Finding Free Garden Supplies

Imagine creating a kitchen garden that yields heaps of produce all summer long—for free!  Thanks to our recent family budget cutbacks and some wise neighbors, we’ve suddenly found that free gardening is quite possible.  Here are the latest tips we’ve discovered:

  1. Find free wood, recycle what you have, or just dump dirt:  When our friends replaced their cedar fencing, they saved the old boards and used them to build raised beds.  Since the boards were just one inch thick, they cross braced them so that the wood wouldn’t bulge.  On Craigslist or through your friends you can usually find people who are looking to unload wood.  If you can’t find wood, just dump dirt on cardboard in your yard and make a bed without the border.  It will work fine and still grow some lovely veggies.
  2. (more…)

Budget-Friendly Solutions for Family Leave With Baby

Skip this post if you live in Canada, Denmark, Australia, France, or any one of 163 countries worldwide with paid maternity leave.  We’ll try not to think about the fact that in those nations mothers and fathers get months and sometimes even years of paid time to raise their children.  Here in the U.S., it’s tricky to be able to maneuver our maternity leave, but there are always ways to creatively find more time to spend with your baby.

Why try to take as much time as possible?  It’s not only critical to your sanity, but it often ends up being far more eco-friendly as well. My husband and I found that when we were both working we ended up using more jarred baby food, eating take-out more often, and generally spending more money on convenience items just to survive. Staying home means you’ll have the time to experiment with washing and drying cloth diapers.  Plus you’ll end up buying less and just enjoying this phase of baby’s life.

(more…)

A Simple, Eco-Friendly Solution for Stinky Diapers: Use Hydrogen Peroxide in Place of Chlorine Bleach

Have you ever pulled supposedly clean diapers out of the washer only to find that they’re nearly as stinky as when they went in?  What’s the problem?  It could be a variety of factors including the iron content in your water, the laundry soap you’re using, or synthetic fabrics. 

The other day I stumbled across an amazing solution: hydrogen peroxide!  It turns out that plain old hydrogen peroxide will provide you with your own homemade version of non-chlorine bleach. 

For the wash: Add a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide to each           washload or a bit more for very full or dirty loads.  

(more…)

Set Up Your Kitchen Garden—and Save!

It’s spring—time to dream of ripe tomatoes and sugar snap peas.  You can grow them yourself and save hundreds on organic produce with a few tips and a bit of inspiration.  Our first post in a four part series on organic home gardening will focus on garden materials and the money you can save once you do. 

You don’t have to invest hundreds of dollars to get results.  In fact, you may be able to get started with a very modest investment that will yield you a harvest for several weeks. 

Today’s contributors, Mara Reynolds and Caitlin Blethlen are expert gardeners with plenty of tips to share.  Mara works with Portland Community Gardens to further support gardening in the city. This tremendous program allows families to rent garden plots, learn how to preserve food, and get their children involved in gardening.  Caitlin is the Youth Gardening director for Growing Gardens, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income, urban families grow their own food.

(more…)

Fixing Lunch: Lunchsense Boxes Are A Great Solution for Eating on The Go

The financial and environmental impact of  simply preparing a homemade meal rather than submitting to prepackaged products  is astounding, but having the right tools to efficiently pack home blended baby food or work lunches is half the battle.  Our next two Thrifty Green Thursday posts are dedicated to a great product that grew out of a mom’s frustration with packing her children’s school lunches.  Mother of three, Nancy Myers, found a way to “fix lunch” by creating Lunchsense lunchboxes. 

The boxes are made of fabric and unsnap to create a clean eating surface that can be easily wiped down.  Inside are stored several locked leak-proof plastic containers that kids can easily open.  They might seem a bit pricey at first, but they’ll quickly pay themselves off if they help you skip even a handful of meals out.  Since Nancy lives right here in my hometown I had the chance to interview her myself.  Read on to find out more!

(more…)

Buying Oversized Clothing

Want an eco-friendly, budget friendly solution to keeping your child’s clothing costs in check?  Buy big!  I’ve found that buying clothes a size or two (or four!) bigger for my son works in a myriad of ways. 

  • Bigger pants accommodate cloth diapers. When he was smaller, we just rolled up the cuffs a bit.  Now that he’s potty training, they will be able to fit him for at least another six months with plenty of room around the waist!  Check out Rebecca’s post on managing cloth diaper bulk for more ideas.  
  • Used clothing has often shrunk after several washings.  Now when I search for secondhand duds at thrift stores, I’ll often buy 4T-6T shirts.  They fit him fine after I roll up the sleeves a bit.  They’ll last him at least a year and I won’t have to worry about shrinkage since they’ve already been washed several times.
  • (more…)

Welcome Back to the Thrifty Green Thursday Blog Carnival!

For most of us, going green isn’t about quantum leaps, it’s about tiny fledging steps that are made in the midst of our hectic lives as parents.  If you have a budget-friendly, earth-friendly tip (even one that seems a bit obvious to you) you’d be a perfect addition to Thrifty Green Thursday.  

What are the benefits of adding my post to the Thrifty Green Thursday carnival?

It’ll help you generate traffic for your site, put you in touch with like-minded bloggers, and give you a chance to pick up some easy tips for going green on a budget.

How do I join the carnival and link my post?

(more…)

Using Economic Offsetting to Afford Green Products


Thrifty Green Thursday is the perfect place to consider a whole new version of sustainability that involves both your wallet and your green values.  If cost wasn’t an issue, many Americans would love to eat organic food and use expensive eco-friendly cleaning products.

Since our economy is struggling and prices are soaring, it sometimes feels as though green products will only reach those that can afford them. That’s where economic offsetting can come in very handy. 

Here’s how it works: make frugal choices to reduce your household costs and then apply that extra money to spendier eco-friendly items.  For example, using hand-me-downs for baby can provide hundreds of dollars for organic strawberries and eco-friendly detergent.  (Hint: Rebecca discovered that eco-friendly detergent is actually cheaper than mainstream brands!)  Switching from prepared green cleaning products to homemade versions can possibly even offset the cost of a high quality wooden toy—especially when you find that toy used at a consignment shop.

(more…)