> <p>At Faucet Face, tap is where it's at. They will donate 2.5% of all sales from their eye-popping glass bottle collection, plus a complete filter for each sale of five or more individual bottles to the clean-drinking-water charity Third Millennium Awakening. This organization employs locals in India to create filters and distribute them to needy families. Custom designs also are available.</p> <h2>18. 2 Degrees Food</h2> <p>Every purchase of a 2 Degrees Food gluten-free and vegan snack bar helps feed a hungry child, with a mission to provide 200 million kids sustenance.</p> <h2>19. Smile Squared</h2> <p>Your pearly whites will shine even brighter knowing that a toothbrush will be provided to a child in need when you make a purchase at Smile Squared.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite products and brands that give back? I'd love to hear some of your choices in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-things-you-can-buy-that-make-the-world-a-better-place">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/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</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/20-places-where-you-can-always-shop-for-a-worthy-cause">20 Places Where You Can Always Shop for a Worthy Cause</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/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</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/packing-it-in-the-independent-of-london-issues-a-challenge">Packing it in - The Independent of London issues a challenge</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-5-best-home-hair-dyes">The 5 Best Home Hair Dyes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping charitable organizations charity retail therapy shopping Wed, 13 Jan 2016 12:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1637337 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-have-an-eco-friendly-holiday <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-have-an-eco-friendly-holiday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_christmas_000079423583.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter having an eco-friendly holiday" 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 ways to have an eco-friendly holiday, the best holiday goods to buy at dollar stores, and rules that every smart shopper lives by.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/eco-friendly-holiday-tips">12 Ways to Have an Eco Friendly Holiday</a> &mdash; Get creative with your wrapping paper. Use old maps, newspapers, or even children's artwork. [Small Footprint Family]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/spending/T050-S001-things-to-buy-at-dollar-stores-for-the-holidays/index.html">Best Things to Buy at Dollar Stores for the Holidays</a> &mdash; Need to serve up a feast? Pick up a stack of disposable bakeware at a dollar store. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/money-beliefs/4-rules-every-smart-shopper-lives-by/">4 Rules Every Smart Shopper Lives By</a> &mdash; Always keep your receipts for at least a month in case you change your mind about a purchase or the product is defective. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/protect-identity-holiday-season/">How to Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season</a> &mdash; Tune in to Experian's #CreditChat to learn how to protect your personal and financial information this holiday season! The chat begins at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 16. [Experian]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/your-last-excuse-for-not-exercising-just-disappeared/">Your Last Excuse For Not Exercising Just Disappeared</a> &mdash; Studies found that even as little as 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise can decrease a person's risk of death. [Money Talks News]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Places-Work-2016-39335354">The 50 Best Places to Work in 2016</a> &mdash; According to Glassdoor, the top three companies to work for are Airbnb, Bain &amp; Company, and Guidewire. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1212/Amazon-Video-now-offers-your-favorite-cable-channels">Amazon Video now offers your favorite cable channels</a> &mdash; Subscriptions to Starz, Showtime, and other channels are now available to Amazon Prime members! [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/5-tax-breaks-you-might-not-know-about/">5 Tax Breaks You Might Not Know About</a> &mdash; Seniors over 65 can deduct all medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2015/12/11/29-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-fast">29 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Fast</a> &mdash; Share your talents! You can teach or do demonstrations for after school programs, community education classes, and senior centers. [Living Well Spending Less]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/12-ways-to-make-christmas-more-magical-for-kids">12 Ways to Make Christmas More Magical for Kids</a> &mdash; Get your kids to help put up lights and