How to Shop for Eco-Friendly Products

shop for eco-friendly products

Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22, which means now is as good a time as ever to brush up on your earth-friendly ways. Going green isn’t always easy, but there are little things you can do over time to continuously help our planet, including shopping. But, when it comes to your regular purchases, it can be difficult to know what is actually eco-friendly and what is a sales attempt. Making smart purchases does not need to be difficult or take a lot of time. Here is how you can easily shop for eco-friendly products:

How to Shop for Eco-Friendly Products

Shopping green is not the same as shopping smarter. Some products do not live up to the title and cost you more. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Biodegradable is not always the way to go. Just because an item is described as biodegradable does not mean it will work. They actually need to be composted and do not work in landfills. So, unless you live near a compost or have one, you should not purchase biodegradable products. Instead, look for reusable items.
  2. Research “natural” and “organic” products. Labels and companies can be deceiving, and some will go as far to completely lie, as was the case with this company in Atlanta, Georgia. Items that are truly organic will include the official seal from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Natural Products Association, or the BDIH stamp. These marks indicate that the products have met the criteria to be considered natural or organic. While natural is not the same as organic, natural products are still minimally processed and better for our Earth than many other substances we produce. Anything that claims to be but is not is not worth spending the extra money on.
  3. Hybrid cars can be our best friend. for the most part, nature loves hybrid vehicles. Plus, the government gives you a tax break for having a hybrid; that is, depending on the car battery size along with make, model, and year. However, don’t just go out and buy a hybrid for the tax credit. What you could do, though, is purchase a used hybrid or put the money toward your current car. Tune-ups do wonders for your gas mileage, which, in turn, helps the environment. Not to mention, when it comes to car shopping in general, look for the smaller vehicles with the best gas mileage. Mother nature likes these the best.
  4. Reuse plastic and paper bags. As great as the reusable cloth bags are, you should also try to remember to reuse your plastic and paper bags as well. This not only saves you money but is a great way recycle as well.
  5. BPA-free plastics may not be what they’re cracked up to be. Don’t waste your time with BPA-free plastics. You won’t know for sure if the plastic products contain the chemicals. Skip them all together. Use glass or lead-free ceramic containers instead.

Now that you have an idea of how to shop for eco-friendly products, you can test it out for yourself. Just remember to look for the seal of approval for natural and organic, reuse items as much as possible, and resist buying items just because of their “eco-friendly” claim.

What would you add to the list? 

Finding The Cheapest Broadband In 2017

office-625892_640The Broadband Landscape In 2017

Modern day broadband is a world of higher speeds, new technologies and greatly expanding networks worldwide. Wherever you reside there will be a substantial range of broadband offers available to you. Unfortunately, in the USA broadband costs are significantly higher than the rest of the developed world. Despite this frugality in the home broadband department is still possible.

The Internet Service Provider

However cheap your broadband is it will come from a internet service provider. Some are certainly better than others but all have aspects you’ll want to consider. Coverage matters as some like DirectTV or Verizon will be widely available in a number of states. Limited competition between providers is what keeps prices higher in the USA than other parts of the world. If you’re lucky a local provider might be available in your area. The few local providers that there are can significantly undercut the large ones.

Need, Not Want

There is no point opting for the cheapest broadband deal you can find if your own usage is much higher than what you’re paying for. You might find that the download speed falls short of what you need and you could end up paying additional costs for too much data usage. Figuring out what you’ll need is the key to finding the cheapest broadband deal for you. Are you willing to give up video streaming and online game playing in exchange for a cheaper deal? Finding ways to cut costs in broadband might lead to cost cutting in other areas as well. Whether this is a benefit or detriment is up to you.

If you have serious download requirements then a higher speed option is something you’ll have to consider. Data allowances will be important for many users as low end deals often contain strict limits with additional charges for exceeding monthly usage. Planning ahead when finding or switching to a new broadband deal is a must as most contracts are one year or more. Getting a contract that doesn’t work for you can bring additional misery in cancellation fees.

Conventional Broadband Options

AT&T offer a range of lower cost deals starting at $40 a month, with 6, 24 and 45 megabytes per second options all available at that price. There is a 1 terabyte monthly data allowance and a $10 charge for exceeding the limit and every 50 gigabytes of usage after passing the limit. So while it’s the same price, a 45mbps option could lead to higher monthly usage and unwanted data allowance fees. AT&T offer an unlimited data allowance for an extra $30 per month.

