Don’t Drink Your Wallet Dry!

man pouring water from a water purifying pitcher into a glassIt’s hot out, so make sure you’re drinking up!

You probably already know water is the best beverage choice for your health and for your money. But did you know bottled water may be costing you a fortune?

It’s true: Many people pay exorbitant amounts of money for bottled water without even realizing how inflated the price is.

So, let’s take a look at the costs of bottled water when compared to ordinary tap water.

For 1,000 gallons of tap water, it will cost you approximately $11. With that amount of water, you could fill 7,570 bottles of water at 16.9 fluid ounces each, with each bottle costing you just $0.0014!

Assuming you drink three 20-oz bottles of water a day, you’ll need 1,095 bottles a year. If you’d fill those bottles with tap water, you’ll only pay $1.53 a year!

There are many ways to get sweet-tasting water without busting your budget. Here are some options to consider:

DIY chilling
Love the taste and convenience of bottled water? Save big by buying your bottles in packs of 24 and refrigerating them at home instead of buying them cold on the go. Instead of $1 a bottle, you’ll pay just $0.16.

Water coolers
Water coolers cost an average of $170 and can help you fill all your water needs at home. After springing for the machine, you’ll only be paying for refills.

A 5-gallon refill of spring water will run you approximately $7. Order multiple bottles at once, and you can get discounts as steep as $5 a bottle. With each gallon filling 7.5 water bottles, you’re getting more than 37 bottles worth of bottled water for the price of one purchased bottle!

Pitcher filters
These contraptions snap right onto your pitcher of water and filter it on the spot. You can also purchase a pitcher with the filter already attached. Either way, you’ll have your bottled water needs met with just a one-time purchase averaging $20.

The downside here is the minimal amount of water a pitcher filter can purify in one shot.

Water treatment system
Having an indoor water treatment system installed in your faucet will give you access to unlimited amounts of filtered water. These filters average $250 to $400, but usually work with only one faucet. Some companies will install a purified water tap alongside your existing faucet instead of filtering it.

Take the tap challenge!
Tap water is definitely the cheapest way to drink up. If it’s a safe option in your area, try drinking only tap water for a month. It may just become a lifelong habit!

Here are some ways to make tap water more palatable:
Slice some citrus fruits and let them float in your pitcher.
Invest in a SodaStream to add some sparkle to your glass.
Freeze pureed blueberries and strawberries and use them as ice cubes.

Drink wisely this summer and save big!

Your Turn:
How do you hydrate? Share your own cost-effective water sources with us in the comments!


How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products that get the job done at a reduced price
Whether you’re on GreenCleaners_Featureda tight budget or just trying to help the environment, natural cleaning solutions made from regular household items such as vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can make your house cleaner and keep your bank account considerably fuller. Best of all, creating your own natural cleaning products allows you to control the ingredients of your cleansers, so you can avoid the toxins found in some name brand cleaning products.

White vinegar mixed with water
Combine one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle for a diluted vinegar solution that is great for cleaning kitchen counters, backsplash areas, bathroom floors and toilet exteriors. The gentle acidity of this mixture is able to dissolve hard water deposits, dirt and soap scum from smooth surfaces like bath tubs and restroom counters. According to, another great feature of this diluted vinegar solution is that it’s a natural deodorizer, absorbing odors rather than just covering them up. This product would be ideal for cleaning a mattress used by a bedwetting toddler. No need to worry—the vinegar smell disappears after it dries.

Lemon infused vinegar
Soak six or seven lemons in a jar of white distilled vinegar for two weeks, and then strain the lemon infused vinegar and mix it with an equal amount of water. This lemon-infused vinegar is exceptional at cleaning sinks because of its germ-killing abilities. It is also harsh on grease due to its acidity. According to, this citrus vinegar can also be used in conjunction with baking soda to give a thorough cleaning to stove tops. Apply the citrus vinegar first to remove grease, and then apply baking soda paste—made by mixing baking soda with water—to treat burn marks. The stove top cleaning is completed by wiping away the baking soda after it has settled.

Hydrogen peroxide
There is no mixing involved here. Hydrogen peroxide straight out of the bottle can be a great natural cleaner. Some people already use it to remove ear wax and highlight hair, but few know that it can also be used to clean cutting boards and refrigerators. Simply add a spray nozzle to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and it becomes a non-toxic and cheap cleaning tool, according to Spray the inside of a refrigerator, let it sit a couple of minutes, and then wipe away all the dissolved mess. Hydrogen peroxide can also be sprayed on a cutting board to make the leftover food particles bubble up; then they can easily be wiped away.

Making and using your own natural cleaning products is a great way to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank—a win-win situation for everyone.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Recycle Plastic Bottles with DIY Projects

Simple DIY projects to recycle those old plastic bottles

According to the EPA,Plastics_Featured about 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were disposed of in 2008. What if those millions of tons of plastic could be put to a new use? Below are seven simple do-it-yourself projects to recycle those used plastic bottles.