decorations! [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-have-an-eco-friendly-holiday">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/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-surprising-uses-for-vinegar">21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar</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-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips eco-friendly Holidays Tue, 15 Dec 2015 20:00:04 +0000 Amy Lu 1621147 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Green Products That Aren't http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-green-products-that-arent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green_living_mascot_000072404055.jpg" alt="Man discovering green products that aren&#039;t" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going green is something most of us are trying to do on a daily basis. But sometimes, products are not quite as green as the fancy packaging and ad campaigns would have us believe. Here are eight offenders; beware of their claims, or the implications they are making.</p> <h2>1. Seventh Generation Lemon Dishwashing Gel</h2> <p>Say it isn't so! Seventh Generation is a label synonymous with natural, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">eco-friendly products</a>. In fact, their mission statement is &quot;To inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.&quot; However, its lemon-scented Dishwashing Gel received an F on the <a href="http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2629-SeventhGenerationAutomaticDishwashingGelLemon">EWG product safety scale</a>, and contains sodium borate and methylisothiazolinone (look it up&hellip;it's nasty). It appears that when Seventh Generation states the product is non-toxic, they mean &quot;not acutely toxic.&quot; That, in itself, is some very tricky language right there.</p> <h2>2. Aveeno</h2> <p>Aveeno's tagline is &quot;Active Naturals.&quot; But look beyond the fancy packaging and use of the word natural, and you will find some very unnatural ingredients. A class action suit filed against Aveeno cited that it used <a href="http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/21985-aveeno-class-action-lawsuit-natural-claims-moves-forward/">many synthetic ingredients</a>, including glycerine, cetyl alcohol, and sodium hydroxide, on top of things things like petrolatum, mineral oil, and dimethicone. And, the <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-03-12-formaldehyde_N.htm">carcinogen 1,4-dioxane</a> is present in Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash. While these ingredients are used widely in the beauty industry, Aveeno is making a play for the green market. And that is not right.</p> <h2>3. Tarte Cosmetics</h2> <p>You will be very impressed with the things the Tarte CEO has to say about the brand: &quot;Today Tarte is a leader in healthy, eco-chic beauty, offering cruelty-free cosmetics infused with skinvigorating ingredients like superfruit and plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, essential oils and other naturally-derived ingredients.&quot; Sounds amazing, right?</p> <p>Tarte products have been found to include crushed beetles (carmine), formaldehyde releasers, parabens, and their Amazonian Clay Illuminating Moisturizer received an <a href="http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/513882/tarte_Amazonian_clay_BB_illuminating_moisturizer/">EWG toxicity rating</a> of 7/10. Just know exactly what you're buying before you pay extra for something that claims to be green.</p> <h2>4. Huggies Pure &amp; Natural</h2> <p>We all want to make eco-friendly, natural choices when it comes to our children. So when you see Huggies Pure &amp; Natural on the shelf, boasting organic cotton and packaged in green leaf nirvana, you think you're making a sound choice. Well, not so fast.</p> <p>The University of Cincinnati revealed that the organic cotton used in the diapers is actually <a href="https://uccomm2004.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/greenwashing-huggies-pure-natural/">only on the outside</a>. The stuff in contact with the baby's skin is what you'd expect to find in any regular diaper, including wood cellulose fiber, polyacrylate, polypropylene, and polyethylene. As of August, a federal class action suit filed against Huggies claims the use of toxic synthetic ingredients, including one that can &quot;<a href="http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/08/10/pure-huggies-diapers-are-toxic-class-claims.htm">strip skin of pigment</a>.&quot; And, the diaper is NOT biodegradable &mdash; even the packaging is <a href="http://www.blisstree.com/2009/08/24/sex-relationships/huggies-goes-green-well-at-least-goes-greenwashing/">only 20% recycled materials</a>.</p> <h2>5. Coca-Cola Life</h2> <p>The use of a green label on its own is not grounds for a green claim. But when you consider the usual color of Coca-Cola is red, black, or silver, the green is striking. However, Coca-Cola Life is nothing special.</p> <p>It has 35% less sugar than regular Coke, but adds an artificial sweetener (stevia) to make up for that. And there are still 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle of Coca-Cola Life. All in all, it is a sugary drink packaged in green, and sprinkled with magic marketing dust to make you believe it's a better, greener choice. It's not.