HughesNet have a low end $39.99 per month offer with a 5mbps download speed and a strict 5gb data allowance. The allowance comes with bonuses for the time of day, this is factored into usage at the months end to determine if you exceeded your allowance. For a very sparing internet user this might appeal although the 2 year contract will not. Their data allowance doesn’t seem very straightforward either.

Verizon Fios can appear especially cheap in eligible areas like New York by offering ultra low speed connections at 1mbps for $19.99 a month. The catch is this price being available to Verizon home phone users. The standard Fios deal is $54.99 per month but comes with 50mbps speeds. The contract is one year.

Karma Go offer no contract mobile WiFi from $9.99 a month for a 1gb data allowance or $39.99 for 5gb. As an alternative this could be very appealing to a month to month internet user. Allowances can be adjusted as required and the mobile WiFi device is usable anywhere in the US.

What’s Best?

For standard home use AT&T are compelling. Large data allowances and several speeds all for the same price are a great combination if you aren’t going to exceed the allowance. Karma Go have an innovative approach but mobile broadband is still in the developing stages worldwide. In the $50+ range ISP’s like Verizon become more appealing. Getting the cheapest broadband in 2017 starts and ends with what you need and what you’re willing to give up for a lower cost.

Last Minute Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

last minute ways to save on thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving is this week to officially kick-off the holiday season. This means time with family, overeating, and, if you’re similar to my family, watching movie marathons like The Wizard of Oz together. While you’ve been waiting for this day for quite some time, you may not have everything you need yet. But, don’t worry; there are quite a few last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner.

If you feel behind on your Thanksgiving grocery list, don’t. Many first-time turkey-day hosts are in your same shoes, still deciding what will be on the menu. If you’re also concerned with the costs of this holiday, you’ll find comfort in knowing that grocery prices are actually lower and still falling this year. In fact, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of Thanksgiving day meal for 10 is $49.87 this year, a decrease from $50.11 in 2015.

However, we all know how we can get carried away when we have family and friends over. Hopefully, this list of last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner will keep you on track.

Take no shame in using coupons

Check around your local grocery stores for coupons. With the holidays on everyone’s minds, stores are also sending out direct mailers filled with deals and savings. Use this route to compare and contrast store deals too. Even if they aren’t coming directly to your doorstep, the internet is a great resource for you to find coupons, particularly for those side dishes that can add up. Try Coupons.com, where you can save on a variety of products, even dish detergent for all those dishes accumulated during the family feast.

Don’t overdo it

One of the more difficult parts of hosting a large dinner is getting those serving sizes right. It’s easier to plan for having a bunch of food rather than just doing a little math. More often than no, we usually always overeat, right? And even after distributing leftovers, it still can amount to too much. You’ll end up wasting not just food but money as well. So, unless you plan on donating to a food bank, why not save everyone a little heartache and cut back on some dishes this year.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

Sorry, I am not really calling you stupid. I know you are very intelligent! But, I find the K.I.S.S. method to be very effective in my life both professionally and personally. Instead of going all out and buying new Thanksgiving decor, save money by finding some DIY decoration tips online. It’s amazing what you can do with paper and scissors. You could even pay a visit to your local dollar store for simple items that will spruce up your home on a dime. Plus, your loved ones aren’t going to mind the lack of decor anyway. They care more about seeing you and hearing how your life is going.

Make it a potluck

One of the most effective last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner is to turn part of it into a potluck. Ask everyone to bring one side dish and let them know you’ll cover the rest. You could turn this into a fun way to learn everyone’s cooking style or make sure that everyone is getting something they like to eat. Another option would be to ask guests to bring their own alcohol. Alcohol can really add up, especially when providing drinks for everyone in attendance. Box wine is a cheaper option, but it might be better to just let family know to BYOB. It can be another way to ensure everyone is enjoying the beverage of their choice as well.

Skip the paper plates

It might seem counter-intuitive, but purchasing paper plates and plasticware can add costs that may not be necessary. Although a time saver, they create an unneeded expense instead of just spending more time washing dishes instead. In my family, we help one another out with dishes so that cleanup takes up less time. Perhaps you can recruit a couple family members to help alleviate this chore by turning it into a game. Having fun together while cleaning at the same time? Sounds like a win-win to me.

These last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner will hopefully relieve some stress off your shoulders (and keep your budget intact).

What would you add to the list?