This especially works for plastic milk jugs. Simply cut off a large, diagonal section of an empty milk jug and you have a light-duty scoop with a nice handle included. This also works especially well using old (rinsed out) bleach bottles, laundry detergent bottles, and any other bottle with a built-in, sturdy handle.

Watering can
This project is probably the easiest one to do – poke holes through the cap of a large bottle or jug. Fill with water and tilt for an easy recycled catering can. Other plant-watering options for recycling old bottles include drilling holes in the sides of a milk jug and burying it next to young plants as a drip watering system, or attaching a bottle with holes poked in one side to the end of a hose as a homemade sprinkler head.

Plastic bag sealer
This project is for use with bottles with stronger caps (especially old Gatorade or Powerade bottles), so this would not go well for milk jugs. To make the sealer, just cut off the bottle below the mouth (don’t forget to save the cap). To use it, feed the plastic bag up through the mouth from beneath, reverse the edge to fold down all around the sealer, and then put the sealer’s cap back on.

Phone charger holder
This easy project is best for use with thin, deep bottles like shampoo bottles. Use a pair of scissors to cut straight across the front of the bottle and cut a high loop into the back of the bottle. Cut a hole through the back loop large enough to fit over the outlet adaptor for your phone charger. To use, slip the loop over the adaptor while it is plugged in, then plug in your phone and set it in the pocket. Make sure you decorate your phone holster to match your taste.

The Internet is full of plant-growing ideas for recycling old bottles. Some cut milk jugs horizontally across, place them in vertical rows, and add rubber hoses to create an easily-watered garden. Others cut the bottles lengthwise to create a recycled planter tray. Or, you could create a hanging garden by slicing sections from the sides of large bottles and using string to hang them from a beam.

Bird feeder
This one can go a number of different ways – if you have a milk jug, just cut large holes in the sides, fill with birdseed, and hang your new birdfeeder from the cap. For smaller bottles, cut small holes straight through the bottle and thread wooden spoons through to make easy places for the birds to perch. Cut the hold on the side with the bowl of the spoon a little larger to let birdseed fall out more easily. Fill the bottle with birdseed and suspend it by its cap.

The next time you finish off your bottle of soda, get creative with the can and try any of these innovative ideas.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Green Spring Cleaning Tips

Spruce up your home in an eco-friendly way

It’s that time of year againspring cleaning…everyone is busting out their cleaning supplies and partaking in the springtime spruce up. Rather than spending a bunch of time and money on materials and methods that harm the world around us, utilize these tips to be more environmentally-conscious and even improve your environment.

One simple suggestion is the tip that keeps on tipping — use vinegar. Vinegar is the primary green cleaning solution for multiple uses. Mix as few tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl of water, soak a dishrag, wring it out and go to town on any surface. The solution not only cleans off present dust, but also sticks around to help repel future dust.

Carpet Cleaning
Use the same ingredients in a steam cleaner (a borrowed one, if you want to save money) to deep clean your rugs. Fill the compartment with equal parts water and vinegar, then use the cleaner as directed and rinse with plain water. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, it disappears as the carpet dries.

Save money by purchasing borax at the supermarket instead of the multitude of commercial cleaners out there. Mix it with water and lemon juice and then start cleaning. But you’ll have to be more patient — because although it is more healthful, it doesn’t cut through the grit as quickly as typical cleaners with chemicals, but eventually the job is done just as well.

Don’t forget about ridding your refrigerator of those stinky old leftovers. While you’re at it, do the freezer, too. To avoid the freezer’s contents thawing out and going bad while you are cleaning, simply remember to plan ahead. Take an inventory of what’s in your freezer and list out a weekly menu utilizing the frozen food. Then clean out the fridge/freezer with the same solution you used to dust. Once your spring cleaning is done, go shopping for fresh food to refill your appliance.

Tapestries and Bedding
Remove your curtains and strip the beds, then wash them on delicate with an eco-friendly, high-efficiency (or “honest”) detergent. Afterward, take advantage of that springtime weather and hang them outdoors to dry.

Air Filters
Install a living air filter in the form of houseplants. Not only do they add decor to your home, they also efficiently clean the interior air. To properly clean your home’s air, the recommended number of plants is between 15-18 Spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants or peace lilies (in a 6-8-inch diameter container) for an 1,800-square-foot home. That might sound like a lot, but you can be creative with arrangements and also place more in rooms where you spend the most time.

Recycle Clutter
If you have extra items that you no longer use, or clothes that don’t fit, for example, put them aside for a yard sale or box them up for Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You can also list things on Craigslist or other social media for sale or giveaway.

If you have clothing items that are a little more-than-gently used, turn them into rags for dusting. This is much more eco-friendly than wasting single-use paper towels for cleaning.

Remember that these tips apply any time of year, not just in the springtime. Use these suggestions and start living more closely to nature all year round.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Go Green in 2015

Basic Tips for Eco-friendly Beginners453897319
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to take better care of the environment, there are many places from where you can start. How you eat, how you travel, how you shop and how you live in general can all impact the great planet on which we live. While that may all seem a bit overwhelming, the best tip for going green is to start small. Here are a few basic tips to become more Eco-conscious.

