Mother and son at community garden

Environmentally Friendly Money-Saving Tips for Earth Day

Going green is in, and thankfully, our children are growing up in a time when we are becoming more environmentally conscious.

I vividly remember an earth friendly school campaign in the 1990s where, as a ten-year-old, I quickly became a self-proclaimed, tree hugging environmental fanatic. I urged everyone in my circle of friends to ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle!’ I even spearheaded an anti-litter club. My young children also share a passion for saving the planet. Perhaps social responsibility is in their genes?

Earth Day is April 22nd and this year, the global campaign is focused on environmental and climate literacy. Going green doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s something the entire family can do together. Here are some money saving ways to show Mother Earth you care.

Pick up litter

No one is expecting you to fill dozens of garbage bags full of waste but as the saying goes, ‘every little bit counts!’

How to do it

20 minute makeover: have family members put on gloves and grab plastic or cloth grocery bags. Head to a local park and have everyone pick up trash, from empty plastic bottles, to newspaper, to candy wrappers, so long as it’s safe to do so. My family recently did this while out hiking in our community. The kids had a blast, especially after seeing a noticeable difference in the condition of the park.

Get Growing

You don’t need a green thumb or an immaculate garden that goes on for miles but making a small investment in your property by growing your own goods will allow you to reap countless rewards.

How to do it

Consider creating a small vegetable garden if you have the space to do so. Tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and many other delicious, nutritious foods can be home grown and the bonus is it’s organic. You can also make your own backyard compost. Composting not only saves money, it improves your soil. And if any produce expires in the fridge, you can add it to your growing pile of natural goodness.

Buy Used

Gently worn clothing, used furniture and recreational pieces like bikes, trikes and scooters can all be purchased for a fraction of the price if you shop around.

How to do it

You can hit weekend garage sales, shop at consignment stores, or buy and sell items online via VarageSale or Kijiji. There are tons of items many parents are looking to buy, sell or swap, so there’s no shortage of inventory. Reusing someone else’s goods also means fewer items tossed in the trash.

Ditch Paper and Plastic

Paper plates are convenient but the unnecessary waste isn’t doing our planet any good.

How to do it

Choosing reusable dinnerware and cutlery, packing ‘garbage-less lunches’ by opting for containers over sandwich bags, and bringing your own shopping bags to the grocery store are some simple ways you can do your part.

Save Water

The concept is simple: don’t use more water than you need.

How to do it

Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth, wash dishes by hand, or have the kids share a bath. If you’re conservative, you’ll even notice a bit of a reprieve on your next water bill. Bonus tip: do laundry during off-peak hours. In our home, we reserve laundry duties for weekends and weekdays after 7pm. Call me frugal but the savings add up!

Time it

Do you remember your parents reminding you to turn off lights after you’ve left a room? Have you grown to appreciate your parents’ desperate plea to conserve? There are simple ways to save energy and a few bucks without growing tired of the sound of your own voice.

How to do it

Put outdoor lights, lamps and small appliances on timers to ensure they turn off when needed. You can also invest in energy efficient bulbs which cost mere pennies to operate per month. Getting into the habit of unplugging unused appliances will also benefit your pocketbook.

Now that spring has sprung, consider walking, cycling or carpooling to school and work to help further reduce your impact on the environment. Mother Nature deserves it. Happy Earth Day!