Get luck on your side with these tips on how to be “green” — in every sense of the word.
1. Seeing green: Instead of spending money on another sparkly St. Patrick’s Day outfit (which, let’s be honest, you will never wear again), follow the trend of the season and colorblock. Go through your closet and pull out all of the green items you have, and then pair them in different ways for a fun, clean look. Remember, colorblocking doesn’t mean layering everything in your closet, but rather pairing unexpected but pretty hues like kelly green and mint. Festive and fashionable!
2. Drink responsibly: Save money and the environment by using the refillable growlers at Whole Foods to stock up on beer. For as little as $5.99 (plus a small one-time bottle fee) you get a 32 oz growler filled with one of the store’s many delicious microbrews on tap. Planning a party? Upgrade to the 64 oz and fill it for $13.99 to keep the party rolling. That’s less than the cost of one six-pack in many places. Save even more green by buying local: most Whole Foods offer a selection of local draught beers at a discount, since the brewery’s proximity to the store keeps distribution costs down.
3. Herbal therapy: Plant an herb garden! Troll local thrift stores for 3-4 small pots and a pretty tray, then head to your local farmer’s market for all of the fixings. Don’t have a market nearby? The Home Depot also has a great selection of potted plants for cheap. Basil, rosemary, thyme, and mint are all easy to care for, even in an apartment setting, and for just a few dollars each — compared to $5-10 for dried herbs and bottled spices at the grocery store — they will provide you with enough flavor to last for months. An added bonus: air freshener! Crack a nearby window and your home will smell delicious in no time.
4. Cute cloth: Ditch your paper napkins for some pretty cloth ones, like these from West Elm ($24 for a set of 4). Not only are you cutting down on household waste by opting for reusables, but it’s also a great way to add a little flair to your table. Be sure to buy enough so that you have a clean set while the dirty ones are in the wash. Time for a new set? Save the old napkins to use as cleaning rags and eliminate the need to buy paper towels, too.
5. High-five: Make 5 your lucky number and compile some serious savings. Every time you get a $5 bill back for change, tuck it away in a special envelope. At the end of each month, deposit this envelope into your savings account. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your lucky $5′s add up; what was once change from your morning latte is now $50 in the bank!
6. Hurry up: Schedule errands like grocery shopping for when you are in a hurry, like on your lunch break. This will force you to prioritize and buy just the “must-haves,” and give you less time to wander into, say, the cookie aisle (which is good for your wallet and your waistline!). While you’re at it, get the most bang for your buck by quickly checking the expiration date, especially on items like meat and dairy. No point in buying that pint of milk if it’s going to sour in a few days. Plus, it will save you another trip to the store.
7. Sound smart: Did you know that two-thirds of the beer in Ireland is sold on draught? Or that it was the first Eurozone country to enter a recession? Check out these fun financial facts about Ireland and impress your friends — and that cute guy at the bar — over a Guinness.
Nicole Lapin is the founder and CEO of Nothing But Gold Productions, a multi-media company that creates accessible financial content for TV, print and digital outlets. She is also the editor-in-chief of Recessionista.com, the only online destination that provides non-judgey female-focused money news. Sources say she was the youngest anchor ever on CNN and CNBC. Follow her on Twitter @nicolelapin.