It’s Not Easy Being Green

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It’s very popular these days for people to talk about how we all need to practice being green, but how does that line up with the rest of your life? Don’t let trying to be green overcome you with anxiety…

It's Not Easy Being Green

“It’s Not Easy Being Green,” Says Kermit.

I feel like a little baby goldfish in a great big ocean that is about ready to open its mouth and make a statement that will get him in big trouble. He knows the chances of his being heard in that great big sea of even bigger and louder fish is probably very small, but is going to open his mouth anyway.

He is pretty sure that those great big sharks who don’t want to hear him will probably gobble him up before he has a chance to finish his sentence but for the sake of his fish buddies he does it anyway.

So I am going to be brave, too, and speak out like my little goldfish. What I write about next, I write with the purest of motives. I just want to make sure that when you buy things or do things, you do it with your eyes wide open, using your best common sense. I hope to make sure, as a consumer and a person, you are not doing things because of what “they” say you should do or because you are caught up with emotional fear.

As I have said so many times before, “God does not give us the spirit of fear.” Any time we act upon something because of fear, we need to really question the reason we are doing it. It isn’t wrong to experience fear, but it is wrong to act upon that fear and let it control us.

It seems the there is such a mob or panic mentality over everything anymore. There is a perfect children’s story that illustrates this same point called Chicken Little.

For those of you who have never heard the story of Chicken Little or have forgotten it, it is about a character named Chicken Little. (Make note: When someone is always afraid, he is called chicken.) One day an acorn falls on his head, terrifying him and causing him to think the sky is falling. He runs to warn the king.

Along the way he meets Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey, and tells each one of them that the sky is falling. They all run with him to tell the king.

Then they meet Foxy Loxy who is sly and cunning. He says, “Oh my, how awful! Let me show you the way to the king,” and they all follow him. Instead of taking them to the king, he leads them to his den and gobbles them all down.

This story is often told to children to teach them not to be afraid of things but I think it is also a good example for adults to follow — not to believe everything you hear, even if a whole crowd is saying it. We laugh and think how foolish they all are but we do the same type of thing all the time in our everyday lives when it comes to the things we read, hear or are told.

In the next few paragraphs I hope to point out some of the same type of things people are talking about in loud, panicked voices. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but to open some eyes.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about everything being “green” or “organic”. What started out as a very worthwhile cause many years ago has turned into a very commercialized thing that plays on peoples’ fears to promote everything from products to TV shows to platforms for political candidates.

It’s gotten to the point where we can’t do anything: eat, drink, sleep or even breathe without worrying about whether everything is green and/or organic. No wonder we are having more heart attacks and children are more stressed about life. The things we are being told to do to help ourselves and future generations live longer are the very things that are going to kill us, just from the stress of worrying about them.

Am I eating the right food? …using the right fertilizer? …using the right building materials, beauty products, dishes, linen, clothes?? Am I breathing the right air? Let’s buy a vacuum with an air filter, a furnace with an air filter, an air filter itself. Don’t forget, there are also filters for our water and then there is bottled water, but now no one can decide if that is good or bad for you.

How in the world did my generation manage to survive before all of these things? My parents had none of these things but, somehow, they’ve made it into their 80s and are still living.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think there is anything wrong with caring for the environment. I do think it’s wrong when we become obsessed about it and then businesses jump on the bandwagon and start commercializing it.

We need to really be cautious when we hear about some new “study”. I remember, years ago, when the headlines were full of warnings not to eat eggs. “They will give you high cholesterol and kill you,” they all said. It was a really big deal. It almost destroyed those in the business of producing eggs (well not the chickens themselves but the people who raised them : ).

After all of the hype, it was found out that the doctors who had done the studies did the studies on rabbits. As we all know, rabbits normally eat carrots and other veggies, not eggs. Their bodies weren’t built to handle food with cholesterol or anything like that so of course it messed up their systems, but you didn’t see that little detail flashed all over the newspapers.

Now after many, many years and after much damage has already been done to the egg industry, eggs are slowly being given the okay again. This study is like many others that we swear by, which were not done with normal people under normal conditions.

