Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Free is Green - Get Your Free On

In our fragile 2011/2012 economy, free is quickly becoming king. Despite all the holiday hoopla and Black Friday hype, Americans aren’t spending as freely as we used to. Major retailers that we were used to seeing have gone poof, with more following suit every month. Prices are rising for groceries, services and gas, people are losing their jobs and their homes, and financial and economic experts are predicting doomsday. What’s an average, hard-working American supposed to do?

Get your free on, of course! When I was growing up, the free stuff consisted of hand-me-downs from neighbors and relatives with kids a little older than me and my brothers and sister, and maybe the occasional garbage-day, side-of-the-road treasure.  Where once searching for free stuff was the domain of the down-on-their-luck, now the free economy is vast and varied. It’s almost chic. Find free stuff on Craig’s List, sign up for Free Cycle and get free stuff in your neighborhood, and find free stores at ReallyReallyFree.org.  If you’re brave and bold, join the freeganism movement and forage for food discarded by grocery and restaurant retailers.  Dumpster diving is a frequent activity of the moneyless, including students, homeless and newly graduated newlyweds, and yields furniture, appliances, and varied home goods such as cooking utensils, lamps and artwork. Clothing exchange parties are great opportunities to score “new” clothes while cleaning out your closets, a win-win for everyone.

Participating in the free economy allows you to get things you and your family need while saving your hard-earned money, and encourages everyone to waste less, reuse and share. Free is good. Free is fun. Free is green.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Green Reading - LOVE This Book!

I LOVE "The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money!" Folk wisdom for keeping your home clean, green and homey is just the ticket for busy modern home managers like me to connect with folk wisdom for natural and inexpensive ways to take care of your home, yard, garden and family. This book is chock full of recipes for natural, chemical-free cleaning solutions, herbal insect repellents, ways to maintain your home without expensive equipment or toxic materials, and ideas and instructions for a multitude of homemade and handmade items. This is a book for the kitchen shelf or the workbench in the garage, a handy reference book you'll use all year long. It's also a great book to use with kids. They'll love helping mom or dad make nontoxic paint, collect and use rainwater, and make sandals from rubber tires. This is a great book to have on hand and it would make a fabulous stocking stuffer or Christmas present. Read a lot of this penny but priceless wisdom with Look Inside at Amazon.com.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finally Friday - Green Your Weekend

The work week is over for most of us, but now the weekend starts. Sometimes weekends are busier and more stressful than the five days that come before them. Try to carve out a little "green" time for yourself in these two and a half days. Check out your favorite houseplant and give it some tender loving care by repotting it in a new container with some fresh potting soil and misting it. Or try green crafting and clip a few boughs from your evergreens, tie them together with wire and add a red bow and jingle bells for a front door holiday decoration.  You could check out your local forest preserve or botanical garden for a weekend adventurette. Plan a little green this weekend, take three deep breaths and recharge yourself. You'll be greener before you know it!