green living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4857/all en-US 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Growing a Garden http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-health-benefits-to-growing-a-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-health-benefits-to-growing-a-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_garden_504344589.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising benefits to growing a garden" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know by now that we should be increasing the vegetables in our diet. We also know that we can save a ton of money at the grocery store if we grow our own herbs, fruits, and vegetables. But what other benefits are there to gardening, beyond eating what you grow? Here are six surprising reasons to get out into the dirt and perfect your green thumb. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fight depression</h2> <p>Gardening may be the key thing to lifting your spirits and battling depression. According to Psychology Today, tending plants can give you a sense of responsibility, provide you with something to nurture, keep you connected to other living things, and help you relax. What's more, when you exercise by working in the garden, your endorphins rise and your stress levels fall.</p> <h2>2. Cut your risk of Alzheimer's disease</h2> <p>In a study released by the Journal of Alzheimer's disease in 2016, researchers found that your risk of Alzheimer's could be reduced by various physical activities. The study measured the changes in the brain using MRI scans in correlation to increased exercise. It concluded that even low-intensity activities such as walking improved cognitive function by increasing gray matter in the brain. So even though gardening might not be as strenuous as attending a kickboxing class at the gym, this activity will help safeguard your brain as you age.</p> <h2>3. A chance to socialize</h2> <p>Have you been feeling a little lonesome? Explore getting a plot in a community garden. There, you can happily toil along with others as you maintain your growing fruits and veggies. You can also exchange produce, compare techniques, and swap seeds.</p> <p>Those interactions have real health benefits. Researchers at Brigham Young University who analyzed existing studies found that while loneliness is associated with early death as much as obesity, socializing with others can help you live longer. So even on days when you're not up for small talk, head to the community garden and you might just add years to your life.</p> <h2>4. Soak up some vitamin D</h2> <p>Does your doctor think you are getting enough vitamin D? If not, remember that regular sun exposure will provide vitamin D &mdash; which regulates your calcium levels and helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Be sure to use sunscreen, of course, but soak up those rays when you can.</p> <h2>5. Meditate</h2> <p>For a long time, I watched my neighbor, May, squat and pull weeds from her lawn. <em>Why didn't she use a chemical to do the work for her</em>, I wondered. As it turns out, it's meditative. She enjoys the birds, the sunrise, and the satisfaction of getting rid of weeds. She finds it therapeutic to work repetitively, one weed at a time.</p> <h2>6. Absorb some healthy bacteria</h2> <p><em>Mycobacterium vaccae</em> is the scientific name for a healthy bacteria that naturally lives in soil. Amazingly, it has been found to trigger the release of serotonin in humans and mice, and that can elevate your mood and decrease anxiety. How cool is that?</p> <p>More studies are being done to determine how effective <em>M. vaccae</em> is at treating mental health disorders via pill, vaccination, or inhalation, but until you can purchase this in the vitamin section of your local grocery store, you might be able to soak up the benefits by getting your hands dirty in the garden.</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/6-surprising-health-benefits-to-growing-a-garden">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/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</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-easy-ways-to-fix-your-whole-life-this-summer">11 Easy Ways to Fix Your Whole Life This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-reasons-to-drink-wine">10 Great Reasons to Drink Wine</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/small-steps-to-weight-loss">Small, Cheap Steps to Weight Loss</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/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty exercise fresh food gardening green living growing a garden health benefits healthy habits healthy lifestyle Wed, 17 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Marla Walters 1948478 at http://www.wisebread.com 34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-531612106.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways to cut your electric bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was pleasantly surprised to see that my February natural gas bill was only $65 &mdash; which isn't bad for heating an entire house during an Iowa winter. But my electric bill for the month was over $100. There must be some things I can do to use less electricity and lower my bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a>)</p> <p>One way to save money on your bill is to change your behavior and pay more attention to your usage of electricity &mdash; no investment required. Another way is to install some upgrades. These involve spending money on projects, and investments to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lower your utility bills every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <p>Here are some smart things you can do to use less electricity and start saving money on your electric bill.</p> <h2>1. Turn off auxiliary heating devices</h2> <p>I was using a space heater to keep some plants warm, but this ran up my electric bill. I'll use more efficient <a href="http://amzn.to/2otBRFM" target="_blank">heating pads</a> instead.</p> <h2>2. Enjoy some nonelectric evenings</h2> <p>Every once in awhile, switch off the circuit breaker and have an evening with no electricity. Break out the flashlights, candles, books, and board games. You don't have to wait for Earth Hour to turn out the lights and save money on electricity.</p> <h2>3. Dry clothes outside</h2> <p>Weather permitting, you can hang laundry outside to dry instead of running an energy-intensive dryer.</p> <h2>4. Turn up central A/C temperature</h2> <p>Turn up your thermostat a few degrees to run your central air conditioner less.</p> <h2>5. Use someone else's electricity</h2> <p>Turn off the lights, appliances, and air conditioning at your house and go somewhere else. You could go to the library or work at a coffee shop.</p> <h2>6. Use your ceiling fans correctly</h2> <p>Run ceiling fans to make rooms comfortable with less energy than running A/C. Set the ceiling fan direction for the correct season &mdash; in summer, a ceiling fan should rotate counterclockwise when viewed from below.</p> <h2>7. Use fans, open windows</h2> <p>Use box fans or oscillating fans to cool occupied spaces and run central A/C less on hot days. Open windows at night to take advantage of cool air. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Fans</a>)</p> <h2>8. Turn off unused lights</h2> <p>Get in the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. It's easy enough to turn the lights back on if they are needed again.</p> <h2>9. Turn off unused electronics</h2> <p>Turn off computers, game consoles, and TVs when no one is using them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Cost of Standby Power</a>)</p> <h2>10. Run full loads</h2> <p>Run full loads in your dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer for maximum efficiency.</p> <h2>11. Use cold water</h2> <p>Reduce your use of hot water in your clothes washer, and select cold or warm water wash cycles instead whenever possible.</p> <h2>12. Run the clothes dryer at night</h2> <p>Run your clothes dryer and other energy intensive appliances at night if your electric utility provides an off-peak hours discount.</p> <h2>13. Clean lint trap on clothes dryer</h2> <p>Remove lint from the lint trap on your clothes dryer to maximize airflow and minimize energy use.</p> <h2>14. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher</h2> <p>Instead of using a heated dry cycle, I simply open the dishwasher door and let dishes air dry.</p> <h2>15. Install LED light bulbs</h2> <p>I am replacing all of my incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that provide great lighting and use a fraction of the electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Energy Efficient Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>16. Remove &quot;extra&quot; light bulbs</h2> <p>If a fixture has more light than you need, remove some of the bulbs so it will use less power.</p> <h2>17. Take advantage of water heater savings</h2> <p>Here are some ways to reduce electricity consumption for hot water:</p> <ul> <li>Lower the temperature setting on your hot water tank.</li> <li>Install an insulated jacket around the tank.</li> <li>Insulate the first six feet of hot water supply pipe.</li> </ul> <h2>18. Sleep outside</h2> <p>It gets cool outside at night, even during the summer. You can take advantage of this by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping outside in a tent or on a screened-in porch.</p> <h2>19. Remove underutilized appliances</h2> <p>If you have an extra freezer or refrigerator in your garage that doesn't have much in it, consider getting rid of it to save a few dollars worth of electricity every month.</p> <h2>20. Skip the blow dryer for your hair</h2> <p>Blow dryers are loud and use a lot of power. They also dry out your hair over time, so use a towel to dry your hair instead.</p> <h2>21. Use a toaster oven</h2> <p>Use a toaster oven to heat up small items such as a sandwich or slice of pizza instead of firing up the full-sized oven.</p> <h2>22. Choose a flashlight over a night light</h2> <p>I keep an LED flashlight next to my bed instead of trying to light large areas of the house with nightlights that use electricity all night long.</p> <h2>23. Charge your gadgets at work</h2> <p>If there are outlets handy at the office, you might as well charge your phone, tablet, and laptop there instead of at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-chargers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Solar Chargers</a>)</p> <h2>24. Use timers for holiday lights</h2> <p>I bought a digital timer to automatically turn my holiday lights off and on so they never run all night.</p> <h2>25. Change your furnace filter</h2> <p>You will get better airflow and spend less on central A/C if you change your furnace filter every few months.</p> <h2>26. Think broom, not vacuum cleaner</h2> <p>A broom is quiet and uses no electricity. I am trying to break my habit of reaching for the vacuum cleaner to clean up every mess in my shop.</p> <h2>27. Upgrade motion detectors</h2> <p>Install motion detectors on outside lights to prevent leaving lights on.</p> <h2>28. Install Energy Star appliances</h2> <p>Make energy efficiency a top criterion when selecting new appliances.</p> <h2>29. Choose a high efficiency A/C</h2> <p>If you have an older central A/C unit, you may be able to cut your cooling cost significantly by replacing it with a more energy efficient model.</p> <h2>30. Make sure you have insulated windows</h2> <p>Replace leaky or single pane windows with double or triple pane windows charged with inert gas to reduce A/C cost.</p> <h2>31. Install a programmable thermostat</h2> <p>You can install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ovZP3h" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> to automatically adjust A/C temperature when no one is home.