We were told for years to not buy real Christmas trees and instead buy artificial ones because it would destroy rain forests and our tree population. I never could understand this logic since most Christmas trees are grown on tree farms and have nothing to do with any natural forest of any kind. In my mind, farm grown trees would be considered a renewable resource but again the tree business took a beating. Now the green people are telling us not to buy artificial trees but real trees because the artificial ones are filling up landfills. What next? Will they ban trees altogether? …maybe even ban Christmas? I mean, look at what Christmas does to children. They get all stirred up and excited which, I’m sure, is somehow not good for them. I just couldn’t resist being a little tongue in cheek.

Back to bottled water… Ignoring the fact that most bottle water comes from regular tap water and really isn’t any better for you, now “they” have once again found another way to make money off of our fears. “They” are now saying that bottled water isn’t good for you because of the plastic bottles.

And we wonder why we are confused.


Stop Saving The Environment!

Unlike a lot of other people, I kept eating eggs, drank tap water and kept buying Christmas trees when I could afford them. Will I live longer or less? I don’t know. I do know that I probably have less gray hairs than a lot of people my age, which is always a plus when you get as old as I am :) :). I also know that it feels really good not to live in fear all of the time.

Besides fear, “they” also prey upon our guilt. How often we are made to feel guilty if we don’t always buy “green”. This is simply manipulation. I’m sorry– I must call it what it is. If you can’t afford something that is “green” or you don’t think that is what’s best for your family, I give you permission right here and now. You don’t need to buy it or feel guilty about not buying it.

I saw an example of this on TV the other day. Someone was trying to convince people that they needed to buy bamboo sheets because they are green and by buying bamboo sheets, which are a renewable resource, you will help save the environment.

What’s wrong with cotton sheets? I’m not sure, but I thought I was taught in elementary school that cotton was a renewable resource. Not only that, it is a renewable resource from our own country. Wouldn’t it be better to buy something grown in our own country rather than something that is imported?

They also gave the impression that these linens were healthier for you. I lived in Japan for a while. I remember well the rice paddy fields and the smells. I could hardly breathe it smelled so awful. People used human manure and fish to fertilize their fields and the smell was terrible. It took months for the smell to get out of our clothes and furniture when we got back to the states.

I imagine that they use the same technique for growing their bamboo. It was totally “organic”. I’m not knocking they way they do things in Japan. They may not practice all of this now, but their standards are not the same as ours and that’s fine. I just don’t want someone telling me that simply because something has a green and/or organic label that that makes it better. We say how healthy these things are, but we really don’t have a clue how most of the products we buy are made or grown.

I have read many reviews on these products and one of the complaints I see frequently is that the product smelled awful. Hmmm… I wonder why. Why am I not surprised?

What am I most upset about? I am upset that businesses are trying to make money off of people’s fears and guilt. Tawra and I were talking today and she was telling me about how so many businesses are selling these great “environmentally friendly” canvas bags to put your purchases in.

They make it seem as if they care about the environment and are only concerned about helping the world and you. What it boils down to is they love this green craze. Now, they are making you pay for your own bags, so they make a bigger profit. They no longer have to use their own money to buy bags, but they have not lowered the price of their products, even though the cost of plastic bags has been figured into the price. They love it. It’s a win, win and win some more situation for them.

We are easily brainwashed about many things, so be careful. I constantly hear people say over and over that there is a huge difference in organic eggs or eggs from your own chickens. I had my own chickens for a while, which was a challenge since I am definitely a city girl. Anyway I tried really hard to convince myself that those eggs tasted different than the ones we bought at the store but, honestly, I just couldn’t tell a difference at all.

Just recently, when a neighbor gave me some organic “homemade” eggs, I thought I would try again. Between us, we could not tell a difference. I have tried hard with many other organic things, but the taste just is not different for me.

The mind is a very powerful thing. It can make you feel, taste, hear and smell things that aren’t there. Be careful! Don’t believe everything you see, read or hear unless it makes sense to you. Stop letting fear control every part of your life, including your money.

