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Politics aside, good stewardship is always a good policy. I think playing nice with the green ball we all live on has more to do with being smart than it does with any government agenda.

The best thing about practicing green options is that, the majority of the time, they are the more cost-effective option. It seems to me that being eco-friendly will just plain save you money.

Here are a few low-cost or no-cost ideas. I practice many of them and will try to implement others. Let’s all be eco-smart (eco-nomically and eco-logically).

  • Plant a small garden in pots or in a raised bed.
  • Create a compost bin.
  • Cut down on lunch packaging. Avoid “snack size” foods by buying in bulk and filling your own snack containers.
  • Reduce the new toys you buy. Swap toys with other parents as kids outgrow them (cardboard boxes are fun too).
  • Switch to CFL lightbulbs (or at least a few).
  • Use reusable bags at the store – or make your own.
  • Buy a reusable water bottle instead of plastic disposable bottles.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room. Big one in my house trying to get the kids to do!
  • Save gas by driving the speed limit and check the air pressure in the tires. Combine errands in one trip.
  • Shop at your farmer’s market – support your local farmers.
  • Pay bills online if possible.
  • Stop unsolicited mail — opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.
  • Reuse scrap paper. Good for couponers too. Let your kids use it for crafts or drawing.
  • Before buying new, check Craigslist, Freecycle, thrift stores and yard sales.
  • Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores.
  • Support restaurants that use locally-grown food.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Line dry laundry.
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
  • Repurpose something – like egg cartons for crafts or glass jars for leftovers.
  • Collect rainwater – use it to water your houseplants and garden.
  • Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Make rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
  • Carpool. Set up carpools with friends to shop or to take kids to their activities.
  • And now my favorite… Get outside. Many kids spend very little time outdoors each week playing. Maybe go hiking and camping as a family, or simply play in the yard.