Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Like a green neighbor, Betty is there...

Our ability to think creatively is essential for these personally and planetarily challenging times. This month Betty has inventive ideas for saving money and resources, including gas.

Beyond the clothing swap

Bring some clothes to the party, take some home. Easy and fun, right? Why not try a book swap, a DVD swap, a CD swap? What about exchanging meals? Get together with a friend on a Sunday afternoon, each make two meals for two families, and exchange: leave with four meals!

Hardware help

Drills, saws, screws of every size. Toolbox items can really add up and why, if we have a network of close friends or neighbors, couldn’t we all share? Introducing the traveling toolbox. Everyone pitches in money or tools to create a collective toolbox for everyone’s use.

Traveling toys

Parents know how quickly toys pile up and become less than interesting. When my kids were little a group of moms and I started a toy exchange. Once a month we would fill a basket with five to 10 toys, books, and puzzles and then rotate. The goodies were a “new to you” alternative to store-bought items.

The grocery trip tree

Another idea to save on extra trips (and rising gas costs) is to create a phone tree of neighbors who are willing to pick up a couple of grocery items for other neighbors. Like this: before my weekly grocery trip, I call Karen and Frank from the list to see if they need me to pick up anything. I pick up one to two items ($10 maximum) and they pay me back immediately or keep a tally and pay monthly. As a group, you lay the ground rules according to comfort level. I did this with an elderly neighbor and it worked well.

Do you have some other great green ideas?? Email Betty at

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