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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • April 21, 2014

    Money-Saving Green Tips for Earth Day and Every Day

    Are you one of those people who say, “I’d love to go green, but it costs too much money!”?

    On Earth Day, all of us here are sharing our stories so you know that just the opposite is true! My own experience is that going green actually saves me several thousand dollars a year while increasing my quality of life. That’s because I’ve figured out how to reduce what I buy, reuse what I have, and save energy and water, two items (especially energy) that could otherwise cost me hundreds of dollars a year.

    Happily, I’m not alone. Here’s how a lot of people I know and respect are also saving money by being green:

    Betsy at Eco-Novice offers very concrete ways to save money on products that otherwise increase your exposure to toxic chemicals. Her helpful post includes 6 switches she’s made that you can, too, including a switch from disposable plastic baggies to reusable food bags in food-safe fabrics in a variety of sizes, from snack to gallon. 

    Kristina of The Greening of Westford recommends using local libraries to borrow books and movies for kids and adults alike rather than go out and buy them brand new. Also, she says, if you do want to buy, drop in to your library’s book sales, where they generally sell used books at greatly reduced prices. Kristina notes that she brings the process full circle by donating the books she buys back to the library at some point so they can be re-sold again. 

    Brittney Gordon-Williams, Communications Manager for EPA’s ENERGY STAR products, ticks off some specific ways consumers can save money by saving energy. For example, did you know that ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs use 70-90% less energy and last 25x longer than your old incandescent bulbs?  Or that enabling your computer and monitor’s power management fatures can save you up to $90 a year?  Brittney invites you to check out My ENERGY STAR for more tips and energy-saving suggestions. 

    Beth from My Plastic Free Life has found many ways to save money by going plastic free. Of course, she saves a lot of money by using a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water, and she’s reused all kinds of glass jars for food storage, rather than by new plastic ones. She skips new plastic shampoo bottles and deodorant applicators by mixing up those products herself from baking soda and other ingredients, and then storing them in the same containers over and over.  And she’s learned how to fix many things when they break rather than replace them – the ultimate money-saving strategy. 

    Anna at Green-Talk offers lots of useful ways to go green in the kitchen and save money, too. For example, “don’t forget to install an inexpensive aerator for your faucet to reduce your water usage as well as your bill,” she suggstions. Plus, “Don’t stop there. Plants need water? Water them with leftover cooking water or half drunken glasses of water.” Good idea! 

    At Groovy Green Livin’, Lori has a great list of “15 Ways to Be Green Without Spending a Dime.” One that has saved me a bundle over the years is her #14: “use Freecycle, Craigs List or other sites that have free stuff.” It’s all about reusing and keeping good stuff out of landfills,” she says. Amen to that! 

    Paige of Spit That Out the Book recommends using coupons from green companies to offset their costs. She provides a long list of green couponers, green coupon aggregators and flash sale sites, which was totally new to me. 

    Leigh Ann at Green4U offers this unique suggestion to save money and go green, too: Invite friends over for dinner, rather than go to a bar or the movies. Make it potluck so everyone participates, and rotate houses so the same person isn’t hosting all the time. Great idea!

     Sommer at Green & Clean Mom reminds people that “Less Meat Means Less Money.” Generally, she reminds us, “veggies, rice and beans cost much less than meat products. In this economy, as fuel prices and food prices rise, we can expect meat to become an expensive habit. Reduce your meat consumption and save a little.”

    Karen at EcoKaren offers a terrific list of "11 Things You Should Never Buy to Be Safe and Save Money." For example, skip the pre-cut drumsticks and chicken breasts - a whole chicken is half the price. Chicken stock in a box? Not when you can make it yourself much more cheaply from the bones of that chicken you just cut up. As for canned tomatoes, many cans are lined with BPA, a toxic chemical linked to birth defects. Maybe it's time to learn how to can or freeze tomatoes yourself?