</p> <h2>32. Add solar panels</h2> <p>Install solar panels to generate your own electricity and drastically cut your electric bill. In some locations, you may even be able to sell any excess electricity that you generate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>33. Install a skylight or light pipe</h2> <p>If the sun is shining outside, you can bring free light in from outside using a skylight or light pipe.</p> <h2>34. Bicycle generator</h2> <p>You can generate your own electricity to run electronic devices and even some appliances by using a bicycle generator.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone 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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology appliances electric bill electricity energy green living saving money tech gadgets Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1925857 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 No-Fuss Plants That Will Brighten Your Home Until Spring http://www.wisebread.com/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_plants_succulents_537868672.jpg" alt="Woman getting no-fuss plants to brighten her home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This time of year, it's nice to bring something green home to help pass the gray days. Houseplants are a living reminder that spring is on the horizon. You don't need to be particularly good at keeping stuff thriving to enjoy them, either. Here's a list of some low-maintenance plants that are cheap or, in some cases, free! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-hardest-to-kill-houseplants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Hardest-to-Kill Houseplants</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pothos</h2> <p>You can pick up a gorgeously green, 10-ounce pothos plant for less than $4 at Lowe's. If you're worried about it being high maintenance, don't fret. Chances are, you'll have this plant for the long haul. Even people who have green thumbs explain that this plant will withstand a hearty dose of &quot;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/golden-pothos.aspx" target="_blank">benign neglect</a>.&quot;</p> <p>And if your friend just happens to have this plant, you may be able to get one for yourself for free. Simply cut an existing plant into some individual segments above the leaf by about half an inch. Take 10 or so of these cuttings and place them in a pot (don't forget to water them) for about six weeks. Each cut should eventually make a vine that will turn into a full plant.</p> <h2>2. Spider Plant</h2> <p>The only plant I have ever had in my own home is the spider plant. And amazingly, it has withstood the test of time and countless messes along the way. Talk about indestructible. What about cheap? Yeah, it's that, too. This plant produces seemingly unlimited babies that you can either inherit or pass along to your friends with virtually no work involved on your part.</p> <p>Here's a tip: spider plants can sometimes get a &quot;burned&quot; look on their leaf tips. This is as a result of too much fluoride accumulation. If you want to avoid this tattered look, try using higher grade fertilizer and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/spider-airplane-plant.aspx" target="_blank">skipping tap water</a> when watering. It's a great excuse to try your hand at making a rain collection barrel.</p> <h2>3. Aloe Plant</h2> <p>Want a plant that does more than just look pretty on your shelf? Grow aloe! You can use its gooey center to ease irritation from cuts and burns. A 10-inch aloe vera plant costs only $4. Care is easy. Water well and then let the soil dry&nbsp;<a href="http://www.almanac.com/plant/aloe-vera" target="_blank">one or two inches</a> before the next watering.</p> <p>Another option is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/Aloe-variegata-tiger-02-26-2016.aspx" target="_blank">tiger alloe</a>. It is one of the smaller plants in the aloe family and only reaches about 10 inches tall. As a result, it fits well on coffee tables or other areas in compact apartments. Oh, and it gets some spikes with orange flowers in the middle of winter to help shake the cold-weather blues and add a burst of color into your life.</p> <h2>4. Jade Plant</h2> <p>Jade plants can last <a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/jade-plant.aspx" target="_blank">100 years or more</a> with proper care. It is a slow-growing succulent, so it doesn't need to take up a lot of space and can survive even if you forget to water it regularly. You can grab a jade of your very own for around $4 or $5.</p> <p>If your jade picks up mealybugs &mdash; a white, cottony mass &mdash; you can treat it with some rubbing alcohol.</p> <h2>5. Cactus</h2> <p>My neighbor bought a tiny Christmas cactus plant for around $5 a few years ago. It now sits proudly in her bay window and blooms late each fall with some really pretty flowers. You'll want to place this plant in a well-lit area and place it in a well-drained pot. You only need to move it to a new pot every year or so. In the summer, you can move it to your patio &mdash; just make sure to give it some shade during the hottest time of day.</p> <p>This plant is often called a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/holiday-cactus.aspx" target="_blank">crab cactus</a> in Europe. And in its native Brazil, the &quot;Christmas&quot; part of the name would be relatively meaningless, as its blooms in spring there (because it's in the Southern Hemisphere).</p> <h2>6. Mother-in-Law's Tongue</h2> <p>While a mother-in-law's tongue (otherwise known as a snake plant) may sound like something you'd want to stay away from, this plant is excellent for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?ref=internal" target="_blank">indoor air quality</a>. It filters anything from formaldehyde to trichloroethylene to benzene out of your home's atmosphere. It's relatively cheap to boot. You can pick one up for around $15 at your local big box center. Experts recommend you place this plant in your bedroom because &mdash; get this &mdash; it can convert exhaled CO2 into oxygen.</p> <p>The best part? This plant is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/mother-in-law-tongue.aspx" target="_blank">super hard to kill</a>. They don't need much light either. Just some love, and little water, and an occasional dusting.</p> <h2>7. Cast Iron Plant</h2> <p>Don't have a lot of light in your home? The cast iron plant doesn't care. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/in-the-garden/reference-desk/perennials/cast-iron-plant.aspx" target="_blank">shadier, the better</a> for this happy plant. Actually, if it gets too much sun, its leathery leaves will start to burn. Otherwise, it's hearty and easy to maintain. A small cast iron will set you back around $12.</p> <p>If your plant's leaves do end up burning, you can simply cut them off, water well, and place it in a spot with better shade away from windows.</p> <h2>8. Rubber Plant</h2> <p>As one of the world's oldest house plants, the <a href="http://www.ourhouseplants.com/plants/rubber-plant" target="_blank">rubber plant</a> can grow quite tall and take up a bit of space in only a few years' time. But that's good if you want a houseplant as a feature of your home decor. It's also resistant to pests and diseases and can tolerate poor treatment. You can get a rubber plant for around $8 plus shipping costs. Not bad considering how big it will get.</p> <p>My mother-in-law keeps these plants, and she explains that if the leaves turn yellow, it's typically that they're receiving too much water. Back off for a while, and their usual color should return.</p> <h2>9. Peace Lily</h2> <p>Another easy-to-grow houseplant is the <a href="http://www.almanac.com/plant/peace-lily" target="_blank">peace lily</a>. It's quite common in houses across the U.S. and beyond, so you may be able to score one from a friend. Otherwise, you can buy this plant for around $8. Its pleasant white flowers prefer shade versus sun. Most peace lily plants grow to about 16 inches tall and bloom throughout the year. No blooms? Move your plant to a darker room.</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-no-fuss-plants-that-will-brighten-your-home-until-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</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-5-best-linen-sprays">The 5 Best Linen Sprays</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-5-best-vacuum-sealers">The 5 Best Vacuum Sealers</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-microfiber-cleaning-cloths">The 5 Best Microfiber Cleaning Cloths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-portable-fans">The 5 Best Portable Fans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping buying plants easy plants green living home decor plant care plants spring Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1894769 at http://www.wisebread.com Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74523869_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items help you live longer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life has its ups and downs. Despite the problems we face, most of us would give anything to maximize longevity. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to have a long, fulfilling life. Some things are fairly obvious, such as quitting a bad habit like smoking, and avoiding life-threatening behaviors. What you might not realize, however, is that certain purchases also have a hand in extending your lifespan. Here are eight things you can buy to help you live longer.</p> <h2>1. Books</h2> <p>After finishing high school or college, maybe you vowed never to pick up another book again. Reading was no doubt a grueling chore while you were cramming for an exam, but there are benefits to making reading a regular routine. According to a new study, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds">reading can boost cognitive function</a>, and people who read for at least 30 minutes a day can extend their lives and live two years longer than those who don't read.</p> <h2>2. A Cat</h2> <p>If you're thinking about getting a pet, don't automatically assume a dog is the better choice. Some cats aren't as social or playful as dogs. Nonetheless, owning a cat can be good for your heart and have a positive effect on your life. The National Health and Nutrition Examination study followed 4,500 men and women over a 20-year period. More than half of the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20080221/owning-a-cat-good-for-the-heart">participants owned a cat</a> during their lives. The study found that people who never had a cat were 30% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who had owned a cat.</p> <h2>3. Floss</h2> <p>Brushing your teeth at least two times a day contributes to oral health. But if you're looking to add years to your life, don't forget to <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf5qo2">floss</a>. The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing, and for good reason. Flossing &mdash; which helps remove particles of food from places a toothbrush can't reach &mdash; can add as much as six years to your life. The <a href="http://www.today.com/health/there-s-little-proof-flossing-protects-your-teeth-or-gums-t101389">benefits of flossing</a> have recently been hotly debated, but not flossing increases the risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and infection.</p> <h2>4. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Whether you're at the beach, an amusement park, driving in the car, or working in your garden, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays with <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf4K2j">sunscreen</a>. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, but too much exposure can be deadly. Having more than five sunburns can double your risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Therefore,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/five-ways-to-treat-a-sunburn">always apply sunscreen</a> before exposing your skin to the sun, and reapply as directed.