I can’t afford green or organic products but that doesn’t mean, in my own way, that I can’t be wise in using the things I do buy. A couple of generations ago, people didn’t worry much about the environment because most people did all things with moderation. They made-do, reused and stretched the things they did have. They did more to save the environment than most of us can even begin to think about doing.

Then we had a generation come along who didn’t have to work as hard for what they got and began taking it all for granted, which translated into waste. Now, as so often happens, the pendulum swings way to the other extreme. Neither extreme is the best. We need to have a happy medium. That is why it is called a “happy” medium.

Relax. Stop making a major issue over every little thing in your life. We worry about our children’s physical health so much. We do need to care for them but, when we are paranoid over every little thing, we forget to care for their emotional health. A child’s emotional health is usually better when the parents aren’t stressed and worried all the time. Kids can feel when their parents are stressed, so be careful.

Instead of worrying whether that carpet your kids are playing on has some weird hidden something in it, just relax, sit down and play with your kids on it. It will probably make you both feel better in the long run.

In closing, here is something to think about. Over the centuries here are a few things that “they” (government, scientists, knowledgeable scholars and famous people) said and firmly believed. In most cases it took a common average Joe to blow their firm beliefs wide apart.

  • The world is flat and not round.


  • Every time you bathe more of your skin is dissolved off, so don’t bathe too often or you will eventually have no skin left.
  • If you drive over 35 miles an hour, the force will cause the skin to peel off of your body.
  • If you drain your body of enough blood, it will heal you.


I could list many more, but I think you get the point. All I want you to do is to be wise and think things through before you follow the crowd.



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  1. Marti Mitchell says

    Finally someone had the guts to say the right things. We all should do all we can for our county, but lets get real here, I can’t afford all the “green” things they are telling me that I should eat and use. Let them try on a fixed income!! Thank you for a great article.

  2. Sheila says

    Hi. I loved this article. I am glad that someone has the brains enough to tell people this “green” craze is just that: a craze that is perpetuated in order for companies/politicians/etc to get more of our money. I agree with everything you said and want to thank you for saying it!

  3. Jessica says

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Finally some common sense to the green craze. I was raised by my grandparents so I think as a much older person. And I get so tired of these yuppies or whatever, going to overboard on the green and the organic. If they only knew the real story! Too many are like the bamboo sheets example.

  4. Christine says

    How about cotton sheets and fabrics! Grown in the United States. I think the bamboo hype is trendy for the moment until another ‘bandwagon’ pulls up to convince us we need to use that particular product.

  5. Shosha says

    Finally someone else is saying the things I’ve been saying since people started paying for TV and Water… not to mention Air Bars!
    Thank you!!

  6. Joyce Williams says

    Jill & Tawra…I heartily agree with your position on ‘green’ things and other fear tactics. I cling to a scripture which tells me to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) I have yet to find a situation to which this does not apply! I continue to use plastic grocery bags which the store provides for garbage, trash, cleaning out fridge. I reuse them to line my own wastebaskets, tying handles together when full, thereby not having to buy either trash bags or twist ties. That’s just one example. Here’s another. My mother, now deceased for 31 years, recycled long before it was a fad. She cut plastic bread wrappers into strips and crocheted them into durable rugs which could be hosed down and lasted forever. Thanks for sticking your neck out and taking this stand! I remain a faithful reader and fan.

  7. Shirley says

    Just a note on the ‘environmentally friendly’ canvas bags. I saw on the news not too long ago, they are now saying those bags are full of bacteria from carrying our raw meat in them. What next?

    • says

      Mom saw that same article and said “you aren’t going to believe this!” Of course we once again thought how dumb some of this stuff is.

    • Cathy says

      That is when you wash them. I use canvas bags for most of my trips to the grocery store. I try not to collect any of the plastic bags. I only have one trash can in my house, it is small office sized one that is in my kitchen. You do not need a large kitchen trash can when you refuse to buy items with extra packaging, when you recycle and compost.