    Jen of Jen and Joey Go Green doesn't shy away from the fact that sometimes, "eating healthy is going to cost you more than pre-packaged food. That is just the way the kale crumbles!" However, "pre-planning will help you spend less on healthy food than you would buying processed foods that are full of chemicals." That sounds like a good trade to me!

    Trina at O’Boy! Organic also focused on food, offering real food money saving tips that help her on a weekly basis.  She says she’s able to keep her food bill down to $150 a week by planning her menus, using foods she already has, having at least one leftover night in the week, buying meat in bulk, and buying staple items online. Her links to the various shopping sites she uses are very helpful, too. 

    For a few more ways to save money buying food, here’s my list of Top Ten Organic Food Price Busters.

    As Stacy of Move The Market says, "If money is energy, I want to invest mine in creating the world I want to live in...As I've happily discovered, what's best for my body and the planet is often best for my budget, too." That is so true!

    How do you save money going green? Please share you suggestions!

     Want More Money-Saving Tips? 

    Top Ten Ways to Beat the High Price of Gas

    Top Ten Ways to Save Energy and Money at Home





    May 31, 2009

    ZipCar Comes to the Rescue (and Saves Me a Lot of Money)!

    2002 Prius1 My 2002 Prius can't be beat for everyday driving. I regularly get 40-45 mpg, saving me hundreds of dollars every year on gas. It's got a lot of pep, so highway driving is a snap. And its terrific turning radius and compact size make it a dream to park, whether at the mall or on a city street.

    But given its compact size (it seats four comfortably, five only if the person in the middle back seat has short legs), it's not the vehicle you'd willingly use to pick up your daughter -- and all her stuff -- from college, the challenge I faced recently.

    Zipcar_header Fortunately, I'm a member of ZipCar, the car company that lets you rent vehicles by the hour or the day. ZipCar, whose motto is "Wheels When You Want Them," is gaining in popularity because it makes using a car so cheap compared to owning one.  According to the company's calculations, owning a car like a Ford Fusion can cost you almost $800 a month, once you figure in parking, insurance, vehicle registration, gas, maintenance, new tires, and other related expenses. Even if you drive a lot (though not every single day), you could be paying as little as $322 a month using a Zip Car. You can join for $50 a year

    Element Using my zippy membership, I was able to rent a Honda Element for the 7 hours I needed to retrieve my daughter from school.  I simply reserved my car a day in advance, walked two blocks in my neighborhood, and found the car clean and ready to go. I swiped my membership card over a scanner embedded into the windshield. The car doors unlocked, and I found the key in the ignition. Off I went, easy as pie, for a little more than $11/hr.

    I chose the Honda Element over a wide range of other options because it offered the most room for the greatest amount of gas mileage. I drove 242 miles on about a tank of gas, for an average fuel economy of around 22 mpg - not quite as good as the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV (which wasn't an option, either at ZipCar or at any of the conventional car rental companies I checked), but better than most conventional SUVs. I filled the gas tank up using the gas card in the glove compartment, so it didn't cost me anything.

    Interested? If you live here or go to school here, you can rent a ZipCar. If your city's not on the list, send the company an e-mail and let them know you'd like to Zip. They're opening new locations all the time - maybe you can get them to consider your neighborhood. You can also search "car share" on the Internet to see similar options other companies may be offering in your community.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up, ZipCar!

    By the way, don't miss these Big Green Purse tips on saving gas and choosing fuel-efficient vehicles.

    May 08, 2009

    Here's How You Can Afford to Spend 30% More on Organic Food

    Clean out your fridge.

    Globe money But before you toss all the expired or rotted food you find into the trash can, put it on your counter. Now do a rough calculation of how much that 'trash' cost you. Don't be surprised if it amounts to as much as 30% of your weekly household budget. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumers on average throw away $30 of every $100 they spend - simply by forgetting to eat what they buy. In this economy, that's a lot of money for anyone. But it's especially painful for people who want to buy organic food and feel like they can't afford to pay the premium it costs. 

    They can. Here's how.