</p> <h2>5. Coffee</h2> <p>You don't have to feel guilty about starting your morning with a cup of Joe. Coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, and it can help you live longer. Researchers found that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938">coffee has antioxidants that protect our bodies</a> from damage. The beverage can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's important to drink in moderation. Too much caffeine also increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.</p> <h2>6. Bike</h2> <p>One or more days a week, ride your bike to work or while running errands. And if you have a regular exercise routine, incorporate cycling a few days a week. Researchers have found a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uu.nl/en/news/dutch-bikers-live-six-months-longer">link between riding a bike and living longer</a>. For every hour you bike, you can add one hour to your life.</p> <h2>7. Blood Pressure Monitor</h2> <p>You probably don't give your blood pressure a second thought &mdash; but you should. High blood pressure is a silent killer because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than wait for a health crisis to learn you have high blood pressure, invest in a <a href="http://amzn.to/2cIGCXS">blood pressure monitor</a> and regularly check your levels to ensure they remain within a healthy range (less than 120/80 mm Hg).</p> <p>Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, and you may have higher than normal readings after exercising or eating. If your numbers are consistently high, talk to your doctor. With lifestyle changes or medication you can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of early death.</p> <h2>8. A Wedding Ring</h2> <p>Maybe you're happy living a bachelor or bachelorette life. Even so, there are benefits to tying the knot. Not only can you enjoy companionship, a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html">people who never marry</a> were &quot;more than twice as likely to die early in life than those people in long-term, stable relationships.&quot; The study followed 4,800 people born in the 1940s. These findings support other studies, which found that married people had a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Flive-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FLive%2520a%2520Longer%2520and%2520Happier%2520Life%2520With%2520These%25208%2520Frugal%2520Buys.jpg&amp;description=Live%20a%20Longer%20and%20Happier%20Life%20With%20These%208%20Frugal%20Buys"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Live%20a%20Longer%20and%20Happier%20Life%20With%20These%208%20Frugal%20Buys.jpg" alt="Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys" width="250" height="374" /></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/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">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/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</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-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/6-surprising-health-benefits-to-growing-a-garden">6 Surprising Health Benefits of Growing a Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">4 New Year&#039;s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping entertainment exercise extend your life green living health care Live Longer longevity marriage pets Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1794518 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Great Side Jobs You Can Do on Your Bicycle http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-side-jobs-you-can-do-on-your-bicycle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-great-side-jobs-you-can-do-on-your-bicycle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72457383_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="great side jobs you can do on a bike" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back when a newspaper subscription was the main way people got their news, a kid could make some side money by delivering papers with a bike. It wasn't enough to retire on or pay the mortgage, but for a kid, a bike was the best way to make some money before or after school.</p> <p>Those days are gone, with newspapers delivered by car and print competing with digital subscriptions, or no subscriptions at all. But the ability to make some money in a side job still exists if you have a bike. Here are six such jobs.</p> <h2>1. Bike Messenger</h2> <p>Biking up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco to deliver documents between businesses as a bike courier can be a difficult way to make a living, but there are plenty of openings. Twenty such businesses pop up in a Google search of the city &mdash; not including Uber's bike messenger service.</p> <p>One rider, who also works as a high school math teacher, described how he gets to keep 80% of a $9.68 food <a href="https://thebillfold.com/my-summer-working-as-an-uber-bike-messenger-5beca3f07307#.egzgvtwb6">delivery for Uber on his bike</a>, or $7.74 in his pocket. He estimates an Uber rider will take home $4.50 per hour after taxes.</p> <p>Maybe delivering documents is more worthwhile. According to Salary Expert, the average annual <a href="https://www.salaryexpert.com/salarysurveydata/job=bike-messenger/salary">salary for a bike messenger</a> is $24,966, and the average hourly rate is $12.</p> <h2>2. Bike Tour Guide</h2> <p>Leading bike tours in Napa or another scenic city you live in or near can pay $75 to $150 per day.</p> <p>If you're an expert on where to find interesting places in your city, then leading tourists to the best restaurants, unknown gems, and landmarks can be a fun way to make money outdoors on weekends or whenever you're free.</p> <h2>3. Pedicab Driver</h2> <p>This is another bike job with tourists, though instead of leading people on bikes, you'll pull them around on a three-wheeled pedicab bike.</p> <p>You won't be using your own bike. Unless you happen to own a pedicab, you'll either have to spend $3,500 or so to buy one or go work for a pedicab company in a city full of tourists. The <a href="http://www.outsideonline.com/1918591/you-grow-be-pedicab-driver">pay can be up to $500</a> on a busy night, says one driver. This seasonal job can be much more enjoyable than an internship at a law firm.</p> <h2>4. Pick up Laundry</h2> <p>Delivering food on a bike can be messy, and being a courier can require fast riding. A more leisurely bike job may be in the laundry pickup and delivery service, such as for <a href="http://www.washcyclelaundry.com/index">Wash Cycle Laundry</a>.</p> <p>You tow a small trailer on your bike, picking up dirty laundry from customers' homes and taking it to a laundry service to do the dirty work. You then deliver the clean laundry back to the customer. The company so far only does business in Philadelphia and doesn't state on its website how much it pays bikers. If you don't live in Philly, what's stopping you from setting up a similar laundry pickup/delivery service with a dry cleaner near you?</p> <h2>5. Bicycle Mover</h2> <p>The Swedish company <a href="http://www.movebybike.se/sv/Boka">Movebybike</a> is only in Sweden, so unless you're prepared to move there and bike for the company, you're going to have to start your own bike moving company. It uses bike trailers behind cargo bikes to move furniture and other belongings for people who aren't moving far. This fast moving option can come in handy for people moving a few miles within a city.</p> <p>If you don't already have a bike trailer, you can <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Bicycle-Cargo-Trailer">make one</a> yourself, though a large one for furniture may be too much work to do on your own.</p> <h2>6. Run a Bike Bar</h2> <p>A pop-up cocktail stand that delivers alcoholic drinks to people on demand sounds like an idea that's almost too good to be true.The <a href="http://www.the-tgc.com/">Traveling Gin Company</a> does this by catering to events, so calling them up to deliver just one drink is probably unlikely to be fulfilled.</p> <p>Do they need drivers? It's unclear from their website. Can you do this on your own in your own town? Legally, it's a murky area worth checking in your state to see if alcohol deliveries are allowed, or if alcohol licenses are required. At the very least, you could deliver juice to thirsty people.</p> <p>And what to do if none of these side jobs with a bike interest you? A bike is a nimble piece of transportation that can get you somewhere fast. Whatever service you provide on a bike, start by advertising it as a green alternative to other methods of getting something, and you just may find a niche.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-side-jobs-you-can-do-on-your-bicycle">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/4-ways-to-make-money-doing-household-chores">4 Ways to Make Money Doing Household Chores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online">7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-make-your-money-grow-this-spring">11 Ways to Make Your Money Grow This Spring</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-worst-work-from-home-jobs">The 5 Worst Work From Home Jobs</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-side-jobs-for-people-who-are-good-with-money">6 Side Jobs for People Who Are Good With Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income bike biking green living making money side gig side jobs work commute Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1793852 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67797601_XLARGE2.jpg" alt="these products are killing the family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling, flipping off the lights when we leave a room, and weatherproofing our homes. And while those are all important efforts, we sometimes forget that the biggest environmental impact we can make happens at the cash register.</p> <p>As we strive to leave a better planet for our kids and grandkids, it's time to take a new look at how our everyday consumer habits affect the health of our natural environment. Here are eight things we keep buying that are killing the planet &mdash; along with some greener (and less expensive) alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>According to statistics from Ban the Bottle, an environmental organization that advocates for an organized phase-out of the single-use plastic water bottle, Americans toss out 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Besides the bottles themselves, the plastic netting or wrapping that holds cases of bottles together takes a huge toll on the environment.</p> <p>Instead of single-use water bottles, invest in an easy-to-use filtration pitcher and a refillable metal or glass water bottle that you can use for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Water Bottle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coffee On-the-Go</h2> <p>That quick cup of coffee we buy on the way to work is composed of three parts: A paper (or worse &mdash; polystyrene) body, a cardboard sleeve, and a plastic lid. One cup every workday means that each of us is contributing 240 cups (or 720 individual pieces of waste) to the landfill every year.</p> <p>The solution? Learn to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">brew a better cup of coffee</a> at home or buy a cheap reusable travel mug and tote it to the coffee shop with you every morning. Besides helping the planet, many coffee vendors offer modest discounts if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).</p> <h2>3. Disposable Flatware</h2> <p>From carry-out restaurant orders, to family barbeques, disposable flatware is everywhere. And every single plastic knife, fork, spoon, and spork we use takes about 1,000 years to disintegrate. That's a big environmental impact for a couple bites of potato salad.</p> <p>Instead of plastic, collect mismatched pieces of stainless steel flatware at garage sales or thrift stores. If you lose a piece, it won't be the end of the world. And most importantly, keep them handy in your purse, computer bag, or a special container in the car.