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52 Easy ways to green your home without going broke

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Economical ways to save the environment and save money on your home

Going green isn't as tough as you think. Slowly make the switch by making one easy change each week of the year.

Woman shopping at thrift store

27. Follow these five ways to redecorate your home green, like repainting with low or VOC-free paint. Not only will the earth thank you, but so will your wallet!

28. Get the junk out of your trunk (literally!) — extra weight in your car decreases fuel efficiency.

29. Have a yard sale — or visit one before you head out to buy something new. Join Freecycle to find items you need or get rid of items you don't.

30. Switch to chemical-free cleaning products or make your own eco-friendly cleaning products.

31. Make it easy for your family to recycle by keeping bins in convenient places.

32. Take the stairs instead of the elevator (great for the environment and your health).

33. If you have a baby, use cloth diapers instead of disposables.

34. Buy used or e-books instead of new.

35. Reuse old items before you throw them out. Here are few things you can do with your old clothing and linens.

36. Buy a bigger jug of milk. If you only use half a gallon at a time, you can pour half the milk into a carafe and freeze the rest.

37. Use compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs, which last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, or light-emiting diodes (LED), which last even longer. Be sure to dispose of your used bulbs safely by finding a recycling center.

38. For your kids, buy crayons made of beeswax, not paraffin. For your babies, try eco-baby shops.

39. Wear an extra sweater or use a blanket before you resort to turning on (or up) the heat.

40. Buy eco-friendly pet toys (Fido and Fifi will never know the difference). Be sure you also raise an environmentally-friendly pet.

41. Call a mechanic to get a tune-up for your car to avoid excess wear and tear on your automobile, saving money on gas and ensuring your vehicle runs cleaner.

42. Pay your bills online (and opt for paperless billing) to reduce paper usage and postage costs.

43. Switch to a manual can opener. Use a sharp carving knife instead of an electric knife.

44. Make it a habit to carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Buy one with a built-in filter to avoid tap water if that's important to you.

45. Get out your rake and leave your leaf blower in the garage to cut down on emissions (not to mention get a good workout).

46. Switch to Energy Star-qualified appliances when you upgrade. Even if they cost a little more, they'll actually save you on your electricity bill in the long run.

47. Keep your freezer full — it runs more efficiently than an empty one. For more money-saving tips, read 10 Frugal tips for cooking family-friendly meals.

48. Use chlorine-free feminine hygiene products, or try products like the menstrual cup.

49. Keep inexpensive reusable to-go containers or washed food containers on hand so you can send dinner guests home with packed goodies. (Think about cooking a couple of vegetarian holiday dishes, too.)

50. Invest in a roasting pan instead of using disposable ones (you'll save money in the long run and it's a lot easier to pull a full ham or turkey out of the oven in a sturdy pan than an aluminum one).

51. Planning a party or wedding? Hire green vendors and go with natural decorations when possible. If you'd like to make a statement with your nuptials, plan a green and organic wedding.

52. Make a resolution to be even more eco-friendly next year.

More on going green

Health benefits of going green
Giving your home a green makeover
Raising green kids

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