    *  Shop from a list you make in advance. Generate your shopping list from recipes you're likely to cook during the week. You'll buy fewer ingredients overall, but have the ingredients you need, and cook what you buy so you waste less.

    * Avoid impulse buys. That fancy mustard on those cute crackers they're handing out as you shop? If you're like me, you'll get the mustard home, slide it on a shelf, and forget about it until you rediscover it months (years?) from now, looking and tasting far less delectable than when you saw it in the store.

    * Keep track of what's in your refrigerator. One easy way: put your shopping list (or a list of the week's recipes) on the front of the refrigerator when you get home. It will remind you what you've bought and what's available inside to cook.

    * Make a budget.  Before you go shopping, figure out how much money you want to spend, and what "extras" you can afford. Note that, in addition to spending the money you've "saved" by throwing away less food, you can shift spending from items like bottled water to organic milk, or throwaway paper towels to a reusable sponge.

    Take leftovers for lunch. Invest in a set of reusable containers you can pack with leftovers for work or school. 

    * Schedule leftovers for the same night every week. In my house, that night is usually Friday night, since I go grocery shopping Saturday morning. There's always enough food left over from previous meals to pull together a small feast. And the empty refrigerator that results not only inspires me to think ahead to next week's meals. It's much easier to clean!

    * Make stock; freeze vegetables and meat. If you're unlikely to eat leftovers in the same week you cook them, freeze them in lunch-size portions for future consumption. Toss vegetables that are still good but just past their prime into a stock pot to make a rich base for future soups and stews.

    February 18, 2009

    Buying in Bulk Just Saved Me $20!

    Given how jittery the economy is, it's easy to get the jitters yourself when it comes to going green.

    Isn't it great to know, then, that choosing the greenest option when you shop can actually be the most economical way to shop, too?

     Black catThis was brought home to me in spades this morning, when I was stocking up on cat food. Now, there's nothing particularly 'green' about the food I feed my cat Midnight - nothing organic or free range or locally grown. But I had a choice between the package it came in. I could either buy individual four-pound bags, or one large 10-pound bag (which is far less energy and resource intensive to produce).

    When I looked at the price difference, it was easy to make up my mind: one 10-pound bag actually cost $20 less than three four-pound bags! Twenty bucks! I couldn't believe it.

    Buying in bulk - whether it's cat food, snack food, or wholesome fruits and vegetables - helps protect the planet because the larger packages use less paper and plastic during manufacture and generate less trash. Generally speaking, one out of every eleven dollars we spend shopping goes to cover the cost of packaging. Given these tough economic times, I'd rather save that money buying in bulk.

    Bulk Buying Tips:

    * Buy the largest size available. This is not only true for food. Cleaning products also come in a variety of sizes; the biggest ones will be cheapest.

    * Skip snack packs, which are an excess of cardboard, paper, and plastic wrap. Use reusable containers if you need to divvy up snacks for kids.

    Bulk food * Shop the bulk bins. Many grocery stores and food coops sell dry goods in bulk. They supply plastic bags you can fill up, or you can use your own reusable bags (the price differential if your bag is cloth will be minuscule and not worth worry about).

    December 15, 2008

    Green Coupons Make Eco-Shopping Cheap

    Whether you're wrapping up your holiday shopping or browsing for general household goods, take advantage of online coupons to save you big bucks on green gear for yourself, family and friends.

    These three blogs specialize in linking to coupons for green products and services. NOTE: not every item on every site will be "green." Read product descriptions before you buy to avoid greenwashing (yes, it even happens with coupons! See "," below).

    GreenCouponCodes - This site is very easy to use. Every entry offers the same practical information: an overview of the product, the discount offered (highlighted in bright red ink), shipping information, and an easy click through to the product itself. You'll find a wide variety of items in categories that include health and beauty, organic garden, personal finance, batteries, and light bulbs. The only coupon category that didn't make sense to me was "auto." The promo promises coupons for "green auto parts at Juiced Hybrid," but I could never access that particular site.

