Save Money and Help the Planet: Go Green This Month!
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Save Money and Help the Planet: Go Green This Month!

We’re heading in the right direction — we planted a vegetable garden and we started composting. We mostly use reusable containers when we pack lunch and reusable bags when shopping. But there’s still plenty more to do. Below is what I have accomplished this month by deciding to go green. Share some of your green tips by leaving a comment of your own!

Lights Out

I automatically turn the light switch on when I walk into a room. Even in a power failure, I flip the switch — can’t help it. Those days are behind us — kilowatt hours away. Now we’re keeping lights off until 7pm. Not fanatically — if we can see, we keep the lights off. If we can’t, we turn them on.

The Moral Hazard of Laundry

Can you blame a kid for throwing everything in the hamper when they have no concept of what it takes to get it clean and back in their drawer? It’s like leaving towels on the floor in the hotel — someone will whisk them away and bring new, clean ones! Our water bill is nothing to brag about, so we’re cutting back on laundry — if each of the kids does their own loads, I’m hoping they realize it’s easier to wear stuff a handful of times — and maybe even stay chocolate stain free — before washing.

Reusing Paper and Plastic Bags

We reuse flyers and letters and feed them through the printer and print on the blank side for drafts of book reports, recipes, etc.
We also reuse plastic bags. All those bread bags, carrot bags, and potato bags are perfect for garbage bags for the car, diapers, etc.

Converting to Paperless Statements

Let me say, this is a hard one. Maybe it’s just me but converting each account seems to be about a half-hour process — going online, finding your username and password, finding a statement with your account number. You really have to love the earth to pursue this one. Little by little.

Cancelling Catalogs

This is a double whammy — save paper and free up the time I used to spend idly perusing; I went whole hog and canceled all the catalogs. You can do it online at After you register and get a password (not another password!), you go to “Manage My Mail” and pick “Catalogs”. At the bottom of the Catalogs screen, there’s an option to “Stop All Catalogs”. Click. I did the same for “Magazine Offers”. I had to click before I thought about it too long — it’s a bit like ripping off a bandaid or throwing the Halloween candy out. You know it must be done, but it still hurts.

Considering Converting Most Files to Evernote

With Evernote, you take pictures of all the things you normally clip out of magazines or save from doctors, insurance companies or banks, and Evernote automatically processes, indexes and makes them searchable. I’m very used to my paper way but I know this will help me if I can take the leap. Even hand written notes are searchable — so instead of having to rummage through my bulky “medical” file for the “kidney stone” bills, I just type “kidney stone” and all the relevant files show up. Just the fact that I wouldn’t have to pull the file, search through the file, and then refile the folder should be enough incentive to convert. And they promise to work with all computers and phones.

About the Author

While Laura’s official job title is “Stay-at-Home Mom”, her motto is “Give Me 10!” — as in, “Please, just give me 10 minutes a day for myself!” Since 10 minutes is about all the unscheduled time we get in our days, Laura suggests taking those moments to “advance the ball” on your own goals – and little by little you’ll reach them. Through her on-the-job training as a mom of 3, as well as her background in management consulting after graduating from Northwestern University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Laura’s come up with a plan that works because it fits into your life — you don’t need a full-time nanny or a chauffeur. Take a look at her tricks and tips and share your own at

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