Green Living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4805/all en-US 4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_panels_000016723163_0.jpg" alt="Solar panels are green energy option for home rebate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously consider buying a home and I'm deep into the research and learning phase. One of the aspects I'm most intrigued by these days is how to perform a &quot;green&quot; renovation on an existing home. I've been happy to learn that there are multiple green rebates and credits that you can use in 2015 toward specific green improvements.</p> <h2>1. Geothermal Heat Pumps</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, energy consumption is one of the key areas that benefit from tax credits. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/geothermal_heat_pumps">Geothermal heat pumps</a> are renewable energy appliances that are not only good for the environment, but also an incredibly comfortable way to heat and cool your home. These heat pumps utilize the ground to generate hot water, heat, and air conditioning, unlike traditional heat pumps which utilize air. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient &mdash; and therefore less expensive &mdash; to run than traditional heat pumps.</p> <h2>2. Small Wind Turbines</h2> <p>Windmills may conjure visions of Holland or Don Quixote. But they should also give you visions of green, as in green energy and green back in your pocket. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/small_wind_turbines">Small wind turbines</a> convert kinetic wind energy into electricity that connects to your home's electrical system, and homeowners enjoy significant tax credits for their implementation</p> <h2>3. Solar Energy Systems</h2> <p>Solar energy systems have undergone significant innovation over the years, making them more efficient and less expensive than when they first appeared on the residential energy scene. In terms of tax rebates, there are two types of <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems">solar energy systems</a> that qualify: solar water heaters and solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fuel Cells</h2> <p>Of all of the green home rebates, the <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/fuel_cells">fuel cell</a> is the newest kid on the block. Fuel cells take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy to power cars and other consumer goods that have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. They offer a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.</p> <p>While these are the formal green home rebates offered by the federal government, there are plenty of other ways to save money (and the environment) with improvements to your home. ENERGY STAR offers an online <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted">Home Energy Yardstick</a> that will help you determine the energy efficiency of your home as it currently stands, and will make suggestions for ways to improve it.</p> <p>These improvements include better insulation and sealing, ENERGY STAR appliances and proper use of light fixtures, and even changes as simple as installing drapes, storm windows, and programmable thermostats. While these improvements don't carry tax rebates, they will help lower your energy costs without compromising your comfort. Good for you, good for the planet.</p> <p><em>How have you made your home more &quot;green&quot;? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Taxes eco friendly energy efficiency rebates renovations solar tax credits wind Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1392475 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_recycling_000013114340.jpg" alt="Woman happy because she made environmentally friendly investment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We'd all love to invest our money in a way that benefits our finances while helping to build a better world. If that sounds like a pipe dream to you, it's not. Impact investing is a growing trend, and there are plenty of ways to do well and do good with your money. Here are five classes of green investments that are kind to the Earth:</p> <h2>1. Green Bonds</h2> <p><a href="http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/gmtl/3382260/Green-Bonds-Planting-Seeds-for-Eco-Friendly-Investment.html#.VRmawpPF-l0">Green bonds</a> are a perfect entry point for someone interested in making a social investment. Like other bonds, you pay a certain amount of money for the bond now to get a larger amount of money at a specific future date. With green bonds, your up-front investment is used to finance environmentally friendly projects. They're relatively low-risk and provide critical funds that are urgently needed in the short-term for these green initiatives.</p> <h2>2. Green Mutual Funds</h2> <p>Chances are that if you have any type of retirement account, at least a portion of it is invested in mutual funds. If you'd like to use that money to support green projects, choose green funds when allocating your investments. Broadly speaking, these investments are also included under the umbrella of socially responsible investments.</p> <h2>3. Green Stocks</h2> <p>As an investor, you also have the option to invest directly in companies that have a green mission, product, or service. This means you can buy stock in a publicly traded company that produces renewable energy products such as solar panels, or any other &quot;green&quot; mission of your choice.</p> <h2>4. Green Startups</h2> <p>One of the riskiest (but perhaps one of the most potentially lucrative) green investments you can make is in a green startup. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who are founding companies in the environmentally-friendly space. They range from new composting techniques, to energy-saving products, to innovative concepts such as carbon credits that are bought and traded to compensate for energy consumption.</p> <h2>5. Sustainable Product Stocks</h2> <p>Many companies are taking up the green mantle by transforming their products and using renewable resources. Some also pledge a portion of their earnings to environmental nonprofits, and support green efforts in the communities where they operate. These companies can contribute enormously to protecting the environment, and supporting their efforts with your investment dollars and purchases can help encourage them to continue and enhance these practices.</p> <p>As always, it's important to make informed investment decisions. It's best to educate yourself about these options by reading about the ins and outs of green investing. I also suggest seeking the advice of a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Together, we can build a bright future for ourselves and for the planet as a whole through our investment dollars.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-you-shouldnt-invest-in-stocks">10 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Invest in Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in the stock market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-reasons-to-start-investing-in-bonds-now">The 5 Best Reasons to Start Investing in Bonds Now</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/socially-responsible-investing-goes-green">Socially Responsible Investing Goes Green</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Investment bonds eco-friendly environment mutual funds startups stocks sustainability Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Christa Avampato 1380916 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb recipes vegetables Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1345644 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Hidden Sources of Toxins in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-home-sponge-soap-iStock_000054343990_Small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning home" title="woman cleaning home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on hidden sources of toxins in your home, signs your aging parents need help with their finances, and mind-blowing life hacks from Instagram.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/sources-of-indoor-air-pollution">8 Hidden Sources of Toxins in Your Home</a> &mdash; Most store-bought air fresheners emit enough toxic pollutants to lead to various health risks. [Small Footprint Family]</p> <p><a href="https://smartasset.com/personal-finance/5-signs-your-aging-parents-need-help-with-finances">5 Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help With Finances</a> &mdash; Do your parents seem careless or forgetful about their money? Envelopes of cash under the couch and uncashed checks on the kitchen table are signs that your parents need help managing their finances. [SmartAsset]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Life-Hacks-From-Instagram-31035085">16 Mind-Blowing Life Hacks From Instagram</a> &mdash; Need to crank up the tunes? Just drop your smartphone into a plastic, paper, or glass cup for extra volume. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3438/life-skills-for-young-adults">10 Essential Life Skills for 20-Somethings</a> &mdash; Learn sewing basics, like hemming and sewing on a button. They're easy skills to learn and will help you save on alterations! [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/health/diet-fitness/10-types-stretches-known-provide-stress-relief">10 Types of Stretches Known to Provide Stress Relief</a> &mdash; The Warrior Pose is a classic yoga pose that relieves stress and builds muscle. [SheBudgets]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/5-important-elements-success-people-seldom-mention.html">5 Important Elements of Success People Seldom Mention</a> &mdash; Sometimes, success is more about knowing the right people rather than working hard. It's often a collaborative effort. [Lifehack.org]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/03/08/9-ways-to-feel-less-stress-when-life-gets-crazy-busy/">9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy</a> &mdash; Before you go to bed each night, write down three things that went well that day and their causes. This daily gratitude exercise only takes 5 minutes, but it works wonders! [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/dealing-with-difficult-people/">5 Invincible Ways to Keep Your Cool When Dealing With Difficult People</a> &mdash; Don't take it personally. Difficult people tend to be difficult towards everyone &mdash; it isn't you. [Leading Edge Advocate]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacksmag.com/seven-cool-habits-of-very-punctual-people/">Seven Cool Habits of Very Punctual People</a> &mdash; Punctual people factor in time to deal with unexpected circumstances that may delay them. They might early often, but they're rarely late. [Life Hacks Magazine]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/11-ways-to-help-your-struggling-student">11 Ways to Help Your Struggling Student</a> &mdash; Children have different learning styles, and there are many ways to learn. Try different approaches with your child to see what works best for him. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hidden-sources-of-toxins-in-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips home toxins Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:00:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1336821 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Outdoor Adventures That Don't Cost a Dime http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-outdoor-hiking-climbing-Dollarphotoclub_37077216.jpg" alt="woman climbing hiking" title="woman climbing hiking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Believe it or not, winter will end soon, and spring will bring perfect weather for experiencing the great outdoors. Fortunately, many of the greatest outdoor adventures can be had for free. Here are six of our favorites. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun?ref=seealso">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a>)</p> <h2>1. Foraging</h2> <p>Next time you are looking for a new outdoor activity, follow your stomach. Not only is foraging free, you'll return home with free food, too!</p> <p>Before setting out, it's important to do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foragingguide.com/">foraging research.</a> You don't want to end up eating something gross, or worse, poisonous. Get informed and start out by going in search of a couple of specific items that grow in your area. With a little practice, you can find a variety of herbs, edible flowers, and even delicious mushrooms. Connect with other local foragers to get tips and learn where to look. You can even practice foraging if you <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/23/178603623/want-to-forage-in-your-city-theres-a-map-for-that">live in a city</a>!&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Hiking</h2> <p>For the ultimate in outdoor exercise and adventure, go on a hike. Hikes come in all shapes and sizes, from short, leisurely affairs on well-maintained trails, to intense up-and-down treks that are off the beaten path. Some lead to waterfalls or canyons, while others traverse hilltop neighborhoods.</p> <p>Start by researching hikes people are doing in your area. Decide what intensity you're up for, pack necessary supplies like water, and consider going with a friend or two. Many cities and colleges have hiking groups that meet up regularly to try different routes, and some parks even offer <a href="http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ranger-led-activities.htm">free guided hikes</a>. If you're an experienced hiker, try something different, like a full moon hike.</p> <h2>3. Bird Watching</h2> <p>It's easy to overlook the amazing variety of birds in our surroundings, but there's a good reason that bird watchers are so passionate about their hobby. Study up on local species online or at the library, and take a walk through the wilderness or a park to experience the startling diversity of this fauna first-hand. Start with a few common species, making it your goal to spot them while on your first expedition. There are <a href="http://www.audubon.org/audubon-near-you">Audubon centers</a> in most cities and in some parks, frequently offering free resources like talks, guided nature walks, and binocular rentals.</p> <h2>4. Outdoor Sports</h2> <p>Chances are you've already got the items needed for a fun outdoor game. Take your bike out for a spin on a new route. Grab some friends, scraps of cloth (cut from old t-shirts or a sheet), and play a game of capture the flag. Cut the cloth smaller, and find yourself a football for a game of flag football. Use a round ball to play kickball, or gather various smaller balls to play bocce. Ask your friends what items they have available and pool your resources to play any number of games. It's a great way to spend a sunny day in the park or someone's backyard.</p> <h2>5. Star Gazing</h2> <p>How often do you stop and really look up at the night sky? It can be a beautiful and humbling experience, and is further enriched by a bit of knowledge. Find a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html">star chart</a> for your location and the appropriate month, perch yourself on a good vantage point, and see what stars you can identify. There are a few night sky apps with free versions that help you identify stars by pointing your smartphone at the sky. If you are astronomically inclined, check out your local observatory. They frequently have free programs and many host regular star watching groups where you can peer through a telescope zoomed in on current points of interest.</p> <h2>6. Geocaching</h2> <p>If you own a smartphone or GPS and feel like having a bit of an adventure on your own, try geocaching. This is basically a <a href="https://www.geocaching.com">tech-savvy scavenger hunt</a>, featuring items hidden all over, especially in major cities. Just open up the app and see if there are geocaches near you. Use your GPS to navigate and get ready to hunt for your chosen geocache. Once you've found a geocache, explore what's hidden inside, sign your name in the log, and share your experience online. The app is free, and more advanced geocaches are available with a paid upgrade.</p> <p><em>What free outdoors adventures do you enjoy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors">8 Best Cities for Frugal Lovers of the Outdoors</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/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</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/18-awesome-things-you-can-do-this-weekend-for-under-10">18 Awesome Things You Can Do This Weekend for Under $10</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/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</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/10-old-school-things-that-make-summer-summer">10 Old-School Things That Make Summer SUMMER!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Green Living adventures camping cheap thrills hiking outdoors Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:00:09 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1316475 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Green Habits of Thrifty People http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-green-habits-of-thrifty-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-green-habits-of-thrifty-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-recycling-bottles-glass-Dollarphotoclub_39201903.jpg" alt="couple recycling" title="couple recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on the green habits of thrifty people, how to be more productive with the 10 minute rule, and why restaurants don't want you to order dessert.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/10-green-habits-of-thrifty-people/">10 Green Habits of Thrifty People</a> &mdash; Thrifty people turn off lights when they don't need them, saving energy and reducing energy costs. [The Northern Cheapskate]</p> <p><a href="http://ridiculouslyefficient.com/productivity-hack-10-minute-rule">Productivity Hack: The 10 Minute Rule</a> &mdash; Allowing yourself only 10 minutes to do each item on your to-do list will help you reevaluate how you handle these tasks. [Ridiculously Efficient]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/0210/Why-restaurants-don-t-want-customers-ordering-dessert">Why Restaurants Don't Want Customers Ordering Dessert</a> &mdash; Restaurants see a bigger profit when they turn over a table than when diners order dessert. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/5-cheap-ways-to-decorate-your-home-for-spring">5 Cheap Ways to Decorate Your Home for Spring</a> &mdash; Use a few bright throw pillows to accessorize your chairs or couch. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://smartycents.com/articles/how-to-relieve-financial-stress/">How to Relieve Financial Stress: A Four-Step&nbsp;Plan</a> &mdash; Once you have admitted that you have financial problems, open up to your spouse or a friend about it. Ask for help. [Smarty Cents]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Free-Things-You-Shouldnt-Have-Pay-18695455">12 Things You Need to Stop Paying For</a> &mdash; If you have a smartphone, you can use a free texting app instead of paying for a text plan. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/prepare-taxes-for-filing/">Prepare Your Taxes Using This Detailed Guide for Getting Organized</a> &mdash; Use a tax checklist to make sure you have all the documents you need. If you're still waiting on a form, make a note of it! [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/7-factors-that-affect-car-insurance-rates/">7 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates</a> &mdash; Living in a crowded neighborhood means more opportunities for a fender bender, which can drive up your premiums. [Cash The Checks]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cultofmoney.com/2015/02/16/how-to-save-a-ton-of-money-on-clothes/">How to Save a Ton of Money on Clothes</a> &mdash; You'll find great deals on clothing around holidays and when the seasons change. It's even better if you combine sales with coupons! [Cult of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/8-things-to-say-ask-your-child-every-day">8 Things to Say &amp; Ask Your Child Every Day</a> &mdash; Ask them questions that will spur their thinking and allow them to see how their actions affect others. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-green-habits-of-thrifty-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips green habits Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1299810 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-cloth-towel-Dollarphotoclub_53885463.jpg" alt="woman cleaning cloth" title="woman cleaning cloth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).</p> <h2>1. Reusable Paper Towels</h2> <p>My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these <a href="http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-unpaper-towels-without-a-sewing-machine/">DIY reusable paper towels</a> don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!</p> <h2>2. T-Shirt Rags</h2> <p>This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.</p> <h2>3. The Handkerchief</h2> <p>Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also <a href="http://wastenotblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/the-simplest-diy-handkerchief-edition/">make a handkerchief</a>&nbsp;from simple squares of fabric.</p> <h2>4. Washcloths</h2> <p>They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.</p> <h2>5. Cloth Wipes</h2> <p>Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of <a href="http://lightgreenmothering.com/2013/11/24/diy-no-sew-cloth-baby-wipes/">squares of flannel fabric</a> couldn't be easier.</p> <h2>6. Napkins</h2> <p>Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-sew-simple-cloth-dinner-napkins/pictures/index.html">handy napkin tutorial</a> shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.</p> <h2>7. Toilet Paper</h2> <p>This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-WASHABLE-TOILET-PAPER-from-old-bed-sheet/">cloth toilet paper</a>. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!</p> <h2>8. Burp Cloths</h2> <p>We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes &mdash; you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.</p> <h2>9. Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p>Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: <a href="http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/homemade-homemaking-disinfectant-wipes.html">DIY disinfectant wipes</a>. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-more-detergent-make-for-more-clean">Does More Detergent Make for More Clean?</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/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning DIY recycle reusable Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1288488 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Energy Costs http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-changing-thermostat-iStock_000032848840Small.jpg" alt="woman changing thermostat" title="woman changing thermostat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's snow in the forecast. As much as I'd like to ignore all the fallen leaves in our backyard and gloss over the shorter daylight hours, the fact remains: Winter is upon us.</p> <p>We're in a new-to-us home this year, so how much our heating might cost is a wildcard. Thankfully, we've lined up some defenses to keep our energy bills as low as they can be. And these simple tips are universally helpful whether you live in a 1960s ranch or an 1880s Victorian.</p> <h2>1. Tame Drafts</h2> <p>The best way to keep the warm air in is to make sure it isn't flowing out. Take a tour around your home and examine windows and doors for any drafts. Our front door had a sizable gap at its base, so we installed weatherstripping and it took care of the cold air problem immediately.</p> <p>There are many ways to <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5955246/drafty-how-to-seal-your-windows-and-doors-from-the-cold">fill in voids</a>, including stripping, insulator kits, foam, silicone, etc. If you're in an apartment or just want a temporary fix, you can also use one of those draft guards. Here's a <a href="http://thefeltmouse.blogspot.com/2009/02/we-got-new-dog.html">DIY tutorial</a> using an old pair of tights, polyfill, and only a few stitches.</p> <h2>2. Lower the Thermostat</h2> <p>How low can you go on your thermostat this winter? Start just one degree and you could <a href="http://news.discovery.com/earth/big-savings-by-degrees-120515.htm">save up to 5%</a> (or around $10 per day) on your overall heating bill according to an analysis released by EnergyHub in 2012. The EPA recommends settings on 70 degrees during the eight hours most people are home turning it down to 62 degrees for the 16 hours when people are away or sleeping. And if you can get away with keeping your thermostat on lower (we keep ours on 67 during the day), that's great, too. Using a <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Simple-Dollar/2012/0601/Properly-used-a-programmable-thermostat-cuts-energy-costs">programmable thermostat</a> also helps you save by taking out the manual temperature changing.</p> <h2>3. Cover Yourself</h2> <p>Feeling nervous about taking the plunge? Keeping comfortable at lower thermostat levels isn't difficult. Wear more clothing! Long sleeves, pants, thick socks, and layers are the fashion statements in our house during the winter. We also keep a fleece blanket on the couch to ward off chills in the evening. Our beds are topped with flannel sheets and wool covers for the nights when our thermostat is at its lowest setting. You don't want to be frigid all season long, but some common sense is employed here.</p> <h2>4. Zone It Out</h2> <p>My family lives in a 4-bedroom home, but we're currently only using two of those bedrooms on a daily basis. So, we've closed the hot air vents in those rooms to redirect the heating to the spaces we're living in and keep the doors shut most hours of the day. If you have baseboard heating, see if there's a localized switch in your room so you can turn it off and shut the door. The savings here are hard to quantify because so many factors are involved (room size, etc.), however &mdash; the less area to heat, the more money that stays in your pockets.</p> <h2>5. Use Curtains</h2> <p>During the day, take advantage of the sun's rays by opening your curtains to let the light in. Even on the coldest days you'll get a boost, especially with those south-facing windows in the afternoon rays. Then in the evening, close your curtains to help keep the heat indoors. If your windows are bare (or you only have sheers), consider purchasing some <a href="http://www.sparkenergy.com/blog/2012/january/save-energy-with-insulated-curtains/">insulated curtains</a>, which protect your home from heat loss through conduction, infiltration, convection, and radiation. They come in all colors and patterns, too!</p> <h2>6. Service Your Furnace</h2> <p>It's one of those annoying home maintenance tasks you don't think you should need to do, but getting your furnace cleaned and evaluated each year can help save you cash and unexpected breakdowns. (It's also a safety thing, as furnaces can leak carbon monoxide into your home without your knowledge.) You'll also need to change out the filter at least once per season &mdash; or whenever it's dirty &mdash; to keep everything flowing as it should. Check your local coupon books to see if any HVAC providers are offering promotions.</p> <h2>7. Add Insulation</h2> <p>If your house is still feeling quite cold, take a trip to your attic to assess the insulation situation. In our last home, we were surprised to find only a few inches of the stuff keeping our heat from flowing out the roof. (Insulation acts like a hat does on your body.) We added a thick fiberglass roll to the entire attic ourselves and could tell the difference in our second floor level almost immediately. How much insulation you add and where you add it is going to depend on your home. If you plan to stay there for quite a while, it certainly makes sense to <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/adding-insulation-existing-home">evaluate and correct</a> any issues that might cost you big dollars as the years go on.</p> <p><em>How do you save on your winter energy bill? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter">How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living Home furnace heating insulation utility bill winter Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1251558 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Save Money and Be Green http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-save-money-and-be-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-save-money-and-be-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hang-dry-laundry-186332454-small.jpg" alt="hang-dry laundry" title="hang-dry laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some terrific articles on easy ways to save money and be green, breakfast ideas for every kind of morning, and Costco shopping secrets.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/8-easy-ways-to-save-money-be-green">8 Easy Ways To Save Money &amp; Be Green</a> &mdash; Move your fridge away from the stove or direct sunlight so it doesn't use more energy than necessary to keep things cool. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bestkeptself.com/2014/10/15/healthy-breakfast-every-kind-morning/">A (Healthy) Breakfast for Every Kind of Morning</a> &mdash; If you only have five minutes to prepare breakfast, banana almond breakfast toast is full of protein and fiber to keep you full for hours. [Best Kept Self]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Costco-35890518">25 Awesome Costco Shopping Secrets That Go Way Beyond Free Samples</a> &mdash; Besides major savings on bulk goods, your Costco membership also gives you discounts on car purchases and travel. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/5-dumbest-things-people-do-credit-and-debit-cards/">The 5 Dumbest Things People Do With Credit and Debit Cards</a> &mdash; If you need to give your card information to someone over the phone, make sure you're not in a public setting where others can hear it too. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T057-C000-S002-best-cell-phone-plans-for-every-type-of-user.html">Best Cell-Phone Plans for Every Type of User</a> &mdash; If you use a lot of data, the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan offers unlimited 4G LTE data at only $80 a month for a single user. [Kiplinger]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/10-things-about-money-30-somethings-wish-we-knew-in-our-20s">10 Things About Money 30-Somethings Wish We Knew in Our 20s</a> &mdash; Buying your first home or a new car is exciting, but take the time to consider your options, needs, and finances so you don't end up regretting this huge purchase. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/16/pf/travel-tipping-guide/index.html">How Much Should You Tip Housekeeping? A Travel Tipping Guide</a> &mdash; How much should you tip for common travel services? For housekeeping, it depends on the quality of service and the hotel, but start with $2/day. [CNN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://freefrombroke.com/how-to-budget-for-christmas-shopping/">How to Budget for Christmas Shopping</a> &mdash; The first step is to make a list of all holiday expenses, not just gifts. Include travel, meals, and other holiday-related spending to help you figure out what you can afford. [Free from Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/top-10-online-resources-self-betterment-shouldnt-ignoring">Top 10 Online Resources for Self-improvement That We Shouldn&rsquo;t Be Ignoring</a> &mdash; Need some guidance? Horse's Mouth is a free online community where you can connect with a mentor who can help you reach your goals. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/frozen-party-roundup-diy-ideas-from-around-the-web">Frozen Party Roundup: DIY Ideas From Around the Web</a> &mdash; Keep your Frozen-themed party cheap and easy with DIY Olaf party favors and sparkle snow. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-save-money-and-be-green">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:00:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1240475 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Save Cash by Purging Your Place of Plastics http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-recycling-plastics-81266232-small.jpg" alt="recycling" title="recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard a lot of bad stuff about plastics over the years. Anything from plastic bottles leaching BPA or <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/which-plastics-are-safe.html">other hormone disrupting chemicals</a> into food and drink to the harm plastic bags have on the environment as they pile up in landfills and oceans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling?ref=seealso">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a>)</p> <p>If you've ever considered heading down a less plastic-y path &mdash; no matter the reason &mdash; start here with some sound tips for consuming less. It could even save you money.</p> <h2>1. Give Up Bottled Water</h2> <p>Not only is bottled water remarkably more expensive than the H2O you get from the tap, it comes in plastic bottles, creating a ton of waste you need to deal with after you sip. Instead, pick up a glass or metal water bottle that you can reuse again and again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you?ref=seealso">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice Might Surprise You</a>)</p> <h2>2. Eat Whole Foods</h2> <p>Another way plastic makes a sneaky appearance into our homes is through the packaged foods we buy at the grocery store. Most whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meat) come with little or no packaging, so stock your cart with them. Otherwise, make condiments, breads, and other pantry goods from scratch whenever possible to save on both waste and money. Once you get the hang, it's not as difficult as it sounds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring Your Bag</h2> <p>While you're at it, always bring reusable bags to the grocery store or skip them entirely. I shop at Aldi, so if I forget my canvas bags, I get charged for new ones. Talk about incentive. So, I go around the aisles and pick up a few cardboard boxes to carry my food. If you do have quite a stash of plastic bags, recycle them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>4. Try Cloth</h2> <p>Whether it's for diapers or sandwich bags, there are options that can help steer you away from plastic. Try some of the many cloth alternatives to everyday plastic products we consume. Though buying these items in cloth is a bigger investment initially, you can use them for years to come and eventually break even (or save money). In the case of cloth diapers, you may even be able to resell ones in good condition and get back the bulk of your dollars.</p> <h2>5. Use Glass</h2> <p>In the kitchen, my favorite plastic alternative is glass. I have Ball jars of various shapes and sizes that I use in place of plastic baggies for freezing foods. Some tips:</p> <ul> <li>Let foods cool completely before freezing;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Leave 2-3 inches of headroom for soups and applesauce that might expand when frozen;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>And handle carefully to avoid breaking.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, we have a shelving system for all our bulk foods that are stored in &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; Ball jars. Oh, and I also put my leftovers in them versus covering with plastic wrap.</p> <h2>6. Concoct Your Own Cleaning Products</h2> <p>If you make eco-friendly cleaners from scratch, you'll keep a load of plastic out of your home on bottles alone. My favorite all-purpose spray is just half a bottle of vinegar with half water and 10-20 drops of my favorite essential oils. You can even make your own laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar with water and castile soap &mdash; here are five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">simple detergent recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house?ref=seealso">8 Green Cleaners You Already Have in Your Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Eat In</h2> <p>A ton of waste is created when we get foods to-go. Between plastic containers, utensils, and bags, it piles up, and fast. So, if you want to enjoy food out, take the time to have a sit-down meal. Better yet, save your cash and cook your meal at home or pack your lunch for work. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids">some packable lunch recipes</a> to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">10 Tricks to Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>8. Examine Personal Care</h2> <p>Yes &mdash; most of those products and potions you use to clean and care for yourself are clad in plastic. They also contain some ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. You can try the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-shampoo-the-baking-soda-experiment">no-shampoo method</a> of washing your hair using baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse. I recently made my own <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/diy-natural-lotion-cubes.html">DIY lotion cubes</a> custom for my sensitive skin using shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil. And <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/5-minute-homemade-deodorant-review.html">homemade deodorant</a> really works &mdash; trust me! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hair-conditioners-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">5 Hair Conditioners You Can Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>9. Buy Less and Repair</h2> <p>Rather than immediately toss a broken plastic item and buy new, try to repair it. Or just buy fewer plastic things in general. Much of what we purchase isn't terribly essential anyway. If you do need to buy something, consider second-hand versus new. Check Craigslist, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and more. You can save additional plastics from ending up in landfills this way (and keep some cash in your pocket).</p> <h2>10. Start Small</h2> <p>If you're committed to living with fewer plastics, you can become overwhelmed when you see how much of our lives is literally wrapped up in the stuff. So, pick a room or purpose and start from there. You may want to give the <a href="http://www.nationofchange.org/numbers-plastic-bottles-what-do-plastic-recycling-symbols-mean-1360168347">worst offenders</a> the boot first. Generally speaking, numbers 2, 4, and 5 are safest. Avoid the rest. Remember: Any move away is in the right direction for your health, your wallet, and your planet.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to use less plastic? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-cash-by-purging-your-place-of-plastics">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">12 Ways to Cut Down on Garbage and Save Money Too!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-helpful-and-weird-uses-for-hair-and-excess-pet-fur">9 Helpful (and Weird) Uses for Hair and Excess Pet Fur</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> Green Living declutter extra income plastics recycling Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1233077 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cooking-oven-176826878-small.jpg" alt="woman cooking oven" title="woman cooking oven" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With energy prices on the rise and antique power grids patched together with gum and twine, it's time to take some control and get serious about reducing your use of the juice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso">15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight ways you're probably wasting electricity without realizing it.</p> <h2>1. Plugging, But Not Playing</h2> <p>Forget about the zombies; it's much more likely that your home is filled with vampires. Energy vampires are those devices and appliances we tend to leave plugged in 24/7 whether we're using them or not. And &mdash; on or off &mdash; every item that's plugged in is sucking power vampire-style. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, <a href="http://energy.gov/articles/are-energy-vampires-sucking-you-dry">vampire energy can add as much as 10%</a> to a consumer's monthly energy bill.