Budget-Friendly Ideas, Student Life

Greener Living on a College Budget

As a college student, while you may want to have a more “green” lifestyle, your ramen-noodle-every-night budget may restrict you from actually living a sustainable lifestyle.  Let’s face it:  you most likely won’t be going out to buy a brand new hybrid car, or putting solar panels on top of your apartment. In fact, when we compared standard cleaning products to natural or “green” cleaning products at Walmart and Target, we found that there appears to be an average of about 5 cent increase in price per fluid ounce or count.  That’s on average about a 69% increase in price!  That’s pretty significant when you’re already living on a limited budget!  This is why we decided to find some ways to help you live green, because it just doesn’t really make sense:  why does it cost you more to live a green lifestyle when it should actually save you money?

Use public transportation when you can, instead of driving.  In an article we read by Cecille de la Cruz at Suite 101, she explains that the less gas you use, the more you’ll save.  Especially with climbing gas prices, paying for a bus or commuter rail ticket could end up saving you hundreds of dollars per year and will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Avoid wasting water when washing dishes.  In another article we read by Jen Boulden and Heather Stephenson, they explain that you can maximize your use of water by scrubbing dishes in stages.  Instead of running the water, you can fill one half of the sink (if you have a double sink) or a large container with soapy water to first scrub the dishes.  You will then only have to run the water when you rinse.

Avoid wasting water when you brush your teeth.  Boulden and Stephenson explain that by simply turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, you can save up to 10 gallons of water per day.  That’s pretty significant, if you really think about it!

Take showers instead of baths.  Boulden and Stephenson explain that baths take about 50 gallons of water, while a 5-minute shower could only use about 20 gallons.  This is a great way to conserve water and to avoid high water bills.

Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.  In an article we read on the TLC website, a TV left on uses 100 watts per hour, a DVD player uses 12 watts per hour, a modem uses 14 watts, a standard PC uses 130 watts, a ceiling fan uses about .1 kWh per hour, and a space heater, and a space heater uses about .09 kWh per hour.  By turning these appliances off, you could significantly conserve energy and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars a year in electric bills.

Use cold water to wash clothes.  According to de la Cruz, using cold water to wash laundry will leave them cleaner and will help you to save money and energy.  In fact, she explains that it can even prevent clothes from wearing and tearing easily.

Recycle and re-purpose.  Taking the time to recycle cans and bottles is worthwhile, as those materials can be used to make other products.  However, you can also reuse and re-purpose products around your home.  For example, if you still get plastic bags when you go shopping, you can reuse those bags later as garbage bags or to carry other things.  They don’t have to go immediately into the garbage.

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