Practice the Three “R’s”
Recycle, reduce and reuse. Pro-green website has stated, “This classic mantra is still the most important one.”

WebEcoist suggests knowing what materials can be taken to the local recycling center, and buying products with containers made of only those resources. Moreover, reduce the amount of resources that you use in all areas of living.

Whether it’s how long you shower or how many two-liters of soda your family consumes per week, ‘reducing’ in these areas will not only help you reduce harm to the environment, but it will reduce costs for you (on the water and grocery bills).

Finally, reuse items throughout your household. “Upcycling” is a recent term meaning to make something new by reusing it for a different purpose. Furthermore, do you use disposable cups and plates very often? Maybe you should begin using (and reusing) the permanent versions to save resources and money. The bottom line is to observe your habits and begin making changes based on the three R’s.

Utilize Public Transportation
Petroleum is a non-renewable resource. That being said, every time you get in your car to go to work in the morning, you are contributing to the depletion of that energy reserve. Add in the exponential increase in carbon and greenhouse gas emissions produced by the use and manufacturing of cars, and you have the environment’s worst nightmare. And let’s not even get started on the price of fuel. Yes, mass transit may cost money and not be the most comfortable of situations, but there are other options to go green with transportation such as carpooling with friends, neighbors and co-workers and telecommuting. More advanced environmentalists may opt to look into an electric vehicle or at least a hybrid or something more fuel efficient.

Be a Savvy Shopper
As mentioned above, read labels when shopping. Buy products that have been made from recycled materials. “Eco products” have been a consumer craze for a while now, so many brands have opted to market their goods as such; therefore, it shouldn’t be too hard to find everything from greener technology, which will be a higher quality so as to last longer, to local, fair trade produce, for which the manufacturing resources used are decreased.

Eat Smart
A common misconception is that eating all organic products is the best way to be a green consumer of foods. However, that is not entirely true. In fact, WebEcoist noted that “Green food should be healthy, cheap, delicious and accessible — and it can be.”

To start, cut back on overly processed fares like fast food and unnecessarily packaged goods. Also, shop at the famers’ market as often as possible to ensure safer, healthier, cheaper and localized meat and produce.

Lose the Excess at Home
There are so many ways to go green within your house. First, and most importantly, it is better for everyone to watch your utility use. Turn down your heat or air conditioning if you are going away for more than a day or two, remember to shut off lights when exiting a room, and use a compost bucket to minimalize trash going to a landfill, among other benefits. Those are just three of the many ideas not already discussed above to minimalize your carbon footprint at home.

The above tips and hints are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to going green. Once these new suggestions soon become second nature, look even deeper into your lifestyle and habits to see where else you can help the environment. But remember, even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference to our planet.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Be Green by Wasting Less Food

Tips for saving food and saving money

If you are searchingIMN23523B2 for new ways to be environmentally friendly, you may have noticed that many options, such as installing solar panels in your home, can require an initial expense that may be hard to manage before the cost savings add up to offset the expense. There are ways to help save the planet that don’t cost anything and can even create instant money savings, however, and learning how to waste less food is one of the easiest and most rewarding.

According to Good Housekeeping magazine, it is estimated that people waste a third of the food they purchase on a weekly basis. This is an obvious drain on your wallet, and nobody likes to waste money, especially when it is continuously wasted for the same reason, week after week.

Not only is it unpleasant to have mystery food items rotting in your fridge, this wasted food can also have a negative impact on the planet. Many people don’t realize that by finding ways to throw away less food, they can actually help reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warning.

“When food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide,” states the EPA.

If you want to stop spending money on food you don’t use and help fight against climate change, the following tips are a great place to start.

Make a meal plan
When you make a meal plan, you are less likely to end up wasting food. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be too elaborate or take much time at all. For example, if you plan to order pizza one night and know that you typically have one day’s worth of leftovers from each meal, then you should only plan to cook three dinners. This means that you don’t need to buy chicken, pork chops, hamburger and fish, unless you plan to freeze one of those items.

Stick to your list
Once you’ve made a meal plan for your dinners and lunches (breakfast items typically don’t go bad as quickly and don’t require as much planning) write a grocery list of items you will need. If you stick to that list when shopping you will spend less time lingering in the aisles, which will help you ignore the tempting impulse buy items that are craftily displayed to grab your attention when browsing. Furthermore, sticking to your list will help you avoid purchasing more family than your family can eat in a week.

Check your fridge’s condition
Even if you don’t have too much food, it can still go bad if your fridge isn’t keeping it at the right temperature.

“Check that the seals on your fridge are good and check the fridge temperature, too. Perishable food should be stored at 37 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum freshness and longevity (keep your freezer at 0 degrees or just a little lower),” states Good Housekeeping.

Rotate pantry and fridge items
When you bring home new groceries to store in your pantry and fridge, bring the older items to the front of your shelves first. This will help you remember to use up items that are closer to going bad, before breaking into the new packages.

These tips are easy to incorporate into your life and can help you start saving money and the planet today.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.