      I agree that a lot of companies are getting on the green bandwagon with their greenwashing, but keep in mind we do not live in the good ol days when our food wasn’t filled with more chemicals then vitamins.
      I grow a large garden and suppliment with organic food that I can not grow seasonally. It may cost more for an organic apple than non, but I justify that with not buying junk food. We also tend our own chichens and ducks. I do find the eggs to be much better than anything from a store.

      Are far a cotton instead of bamboo. Cotton is local, so that is the choice I would make. For those people who are concerned about the pesticides that are sprayed on the cotton, just look for organic cotton sheets.

      Everyone has to do what they feel is right for their budget and family. I choose to be as green as I can be without sinking our budget.

      • says

        We really are confused about the good old days and how wonderful the food was back then. It is a fact they didn’t have pesticides but they also didn’t have enough food because the pests were killing the crops etc. One of the main things people became sick from or died from was malnutrition. It wasn’t until they started using pesticides and fortifying cereals that people started living longer and getting healthier. That is a little known fact that I’m sure most “green” people don’t want you to know about.

        Which is why I am concerned with everyone wanting to go back to the way things use to be and getting rid of pesticides and not adding anything to our foods. I already am seeing it starting with bed bugs becoming on the rise and how expensive organic food is. It is expensive because it is harder to grow and scarcer which makes it more expensive. If we keep pushing it it really will be like the “good old days” where only the wealthy could afford enough food for their families. Food will get scarcer and scarcer because of pest once again destroy crops and farmers not being able to make any money growing them. Yes I know there are organic things to use for pesticides and they may work great in a small garden or for a small farmer but to try and control and use these same things on a large scale for millions of people is not the same. That is why organic is so expensive among other things.

  8. Charlene says

    Thank you for having the courage to say what I’ve been thinking in my head for so long!!! It makes me mad when the price of something is be jacked up just because it’s “organic”.

    And the bag issue just makes me mad. I live in the state that is considering banning plastic bags. That makes me angry, too. If the choice is there, let the consumer make the choice – don’t force us into it!

    • Fay says

      Well, yes the bags. They should go back to paper bags– they can be made of post consumer recyclables– & they turn into mulch. As for me, I make my own tote bags out of the 46 lb Dog Chow bags. I fasten the handle (from a slice of the bag) with nut, bolt & 2 washers. Been using the same bags over a year now. The dogs go through about 6 bags a year. They are really heavy duty & you can disinfect & wipe them out if needed. Whenever they finally rip I will reuse the hardware & they can be buried in the garden as a weed deterrent. I have said for a long, long time that it was about companies going green ($$$)- bottom line, if it costs me more and will take forever to pay for itself–I’m not buying it. When we needed a new washer the most energy efficient model was $1600 (more than 3x the price of a quality–not so efficient one)–how long would it take to see savings of $1,000 in energy bills?

  9. CountryMom says

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! A voice of reason crying out in the wilderness! People, stop and think about WHO is telling you to buy green, and HOW they will profit from it! Use your common sense – do you REALLY know if the produce you buy is “organic”? Do you REALLY know where it comes from, how it was made, and who made (or grew) it, or are you spending more money and “buying” into the hype? I could go on and on, too, but please, just use common sense when it comes to these types of claims. We live in a capitalist society whose aim it is to divest you of your money. Spend wisely and don’t fall prey to fears that aren’t real. Thank you, Jill and Tawra, for your commonsense approach to helping us spend our money wisely. Keep up the good work!

  10. says

    Bravo! Thanks for speaking your mind- even though it’s not P.C.! I totally agree with your thoughts- especially since I recently read an article about bacteria in reusable grocery bags. Love your blog- keep up the great work!

  11. Melanie Meinhart says

    I have been saying this very thing for a LONG time. It is the stress that is doing us in and our lack of common sense. The greenies want us to worship the enviroment. We are to worship the creator and not the creation. Thank you for a good wake up call.

  12. Denise says

    It comes down to stewardship of the world that God created. I do what I can afford to do;
    it might not be always in the fad of buying expensive items because they are “green”, but I make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I have been doing this before the movie, An Inconvenient Truth came out. I have even gave clothing a second life moons ago because I came from a large family and clothes have been passed down to us to wear and pass down again when possible. Many of us do things that are green without knowing that it is green.