</p> <h2>4. Paper Plates</h2> <p>It's hard to argue that disposable plates have their place &mdash; say a company cookout or similar event where plumbing isn't readily accessible. But I've noticed a curious shift with some of my acquaintances and coworkers &mdash; they're using disposable plates on a daily basis at home simply to make cleanup easier.</p> <p>The old debate about the environmental effects of using paper plates versus the soap, water, and electricity used to clean traditional ceramic dinnerware has been settled. In environmental terms, paper loses. The resources used to manufacture, wrap, ship, and recycle a neverending stream of single-use paper plates make them an ecological burden. Whenever possible, use what's reusable.</p> <h2>5. Disposable Cleaning Cloths</h2> <p>I know they're dirt-grabbing wonders, but those single-use cloths for dusting and floor cleaning are usually made from synthetic material that takes generations to biodegrade. Skip the expense and invest in a microfiber cloth that can be washed and reused.</p> <h2>6. Single-Use Razors</h2> <p>Because of their design (inexpensive metal mixed with plastic) recycling disposable razors is a challenge. As a result, a whopping two billion end up in U.S. landfills each year. If you shave every day, consider buying an electric shaver or a razor that only requires refillable cartridges. Feeling brave? Go old-school and invest in a straight razor.</p> <h2>7. Plastic Bags</h2> <p>According to facts compiled by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Americans go through an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, and only 6% are recycled after use. The rest take 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in landfills. While consumers don't technically buy these bags, we can help make them obsolete by choosing (and diligently using!) cotton, canvas, or mesh shopping totes.</p> <p>Have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags in your closet or pantry? Explore some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">clever ways to reuse them</a>.</p> <h2>8. Meat</h2> <p>According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 60% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to animal agriculture. All politics aside, reducing the need to grow crops solely for animal feed means we can devote more land to food crops destined for direct human consumption (maximizing fuel and water resources and minimizing the threat of continued deforestation). Another bonus? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless">Going (mostly) meatless saves money</a>. Start by experimenting with alternative sources of healthy protein such as beans, nuts, and quinoa. Integrate meatless main dishes into your meals a few times each week.</p> <p><em>What products have you phased out of your life in an effort to help the environment? Share your ideas with us!</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-coffee-cup-revolution-lets-take-a-stand">The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let&#039;s Take a Stand!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping convenience eat green environment environmental issues green living recycle waste Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:44:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1789690 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Having a Paid Off Car Is Surprisingly Great http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_car_road_trip_000080274673.jpg" alt="Woman learning how a paid off car makes life better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2005, I awoke one fine spring morning to the sound of metal crunching. Looking out the window, I saw a box truck mowing down my 1994 Honda Civic, which was parked on the street in front of my house. The driver was a 13-year-old boy who had come across the idling truck and had decided to steal it and go for a joy ride &mdash; which ended with the destruction of my car.</p> <p>It was not a great day.</p> <p>However, as overwhelming as it was for me to watch my car get hit by an uninsured driver, the entire situation was much better than it could have been because of one important fact: My Civic was paid off.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, I have been fortunate enough to never have a car payment in my 21 years of car ownership. While I'm delighted to not have a payment due every month, that's not the only way that having a paid-off car makes my life better. Here are five ways that having a paid-off car will benefit your life:</p> <h2>1. Insurance and Accidents Cost You Less</h2> <p>At the time of its sad demise, my Honda Civic was an 11-year-old car with 120,000 miles on it. I carried liability, uninsured motorist, and collision coverage. The first two were required by the state I lived in, and my collision coverage costs were fairly inexpensive because of the relatively low value of my car. The amount of money I was paying for insurance was a great deal lower than that of a classmate whose car was also totaled by another driver around the same time.</p> <p>The difference was that my classmate was driving a new car with a hefty car payment, so she had to have an expensive comprehensive insurance policy to match.</p> <p>What's more, I felt like I was made whole by my cheaper insurance, while my classmate was not. After my car was totaled, I got a check from my insurance company for the value of the car minus my $500 deductible, which I used to buy another used car. My friend was forced to take on another loan with a monthly payment that was $30 higher than the one she had before the accident.</p> <h2>2. Having a Paid-Off Car Means Potentially Never Paying Interest Again</h2> <p>One of the smartest things my husband and I have ever done was starting a &quot;car fund&quot; savings account. Each month, we set aside $350 into the account so that we have money available to either fix our cars if they need maintenance or repair, or to pay cash for a new one if our vehicles ends up going to the big garage in the sky. We pay ourselves the equivalent of a car payment each month so we never have to pay interest on our cars &mdash; and we earn some interest on the money we've saved, too.</p> <h2>3. Financial Ups and Downs Are Less Stressful</h2> <p>Making a monthly car payment is no biggie when your job feels secure. But if you are still making monthly payments on your car when you lose your job, receive an unexpected bill, or otherwise see your personal finances go south, then that monthly payment can feel more like an albatross around your neck.</p> <p>This is especially true if you have any reason to fear repossession of your car during your financial turmoil. Owning your car free and clear means that you have one less worry while you are trying to get your financial house back in order. You know that you can still rely on your car to transport you to and from work and your other responsibilities.</p> <h2>4. You Don't Have to Worry About Weird Hits to Your Credit</h2> <p>One of the bizarre aspects of how credit scores are calculated is the fact that paying off a major loan &mdash; such as a car loan &mdash; can have the effect of lowering your credit score. That's because paying off an installment loan raises your utilization ratio. For example, if you have a $12,000 car loan with a $3,000 balance that you pay off all at once, your available credit will drop by $12,000 once the account is closed, even though your debt load will also drop by $3,000.</p> <p>I don't know about you, but that kind of convoluted credit logic makes my head spin. It's a lot simpler to just have a car that's paid off &mdash; and have your credit score based on things like your mortgage or rental history, and your utilities payments.</p> <h2>5. It's Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Wanting to avoid ever having a car payment means that I strive to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cars-you-can-drive-almost-forever" target="_blank">take great care of my cars</a>. My current vehicle is a 14-year-old Honda Accord that could probably last another 14 years if I am diligent about maintenance.</p> <p>While it's possible that car manufacturers will figure out a way for all new cars to get 50 miles per gallon before the year 2030, keeping my current car on the road for as long as possible will be better for the environment than trading it in for a more efficient one. That's because the environmental impact of manufacturing a new car and disposing of a used one offsets a great deal of the fuel efficiency I might gain by buying a new car.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Having a paid off car offers a great deal of freedom and peace of mind, whether your car provides you with years of faithful service, or it's totaled in an unfortunate joy-riding incident.</p> <p><em>Is your car paid off? What's great about it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-buy-a-car">6 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Buy a Car</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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance</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/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance</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/can-t-afford-your-car-much-longer-negotiate-to-keep-it">Can’t Afford Your Car Much Longer? Negotiate to Keep It</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/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation accidents car loans credit score green living insurance interest payments owning your car Fri, 13 May 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1707446 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-450745419.jpg" alt="groceries" title="groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average person generates <a href="http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">4.3 pounds of waste</a> every day, and well over half of this waste (about 220 million tons) ends up in a landfill. Not only is this rate of trash production terrible for the planet, it wastes lots of your hard-earned money. While that single-use item or throw-away packaging feels convenient, disposable items are the same as throwing money in the trash. Save money, and be kind to the planet, by switching to one of these cost-effective reusable replacements instead. (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>1. Rechargeable Batteries</h2> <p>While rechargeable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-long-lasting-aa-batteries">batteries</a> cost more initially, they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, if used properly. At the end of their life cycle, rechargeable batteries can be recycled to keep toxic chemicals out of the landfill.</p> <h2>2. Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water has to be the biggest scam ever. Despite what the industry says, <a href="http://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/">bottled water</a> isn't any cleaner or healthier than tap water. The production of one plastic bottle uses more water to produce than actually put into the bottle for drinking! Skip the scam and carry tap water in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle">a non-BPA water bottle</a> instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Diva Cup</h2> <p>Disposable pads and tampons aren't the only option. Ladies, if you'd like to save money and be kind to the planet during your time of the month, consider a reusable option like <a href="http://matadornetwork.com/goods/no-tampons-no-problem-alternative-products-for-female-travelers/">menstrual cups or washable pads</a>.</p> <h2>4. Glass Food Storage Containers</h2> <p>Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and cheap plastic containers are all money in the trash. If you've got leftovers, or want to bring your lunch to work, store food in reusable glass containers instead (glass is better than plastic because it won't leach toxins into your food or retain food residue).