</p> <h2>6. American Plastic Lumber</h2> <p>Take a look at American Plastic Lumber's website, and you'll see a logo that screams &quot;eco friendly&quot; in every way. In their About Us section, you'll read a statement on how the company has provided recycled plastic lumber for two decades across the country and beyond.</p> <p>However, the FTC has brought two cases against APL for <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/06/ftc-brings-second-case-year-against-plastic-lumber-products">false claims</a>. In actuality, their products contain an average of less than 79% post-consumer content. And in some cases, they contained only 15% recycled materials. The company has been very careful with its wording since those cases, but the logo and the implication remains.</p> <h2>7. Lush Cosmetics</h2> <p>Greenwashing is rampant in the cosmetics industry. There are many examples of beauty products that make claims implying an eco-friendly footprint, but Lush is doing it to cover some toxic ingredients.</p> <p>As Nicole Dunst writes in her <a href="http://ecocult.com/2015/greenwashing-alert-lush-cosmetics/">greenwashing alert</a> on Lush, &quot;Some of the ingredients they consistently use in their products have consistently been advised against by such respectable organizations as the Environmental Working Group and the American Cancer Society.&quot; Those toxic ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, and cocamide DEA (another 7/10 ingredient on the EWG toxicity scale).</p> <h2>8. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner</h2> <p>This product got into the EWG's cleaner <a href="http://www.ewg.org/cleaners/hallofshame/">Hall of Shame</a>. Simple Green states that it is both &quot;non-toxic&quot; and &quot;biodegradable,&quot; yet contains: 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that damages red blood cells and irritates eyes; and a secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants, some of which are banned in the European Union. What's more, the product is supposed to be diluted for every use, yet it comes in a spray bottle!</p> <p><em>Now, have you had any experiences with green products that were not as eco-friendly as they stated? Please let us all know what to avoid. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent">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/8-reasons-to-buy-local-even-if-it-costs-a-little-more">8 Reasons to Buy Local (Even If It Costs a Little More)</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-great-brand-name-beauty-buys-under-20">10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <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/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping cosmetics eco friendly false advertising false claims greenwashing Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:01:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1616590 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Scariest Halloween Frights You Can Make From Trash http://www.wisebread.com/13-scariest-halloween-frights-you-can-make-from-trash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-scariest-halloween-frights-you-can-make-from-trash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/diy_halloween_decorations_000050085508.jpg" alt="Making Halloween frights you can make from trash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Halloween will be here before we know it, so here's a bunch of awesome ideas for decor that will cost you only pennies. Better yet, a lot of the supplies you'll need for these projects can be found in your trash and recycling bins. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash?ref=seealso">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a>)</p> <h2>1. Milk Jug Ghosts</h2> <p>Talk about easy! These <a href="http://www.isavea2z.com/easy-halloween-craft-ideas-milk-jug-ghosts/">milk jug ghosts</a> take only minutes to make. Clean out your jugs, draw on a spook-tacular face with Sharpie marker, place several mini LED lights in each one, and line them up outside your home. Don't forget to weigh each one down with a few pebbles.</p> <h2>2. Milk Jug Skeleton</h2> <p>Apparently milk jugs are made for Halloween crafting. Check out these <a href="http://www.thepartyanimal-blog.org/milk-jug-skeleton-fun-recycled-craft-decoration-halloween/">DIY skeletons</a> made using seven old milk jugs, string, and patience. The tutorial walks you through the specific bones to cut from each jug. After you have them all ready, just punch holes in each so you can connect with your string. You can even coat your skeleton with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GLG7HS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000GLG7HS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IC3LRAEQHZXV6QNE">glow-in-the-dark spray paint</a> for extra fun.