  13. Gail says

    Good article. DH and I often laugh about the electric cars, lets see how do we get electricity? It may appear cleaner because you don’t go to a gas station, unless your all solar, but then there are the batteries. We would love to put solar panels on our home, but we can buy alot of electricity for a lot of years for their price.
    We have to be careful of the religion of “Green”.
    I try to grow my garden with organic methods, but from time to time I have to resort to chemicals, like to get rid of the grasshoppers that are eating my food. Just as I use herbs for my medical care whenever I can, there are times when you have to resort to drugs to overcome an illness or injury.
    God Bless

    • Fay says

      Solar saving you money is a myth. Installation & upkeep are expensive (face it most of us are DIY’ers when it comes to this). The factories that make solar panel etc. pollute massively. In most states, no matter how much space/sun you have you are only allowed to generate 5% more than the average of your last 3 years. I currently have gas appliances. I would have to buy electric appliances & run them 3 years (to raise my average)before going solar. How much would that cost me? Selling back is a logistical nightmare. At this time solar savings is most beneficial for large companies & new home construction. Until the price comes waaay down– it is just not cost effective for the average homeowner.

      • Diane says

        How about FREE solar? I use the sun whenever I can…I hang my clothes on the line outside. I know folks will say that doesn’t work for people who have allergies, but for most of us building up a natural immunity to common allergens by repeated exposure is the answer rather than taking medicine to counteract the allergies. So I advocate using the sun whenever possible. Open your curtains and let the sun shine in on cold days…FREE heat from the sun. Close the curtains at night to maintain the heat. In the summer keep the curtains closed in the day time.

        I do think that solar panels will be the way to go in the future as more and more of our fossil fuels are depleted and the cost of using them increases. Someone will make better and more affordable solar panels in the future; I’m confident of that.

        Just my two cents worth.

        • says

          It might be my grandson who will make the better solar panels. I have to chuckle at him. He has his own solar panel that he bought for his own room to use. Not because he is worried about saving the environment but to save money. He is even more frugal I think then Tawra or I am. He was the on who when he was little I would give the grand kids a quarter to buy something from the bubble gum machine he would always say “Nan can I take mine home and save it?” To this day at almost 16 he still is trying to save with his solar panel and was talking to me the other day about ideas he had to make them cheaper and more efficient. He love inventing things so he might just be the one. :) (I told him he has to share his first million with his nan. :)

  14. says

    Yes, we all have to use our own judgment in today’s society.

    We have to make reasonable and affordable choices for ourselves and our families.

    But with the invention of the TV, magazines, and now the internet……we are getting overfed with a lot of information. A lot of it hipe and false advertising.

    Just think back to our parents time (or grandparents) depending on your age…and try to remember some of the “stuff” they did……proper meal planning, saving up for something you needed (not wanted), fixing, mending, repairing…..not always going for the newest and biggest out there.

  15. rose says

    jill .. thanks for posting this… yep … it was a good thing i saw it today… hubby and i go round and round and round on this stuff… he thinks we should buy nothing but organic.. well, i would love to but my pocket cant afford the organic (and besides i have this nagging feeling, is it really organic and how can we be sure? .. just bc it says so doesnt always mean it is so, unless u grow ur own) ..
    he tells me he needs “real” food.. i am like ‘steve, u r eating real food… as real as its going to get for our pocketbook so get over it and pretend its real’… hehehheehe :D… i am sorry .. i love him but his diet drives me up the wall and batty (and not that i am not batty enuff!)… i even got into an argument with his dr once… bc she kept changing his diet and well kept telling us he needed organic.. and i was so mad at her i told her to stop telling him that bc we just couldnt afford to pay for organic and i buy the reg produce adn was them very well and to stop changing his diet so often (he is a diabetic, and eats very healthy)… she got upset and well, oh well… i ended up not going in the room with him bc i was so upset … he finally changed dr’s… not picking on anyone who is a dr but i can only afford what i can and try to do the very best with it…
    and those bags, i heard the same thing…
    ugh … sorry to be a complainy butt… its just a real sore spot here in the house…
    will write more later… 😀
    the cats are meowing .. 😀

    • says

      One thing I have to say on the organic is I once heard a lady say “you American’s can yell about using pesticides all you want because you aren’t dying from the diseases that are caused by not using them or dying from starvation from the bugs eating your food”. Wow! If that ain’t the truth!!!