</p> <p>Let's use your microwave as an example. How often throughout the day do you use it to prepare food? And yet, it remains plugged in, digitally displaying the time and silently sipping electricity in the process. It's a like a 30-pound clock with a motor and rotating cooking tray. Any appliance that uses energy to do virtually nothing should at least pay you a sincere compliment every time you walk by it (a feature that industrial engineers should diligently be working on, in my humble opinion).</p> <p>Help drain energy vampires by unplugging electronics and appliances you seldom use. And if you're a gadget hound, read up on the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RGF29Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000RGF29Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=C4OGZYRT3FH5G6LE">Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor</a>. For around $30.00, this handy little product calculates the energy consumed by keeping any electronic appliance plugged in and forecasts your related costs weekly, monthly, and yearly. Just plug it into an outlet, plug your device or appliance into it, and get a digital read-out. Once you see how the numbers add up, it'll be difficult to leave those vampires alone.</p> <h2>2. Cranking Up the Oven</h2> <p>When it comes to cooking a single item, an oven is often the &quot;nuclear option.&quot; That single-serving pizza or leftover tuna casserole could be warmed up in the microwave and then finished in the toaster oven. For little jobs, consider how to cook in stages using smaller appliances that sip electricity instead of automatically gravitating toward the power-sucking behemoths.</p> <h2>3. Getting in Hot Water</h2> <p>According to EnergyStar.gov, simply <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_save_energy_at_home">heating the water accounts for 90% of the total power</a> it takes wash a load of laundry. That's a whole lot of wattage. For regular loads, switch to cold water for a month and see if you notice any difference in the cleanliness of your duds. Reserve warmer water settings for fighting oil-based stains. Your budget will thank you for it.</p> <h2>4. Dish-Drying</h2> <p>Hot water helps your dishwasher do its job, but drying with heat is added energy drain that's largely unnecessary. Today, most dishwashers feature a heated drying option that you can simply choose not to use. And though heated drying does help avoid spots on dishes, you can get the same benefit by adding a rinsing agent.</p> <h2>5. Fighting the Flow</h2> <p>As obvious as it sounds, if your home features a central air-conditioning and heating system, check your vents. Vents have a way of blending into the background of our homes; many get closed inadvertently and that can result in systems that have to work extra hard to do the job. While you're at it, make sure vents, ducts, and any filters are clean and installed properly. If you find dirt or debris that's unreachable, or if you see visible signs of mold, it may be time to have your <a href="http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html#deciding">air ducts professionally cleaned</a>.</p> <h2>6. Lighting Up for the Holidays</h2> <p>Still using your dad's old string of holiday lights from 1975? Well, those incandescent bulbs are using just enough electricity to drain your gift-buying budget. Ditch the old and switch to new LED lights. You'll get hours of twinkling for a tiny fraction of the electric output.</p> <h2>7. Fridge-Gazing</h2> <p>It's a popular pastime, but standing in front of that open fridge trying decide if you have enough ingredients for a decent turkey club isn't doing your electric bill any favors. Ponder before you open the fridge or after you've quickly scanned its contents and shut the door.</p> <p>And while we're on the subject, make sure you're doing all you can to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips">help your refrigerator last for years</a>.</p> <h2>8. Ignoring Power Hours</h2> <p>Though it might not cut your electricity consumption, reserving energy-intensive tasks for off-peak hours can reduce the rate you pay. Since many power companies offer discounted rates after 8:00 p.m., focus not only on <em>how</em> you do things, but <em>when</em>. Check with your local power company to determine if it offers an off-peak discount and when off-peak hours begin and end. Then, whenever possible, schedule your laundry and dishwashing tasks to fit within that period.</p> <p>It's easy to think of electricity as a mysterious force coursing through power lines that magically illuminates all we do. But in reality, it's a concrete resource that we have direct control over. Luckily, we don't need to understand electricity to conserve it. So the next time you plug in, charge up, turn on, or warm up, think of ways to do each smarter.</p> <p><em>How do you save energy in your home? What methods have the greatest impact on your electricity bill?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home electricity utilities Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1227736 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tea-tin.jpg" alt="tea tins" title="tea tins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever the seasons change, I get this itch to do a total cleaning to our drawers, kitchen shelves, and closets. Over the years, though, I've learned that sometimes my brain gets ahead of me with all this cathartic purging. I'm not advocating that you hold onto these things to the bitter end, but definitely give yourself some time before you decide to toss or donate them for good. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <p>You can repurpose a variety of items to meet your current needs &mdash; all while saving yourself money and more clutter in the process. Here are 10 items you might want to toss away with some smart ideas for how to use them in new ways.</p> <h2>1. Old T-Shirts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/old%20tshirts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Before you take an armful of old t-shirts to the donation center, consider other ways you can use them in your home. You can cut them up into wash rags to save you cash on paper towels, for example. And if you're crafty, there are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-stylish-diy-clothing-projects-for-women">upcycled clothing projects</a> you can make, from fabric scarves to skirts.</p> <h2>2. Crib</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-crib.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Even if you don't plan to have any more babies, resist the urge to place that crib on the curb. You can make an awesome <a href="http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html">desk for your big kids</a> using a little chalkboard paint and creativity. Simply cut a piece of particle board to the size of the mattress and adjust to the correct height. Add a chair plus some hanging accessories, and you're done!</p> <h2>3. Baby Gate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-gate2.jpg" /></p> <p>And that baby gate that's collecting dust? Keep it around if you suspect you might ever want to add a puppy to your family. If that's not the case, you can also use it <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/reusing-cribs-and-baby-gates-in-the-garden-170442">in the garden</a> as a frugal trellis.</p> <h2>4. Wine Corks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/wine-corks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you haven't heard, there's quite an assortment of wine cork crafts that are as functional as they are pretty. I love this <a href="http://stephanieteaches.blogspot.com/2014/03/wine-dont-whine.html">wine cork kitchen mat</a> that took over 240 corks and a lot of patience to make. If that project is a bit too advanced, start small with this wine cork <a href="http://www.adventuresintrying.com/2011/07/25/flashback-diy-wine-cork-board/">bulletin board</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">15 Common Kitchen Castoffs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wooden Crates</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/fruit-crate.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Fruit crates &mdash; old and new &mdash; can be reused for a variety of purposes. My favorite is this stylish <a href="http://www.remodelista.com/posts/diy-crate-shelves-on-wheels">rolling cart</a> made from three crates on their sides. Just fasten together and add the casters, which you can find inexpensively at most hardware stores.</p> <h2>6. Plastic Spray Bottles</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/spray-bottle.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've finished your window cleaner or all-purpose suds, save those spray bottles and try making your own green cleaners to fill them with using ingredients like vinegar, water, and castile soap. You'll save money and improve your home's health &mdash; all while being green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>7. Tea Tins</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/tea-tin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I'm a tea fanatic, so I have quite my share of colorful tins of all shapes and sizes. I use them to house supplies like paper clips and pushpins. I've also seen some cute indoor herb gardens or even candles made by melting wax into the container and adding a wick.</p> <h2>8. Picture Frame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/picture-frame.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>We all have an old picture frame somewhere lurking in our closets. Put it to good use painting over the glass and making a functional <a href="http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2013/03/07/how-to-make-a-diy-chalkboard-from-an-old-picture-frame/">DIY chalkboard</a>. You can use it in your office or even incorporate it into your home holiday decor.</p> <h2>9. Window Shade</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/window-shade.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Changed your window dressings? No problem. Before tossing that old window shade, consider giving it to your kids as a <a href="http://www.fromgardners2bergers.com/2014/02/diy-restoration-hardware-chalkboard.html">roll-up blackboard</a>. You can also use it for some sophisticated decor in much the same way. All you do is paint with chalkboard paint and draw on your desired image.