</p> <h2>5. Cloth Shopping Bags</h2> <p>Those plastic bags they give you at the store aren't free. You pay for them in the form of increased food prices. They also take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill, often becoming microscopic plastic waste in the ocean. Buy or make your own cloth shopping bags, and you could receive a nice credit at the register. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans?ref=seealso">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a>)</p> <h2>6. DIY Swiffer Pads</h2> <p>If (like me) you've only got a small uncarpeted area, a full size mop and bucket are unnecessary. With a Swiffer you can give your kitchen and bathroom a quick once over without all the fuss. Instead of constantly buying disposable pads, make your own <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Swiffer-Mop-Pad-a-reusable-one!/">Swiffer pad</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=tag_title&amp;search_query=swiffer">washable one</a> on Etsy.</p> <h2>7. Safety Razor</h2> <p>Most of us shave at least one body part, and disposable razor heads are astronomically expensive. There are lots of <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-greener-alternatives-to-disposable-razors.html">greener alternatives to disposable razors</a>, however, including some that can be sharpened repeatedly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money On Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cloth Napkins and Cleaning Wipes</h2> <p>Paper napkins, paper towels, tissues, and disposable cleaning wipes are convenient, but incredibly wasteful. Using washable cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, and turning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">old t-shirts</a> into reusable cleaning cloths, will save heaps of money and drastically reduce your garbage production.</p> <h2>9. Permanent Coffee Filter</h2> <p>Still using bleached paper coffee filters to brew your morning java? Save lots of money with a permanent, reusable coffee filter instead. When dirty, simply run it through the dishwasher.</p> <h2>10. Diapers and Baby Wipes</h2> <p>Unlike disposable diapers, which cost a fortune, cloth diapers are softer, less-toxic, and result in zero landfill waste. Same thing goes for baby wipes. Consider using <a href="http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php">cloth diapers</a> and making your own reusable <a href="http://www.inhabitots.com/how-to-make-a-reusable-cloth-baby-wipe-kit/">cloth baby wipes kit</a>.</p> <h2>11. Dryer Balls</h2> <p>Fabric softener and dryer sheets are an expensive way to get the soft, clean-smelling clothes that you want. Save time, money, and energy with these <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/09/save-time-money-and-energy-make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html">DIY wool dryer balls</a> instead (tennis balls also work in a pinch, but they're loud).</p> <h2>12. Reusable Straws</h2> <p>Unless you're a baby (or have a physical condition that makes drinking difficult) I'm not really sure why you need a straw. Nevertheless, using a washable <a href="http://glassdharma.com/">glass</a> or <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/coffee-tea-and-drink-preparation/rsvp-international-stainless-steel-drinking-straws-wide-set-of-4.htm">metal straw</a> instead of the plastic ones drastically reduces waste.</p> <h2>13. Permanent Air Filter</h2> <p>To keep your home and car running efficiently, you need a clean air filter. Many people simply replace these disposable filters every few months, not realizing there are permanent alternatives.</p> <h2>14. Wrapping Paper</h2> <p>Paper wrappings and gift bags look good, but are often only used for minutes before being tossed in the trash. Save money and reduce paper waste with <a href="http://inhabitat.com/6-eco-friendly-gift-wrap-alternatives/">eco-friendly alternatives</a> like cloth gift bags and upcycled wrappings.</p> <h2>15. Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils</h2> <p>Whether you're planning a picnic (or simply packing a lunch) strive to use traditional metal cutlery that can be washed repeatedly. Really need a disposable option? Try compostable alternatives made from corn or bamboo.</p> <h2>16. Toothbrush</h2> <p>Toothbrush bristles wear out quickly, so to maintain a healthy smile, they've got to be replaced. This doesn't mean the entire toothbrush needs to end up in the trash, however. You can reduce 93% of toothbrush waste by using toothbrush handles with <a href="http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/sourcetoothbrush.aspx">replaceable heads</a>.</p> <h2>17. Vacuum Bags</h2> <p>Vacuums that require disposable bags are, well, vintage to say the least. Upgrade to a vacuum that features an easy-to-empty canister and washable air filter, and never waste money on vacuum bags again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-vacuums?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums</a>)</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Use the reusable comments box below to share your favorite reusables!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</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-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle 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/25-eco-friendly-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home green living recycle reuse Tue, 13 May 2014 08:24:22 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1138731 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Celebrate Earth Day http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-celebrate-earth-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-celebrate-earth-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3426979084_6fd2554016.jpg" alt="Clouds and Sky" title="Clouds and sky" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earth Day is a day when businesses and individuals show their commitment to preserving the environment and promoting sustainability around the globe. The idea for the occasion came to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson after observing the devastation following the Santa Barbara Oil Spill in 1969 (it was the largest oil spill in the U.S. at that time, and is the third-largest after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills). Senator Nelson was inspired by anti-Vietnam War protests to create another movement, this one focused on engaging the public in caring about the preservation of air and water quality. Nelson recruited Harvard graduate student Denis Hayes as national coordinator of the Earth Day campaign.</p> <p>The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and it was marked by some 20 million Americans demonstrating in enormous rallies from coast to coast. The occasion was unique in its support from both Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, union workers and corporate leaders alike. The first day is credited with paving the way for the creation of the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/">U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a> in December 1970 and the passage of the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/">Clean Air</a>, <a href="http://www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/cwa.html">Clean Water</a>, and <a href="http://www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/esa.html">Endangered Species Acts.</a></p> <p>Following the celebration of the first Earth Day, Denis Hayes founded the <a href="http://www.earthday.org/">Earth Day Network</a> to promote environmental education, further environmental policies, organize national and local Earth Day events, and promote activism and environmental protection. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Earth Day Network created multiple worldwide initiatives that succeeded in rallying the support of 1.5 billion people in 170 countries. Learn more about the initiatives for Earth&nbsp;Day 2011 on the official <a href="http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011">Earth&nbsp;Day website</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Celebrate Earth Day</h2> <p>Perhaps you are a committed environmentalist who wastes nothing. Perhaps you have never cared, or thought, about your impact on the environment before. Or perhaps, like me, you are somewhere in between. Whatever the case, you can do something to show your commitment to preserving the environment and learning more about sustainability. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Save the Planet: Work at Home</a>)</p> <h3>Give Money</h3> <p><a href="http://www.earthday.org/donate">Donate</a> to the Earth Day Network or other causes related to sustainability and the environment. One cause close to my own heart is <a href="http://www.earth-usa.org/">EARTH University</a> in Costa Rica, which promotes sustainability in the tropics (I studied in Costa Rica during my undergraduate days and worked on a marketing project for EARTH). Find something close to your own heart related to the environment or sustainability, and help that organization achieve its goals with a show of support.</p> <h3>Commit to Protect the Environment</h3> <p>Whether you do it publicly by pledging it through the Earth Day Network&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011">A Billion Acts of Green</a>&reg; or by simply adding a &ldquo;take the recycling out&rdquo; line to your family&rsquo;s chore chart, every bit helps. Try making a small pledge to act this Earth Day, and follow through.</p> <h3>Take Action in Your Community</h3> <p>Check out your community events calendar for Earth Day activities, or take a look at this <a href="http://www.epa.gov/earthday/events.htm">map of Earth&nbsp;Day events</a> to find ones in your area.</p> <h3>Think Politics</h3> <p>The first Earth Day led to the passage of several critical pieces of environmental legislation. Continue that trend by researching environmentally friendly legislation that you believe in and writing your congressman or congresswoman this Earth Day. If you agree with the proposed <a href="http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star/">HOME STAR</a> green energy jobs bill currently in the Senate, <a href="http://action.earthday.net/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4657">sign the online petition</a> urging the passage of that bill.</p> <h3>Take Action in Your Own Home</h3> <p>In addition to making a pledge to act, try adjusting your lifestyle in small ways to conserve energy, reuse, and recycle. Fortunately for you, Wise Bread reader (and frugal genius extraordinaire), using less of anything also often translates into saving money. Try these tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-warm-this-winter-without-turning-up-the-heat">using less heat</a> or these for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">reusing common household items</a> we often throw away.</p> <h2>Learn More About Green Living and Sustainability</h2> <p>Intrigued by the concept of sustainability? The following websites are great resources for learning more about it:</p> <ul> <li>Environmental Protection Agency&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm">Definition of Sustainability</a></li> <li>The <a href="http://www.gogreeninitiative.org/">Go Green Initiative</a></li> <li>The <a href="http://www.cleanwateramericaalliance.org/">Clean Water America Alliance</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.earthshare.org/">EarthShare.org</a></li> </ul> <p><em>How are you going to celebrate Earth Day this year? What environmental causes are important to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-celebrate-earth-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth">5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Green Living Earth day environmental protection green living sustainability Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:24:05 +0000 Janey Osterlind 528968 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families (Win a Copy!) http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-eco-friendly-families-win-a-copy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-eco-friendly-families-win-a-copy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eco friendly families.