    Pristine planet Pristine Planet - Whether you're looking for divine organic chocolates, organic cotton baby gear, holiday candles or gourmet gift baskets, you should be able to find a discount coupon at Pristine Planet. Many merchants listed here - like Gifts for the Garden and EcoHomeGear, offer discounts as high as 20%.

    Ecobunga EcoBunga - EcoBunga calls itself the guide to "green giveaways and deals," so look not just for discounts but freebies, too. Sweepstakes and contests offer everything from EMX Race Bikes (hmm... I guess that's "green" - better than racing a car?!), to adventures to exotic natural habitats, to things more mundane but perhaps more essential: BPA-free baby bottles. On the coupon side, recent promotions included a $10 discount on Seventh Generation chlorine-free diapers, and 40% off Pangea Organics Holiday Gift Boxes.

    Mambo Sprouts is another online coupon resource, offering printable coupons from the web as well as coupon books. Recent offerings included $1 off a package of Equal Exchange  Fair Trade Coffee and $1 off Bio-Kleen eco-friendly cleaning products.

    Thumb_brown.bmp NOTE: Beware a site called OrganicCoupons. Despite the name, it doesn't seem to focus much on organics. Recent promotions included a trip to NBC's Universal Studios, discounts for Omaha Steaks, and a price break on "a fantastic mid-size SUV." Those sure don't sound like organic options to me.

    September 10, 2008

    "One in a Million" Mom Shifts $1,000 to Greener Food, Bedding, Biking

    One_in_a_million Thousands of women have joined the "One in a Million" campaign. Participating couldn't be easier. They simply pledge to  shift $1,000 of their annual household budget to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefits. That doesn't mean spend MORE money. It means spend money differently to make a difference.

    Deborah H. from Nashville, Tennessee and the mother of two boys, is the latest "One in a Million" winner. Here's how she shifted over $1,000:

    * Joined a Winter CSA -    $704.50

    * Bought Bamboo Sheets - $ 93.77

    * Joined a Spring CSA -    $400.00

    Total ...................   $1,198.27

    Why did she do it?

    "I joined One in a Million because I received an e-mail from the women's list-serve at my church (Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, TN) about the good things your group was doing.

    "Thinking about the campaign has impacted how I buy. We use bamboo sheets on our beds, we recycle, and we belong to a CSA. My husband bikes to work when he can. We car pool with another family for school and we donate extra funds to our electric company for green energy.

    Avalon_acres "The winter CSA we belonged to was through Avalon Acres in Tennessee.  Every two weeks we received all of our brown eggs, meats and baked goods through them. We helped to support an Amish family through the winter. This spring we are involved in a CSA through Delvin Farms in Nashville. We are receiving every other week fresh vegetables and fruits from the farm."

    By shifting her budget to more eco-friendly products, Deborah is using her big green purse to encourage farmers and manufacturers to reduce pollution, protect the landscape, and help her live a healthier, safer life. If a million women follow Deborah's lead, they'll make a billion dollar impact in the marketplace and send an unmistakable environmental message to industries.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up, Deborah! And congratulations!!

    For more One in a Million stories, see here, here, here and here.

    Want to join us? Sign up here.

    September 08, 2008

    Going Back to School? Go Green To Save Hundreds of Dollars

    Globe_money Parents can save oodles of money by taking an "eco cheap" approach to back-to-school shopping.

    Where to start?

    * Ignore the huge supply lists that come home in kids' backpacks. Over at the blog Green Talk, "Thrifty is the New Green for Back to School Supplies" reminds parents to check their "voluminous" stashes of pens, pencils, crayons and paper leftover from last year before buying new. SAVINGS:  $25-$50/child

    *  Use last year's backpacks and lunch boxes. (Mindful Momma notes in "The Price We Pay for Back 2School Cool that kids do just fine with gear they've used before.) SAVINGS:  $50-$125/child, depending on backpack.