  16. Crystal says

    I have been struggling trying to buy the “best” organic foods for my family. Our budget truly does not allow it, but I feel terrible guilt about it. I keep reading things that say “you can’t put a price on your child’s health….” My friends buy those foods for themselves and feel pretty strongly about the “green lifestyle” so I suppose that might be part of my guilt.
    Anyhow…..Thank You!!! I so needed to hear this message this morning as I am getting our shopping list together for the week. I already feel relieved!
    Big Hugs for your kind and sensible words!

    • Zephyr says

      I think that you can choose to get certain things that are organic – but I think that if you wash produce well it’s fine. There are listings online of produce that absorbs more pesticides than others – usually the things that we eat the skin of are worse than others (apples vs. bananas), but choose what’s important to you and don’t feel guilty about it. I only buy cage free eggs – I pay more, but that’s important to me. I buy regular apples because I can’t bring myself to pay what they’re asking for them. So long as you are doing what you think is right and it’s not hurting anyone, there’s not a problem! Good luck!

  17. Judy says

    Jill, you hit the nail on the head! I haven’t jumped on the “green” bandwagon because like many of you, I’ve been leading the band. I recycle, reuse, (repurpose)(A word I’ve come to hate because it simply means recycle and reuse.) I garden, sew, cook from scratch,raise chicken, compost, combine errands, stay home when I can, cut corners, avoid debt like the plague. And, gasp, I like to do these things. Tap water is great. I drank it in Hamburg, Germany and didn’t die. I’m not bragging because I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir on this one. Thanks again. The green thing has been bugging me. By the way, what is with the “all natural” slogan for food. All natural chicken….as opposed to plastic chicken?

  18. Robin Brannon says

    Thank you for saying publicly what my husband and I have been saying for years. We hear about a study or the green movement, then look at each other and say “Who’s making money off of this?”

  19. Cindy T says

    Thanks so much for your words of comfort and sanity. I (for the most part) refuse to jump on the bandwagon of the latest health craze. We do use a water filter on our kitchen faucet, but I can’t afford those ‘green’ fruits & veggies.

    Just think, years ago Dr”s were telling everyone that smoking cigarettes was HEALTHY for us! Try telling that to someone today and see what they say!!

    Thanks again for your SANE words in the midst of a storm!!!
    Cindy T

  20. Ann S. from Texas says

    Amen, Amen, Amen!!! My family ranches in West Texas, and our agricultural industry is constantly besieged by more regulations designed to “make things better”. A bunch of Hooey! It’s all about government using scare tactics to get everyone “in line”. Environmentalists, by and large, are concerned with “what you have, we want, and the way to get it is through big government”. The U.S. has the cleanest, healthiest, most humane practices of any country in the world, but the “chicken littles” (and wolves in sheep’s clothing) get everyone hysterical and thinking we are “cancers on the face of the earth” and all that. Nonsense! Those of us in agriculture know and understand the land and our animals. Of all people, WHY would we do things to hurt either one??? Anyway, every one of your comments are right on target–and please keep up the common sense advice!!! It’s all much appreciated. You are a blessing!

  21. Kay Warner says

    Totally agree with your opinion on green. We recently watched the film Food Inc. My family has changed our eating habits now because of the great points mentioned in the film re: hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, and abuse of animals and people.

    Wondered about your perspective on the film??

