Green living saves money. Case in point? The following items can be reduced or eliminated of your monthly budget for huge savings....
Air Fresheners are not only completely unnecessary, but they can also release hazardous chemicals into your home. The Natural Resources Defense Council found phthalates (hormone-disrupting chemicals that are linked to birth defects) in 12 of the 14 common household brands of air fresheners it tested, including those that were labeled "all-natural." Open your windows and let the fresh (and free) air in. If your home has a persistent odor, your best bet is to find the source and fix it rather than simply masking it.
Bottled Water isn't proven to be any cleaner or safer than tap (in the United States). The New York Times estimates that it costs $1,400 a year for someone to drink eight glasses a day of bottled water, versus around 49 cents for an annual supply of tap. Drinking filtered water is a lot less expensive, just as healthy, and good for the environment.
Dryer Sheets can do more harm than good since they are loaded with a mixture of synthetic chemicals that can cling to your clothes and be absorbed through your skin. Here's a cheaper and healthier alternative to make your clothes soft and static free: Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda to your laundry.
DVDs and Books are easily borrowed from the library. Worried about due dates or late fees? Check out the growing number of websites, such as Swaptree, that can help you trade books, movies, music, and video games. Some other money-saving and planet-friendly entertainment tips: Download music from the Internet instead of buying CDs. It's not free, but you can save money by only purchasing the songs you like and cut back on landfill-clogging packaging. Eliminate your cable television service. See if your favorite shows are available for free on Hulu.
Trash Bags are a necessity for most of us, but that doesn't mean you always have to pay for them. Consider using the shopping bags you get for free at the grocery store instead of buying new plastic garbage liners. You're helping the planet by getting two uses out of a bag instead of just one. It's like having a bag made from 50 percent recycled content, says Martin Wolf, Director of Product & Environmental Technology at Seventh Generation.
Wrapping Paper is something most of us can get along without since a little creativity can go a long way. Raid your recycling bin for old maps, sheet music, kids' artwork, newspapers, magazines, paper bags, and more. Wrapping gifts in newspaper or magazines need not be dull, especially with a little forethought. Is the recipient a sports fan, gardener, or cook? Choose relevant images or wacky photos. Paper bags can be cut up and decorated (or not).