Go green and save up for family fun - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Go green and save up for family fun

Updated:
© Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images © Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images


By Lynda Fassa
From Green Goes Simple

Coming into the beautiful warm weather brings about a lot of changes -- you can finally put the winter coats away and start enjoying the fresh flowers and veggies! It's also the perfect time to make some green changes at home. Spring-cleaning is a good start, but with so many families watching their budgets, the best upgrades are the ones that help you stash some extra cash to enjoy with the most important people in the world -- your family. Here's how to get started.

Adjust the Thermostat
If you did the right thing by Mother Earth (and your wallet) during the winter by turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater, the warm weather is the time to crank it up -- and strip your clothing down. Aim for 72 degrees -- a comfy temperature that won't have your air conditioners running all the time. If you don't have central air, choose the automatic energy-saver on your AC units and set them each at 72. For every degree you lower it to, you'll save about 2 percent in energy costs.

Also, don't underestimate the power of good curtains, blinds or shades to keep cool air circulating around the house. Let in the early-morning and late-afternoon sun, but pull the blinds between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for significantly reduced electric bills during the warmer months.

Use the money you'll save to treat your family to some lovely houseplants. Go to the nursery and let everyone pick out their own plant to put in their rooms, then get a few extras for the common areas. Houseplants are a quick and easy way to beautify your home and improve your indoor air quality.

Wash With Cold Water and Dry Outside
High-efficiency laundry detergents are formulated to get whites white and keep colors bright in cold water, and you'll save significantly by keeping the temperature chilly. Added benefit? Cold water will help keep your clothes looking newer, longer.

When the weather's nice, go the extra mile by hanging your laundry out to dry. Delicates will keep their shape better, and you'll save all the electricity that the dryer guzzles.

How to spend your savings? Treat your kids to some new clothes! Earn extra eco-points by going to your local thrift store. Remember, new can mean new-to-you.

Turn off, Tune In
Dedicate at least one night a week to screen-free entertainment for the whole family. And that means everyone -- dad doesn't get to play Sudoku on his phone while everyone else acts out Charades! Be patient: Kids may resist, but after a few minutes, grumbles turn into positive expectations about your weekly evening of face-to-face togetherness.

You'll not only get to bond with your family, but also save money by not using the electricity that normally goes to the TV, computer and other devices. Spend your electronic savings on some classic board games: "Life," "Clue" and "Scrabble" are always a hit.

Involve the Kids
However you approach eco-saving, it's always easier -- and more fun -- to enlist help from your kids. Invest in some Post-it notes and get the kids to write -- little ones can draw -- planet-friendly reminders, and then post them all over the house. "Turn me off" can be placed near light switches, and "Watch the water" can be placed near bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Older kids can even keep track of electric bills from month to month and help calculate the savings. You'll be surprised how quickly it all adds up! Consider making a chart that shows the cash savings and top it with a photo of a family purchase that everyone wants -- that Ping-Pong table for the rec room may be the ultimate motivation to bring conservation into everyday family living!

Lynda Fassa is the founder of Green Babies, an organic-cotton baby clothing company, and the author of two books (Green Babies, Sage Moms and Green Kids, Sage Families). She is a frequent blogger for sites like Grist.org, ParentsConnect.com, Treehugger.com and PlanetGreen.com. Lynda has also appeared in People, The New York Times, Parents and Parenting, and on the "Today" show, "Planet Green," "Fox News Happy Hour," "CBS Sunday Morning," "ABC News" and more.

Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:02 GMT
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
  • Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:42 GMT
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
  • Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:56:59 GMT
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
  • Amphibians on the move

    Amphibians on the move

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:09 GMT
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
  • Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:34 GMT
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
  • Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:55 GMT
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
  • Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:53:40 GMT
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
  • Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:39:01 GMT
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.