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="107" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">I didn&rsquo;t know what to expect when I started into <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159257761X?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=159257761X">Eco-Friendly Families by Helen Coronato</a>.<span>&nbsp; </span>I am, after all, only considered &ldquo;moderately green.&rdquo;<span>&nbsp; </span>Would this book, with over 200 pages of family time mixed with eco-awareness be too much for my already hectic lifestyle?<span>&nbsp; </span>Find out what I loved about it, and how you can snag a copy, too!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I saved this book back for awhile after I received it.<span>&nbsp; </span>I was overwhelmed with green literature and wasn&rsquo;t sure how I could handle another book claiming to be the guide to all things eco-friendly.<span>&nbsp; </span>I gave this book a chance, however, because it had a unique angle:<span>&nbsp; </span>families.<span>&nbsp; </span>It&rsquo;s not every day that a book on the subject is written to include everyone in the home &ndash; from the tiniest to the oldest.<span>&nbsp; </span>I was hooked.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Let me start by saying this book is full of ideas.<span>&nbsp; </span>So many, in fact, that the average reader may become overwhelmed by all the tips, tricks, and nuggets of useable info.<span>&nbsp; </span>No one (especially the author) intend for you to make all the changes in the book.<span>&nbsp; </span>The best part?<span>&nbsp; </span>You are probably doing some of it and may not even be aware of the benefit!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The book starts with a primer on Taking Inventory: Getting Ready to Go Green.<span>&nbsp; </span>Ms. Coronato has a family herself, and understands that no change can be done without planning and communication between all family members.<span>&nbsp; </span>Whether you are interested in changing the way you eat, growing your home recycling program, or finding healthier cleaning alternatives, there will be preparation involved.<span>&nbsp; </span>(Tip:<span>&nbsp; </span>If you want to get the most out of this book, take advantage of the &ldquo;Five-Minute Makeovers&rdquo; scattered throughout the pages.<span>&nbsp; </span>They are not only completely doable, but inspiring, too!)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The book then goes into the formula for living green:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Fundamental + Financial + Functional = Forward</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The author understands that green is only as good as it is simple, affordable, and useful. These are the tips that will be implemented and easily taught to your children<span>&nbsp; </span>FOR A LIFETIME.<span>&nbsp; </span>Way to go, Helen, for grasping the common sense that can accompany any small home green movement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in;">Other topics discussed in depth and with very specific action plans, goals, and checklists include:</p> <ul> <li><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;"> </span></span><br /> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>A 12-month schedule of Green Goal Setting</strong> (something practical for all seasons)<span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> </span></span></li> <li> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>Reduce </strong>(personal waste, excessive and dangerous driving, and personal toxins)</p> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> </span></span></li> <li> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>Reuse </strong>(the basics, a little frugality, plus cute and creative ideas for the kiddos)</p> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--></li> <li><strong>Recycle</strong> (how to really buy recycled, e-waste, and precycling for beginners)<br /> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> </span></span></li> <li> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>Room-by-Room Ecodesign</strong> (your home in stunning green detail)</p> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--></li> <li><strong>Your Food</strong> (what you wish you didn&rsquo;t know, plus how to deal with it)<br /> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong> </strong></span></span></p> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--></li> <li><strong>Cleaning Green</strong> (DIY options for the frugal, healthy, and safety-minded)<br /> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> </span></span></li> <li> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>Green Special Occasions</strong> (who knew birthdays could be so special?)</p> <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[if !supportLists]--><p><span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> </span></span></li> <li> <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]--><p><strong>Green Sites</strong> (the appendix of all appendices)</li> </ul> <p>No, you don&rsquo;t have to have a family to enjoy this one.<span>&nbsp; </span>In fact, it&rsquo;s all-around good advice for families of one to 100 (college campuses need green, too.)<span>&nbsp; </span>I found it to be a balanced look at green for every level, and even with the occasional reference to green theories I haven&rsquo;t quite gotten on board with, it is mild in its politics and bold in its genius.<span>&nbsp; </span>This is one book that avoids lip-service and gives you the means to go out and do it!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Want to give it a read?&nbsp; I have 3 new copies of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159257761X?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=159257761X">Eco-Friendly Families</a> to send to a few lucky Wise Bread readers.<span>&nbsp; </span><strong>To enter the giveaway, post a comment below by September 20th, 2008. U.S. and Canada only.<span>&nbsp; </span>Must be 18 or older to enter. </strong></p> <p><em>Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner.</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/book-review-eco-friendly-families-win-a-copy">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/book-review-how-to-be-a-geek-goddess-win-a-copy">Book Review: How to Be a Geek Goddess (Win a Copy!)</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-google-way-a-book-review-and-a-chance-to-win">The Google Way: A Book Review (And a Chance to Win!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-will-you-vote-this-election-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Will You Vote This Election? (Chance to Win $20!)</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/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards">Take Our Reader Survey for a Chance to Win One of Five Amazon Gift Cards!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Green Living book review giveaway green living Sat, 13 Sep 2008 03:16:12 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2423 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons Why Green is Good, But Isn't Always Better http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-green-is-good-but-isnt-always-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-why-green-is-good-but-isnt-always-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green grass.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="356" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">I&#39;m all for taking care of the world around us. In fact, it surprises my friends and family when I share my enthusiasm for sustainability and wise use of our natural resources. Is it possible, however, that we&#39;ve taken “green” issues at more than their face value? Do we accidentally limit our discernment and give false credence to anything that calls itself “globally-aware”? Of course. And here are four ways we sell ourselves short by sporting those green-colored glasses. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><strong>We give credit where it isn&#39;t due.</strong> I recently reviewed the most horrible children&#39;s book. It was pitched to me as a “green” book designed to teach children about clean habits and hybrid cars. Unfortunately, it was lame. There was an unbelievable plot, thin characters, and sub par illustrations. I tried to love this book because I believed in the values it taught, but I just couldn&#39;t get behind its credibility as a children&#39;s story. I often see other book reviewers giving this book the highest praises for its innovative approach at teaching kids green values, and I&#39;m confused. Since when is it OK to lower our standards for an agenda (no matter how valid that agenda may be?) </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><strong>We overlook other vital teachings. </strong><span>Before the green movement was popular in my area, we still picked up trash at the local park. We called it “being a good neighbor.” We also recycled our cans and bottles. It was considered a “good return on an investment.” We used as little water as possible, often employing rain barrels and mulch to keep our usage low. We called it “being a good steward of the resources we were given.” Today we speak of many of the same practices. We teach our children the exact same ideals, but not for the reasons we did before. Now it is “good for our earth and good for our environment.” I&#39;ll agree. I just hope that we don&#39;t forget to pass on other important life lessons because they now conveniently fall under this “eco-umbrella.”</span> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><strong>We believe everything.</strong><span> The term “greenwashing” was invented for a reason. It is all too tempting to get a piece of the pie by rebranding a product or service under an earth-friendly name. Everywhere you look, big brands are switching formulas, packaging, and advertising to signal their official entrance into this global initiative. We just need to be careful who we believe. By taking the time to dig deep and evaluate each product for what it really is, we can keep our wits about us in this fast-changing world. Who knows? Maybe your old standby has actually been more “green” all along.</span> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><strong>We become divided.</strong><span> I have never attended an Earth-day rally. I don&#39;t buy organic vegetables. At first glance, it would appear that I am on the other side of the fence from my more environmentally-active friends. If you took a second look, however, you would see that there are simply no Earth-day rallies near me, and the gas used to get there would be costly and wasteful. I grow my own vegetables (in an organic fashion.) I recycle what I can. I take the clippings from my neighbors and use them in my garden. I own free-range chickens and use rain water for my flowers. I&#39;m more eco-aware than you would think, but I&#39;ve just never applied the label. Most people are beginning to think like me (and like you.) We are not all that different. I don&#39;t need a t-shirt or a club to tell me that we have the same ideals and goals. Let&#39;s try to remember that “green” is less about being part of something and more about doing your part.