For obvious reasons, I read a lot of green blogs. Very few make our favorites cut, but today I found one that really hit home called The Conscious Shopper. It hit home because of the their tagline: Go Green. Live Better. Save Money.
Save Money?? Isn’t being green MORE expensive?
Then I read Erin’s story and realized—you know–our story isn’t that different. When we first went green we had two-incomes, 1 kid, lived in a condo, and well, we just didn’t have to think as much about the cost of organic food and natural products. One recession, one decision to do a start-up, two kids, and a house later—it’s a legitimate question to ask whether we can still afford to do all this green stuff.
As I started thinking about how we were cutting back and where we are spending, I realized that this self-induced frugalista period is actually making us greener and there are also many, many ways that being greener is saving us money. Here are just a few examples:
* I now take public transportation to my office, which avoids tolls, gas, and mileage expenses AND prolongs the life of our 100K miles+ wagon. Estimated operating savings of $70/month and whatever a car payment would be.
* use of freecycle has avoided at least $200 in expenses
* consigning clothes has so far netted me about $150 and discovering the delicate cycle on our clothes washer versus drycleaning many items has saved ~$50/month
* reducing our red meat consumption has saved at least $100/month
And the green home investments we made in flusher times are saving us a bundle now—at least $600 a month in the winter and $200 month in the summer thanks to the CFL bulbs, dual pane windows, more insulation, and new heating system. Without those, I can’t even imagine making the decisions we made this year regarding our work.
Erin’s blog does a much better job than I’ve every done of keeping track of her spending & energy usage and I found it really useful just to see what another green mom spends on groceries (phew! I’m not as bad as I feared). However, the most inspirational parts are the weekly “green challenges”—something we at Practically Green love and are planning for our site when we launch. She’s got a great list of items to pick from and posts a new one each week. She also has a Facebook group called Going Green without Going Broke.
So yes, organic milk is more expensive than regular milk. I’m not going to try to tell you that on an item by item basis green is cheaper. But what Erin and other Conscious Shopper resources show is that a greener lifestyle can also be a more affordable lifestyle by eliminating waste, reducing consumption, prioritizing quality over quantity, and adding in healthier habits.
A good perspective to keep in mind when restocking that ridiculously expensive all natural baby shampoo.
We’d love to hear from you—any ways that you think green has saved you money? Where do you splurge for green?