</p> <h2>3. Acid Bath</h2> <p>Are you lucky enough to have access to an old oil drum? Creep out your neighbors with this <a href="http://www.fulcrumsites.com/haunt/html/new_props_9.html">acid bath</a> decoration. Slip yourself (or a dummy) into the drum with a scary mask on. Then use spray foam to create that skin-bubbling look.</p> <h2>4. Monster Yard Lights</h2> <p>Clean out a few plastic jugs and make these <a href="http://craftsbyamanda.com/halloween-monster-yard-lights/">monster yard lights</a>. You'll decorate them however you want before placing a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000R7PM36/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000R7PM36&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AWPOITLNTF4LSXQB">tap light</a> inside to illuminate. To finish, insert a broom handle or another sturdy stick into the spout. Then place them wherever you need a little fright outdoors.</p> <h2>5. Poison Bottles</h2> <p>Use recycled jars, bottles, and boxes to make freaky apothecary <a href="http://magiamia.blogspot.com/2013/08/it-glue-gun-plastic-time-again.html">poison bottles</a>. You'll create your designs and words on the recycled bottle of choice and then paint over it with several layers of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DCTH2G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001DCTH2G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GOP6VWKMNZ5WJZ6E">chalk paint</a>. You can leave them plain or coat with another color to cultivate a more distressed look.</p> <h2>6. Paper Jack O'Lanterns</h2> <p>If carving standard pumpkins isn't enough for you, try using your discarded newspaper in this giant <a href="http://www.spookyblue.com/halloween/giant-jackolantern/index2.htm">papier mache jack o'lantern</a> project. The author uses a vintage plastic pumpkin as a form, but you can build one from chicken wire or another object. Rip paper into 10 inch lengths, slather in a glue mixture, apply to your form, and let dry. Then get creative with cutting or painting your faces.</p> <h2>7. Specimen Jars</h2> <p>Okay. These <a href="http://laura.moncur.org/archives/2012/10/08/specimen-jars-for-halloween-decorations/">specimen jars</a> are beyond disturbing. Disassemble an old baby doll and distribute its body parts into recycled pickle jars. (I warned you, right?) Fill with water and a drop of red and green food coloring.</p> <h2>8. Bottle Lanterns</h2> <p>Or give your wine-loving friends a boozy spook with these <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Wine-bottle-jack-o-lanterns/">wine bottle jack o' lanterns</a>. Drink a bunch of cheap wine, then clean out the empty bottles. Spray paint the widest section (under the neck) orange. Draw their faces on with a Sharpie marker.</p> <h2>9. Bulb Spiders</h2> <p>Recycle all those burned out Christmas lights by making these <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20150209234231/http://www.flickr.com/photos/34241256@N07/4221641924/">bulb spiders</a>. You'll wrap metal wire around the bulbs to create the legs. The author of this project left them colorful. I'll give them a coating of matte black spray paint.</p> <h2>10. Spooky Eyes</h2> <p>Use a couple used toilet paper rolls to make these <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMPwGMts-ho">spooky eyes</a>. You'll draw eyes onto each roll and then cut them out using a hobby knife. To finish, place an LED light into each roll and position them in a dark area.</p> <h2>11. Living Dead Dolls</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but my daughter has tons of half broken Barbie dolls laying around the playroom. I might collect them up, spray paint them white, and make these <a href="http://www.madebygirl.com/blog/images/savers6.jpg">Dolls of the Living Dead</a>. After they've dried, accentuate their eyes using a fine tip Sharpie marker. I've seen similar projects using vintage dolls that are even more frightening.</p> <h2>12. Trash Corpse</h2> <p>While you're taking out the trash, snag an extra black bag to make this <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/39/99/47/399947e85bff575332e601bbfa2aaf72.jpg">trash bag corpse</a>. Fill the bag with crumpled newspapers and tie off different areas with rope to form the shape of a body. Bonus points for adding caution tape to section off your creepy crime scene.</p> <h2>13. Trash Ghosts</h2> <p>Only have white or clear bags? No problem. Try assembling these incredibly convincing <a href="http://www.monstertutorials.com/2015/03/27/ghost-1-how-to-make-a-packing-tape-and-trash-bag-ghost-tutorial/">trash bag ghosts</a>. You'll use a dress form or friend volunteer to frame out the body using packing tape. Then carefully remove your form by slicing it down the back. Do the same with the head before attaching the pieces with more tape. Distress and decorate however you like and hang with fishing wire.</p> <p><em>What are you decorating your home with for Halloween?