</p> <h2>10. Toothbrush</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/toothbrush.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>According to the American Dental Association, you should be changing out your toothbrush every <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-">three to four months</a>. Use the discarded brushes for cleaning your home. They work especially well in the bathroom on tough grout stains and other hard-to-reach areas that need a little scrubbing.</p> <p><em>What do you regularly keep and re-purpose? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/22-ways-to-reuse-paper">22 Ways to Reuse Paper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</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/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living crafts DIY recycle reuse Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1209318 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-buying-DVDs-158220812-small.jpg" alt="man buying DVDs" title="man buying DVDs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make dumb little purchases here and there &mdash; it's what puts the <em>'merica</em> in America &mdash; but this habit can result in a whole bevy of negatives like unnecessary overspending and hazards to your health. Yep, some of them could actually be making you sick. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-your-triggers-can-prevent-stupid-spending?ref=seealso">Knowing Your Triggers Can Prevent Emotional Spending</a>)</p> <p>What seemingly harmless, little purchases are absolutely not helping you in any way and might actually be holding you back? Here are 13 that you need to learn to just say no to today.</p> <h2>1. Coffee on the Go</h2> <p><a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cup-of-coffee-to-cost-more-at-starbucks-2014-06-21">You're wasting an incredible amount of money</a> every time you step into a java shop. You're also wasting time (you know you've stood in that long, zig-zaggy line just to get your fix) &mdash; and in my world (and probably yours, too) time is money.</p> <p>For the price that you pay for two Venti caramel soy mocha latte ya yas &mdash; or whatever they're called &mdash; you can buy a pound of coffee from your grocery store or local discount retailer (like Marshalls or T.J.Maxx) that you can make at home. Fact: <a href="http://store.starbucks.com/Coffee-Preparation-FAQ/coffee-prep-faq,default,pg.html">One pound of coffee makes about 40 eight-ounce cups of coffee</a>, depending on how you like it. That's a lot of joe for very little dough. Need more perspective? You'll save roughly $30 with a pound of coffee at home opposed to buying cups on the go. That's not a drop in the carafe, folks. If you're a coffee addict, that kind of savings will add up quickly.</p> <h2>2. Bottled Drinks</h2> <p>Let's get the obvious out of the way: Tap water is free nearly everywhere you go. Thus, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a reusable bottle that you're filling up whenever you're thirsty instead of heading to the convenience store or vending machine for a bottle of water.</p> <p>With that out of the way, let's tackle the flavored drinks.</p> <p>First, you can cut back on how much you're consuming and spending on soft drinks if you recognize that most of them have no health benefits, and they're only making you fat, but if you want to ignore that warning at least recognize that nowadays you can easily and inexpensively make your own soft drinks at home. Whether you're investing in a machine that instantly turns flat drinks into fizzy beverages or purchasing your favorite soft drink in liquid or powder form to mix at home, you can save a substantial amount of coin with the press of a button or a few stirs of a pitcher.</p> <h2>3. Magazines and Newspapers</h2> <p>I get a lot of flack every time I suggest that we should abandon magazines and newspapers in order to save money. I can almost bet that someone will comment about how this is irresponsible of me because people's jobs are on the line. Guess what, folks? I'm a writer for print publications as well, so my own advice directly affects me. Still, there's no stopping the gradual progression toward a paperless world. News moves at the speed of the Internet these days, and it's completely free. Save the trees.</p> <h2>4. Lottery Tickets</h2> <p>I wish you all the luck in the world, of course, but the odds just aren't in your favor. That's not to say that you can't take a gamble and have fun every once in while &mdash; I do, and you can, too &mdash; but if you're playing the lottery and buying scratch-offs several times a week (or just on a regular basis), you might as well skip a trip to the store and flush your hard-earned cash right down the toilet &mdash; which, depending on your financial situation, can be a decent chunk of change according to reports: Business Insider revealed recently that low-income households earning less than $13,000 a year spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets. That's bad.</p> <h2>5. Cheap Shoes</h2> <p>The problem with cheaply made shoes (and cheaply made anything for that matter) is that they have a shorter lifespan than quality-made shoes. The result of this discrepancy is that you'll replace the former more often than the latter, which can result in an overall higher cost in the end. How do you think Walmart became so big and profitable?</p> <h2>6. DVDs and On Demand Movies</h2> <p>My husband is the most notorious on-demand orderer I know. He often can't wait for the early release movies to become available for rent, so he buys them outright for $15 to $20 a pop, which practically makes me faint every time I see a newly purchased flick in the queue. Does he realize that if we change cable providers all that content is lost?! I seriously might have to pop a Xanax just thinking about this.</p> <p>It's okay to rent a DVD from a kiosk or order on demand every so often &mdash; especially if it's an alternative to spending more money going out &mdash; but don't make it a habit. DVD kiosk rentals &mdash; although initially inexpensive &mdash; can add up if you're renting frequently, renting without promo codes, or returning late. And at anywhere from $3.99 to $6.99 per on-demand rental, it's wise to be conservative here, too. A good compromise, however &mdash; if you're a heavy content consumer &mdash; is to subscribe to a relatively low-cost streaming service or checking out content (for free!) from your local library.</p> <h2>7. In-App Purchases</h2> <p>As someone who's in in-app-purchase rehab, learn from my weaknesses and repeat after me: I DO NOT NEED THIS. I CAN LIVE WITHOUT THIS. The temptation is hard to resist, but it'll get easier as time goes on and you won't have to live with that gnawing guilt anymore.</p> <h2>8. Paper Towels and Napkins</h2> <p>You're literally throwing away money with paper towels. Swap them out for reusable, washable towels/napkins by repurposing items you already have &mdash; like old t-shirts as replacements with personality &mdash; which will require no additional investment whatsoever.</p> <h2>9. Antibacterial Soap</h2> <p>Why, in this age of Ebola and the Kardashians, would you skip the antibacterial soap? Simple: Because it doesn't work. The FDA recently noted that antibacterial products are no more effective than soap and water, and, in fact, they may even be dangerous. Here are <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/five-reasons-why-you-should-probably-stop-using-antibacterial-soap-180948078/?no-ist">four more reasons to skip antibacterial everything</a> and get back to basics.</p> <h2>10. Multivitamins</h2> <p>I mean, I don't want to burst another bubble for you, but <a href="http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20131216/experts-dont-waste-your-money-on-multivitamins">your multivitamins are worthless too</a>. Recently, three separate studies concluded that a daily multivitamin doesn't help boost the average American's health. The takeaway? Put down the gummies and pick up some veggies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multivitamins-arent-as-good-as-you-think-eat-these-real-foods-instead?ref=seealso">Multivitamins Aren't as Good as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a>)</p> <h2>11. Travel-Size Toiletries</h2> <p>Frankly, I'm offended that personal-product makers take us for complete idiots by waaaay overpricing smaller, travel-size versions of their larger products. Most travel-size items are a dollar or more, and there are rarely (if ever) coupons available for these tiny items. Conversely, the full-size version of the same product &mdash; shampoo and toothpaste, for instance &mdash; doesn't cost much more than the travel size and there are often coupons available for full-size items. In the end, you could spend less on the full-size item than the travel-size item (the ounce-to-ounce cost difference is absurd, too), which is a huge win in my book. Here are a few more tricks you can use to save on travel-size items:</p> <ol> <li>Buy TSA-approved containers in which you can put shampoo, conditioners, gel, etc. and toss them in your travel bag. These <a href="http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10036635&amp;N=&amp;Ntt=silicone+travel">GoToobs</a> are my favorite. I just fill them up from my big bottles and I'm ready to go.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't bother buying or bringing toothpaste, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, and other grooming products that you know your hotel will have. Just ask for them at the front desk at check-in.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take the partially used (or even unused) hotel-provided toiletries with you so you're not wasting product or money. (Somebody will inevitably cast shame on me for yanking unopened products, but listen man, if I pay over $150 a night to sleep in a bed, I'm takin' some shampoo with me. Me and You-Know-Who will reconcile this in the afterlife.)