  22. Kim says

    I first would like to say I agree with you to a certain extent! I try very hard to be green but not the commercialized today’s version of green! My green way of life is what my great grandparents would have called life! I try not to eat things that are too processed, I use what my ancestors would have used on my gArden for fertilizer– basically cow or chicken poo, I try to reuse things as much as possible much the way you teach on your site and books, I cook at home instead of eating out, I only shop when necessary instead of for therapy, I use homemade laundry soap, I clean with everyday household supplies vinegar and baking soda! I could go on and on but alot of the crap they are calling green is just that! I do my research before I buy a product that claims to be all natural, if your truly green you do too! Alotbof the things you teach on your site and book are really the true meaning of “being green” people need to hop off the band wagon and wake up! Good post!

  23. Tracy says

    I agree that you have a lot of good points in your message. There are valid reasons for people to drink bottled water or filter their water (just ask the people who lived in Milwaukee during the 1993 crytosporidium outbreak in the tap water). Some of my friends have lost their mothers to cancer (NOT breast cancer) at an early age. There may be good reasons to look for products that do not use dangerous pesticides or are organic. Many times you can clean your home with vinegar, baking soda and plain soap and water and avoid dangerous chemicals and save a lot of money.

    I agree, though, that your article makes a lot of worthwhile points. We have to remind ourselves that a lot of the news/media works with a message of fear. I do remember the “eggs are evil” message. Now “they” are even saying that the eggs may prevent some eye disease. Just like nuts were going to cause heart attacks because of the saturated fat. Now nuts are being recommended as snacks. I look at the vitamins and minerals in nuts and wonder where would we get that if we weren’t eating nuts. For me, I’ve started to look at the food and if seems like it is very close to a food that God designed then I’m not going to let “them” scare me into not eating it. I’ve been around long enough to know that if they are trying to get you to not eat something that is real food they will come around and say maybe they didn’t have it all right.

    Thank you for all you do and I hope I haven’t offended.

  24. Ann says

    Amen, sister! For years now, I’ve tried to buy products that were made/grown/produced in America. It’s better for our economy, and I know where what I buy comes from, and what the standards here are for that production.
    We drink filtered water because we can’t stand the taste of our local water, but elsewhere we’ve lived we didn’t bother.
    I use bleach for alot of my cleaning because it kills germs, and isn’t that the point of cleaning?
    Did you know that soon regular light bulbs will be phased out in favor of those ugly little flourescent bulbs that give that horrible light? And they have mercury in them. If you have some time, you should look up the EPA’s recommendations for cleaning those up if they break.
    Seems like common sense isn’t so common anymore!

    • says

      Yes, in this article we aren’t talking about not drinking bottled water if you have nasty water. I have lived in several places where the water was undrinkable and had to buy bottled water but we did get the large bottles and then Mike just started taking them to town and re-filling them at work (with permission) from the tap that was drinkable.

  25. Bobbi says

    Thank you for this newsletter about being “green” i totally agree and I’m so sick of hearing people being all obessed about this. Finally someone that has some common sense :)

  26. says

    We recycle. We eat from our garden when possible. We buy locally when possible. I’d love to say that being ‘green’ motivates me, but truthfully…it’s all having to do w/ staying as frugal as possible. I do get frustrated when people try to make you feel bad because you didn’t buy ‘organic’ onesies for your baby. I like our grandparents and great-grandparents way of recycling…use it till it wears out.

  27. Marilyn says

    I loved the article! I bought some of the reusable bags and used them for the topsy turvy tomato hangers… they didn’t work any better than the expensive ones, but they were cheaper… I have found that the “fads” usually fade away, because they don’t work. When someone says something is “BAD” for us, I just keep on using or eating it, and eventually it swings back to tell you it is “GOOD” for us. I do the same with “fashion” in clothing. I wear what I look good in, not what is “in style.” I also try my best to buy something made here in the good old USA! And the water I drink is from my tap, with a water softener and reverse osmosis units. Yes, it costs to rent them, but it keeps me from filling landfills with plastic bottles!

  28. Tonya says

    I think this is an awesome article. My girls and I watch the Disney channel a lot and all you see is “green”. And I tell my girls this is all hog wash. My family recycles where needed but I never buy the “green” products because most are not. It’s like you said it’s a lot of hype for the commericail world to thrive on our fears. So now my oldest who is 9 will ask should I believe this Mom, at least I know she is thinking into it. Thanks again for the article.