</span> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">It&#39;s exciting to explore all the ways we can take care of our planet, and I feel encouraged to know that so many people care. Let&#39;s keep it in perspective when we move into the next few years, and remember that it&#39;s nice to feel good but it feels better to do good! </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/4-reasons-why-green-is-good-but-isnt-always-better">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/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-eco-friendly-families-win-a-copy">Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families (Win a Copy!)</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/prefab-fab-this-aint-yer-grandmas-double-wide">Prefab Fab - This ain&#039;t yer grandma&#039;s double-wide</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-celebrate-earth-day">How to Celebrate Earth Day</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-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet">10 Easy Ways to be Nicer to the Environment and Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living green living Sun, 24 Aug 2008 18:46:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2362 at http://www.wisebread.com New Ideas for Old Neckties http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-old-neckties <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-ideas-for-old-neckties" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new ideas for old neckties.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Recently, at an open mic night event my husband and I attended with friends, I noticed an interesting use of a recycled necktie. Seeing this reminded me of a skirt I saw years ago in the same medium. So I got to thinking, what else can you create from old neckties?</p> <p><strong>Guitar Strap. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">This is the idea I saw at the open mic event. Grant you, it was a smaller guitar, but it was really folksy and unexpected. Not exactly something that would project much of a rock star image, but if you want to go with a folk theme, this was a fun look and definitely eco friendly.</p> <p><strong>Make a School Bag. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.craftbits.com/viewProject.do?projectID=888">This one</a> has a magnetic snap closure. You have to scroll all the way down to see all the images they are mentioning, but it illustrates pretty well how the author created her project.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p><strong>Let your imagination run wild. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I found a few sources on my quest which illustrated numerous ideas each.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst"><span><span>&middot;<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></span>There are several <a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/34628626@N00/">ideas here</a> on a Flickr collection of photos, including a funky throw pillow and a fun clutch purse.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span><span>&middot;<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span>Here&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://woofnanny.blogspot.com/2007/12/sewing-with-neckties.html">a link</a> with several tie-sewn items pictured . . . skirt, a gothic looking corset, unusual round rugs, and a fun quilt.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span><span>&middot;<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span>Some additional runway <a target="_blank" href="http://sewingwithneckties.blogspot.com/">fashion ideas</a> here for the necktie craze. Including some interesting halter and wrap style cocktail dresses, backpacks, and additional purse designs. Oh, snap! They also have some interesting and festive looking Christmas stockings.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle"><span><span>&middot;<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/1980-03-01/Fashions-From-Old-Ties.aspx">Additional link</a> for fashion ideas for old neckties.</p> <p><strong>Children&rsquo;s Dress Up Item. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Let them store your old ties in their dramatic play trunk. They&rsquo;ll dig it.</p> <p><strong>Donate them to a theater troupe&rsquo;s costume department. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Every theater group I&rsquo;ve ever run across has a need for help with their costume elements collection. They&rsquo;ll go to good use.</p> <p><strong>Table Runner. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">You&rsquo;ll need to get creative with the fabric collage and embellishment techniques, but with some of the unusual vintage fabrics available on all the old ties out there, I&rsquo;m sure those with crafting and sewing skills will be able to come up with something really unique.</p> <p><strong>Children&rsquo;s Stuffed Toys. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ve heard of both <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf621837.tip.html">snake </a>and scarecrow projects.</p> <p><strong>Fabric Collage Photo Frame. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Very interesting. You can go vintage, country or funky with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_kid_crafts/article/0,1789,HGTV_3256_1371273,00.html">this one</a>.&nbsp;<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong>Make a Belt. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you don&rsquo;t want to sew, the skinny ones work better for this. Bonus? Teens dig it.</p> <p><strong>Wind Sock. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf763070.tip.html">This link</a> has some instructions. Unusual, but interesting.</p> <p><strong>Christmas Tree Skirt. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Modify the round rug idea to allow for an open side. Use embellishments and fabric patterns suitable for your tree&rsquo;s theme.</p> <p><strong>Patches. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Make your own stylish patches for <a target="_blank" href="/twenty-five-things-to-do-with-old-jeans">jazzing up your jeans</a>.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p><strong>Beaded Necklace. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">These were never really my thing, but if you liked the original &ldquo;marbles inside a tube of fabric&rdquo; necklaces with the separation beads in between, this might be a more stylish version than the country style fabric they used to be made of. The right tie fabric and some stylish glass beads in between could bump this project up a notch. Money saving tip? Cut up an old scratched up costume jewelry bead necklace you had in the throw away pile.</p> <p><strong>Coffee Sleeve</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Try a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.diylife.com/2008/05/23/necktie-coffee-sleeve-a-fab-fathers-day-project/">DIY coffee sleeve</a> for Father&rsquo;s Day. This link shows a similar one to the project shown with denim in a previous article.&nbsp;If you liked the denim idea, but prefer something a little dressier, this might be just the ticket.</p> <p><strong>Make a Keepsake. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">This sort of incorporates all of the ideas in the list in some way, but I think it&rsquo;s worth pointing out that in addition to just collecting old ones at thrift stores and as hand-me-downs, ties are a great thing to recycle into a memory item for a loved one who is no longer with us.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Santa Ornaments . </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are some <a target="_blank" href="http://store.happyhollowdesigns.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&amp;Store_Code=HHD&amp;Category_Code=NT">fun ideas</a> out there, many of them more Victorian in nature through the choice of fabrics.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Pumpkin Decorations. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a target="_blank" href="http://store.happyhollowdesigns.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&amp;Store_Code=HHD&amp;Category_Code=NT">This link</a> shows a pattern for a harvest theme stuffed pumpkin made with old neckties.</p> <p><strong>Corset Cinch. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=17453.30">Pretty cool</a>, if I do say so myself.</p> <p><strong>Make a case for your cell phone or ipod. <span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The one <a target="_blank" href="http://replayground.blogspot.com/">pictured here</a> is plain, but could glitz it up with a different choice of fabric, button and fun embellishments.</p> <p><strong>A Thong.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I know. I thought so too. But apparently, it IS <a target="_blank" href="http://craftster.org/blog/?m=200505">possible</a>.</p> <p><strong>Make a Wrist Cuff.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">While this is clearly something that would be more <a target="_blank" href="http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_needle_arts/article/0,2025,DIY_13768_4888190,00.html">popular with teens</a>, my mind went in a slightly different direction. How about dressing up an old denim or corduroy jacket, or even a great blouse? You just need one where the cuffs are getting ratty but the rest of the item is good. Cover the cuffs and even perhaps the color with old necktie fabric for an updated, Bohemian look.</p> <p><strong>Weave a Chair Seat.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Got an old ladder back chair from the dump, er . . . I mean thrift pile with the chair weave missing? <a target="_blank" href="http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/fn_chairs_stools/article/0,,DIY_13823_2269615,00.html">Try this</a> for a fun and unique place to sit.</p> <p><strong>Dresden Plate Pillow.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I know I mentioned pillows above, but <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pfaffusa.com/media/Projects/QuiltDaddysNecktiesPillow.pdf">this one</a> has such a unique formal look, I thought it was worth its own line item.</p> <p><strong>A Hanging Wallet. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Another<a target="_blank" href="http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=8029497"> fun idea</a> from Dr. Popular.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Guys, this is the best of the best from the ideas I was able to find. If you have something else you feel is outstanding, please feel free to post about it below. In the meantime, happy stitching. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-old-neckties">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-a-2-liter-bottle-of-water-into-a-50-watt-lightbulb">How To Turn a 2-liter Bottle Of Water Into a 50-Watt Lightbulb</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</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/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom">8 DIYs For a Sparkling Clean Bathroom</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/super-cheap-building-supplies-and-a-way-to-help-your-community">Super-Cheap Building Supplies and a Way to Help Your Community!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living crafting DIY frugal fashion green living unique projects for neckties Mon, 02 Jun 2008 12:36:27 +0000 Staff 2139 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Ways to be Nicer to the Environment and Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green living.JPG" alt="Live Earth" title="Live Earth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div style="margin: 1em; float: right;"><script type="text/javascript"> digg_url = 'http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet'; </script> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In recognition of upcoming Blog Action Day, I have ten easy suggestions for improving your lifestyle and the environment. Thank you to Joanna Yarrow's <a target="_blank" href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F1001-Ways-Earth-Joanna-Yarrow%2Fdp%2F081185986X%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1191978044%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3E1,001%20Ways%20To%20Save%20The%20Earth%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E">1,001 Ways To Save The Earth</a> for providing me with the creative inspiration. </span></p> <h2><span> 1. Make Your Jeans Walk The Mile</span></h2> <p><span>Believe it or not, 3/4 of a pound of fertilizers and pesticides are used to produce one pair of jeans. But thanks to Myscha's <a target="_blank" href="/twenty-five-things-to-do-with-old-jeans">recent popular article</a>, there are at least 25 things you can do that will keep your torn up tattered denims from being a waste.