Frugal Living 

5 Ways To Green Your Coffee Beans

Organic CoffeeOne thing I have learned during my time on this earth is that there are two kinds of people… those who drink coffee and those who don’t.

I have always been the first kind.

Growing up, at special family gatherings, the adults would make a huge pot of black coffee on the stove, laced with sugar. Everyone, kids included, would get a glass mug of this beautiful dark creation and added a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. I can’t remember whether it was a caffeinated brew or not but based on the noise and activity level that quickly ensued, I bet that it was a full throttle coffee simmer. 🙂

These days, the tradition continues (minus the cup of java for my toddler). My mornings start out with a first-rate hot cup of coffee. The debate regarding the health benefits of coffee will go on endlessly. In the meantime, I drink plenty of water, eat my veggies, and make my coffee eco-friendly.

Here are 5 ways you can go green with your coffee beans, guilt free:
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 Personal Finance 

Organic Beauty & Cosmetics – Where Do I Begin?

Elena wearing All-Organic CosmeticsIs it easy being green?

The question that comes up most frequently from women who want to make healthier and eco-friendly choices in the makeup aisle is: “Where in the world do I begin?” It’s easy to simply hunt for the perfect new shade of lipstick. But when you stop and think about what is actually in that lipstick, it can be very scary indeed. We all know by now that anything we put on to our skin will ultimately, in some amount, end up in our blood stream affecting our health. If you don’t think this happens, just ask any doctor you know about medicated creams that are all the rage in everything from hormone creams to topical headache roll-ons.

Making the shift to reading each label and having ingredient awareness is like going to the gym for the first time after a long break. The hardest part is that first step in getting yourself up and going. Once you’re there and getting your body moving, you are ecstatic that you jumped over that first hurdle. That’s because you know it’s good for you! The same scenario rings true for making the leap to reading every label and gaining awareness for the extensive list of ingredients in the beauty and skincare products you buy.

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 Frugal Living 

5 Easy Ways to Save Money Going Green

Going green can seem like a mammoth chore when the reality of life includes an already eventful schedule. For many of us, making huge changes to turn EVERYTHING green can seem overwhelming and quite frankly impractical. The best way to advance towards living a lifestyle that is a brighter shade of green is by taking baby steps. Each day, or each week, (or even each month) you can choose something that is important to you and simply give it a try. No pressure, no expectations…just give it a whirl and see what happens. You might find that you’ve had fun, saved a bit of dough and possibly inspired others around you to join in and bite off a bit of green as well.

Here are a few ideas to get you rolling on your ride to a life that features a slightly lighter footprint and adds the benefit of a slightly fatter wallet. So, choose one or two, or all and let me know what you think.

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 Frugal Living 

Six Ways to Get Green & Gorgeous For Under $20

Applying MascaraGrowing up, my mother was pretty strict when it came to wearing makeup. In fact, I was not allowed to wear even something as benign as lip gloss until I was 15 years old. All the while, my girlfriends were glossing, blushing and getting made up in NYC style. So naturally, by the time I was 14, I began wearing it on the sly. Having an older sister, it wasn’t that difficult to find spare eye shadow or lipstick around the house. In the dim lighting of the high school girl’s bathroom I applied the forbidden fruit. Looking back, I can thank my mom for keeping me from harming myself with unnecessary chemicals even earlier than I did.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I no longer have to sneak around to apply my eye-shadow or blush. Instead, I make sure to go organic every step of the way and avoid ingredients which have been proven to be bad for our skin and our health. Here are a few finds that won’t hurt your wallet and help you turn your makeup bag green, one step at a time.

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 Your Take 

Your Take: Do You Pay More for Organic?

What Are Organic Products? SignWhen it comes to organic products, I’m conflicted. On one hand, I love our planet and do as much as I reasonably can to preserve it. We didn’t carpool much but we did when only mildly inconvenient, follow the mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle (in that order) and we conserve energy and water use around as much as possible.

But I’m conflicted about organic foods. Until a few months ago, the price disparity between a “regular” product and its organic counterpart was significant. You were talking larger than double digit percentage differences for products that, in some cases, weren’t very different. There have been articles on which fruits and vegetables benefit the most from pesticide-free growth and how some organic vegetables, while smaller, pack more nutritional punch.

But my frugal upbringing brain always runs into my Vulcan-blooded heart (* Star Trek nerds will get the reference) and I find myself only getting organic when it’s a little more expensive.

What do we buy organic? On a regular basis, we buy half & half creamer and eggs from our local Trader Joes and we recently purchased organic skim milk from Giant. In those cases, the creamer and the milk prices were very close (single digit differences) in price. The egg price differences were a little higher but I abhor those Styrofoam egg containers and prefer the cardboard.

Ultimately, we don’t buy that much milk, creamer and eggs for those small price differences to affect us. One category I find it difficult to overpay on is meat. Organically grown beef and chicken is significantly higher in price than its regular counter parts, again it’s the frugal brain running smash into the heart that has seen slaughterhouse videos.

How about you? Do you buy organic products whenever possible, paying the potential premium? Do you do it for the health benefits or the environmental benefits?

(* Vulcans in Star Trek have green blood, I wasn’t referring to their emotion suppression 🙂 )

(Photo by debaird)

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