Enroll in Paperless Billing

One of the things I hate most is junk mail. Even though I chose to opt out of junk mail, I still receive some things I consider junk that apparently isn’t technically junk mail. It’s so annoying! While I think coupons are great for saving money, I also usually can’t find coupons for many things I buy because we don’t really buy processed food, and we try to limit our consumerism. You don’t ever see coupons to save money on fresh fruit and produce. Still, we receive the huge coupon mailers in the mail that I have to try to recycle or do something with.

In order to cut down on the amount of mail we receive and also reduce our carbon footprint, I’ve enrolled in paper less billing for most of my bills. I guess I had forgotten to include our health insurance company in the paper less billing because we receive paper statements from them every quarter. I have had good intentions to change that, but then I forget and since it’s quarterly, I am not reminded until three months later that I’ve forgotten.

This morning I logged in to the health insurance company’s site and changed it to email communication only. Phew. One less thing I’ll get in the mail! I am embarrassed that it took me that long to change, but I figured I’d rather be honest and tell you that I’m not perfect. I try to live my life in a way that leaves the least amount of impact on the environment and my wallet, but sometimes things happen.

I will also say that I still continue to receive paper bank statements. Because of retention records and the fear of being audited by the IRS, I like having my paper bank statements readily available in the instance that I ever need them. I hope that’s not the case, but you never know. I’d rather be safe than sorry. I know if I enroll in the paper less statements through online banking that I’ll help save trees and the environment, but my personal comfort level seems to trump that at the moment. There is always the option to print the monthly statements through online banking, but then I have to use my own ink and paper (which sometimes I don’t have) and I also have to remember to do that. Who knows if I would actually remember to print the statements each month!

I think paper less billing is an excellent option because it helps save companies money, it helps save the environment, and it reduces the amount of resources consumed in the production and delivering. I probably should think of a way to save my bank statements electronically because each month the statement in the mail is a reminder of one part of my life where I’m not living green. I feel guilty about that, and should do something to change it! It should be an easy fix, and I’ll have to come up with a solution, but this is definitely something I can change!

Do you use paper less billing for all your bills and bank statements, or do you still receive some in the mail?

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How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are disgusting little creatures that invade their way into your home and make themselves comfortable in your mattress.  While you are sleeping, they make their way out of their hiding spots in your mattress to feast on your body.  Gross!  It seems like there have been many more outbreaks of bedbugs lately, and the thought of getting them in my house scares the pants off me.  Ick.  I’m doing everything I can to prevent bringing bedbugs in my house, and you should too!  I think it is much easier to prevent bedbugs than it is to get rid of them.  I know someone once who had gotten bed bugs and had to trash all their mattresses and buy new ones.  That’s not frugal or green! I’ll share with you some of the tips we use to prevent bed bugs.

-When staying at a hotel, we make sure to leave all our belongings out in the hallway before taking them into a room.  Usually I’ll have Mr. Money hang out in the hallway with everything while I do a twice over of the room.  Bed bugs like to hide in the cracks and seams of the mattresses, so it’s important to pull back the sheets and check for them there.

-If you go shopping and buy new towels, clothing, or linens, be sure to wash and dry them before you wear or use them.  When buying things from the thrift store, be sure to check before you buy.  That would be so gross if  you took home bed bugs on the clothes!  If you put the items in the dryer with heat for at least 20 minutes, that should kill anything that is lingering on the fabric.  I make sure to wash everything I bring in in the washer with a cup of vinegar and then dry in the dryer.  You’ll not only kill any germs, but you’ll also help remove any toxins from the fabric!

-Bed bugs like warm areas.  They will crawl into laptops, netbooks, or other electronic devices to be warm.  Be sure to check your electronic devices before taking them back into your house after you take them somewhere.

-If you think you may have picked up bed bugs, take all of your items into an area that has a hard floor where you can see the bed bugs.  Bed bugs don’t travel on people like lice or fleas, so they’ll fall to the floor.

-Don’t buy second hand mattresses.  While this is a money saving and green option, I wouldn’t take the risk right now.  Of course, if it’s someone you know that’s selling or giving away a mattress, I’d probably be fine with it.  Getting a free mattress off Freecycle or Craigslist? I think I’ll pass.  The chances of getting bed bugs from a second hand mattress creeps me out more than spending a little extra money and buying new.

If you exercise common sense and caution, you’ll probably avoid the bed bugs.  Have you heard of the bed bug infestation?  Do you make sure you check for bed bugs before you go into a hotel room?

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Castile Soap Uses

Castile soap is an all natural soap generally made out of only olive oil.  It’s very pure and gentle on the skin, which makes it a great soap to use for bathing.  I love to buy a large bottle of Dr. Bronner’s from Amazon every few months. It is also sometimes sold in bulk at health food stores. I’ve found the best price is from Amazon.  It looks like a lot of soap, but once you start using it to its full potential, you’ll go through it faster than you thought!

Castile Soap Uses

-Castile Soap makes an excellent baby shampoo.  If you’re afraid to do no poo on your baby, Dr. Bronner’s makes an excellent “baby mild” castile soap that’s unscented.  It can also double as a baby wash, and you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals irritating your baby’s skin.

-Cleaning the toilet is easy when you squirt in a few drops of castile soap.  Scrub using your toilet brush, and you’re good to go!  I also add some baking soda in to help with a little abrasiveness.

-Washing your face with castile soap is a great idea.  It doesn’t strip all the oils from the skin like most face washes do.  Be careful if you use the mint kind though because it can get pretty tingly.

-You can use castile soap as shampoo.  It does clean well, but you need to do a vinegar rinse afterward to get the residue out.  Add 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup warm water and use that to rise.  Make sure you rinse well!

-If you run out of dishwashing soap, you can use some castile soap and baking soda.  It will get your dishes clean and sparkling!

-Make homemade bathroom cleaner using castile soap and baking soda. It’s really easy, cheap, and effective!

-Castile soap as natural laundry detergent is a great idea!  It cleans clothes well and leaves a nice, fresh scent behind.  There aren’t any powerful fragrances like with store bought laundry detergent, so it’s great for people with sensitive skin.

-Cleaning the stove with castile soap will help cut the grease.  Just squirt a little on a sponge, add some water, and scrub!

-Stop using chemicals to clean your floors.  Add some castile soap and vinegar to a bucket of hot water, and you’ll have a nice soapy solution that will get your floors clean without polluting your home.  If you’re worried about the smell of the vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the bucket to help neutralize the smell.

-Replace your body wash with castile soap.  Be careful if you use the peppermint kind because if it gets to certain places on your body it will tingle!

Next time you’re in the store, pick up a small bottle to give it a try.  Target sells the smaller travel sized Dr. Bronner’s for around a dollar.  If you don’t like it, you aren’t out a lot of money.  I’ll bet that you’ll end up loving all the castile soap uses!

Do you use castile soap around the house?

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