</span></p> <h2><span>2. Dry Cleaning Isn't Dry Cleaning Anymore</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It isn't dry, and when you think of all the chemicals used to dry clean your fancy duds, it isn't really clean either. Try not to buy clothes that require dry cleaning. If you must, then try to space out trips to the dry cleaners by taking care to air out your outfits between wearings. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Also believe it or not, some clothes that are &quot;dry clean only&quot; can in fact get washed on the cold cycle. Certainly heed this advice with caution, but I've done many a delicate load with my &quot;dry clean only&quot; duds and not had any troubles.</span></p> <h2>3. And If You Must Dry Clean, Get Rid of Those Hangers!</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In my dry-cleaning days, I had more hangers than I did clothes. Take your extra dry cleaning hangers back to the dry cleaner for recycling. They'll save money on their own overhead, and you'll also help them save the environment from further hanger consumption. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>4. It Doesn't Have to Be Scalding Hot to Clean</span></h2> <ul> <li><span>Speaking of washing clothes, try using a cooler cycle than what you are used to. Nine times out of ten your clothes aren't so dirty that they absolutely require the hot wash, and you'll save 30-60% of the energy consumed using the hot cycle. </span></li> <li><span>When it comes to drying, don't over-dry your clothes, and consider using the cool-down cycle to utilize the residual heat in the dryer. </span></li> <li><span>Even better, consider line drying your clothes. </span></li> <li><span>If you're in the market for a new washer or dryer, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/laundry.cfm">this site</a> has some great tips on what to look for to save both energy costs and the environment. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>5. Iron Clad Pots &amp; Pans</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Although they may cost a little more at the outset, a good set of cast-iron pots and pans will last a lifetime (or two), and is more energy efficient than many other kinds. With the superior performance and non-stick qualities, you'll also turn out some of the best home-cooked meals you've had in years.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>6. Car Washing Is A Gas!</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When I owned a car, I loved to have it clean. I mean sparkly clean. But it meant many trips to the car wash, which was both expensive and a waste of energy and resources. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Of course, I tried to visit car washes with a <strong>water-recycling system</strong> (which recycles 95% of the water), but that wasn't always possible. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For those more disciplined than I, you can save some money, and heck - burn some extra calories - by washing the car yourself, and hold off on the hose; use a bucket and sponge to <em>save extra 20 gallons of water consumption</em> over using the hose. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Really into this idea? Better yet, use a rain barrel to catch rainwater for your car washes. The properties of rain water are actually more beneficial for getting the dirt off your car and keeping it shiny longer. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>7. Cancel The Gym Membership</span></h2> <ul> <li><span>Huge energy is consumed to light and air condition your gym, and power all the machines. All to allow you to <em>pretend</em> you're climbing stairs, riding a bike, or running in the park. Why not try <em>actually</em> climbing the stairs, riding a bike, or running in the park?</span></li> <li><span>I already showed you <a target="_blank" href="/how-to-turn-a-video-game-system-into-a-gym-membership">one way</a> to reduce your gym membership fees, but here are a few more: </span></li> <li><span>Find a way to volunteer for a conservation project. You'll not only help the environment by planting trees or maintaining public green spaces, but you'll also burn a ton of calories doing so!</span></li> <li><span>If you can, bike to work. You will actually inhale <em>less</em> pollution than your counterparts who are sitting in their cars in bumper to bumper traffic. And if the commute is too painful to bicycle the old fashioned way, <strong>try an electric bicycle</strong> to help you pedal.</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>8. Cut Down On Your Pens</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I never knew where they come from, but if you saw my pen collection five years ago you'd say I had an obsession. Now there's only one pen I actually use, and it's a really nice refillable ball-point pen given to me as a present exactly five years ago. Not only does it write beautifully, feel great in my hands, and the refills are cheap, but it saves all those crappy disposable pens from filling dumps. </span><span> <br /> </span></p> <h2><span>9. Recycle Your Cell Phone, and Pocket Some Cash</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In this day and age of having not only a functional but fashionable cell phone, we seem to replace them more and more frequently. Of course you can donate your old phone to local charities, or give it back to the retailer for recycling, but you can also find a service like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pacebutler.com/">this one</a> that will actually purchase your used cell phone from you. </span><span> <br /> </span></p> <h2><span>10. Be Frugal</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Just being frugal not only saves your wallet, but helps to keep the planet green. In the age of consumption and abundance, it is easy to absolutely have to have the latest this and the most popular that. Before you put your <a target="_blank" href="/a-guaranteed-way-to-avoid-impulse-credit-card-purchases">credit card</a> down to pay for the latest impulse gizmo though, consider your actual needs. Will this item be truly useful to you, and a positive addition to your life? Can you live without it? </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Seventeen million heated toilet seats have already been sold worldwide, and one of the manufacturers of heated toilet seats projects sales of over 400,000 a year to North Americans alone. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Reality check, anyone?</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>Don't miss another tip from Wise Bread. <strong><a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=601373">Subscribe to our articles via email</a> or <a href="http://feeds.killeraces.com/wisebread">RSS feed</a>.</strong></em></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet">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-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt">10 Smart and Frugal Uses for Epsom Salt</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-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-eco-friendly-families-win-a-copy">Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families (Win a Copy!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-green-is-good-but-isnt-always-better">4 Reasons Why Green is Good, But Isn&#039;t Always Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living blog action day environmentally friendly tips frugal living green living Thu, 11 Oct 2007 00:46:43 +0000 Nora Dunn 1274 at http://www.wisebread.com Prefab Fab - This ain't yer grandma's double-wide http://www.wisebread.com/prefab-fab-this-aint-yer-grandmas-double-wide <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/legohouse.jpg" alt=" " width="153" height="224" /></p> <p>Are prefabbed homes the wave of the future? Judging from some of the magazines that I receive (Sunset, Metropolitan Home), it sure looks like things are heading in that direction. I stumbled across an ad for <a href="http://www.moderncabana.com/MC_main.html">Modern Cabana</a>, a company that makes an environmentally smart answer to that toolshed that your Uncle Jim used to use as his home office because Aunt Arlene wouldn&#39;t let him have the garage. Seeing this stylish little structure got me thinking about all the prefab designs that I&#39;ve been leafing through over the past couple of years.</p> <p>Prefabbed homes are great for a number of reasons: they are easy to put together. They have a lower cost per square foot than most built homes, even tract housing. They are increasingly environmentally friendly, using low VOC-emitting and sustainable and/or recycled materials.</p> <p>I was reading about the cost per square foot for some of the prefabbed homes - even with all the fixins, most homes come in at under $200 per square foot, and most of them at much less than that. Of course, you have to add the cost of land and a foundation to that, but even at $300 per square foot, that still about $100 psf cheaper than anything in the Seattle or Bellevue areas.</p> <p>Modular housing comes in all shapes and sizes. The <a href="http://www.cusatocottages.com/index_content.html">Katrina cottages</a> that were such a media sensation following the flooding in New Orleans and Missouri in 2006 have proven that good things come in really teeny packages.</p> <p>Tree Hugger has done a nice job reviewing a number of ecologically sound, modular homes. Click to read about the <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/01/flatpak_house.php">Flatpak House</a>, <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/01/glidehouse_clea_1.php">Glide House</a>, and <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2004/12/nowhouse_afford.php">NowHouse</a>.</p> <p>This <a href="http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/DAC-ART/modular-kit-houses.html">very excellent site</a> contains links to just about every modern prefab housing company out there.</p> <p>I&#39;m particularly fond of the <a href="http://www1.livinghomes.net/tour.html">tour</a> that you can view on the <a href="http://www1.livinghomes.net/">Living Homes website</a>, narrated by the CEO, who is either quite charming, or has a great speech writer (warning: audible tour begins immediately). </p> <p>I&#39;ve seen the <a href="http://www.loftcube.net/">Loft Cube</a> in a number of magazines before, and it totally feeds my desire to live on the very top of a tall building.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 7.5pt; font-family: Verdana">I&#39;m not sure if these homes will take off in America - are they the answer to the McMansion, or is prefab simply another version of the fast-and-easy experience that we&#39;ve come to expect from life?</span> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prefab-fab-this-aint-yer-grandmas-double-wide">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/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</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/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</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/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Real Estate and Housing double-wide green living housing manufactured homes prefab price per square foot Fri, 04 May 2007 22:46:01 +0000 Andrea Karim 593 at http://www.wisebread.com