</li> </ol> <h2>12. Food Delivery</h2> <p>Trust me, I get it. Sometimes you just can't (cannot!) be bothered to make a simple sandwich at home let alone cook a real meal because you and the couch have become one. I've been there. But if you're ordering out frequently, you're not only wasting your money, you're wasting away. Get this problem in check before it becomes a habit; if it's already become a habit, consider making a lifestyle change. Delivery is okay as a treat, but it should not be a regular routine.</p> <p>In addition, there's another thing to consider about food delivery these days: Many companies that previously offered free delivery are now charging for delivery. I was recently charged a $2.25 delivery fee for a pizza delivery that took more than two hours. Investigate if there's a delivery fee before you order so you can make an informed decision to patronize that establishment or take your business elsewhere. That delivery fee is on top of tax and tip.</p> <h2>13. Paper and Plastic Products</h2> <p>I know people who strictly eat and drink from paper and plastic products and who have cabinets full of perfectly fine dishes. Their reliance on these expensive (they may seem cheap in the short-term, but it'll add up quickly) and wasteful products is a direct result of pure laziness &mdash; they don't want to wash dishes by hand, or, and this really makes me shake my head, they view loading and unloading the dishwasher as way too much work for one person to reasonably handle. This is where my doctor-prescribed breathing techniques come in handy.</p> <p>Let's not get started on the people who actually wash the plastic products. Uh huh, people do it. And I'm like, why did you buy disposable products if you're going to wash them? That completely defeats the purpose, but I suppose it's at least a small step in the right direction. In any case, buy a set of dishes, please. It's much more economical to use something over and over opposed to using it once, throwing it away, and repurchasing the same thing time and again.</p> <p><em>Can you suggest more dumb little purchases that we should stop making today? 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/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money">10 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Spending Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-quiet-millionaire-part-2-major-obstacles-to-financial-success">The Quiet Millionaire: Part 2 – Major Obstacles to Financial Success</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/making-every-penny-count-with-a-zero-based-budget">Making Every Penny Count With A Zero-Based Budget</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/too-broke-to-be-frugal">Too broke to be frugal?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living budgeting small buys spending wasteful spending Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1197959 at http://www.wisebread.com Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-tablet-456540801-small.jpg" alt="travel tablet" title="travel tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you purchase an airfare, do you usually choose to pay a carbon offset fee? Have you even heard of a carbon offset fee? (It's a small amount to help compensate for the emissions from the flight.)</p> <p>The answer is very likely &quot;no,&quot; and that's ok. But if paying for trip already leaves you feeling too broke to pay any extra fees, there are other things you can do to minimize your impact on the environment while traveling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less?ref=seealso">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel</a>)</p> <p>And unlike the carbon offset fee, these things will actually help you save some money.</p> <h2>Shop Local</h2> <p>What's the point of shopping during a trip if you buy mass-produced things you can easily get at home? The T-shirts, fridge magnets, and keychains you see at gift shops were probably shipped in from factories <em>elsewhere</em>.</p> <p>If you have to buy souvenirs, consider getting something local. For example, visit a market to see artisans at work and buy your souvenirs directly from them. The items you buy will be more meaningful and you'll help support the local economy. Not to mention give you a great opportunity to &quot;place drop&quot; when someone asks you where you got that new hat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs?ref=seealso">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a>)</p> <h2>Green Hotels</h2> <p>Some hotels differentiate themselves from the competition by their environmentally friendly practices that minimize water and energy consumption. There is currently no one prevailing set of global standards for green hotels, but you can often find them through certification organizations like the <a href="http://greenkeyglobal.com">Green Key Eco-Rating Program</a>.</p> <p>If you can book a green hotel, that's great. But even if you don't, it's possible to practice green habits at a non-green hotel.</p> <p>One of the best things about staying at a hotel is having someone clean the room for you. However, this could also be a wasteful practice as sheets and towels don't always have to be changed daily. If you want to reuse your sheets and towels, let the front desk or the housekeeping staff know.</p> <p>Other things you can do at the hotel include recycling, taking short showers, and turning off all electric devices when you leave the room.</p> <h2>Collapsible Food Containers</h2> <p>Think you can't fit food containers in your small carry-on? Think again. There are collapsible versions that can remain compact until you need to use them. They are not specifically marketed as travel items, but they would be perfect for complying with airline carry-on limits, which get stricter by the day. Just pack a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CT4WMU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CT4WMU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46VB5SOOACO5Q7N3">flattened container or two</a> in your bag, then expand them when necessary for take-outs, leftovers, and picnics.</p> <h2>Reusable Grocery Bags</h2> <p>When I travel, I like to book a suite with a kitchen. Shopping at unfamiliar markets and cooking with local ingredients can be an interesting experience in itself. This is why I pack a reusable grocery bag in my carry-on. It's small, light, and green. Plus, some grocery stores have started charging shoppers for plastic bags.</p> <p>Not everybody goes grocery shopping during a vacation, but do consider packing a reusable grocery bag regardless. These bags are more sturdy than regular plastic bags and would be great for trips to the beach and containing luggage overflow.</p> <h2>Public Transport</h2> <p>If there's a good public transport network at your destination, take advantage of it. You'll see how locals get around and maybe meet some interesting people along the way. It's also cheaper and better for the environment.</p> <p>If you plan to take public transit, check out the city's website for important information like maps, routes, and fares beforehand. These details will help you plan your itinerary and you may even learn some money-saving tips. For example, <a href="http://www.translink.ca/en/Fares-and-Passes/FareSaver-Tickets.aspx">Vancouver's public transit website</a> tells you that a book of 10 tickets is 24% cheaper than 10 single tickets.</p> <h2>Rental Cars</h2> <p>If you have to rent a car, go for the smallest one possible. A smaller car usually consumes less gas, and the car rental company often charges less for it. A hybrid car, if available, would be an even better, greener choice. If you're not familiar with the area, rent a GPS to help you find the shortest routes possible.</p> <h2>Reusable Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water is often marketed as being a healthier alternative to the humble tap water, but the science behind this claim is debatable. At least in the United States, tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water. Yet, the University of Maryland says <a href="http://www.sustainability.umd.edu/content/culture/filling_stations_facts.php">Americans spent $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water</a> in 2012 alone.</p> <p>Single-use water bottles are manufactured at great cost to the environment and most of them are not recycled after use. They're also highly attractive to tourists, who often find themselves walking around for long stretches, unprepared and parched. So if you travel to a destination where the tap water is drinkable, bring a reusable water bottle and save yourself some money.</p> <h2>Digital Reading Material</h2> <p>I used to bring one or two books with me when I traveled, but now everything is on my smartphone. This way, I have fewer things to pack and I can read in the dark before sleeping.</p> <p>Reading on a smartphone is not for everyone &mdash; it's small and it's often too bright. But tablets and e-readers are everywhere and most books are available in digital form. These e-books are often drastically cheaper compared to the printed versions, so you'll save money in the long run.</p> <h2>Access the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>The sharing economy minimizes overall consumption by encouraging people, who are often strangers, to share (actually rent) resources. Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to take part in the sharing economy when you travel.</p> <p>For accommodation, look into vacation rentals (renting someone's home) through websites like <a href="https://www.airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> and <a href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">couchsurfing</a> (sleeping on someone's couch). For longer trips, you could try house-sitting (taking care of someone's home while they're away) through <a href="http://www.housecarers.com/">HouseCarers</a> or <a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/">TrustedHousesitters.com</a>. Alternatively, use <a href="http://us.intervac-homeexchange.com">Intervac</a> or <a href="http://www.homelink.org">HomeLink</a> for home exchange (staying at someone's home while the other family stays at yours).