    *  Shop yard sales and thrift stores for back-to-school clothes. SAVINGS:  $100 - $250/child, depending on your usual clothes budget.

    * Borrow sports equipment and rent musical instruments. Is your daughter trying hockey for the first time? Not sure if your son is a budding violinist or just likes to hear the bow scratch? Borrow skates or rent the violin until you're sure a purchase makes sense. SAVINGS:  $50 - $250.

    Total Savings: $225 - $675 per child.

    For more great ideas that save money and spare the planet, drop in on the Green Moms Carnival over at SurelyYouNest.

    August 28, 2008

    Check out Maggie's Organic for Back-to-School Fashions

    Even after you've cut your shopping budget to the bone, you may still need to get a few things to cover your kids as they head off to school. If so, take a look at Maggie's Organics.

    Maggies_boys_socks_3The company integrates certified organic cotton or wool in all its products and manufactures according to fair trade principles. They sell a terrific collection of socks, scarves, tights, loungewear, legwarmers, tees, baby clothes, new sock monkeys and fashionable tops.Maggies_girls_tights_2

    Conscious of energy consumed by transporting products across the globe, Maggie's has developed supply chains as close to home as possible. The company uses a minimum amount of packaging to save energy during transportation and to reduce waste.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up, Maggie!

    July 23, 2008

    Go Green, Live Rich

    Go_green With all the belt-tightening going on, most people seem ready to give up whatever eco-friendly actions they've adopted in order to economize. In his new book, Go Green, Live Rich, best-selling author David Bach makes a convincing case that saving energy and resources will not just save you money, but make you money, too. He offers four steps for greener living that could save you $10 a day every day of the year. They are:

    1) improve your car's fuel economy: save $884 annually

    2) seal leaks in your home to reduce heating and cooling needs; save $129

    3) adjust thermostat in either direction 3 degrees: save $85

    3) Bring lunch to work (in reusable containers): save $1,560

    Total savings: $3,758 per year, or approximately $10 a day.

    Green_pig_2And, says Bach, if you invest that $10 a day (instead of finding new things to spend it on), and you earn a 10 percent annual return (which you can earn through investments in green funds, by the way), in 30 years you would have $678, 146.

    So...before you think you can't afford to live green, think again. Not only will you enjoy immediate savings, but you'll have extra investment income to help fill your green piggy bank for the future.

    May 25, 2008

    Take the Drive Smarter Challenge

    Burning_money_2  Presumably, you're not the kind of person who would take a big pile of money out to your driveway and set it on fire, just to watch it burn. But when you burn gasoline, that's essentially what you're doing. And with gasoline prices now bouncing around $4 a gallon, that pile of money you're burning is getting a whole lot bigger. 

    Big Green Purse lists ten ways you can conserve gas today and save at least $20-$50 every month at the pump. But you can save even more by taking the Drive Smarter Challenge, a new initiative from the Alliance to Save Energy.

    Promochallenge What's terrific about the Challenge is that it puts you in the driver's seat -- literally. The website simulates you driving, then suggests up to six fuel-efficiency actions you can easily take. If you do (or say you plan to), the website immediately calculates your savings in money, gasoline, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    I took the challenge as if I were driving my son's 2001, 6hp Toyota Avalon. By the end of my "road test," I was informed I could save $433  (about 110 gallons of gasoline at the $4/gallon price, for almost 10 weeks of free gas) if I followed six simple recommendations like pumping up my tires and lightening the load in my trunk.

    Plus, when I forwarded the site to a friend, I got a coupon for $10 off a Bosch Oxygen Sensor, which will help my engine run even more efficiently.

    Beware: the website takes a longish time to load (at least on Explorer 6.0) and seems to re-load every time you switch screens. But those inconveniences are well worth the cost-savings you'll enjoy if you take the Challenge.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up to the Alliance to Save Energy for giving us this ingenious tool!

    By the way, you can credit gas savings to your One in a Million balance sheet.

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by