</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/13-scariest-halloween-frights-you-can-make-from-trash">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/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living arts crafts decorations Halloween recycling trash to treasure Wed, 21 Oct 2015 15:15:37 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1591933 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_gas_tank_000023830503.jpg" alt="Learning how to get a hybrid or electric car on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've considered switching from a conventional gasoline vehicle to an electric or hybrid car, you'll be happy to know that you can expect to save money in the long run. The purchase price may be higher upfront as compared to a traditional gas model, but we've found a number of ways to help you get a green car on the cheap. Consider these options.</p> <h2>1. Buy It Used</h2> <p>Whether you decide to buy new or used, it's important to look for the best deals in your area before you ever step foot into a dealership. By purchasing a used hybrid vehicle, you won't have to sacrifice any of the features you want and can also save some significant money in the process. And since it can take many years for a new hybrid car to pay off in value, a used vehicle makes even more sense from a financial perspective. Make sure to research tips on buying a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/tips-for-used-hybrid-car-shopping.html">used hybrid or electric car</a> for additional ways to save.</p> <h2>2. Research Before You Buy</h2> <p>Green cars aren't always more expensive upfront than comparable gas models. By doing your research and choosing the right model, you can save thousands of dollars on your purchase. You can easily compare the cost of a hybrid versus a non-hybrid from the same manufacturer to determine if buying a new or used hybrid can save you money.</p> <p>When you are comparing various options, make sure to consider more than just the base price. You'll also want to compare things like the mileage, range, charge, charging times, battery life, battery replacement and maintenance costs, power, specs, and your personal driving comfort so that you can get the best vehicle for your needs and lifestyle. The more features you add to your new car, the higher the price tag will be.</p> <h2>3. Watch the Gas Prices</h2> <p>Did you know that <a href="http://time.com/money/3529146/cheap-gas-prices-hybrid-electric-car/">cheaper gas prices</a> also translate to cheaper prices on hybrids and electric cars? Cutting back on gas is one of the major benefits of having a hybrid or electric car, but when gas prices drop, that benefit is suddenly less valuable. And as gas prices drop further, you can expect the price of hybrid and electric cars to continue falling as well.</p> <p>Use this as a bargaining tool when purchasing a new or used electric or hybrid vehicle. If you have a plug-in hybrid vehicle, then make sure to keep the battery fully charged so that it will use as much electricity possible, which will save you money at the pump.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso2">Best Credit Cards with Gas Rewards</a></p> <h2>4. Take Advantage of Available Incentives</h2> <p>Keep in mind that once you purchase a hybrid or electric car, you may be eligible for <a href="http://driveclean.ca.gov/pev/Costs/Vehicles.php">special incentives</a>, which will result in you saving more money. In fact, you may be eligible for as much as $7,500 in federal tax credits and another $2,500 in state incentives just for making the switch to a more environmentally friendly vehicle.</p> <h2>5. Lease It</h2> <p>Electric cars depreciate in value very quickly, as is the case with traditional gas models. Leasing the vehicle &mdash; rather than buying it &mdash; is a great solution if you aren't planning on keeping the car for the long-term, because you won't have to worry about the large initial depreciation hit. There are some great lease deals available and the low monthly payments can save you even more in the end.</p> <h2>6. Sign Up for Zipcar's Plan (In Select Cities)</h2> <p>If you aren't sure that an electric or hybrid vehicle is right for you, then consider signing up for <a href="http://www.zipcar.com/press/releases/zipcar-pilots-electric-vehicle-program-in-chicago">Zipcar's car-share pod</a>. The Electric Vehicle Pod is available to members by the hour, which will result in only a fraction of the cost of owning an electric vehicle. You can use the service the same as you would a normal Zipcar; simply rent the electric car when you need it, for as long as you need it, and return it when you are done. This is especially ideal for city-dwellers who don't drive on a daily basis. Check the site to see if it's available in your area.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other ways to get a hybrid or electric vehicle on the cheap? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap">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/should-your-next-car-be-electric">Should Your Next Car Be Electric?</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/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</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/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Green Living electric cars gas prices going green hybrids ride sharing vehicles Mon, 12 Oct 2015 15:00:26 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1571535 at http://www.wisebread.com