10 Ways to Save Money, Keep Your Sexy, Heal the World

Waistline’s expanding, wallets shrinking, climate changing. No time like the present to go green.

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1. Think Global, Park Local

Everything that we do, good or bad, has an impact on the planet. And African Americans and other minority groups are often so wrapped up in survival mode that we go for the easy or cheap fix -- which isn’t the greenest. There are simple, cost effective things that can be done to get you on the right track to support a healthy world, body (and wallet).

2. Weatherize the Crib

Swap out your light bulbs, use cold water to wash, turn your water heater down to around 120 degrees and get a sealing kit from your local hardware store. It is estimated that U.S. households account for over 35 percent of our carbon emissions. Talk to your local department of the environment; quite often they have free weatherization kits or home assessments. Your energy bill (and carbon footprint) will be noticeably smaller.

3. Listen to Mom: Reduce and Re-use

Yes, we all know by now that we should recycle (and if you don’t you should be ashamed) but what about reducing and reusing? Remember, nothing is ever “thrown away.” When I was a kid, I thought my parents were crazy for doing this, but now my wallets know better. Be creative! You can wash and reuse freezer baggies, aluminum foil from baked potatoes, those cute little plastic containers from the take out (which are perfect for packing a lunch). Also, always be on the lookout to buy products with less packaging.

4. Down With Water Snobs!

Those Fiji bottles are really cute, very art nouveau. But, have you ever thought about how far Fiji is?!?!? Contrary to common thought, clean water is not unlimited and with climate change, the quality of water could drastically change. So, by now you should know to chill on the 850-pack of water bottles from Costco (because of the obvious excessive greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, production and landfills), but also find ways to conserve at home. Stop running the water while you brush your teeth. Get a rain barrel (which you can get for free from your local department of the environment) and use that to water your grass and wash your car. Use an environmentally-approved filter (like Britta) for drinking water. The water is just as safe (and much cheaper).

5. Clean Green…

Don’t forget about the quality of your indoor air. Household cleaners can be the worst source of pollutants. So, give up some (if not all) of those chemical cleaners and go for all natural options. The price is the same, you won’t be creating additional chemical run-off. You’ll also be able to do a thorough cleaning without feeling like you were huffing paint.