</p> <p>Instead of renting a car, you can try ridesharing, which is when a local drives you around for a small fee. <a href="https://www.lyft.com">Lyft</a> and <a href="http://www.side.cr">Sidecar</a> connect ridesharers in some select cities. If you want something more private, go with peer-to-peer carsharing instead, which means you'll rent a local's car when she's not using it. You can find these cars on <a href="http://relayrides.com">RelayRides</a> or <a href="http://www.getaround.com/">Getaround</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you green your travel? 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/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-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-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/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</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/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</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/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</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-take-the-worlds-most-efficient-shower">How to Take the World&#039;s Most Efficient Shower</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-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle Travel eco-tourism green tourism green travel sustainable tourism Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1166920 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing vegetables-450798673-small.jpg" alt="growing vegetables" title="growing vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not everyone has a green thumb, and growing a garden can often be a tiring &mdash; and expensive &mdash; endeavor for anyone to tackle. While it can be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on seeds, plants, additives, and water, you can make gardening worth your investment by growing the fruits and veggies that cost the most in stores today.</p> <p>Starting a plant as a seed (for veggies) or a sapling (for a fruit tree) is the best way to realize savings, although it takes longer for your harvest to come, and there is more risk. Seed packets usually run no more than $2 a packet, even for heirloom varieties. (Heirloom is original, non-hybrid, non-GMO seed stock.) With between 20 and 100 seeds per packet, if even a handful of the seeds grow into fruit-producing adult plants, you've earned much of your investment back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=seealso">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a>)</p> <p>Most gardeners hope to go far beyond &quot;breaking even,&quot; however. Considering that the recent California drought, rising gas prices, and overall food inflation will make fresh fruits and veggies even more expensive this year, it may be easier than ever to earn back what you spend on even the most modest garden.</p> <p>Here are my favorites for reaping what you sow.</p> <h2>Artichokes</h2> <p>These delicious veggies are actually cousins to the thistle, and preparing them for eating is a process way more complicated than growing them. Since they are also one of the most expensive items to buy in the store, however, any success you have in growing them will be much appreciated! They can be started from seed, shoots, or the cuttings of other adult artichokes; they do well in most any climate, and can be replanted new each year in those areas that are too cold to survive the winters.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Many people aren't sure <a href="http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/4796/how-to-grow-artichokes/page/all">how to harvest them</a> once their artichokes are ready; by cutting them before they get too big, you can ensure energy is devoted to creating more &quot;fruits&quot; than flowers.</p> <h2>Brussels Sprouts</h2> <p>The hated Brussels sprout has become a popular choice of chefs across the country, and more people are creating delicious dishes with the veggie in their own kitchens. By growing your own, however, you can choose &mdash; among other things &mdash; how big, how tender, and how flavorful your sprout becomes. You can also grow hundreds for the price of a pound of store-bought. Starting from seed can be difficult, which is why many sprout lovers get plants from their nursery. Hot summers can kill these plants, so it is recommended to grow them for a &quot;fall garden&quot; when the chance of high temps has passed for the year.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Looking for the best flavor in your Brussels sprouts? Experts suggest is it a good idea to harvest <a href="http://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/brussels-sprouts-tips-from-seed-to-harvest">after the first mild frost</a> each fall. The cold weather give them a delicious note that you just can't buy in the store!</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>You really have to have some bad luck to get nothing from a tomato plant. While veteran gardeners can take a packet of seeds and get a dozen or more healthy plants, you can expect to get amazing results from even one adult plant ready to transplant to your own garden. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes?ref=seealso">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</a>)</p> <p>Tomatoes all offer varying degrees of yield, but the cherry or grape tomato plants seem to give and give and give. Varieties such as Romas are great for cooking and making sauce, and with more meaty pulp than water and seeds, you can expect to get gallons of sauce from just one plant. Hard-core canners with a dozen or more plants can put up hundreds of jars of sauce at the end of the season, giving you a great return on your initial investment.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you have too many green tomatoes at the end of a season, with no chance to ripen before frost, consider any one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">delicious green tomato recipes</a>!</p> <h2>Zucchini</h2> <p>This very productive plant is the butt of many garden jokes, and people go quickly from appreciating their bounty to wondering &quot;what the heck can I do with all this zucchini?&quot; Luckily, this makes it a sure-fire way to get a little back on the light maintenance zucchini plants require. Whether you eat them small, sliced thin for stir-fry, or let them grow large and bake with them, there is a zucchini recipe guaranteed to help you use up your surplus. Since zucchini actually start best as seeds planted directly in the garden, their cost to get started is minimal, too!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you grow tired of eating them yourself, here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gadzukes-10-ways-to-use-up-your-zucchini-bounty">unique ways to get rid of all that zucchini</a>.</p> <h2>Mint</h2> <p>While not exactly something to make much of a meal out of, the humble mint plant is a fantastic addition to any garden and one that will literally take over if you aren't careful.</p> <p>Mint comes in many varieties, including chocolate, pineapple, apple, and spearmint. Use it to make jellies, jams, teas, and salves. One small plant from your nursery usually runs no more than $4, and can quickly cover several square feet of raised bed within weeks of planting. (Plus, it comes back every year stronger than the previous year. You may find yourself digging much of it up to give away.)</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Annoyed with how well your mint is doing? Consider pulling up all but a few plants each year and donating the surplus to the kitchen or garden of your favorite non-profit.</p> <h2>Kale</h2> <p>This salad must-have is nutritious and versatile. While it does best in cooler weather, once established, it can be kept in the shady part of a garden for almost the entire spring through fall time period. Cutting just the top leaves off when they are young can help keep the flavors mild and leaves tender, plus it will encourage growth. Started as seed, it's similar to lettuce or spinach, but is much more resistant to bugs, cold, and heat. Kale in the store can run $4 or more for a bag; having a single row in your garden can keep you in free salad for many months!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you see your kale plants starting to get tough or &quot;prickly,&quot; it's time to start anew. Sow new seeds in between older plants and pull up the old plants when the new ones are producing. Rotating fresher stock every few weeks ensures you will always have the most tender leaves possible!</p> <h2>Other Smart Choices</h2> <p>Depending on your soil and growing season, there are a few other plants that tend to do well in most climate zones; squash, peppers, and radishes all grow well most years and either cost very little to start (like the radishes) or produce many fruits per plant (like the peppers and squash).</p> <p>As with any endeavor, it's best to plant no more than what you can reasonably maintain, care for, and harvest. Wasted produce does not count on the plus side of your ROI formula! It's also fun to factor in just how much you are earning back with your garden. Homegrown isn't just valued higher because it's fresh and free from strange growing and handling procedures. Food you grow yourself is tax-free, too! It takes far less effort to grow a tomato than to work to earn the money to buy that same tomato &mdash; after you pay income taxes, that is!</p> <p><em>What fruits and vegetables in your garden have given you the best ROI? 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/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">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/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</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/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home</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/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</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/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps">7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink Green Living fresh food gardens homegrown vegetables Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1149042 at http://www.wisebread.com