There seems to be a misnomer going around.
Many people think that “going green” will help the environment but severely hurt their budget. They think that the cost of going green far outweighs the potential tangible benefits. But going green doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and in the long run can actually save you a lot of money. There may be some initial expense up front, but in the long run, a green lifestyle can be quite economical. In fact, a green lifestyle by its very nature conserves energy and resources, including money.
A green lifestyle is environmentally friendly. It involves reducing the amount of waste you produce, reusing as much as possible and recycling what you can’t reuse. It means limiting the amount of non-renewable energy you use and trying to find ways to use renewable energy sources. The resources on this planet are limited and a green lifestyle helps conserve those resources and aims to prevent damaging the earth with dangerous products and chemicals.
I have found that the best way to go green is to take baby steps. Evaluate one area of your life at a time and find solutions to be as green as possible. My family has been working on going green for the last couple of years and we have made significant changes. We aren’t nearly as green as we could be, but we are proud of the progress we have made so far.
Save Money By Going Green In Your Backyard
One of the very first things we did to “go green” is something you might already do anyway. We decided to start a garden. Growing out own vegetables has a huge impact on your carbon footprint. If you aren’t familiar with the phrase “carbon footprint” it is a reference to the negative impact the products you use have on the climate. The higher your carbon footprint the more negative the effect. If you live in Michigan and the strawberries you just bought were grown in Mexico, you have a significantly larger carbon footprint than if you had gotten the strawberries from a local farm or your own backyard.
Plus when you grow your own food, it costs a lot less than buying it!
Grow Your Own Food
You have a lot of options for a backyard garden but one of the easiest is by using raised garden beds. Raised beds make your garden easier to weed and keeps critters out as well because it is raised off the ground. You can build the raised beds from scratch or you can maximize your “green” efforts by finding things you can reuse as raised beds. We used what are called “crate ends” that we got for free from a local roofing & siding company. These crate ends go on the ends of vinyl siding for shipping purposes and are usually discarded. You can check with local siding companies or contractors. Usually, these crate ends just get put in the dumpster so they have no problem letting you have some.
My husband had to re-work the crates to function for our raised beds, but the work was minimal and we not only saved money we re-purposed otherwise discarded materials.
Another way you can reduce your carbon footprint is to grow your garden organically without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Our garden is 100% organic and it has produced beautiful, delicious vegetables year after year. We do have to do a bit more weeding but it’s a small price to pay for an organic garden, and there are some amazing weed remover tools that make the job easy.
I collect my vegetables in a stainless steel colander so I can rinse the dirt off them right in the yard with the hose before I take them in the house.
I swear vegetables taste better when you grow them yourself. It’s kind of empowering too, to be able to say “I made food!”
A backyard garden can really save you a lot of money and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. And Kohl’s can help you make it cute and functional as well. We always inevitably end up losing our little garden markers to know what we planted where. These adorable chalkboard garden stakes from Kohl’s are just what we need to complete our backyard garden.
And since they are chalkboard material, they can be reused year after year even if you change the types of veggies in your garden!
Another way to go green in your backyard and save money is by utilizing rain barrels to harvest rainwater to use to water your garden or your lawn. We pay $120 per month for our water so it’s important for us to find alternatives that save money.
Rain barrels come in all shapes and sizes depending upon your needs and how much room you actually have to put one. They work by sitting at the end of your downspout and collect the rain that comes down through the gutter. You then connect a hose to it and use the collected water as you would normally to water your garden. Rain barrels have an overflow hose on them so if they collect too much water, it will drain out to wherever you direct it.
You can purchase a rain barrel or you can even make your own like we did.
It has since been wrapped with fence boards to make it look less unsightly, but it was made out of a re-purposed 275 gallon “tote” that is used for transporting and storing liquids. My husband uses them in his business so it was free! I’ve also seen businesses put these out with the trash so you could reach out to local businesses and ask if they ever have them. Just make sure you clean them out good (a manual car wash is a great place to do it) because you don’t want to risk whatever was in there previously damaging your garden.
In addition to a rain barrel, a soaker hose in your garden will water it using 50% of the water that a sprinkler uses. You will save money on your water bill, or if you are using a rain barrel, make your collected water go a lot further.
Greening up your backyard (both literally and figuratively) isn’t really that difficult and in the long run, can save you a lot of money and help you do your part to conserve our planet’s natural resources.