  29. Cher says

    Some poisons are ORGANIC. So I don’t pay all that much to organic jumbo mumbo. I do, however, try to recycle as much as possible and buy second hand products as much as possible. This is why I do most of my shopping in the summer. In a 20 mile radius one will find no fewer than 50 yard sale on any Friday or Saturday in my region in Maine. I like your site and your tips very much. Thank you.

  30. Jodi says

    Great article/commentary!! I agree whole-heartedly. When you’re aware of the tactics used, it’s amazing all the nuances you notice. I had to take a moment to share my most recent, and favorite fear-based product with you. The commercial starts by informing us that the top of a liquid soap pump is one of the most contaminated surfaces in our home…and that to avoid passing along those germs, we need to be sure and put these motion-sensored soap pumps in our homes! I have a mixed reaction…laughing…and anger. I’m angry to know that there are millions who will fall for this…I’m laughing because I know how completely ridiculous it is. I mean, really, when you touch the top of your soap pump, aren’t you then going to – – – – WASH YOUR HANDS!?!

  31. says

    More people should have the courage to speak from their hearts the way you have in this piece. Thank you for your candor and for speaking with the voice of reason.

    The work you do on Living On A Dime is noble and I read it regularly with a grateful heart.

    With great respect,
    Connie Baum
    aka Mother Connie

  32. Christy S. Lube says

    The canvas bags are washable 😉 (I always put raw meat into a plastic bag first, not directly into the canvas… and I also wash the bags periodically.) I do want to mention, though, that Target gives you a discount for bringing your own re-usable bags, and they don’t even care if you bought them at Target or not.
    Otherwise, I completely agree with the article!

    There are also tons of small family farms that are “organic” in their operation, but don’t have the money to spend on being “certified organic”, so they can’t label it that way. Just another thing to dislike about the whole organic craze.

  33. says

    Thank You so much for this newsletter!
    It is about time that someone said enough is enough, I grew up in a small farming community in Ontario Canada,I now live in Victoria BC (in the city), what people pay for and believe here is riduculous!!!!!!
    I can never afford organic or green or natural stuff because of what we are being charged on such a daily basis for such daily activities, an example……
    – we pay an extra tax on gas at the pump called emissions tax(to discourage people from driving too much and poluting the air ); this came about after our primier was in china before the bejing oylimpics, you do the math as to how many people are in bejing as opposed to BC let alone Canada!
    -our CRD is wanting to add an additional charge to garbage pick up because of compostable waste that needs to be sorted from regular garbage, once this is sorted and then composted you can buy this lovely stuff back from the CRD for compost for your garden! Our recycle comes to the door for pick up, but they have a list of stuff they only pick up, the rest goes into garbage, and now garbage is wanting to charge more because they are running out of room at the dump! Plastic and styrofoam is not pick up and since 90% off most products is packaged in that is is difficult to not have that in either garbage or recycle, on the news someone has come up with a recyclable way to use breakdown styrofoam, but of course it is 2hrs away and there is a donation fee….$$$$$$$$$$$$

    – almost all of the department stores now charge for plastic bags.5$ each or you can buy the reusable bag for .99$, which buy the way is half the size of the plastic bags making you now needing to have double the amount of bags, ( I use a laundry basket)
    we pay for parking at almost every part of this city, the reasoning behind this is to hopefull make people ride bikes more, but with only very few spots to leave bike, and very high bike theft raates this is not an option for many, there is always the bus, but they arechanging over to more hybrid models and theefore are neeing to charge more to cover these costs.
    we cannot burn here , we have water ristrictions here, land is at a premium and you need permission do almost everything and anything, but yet all politics here are encouraging a green movement and organic movement, clearly all those in charge or in power here in Victoria have never leaved on a farm or have forgotten the 60’s/70’s/80’s I was born in 1966 and grew up working and living on a farm and never was recycling, the enviroment, organic , or green living a issue because we were allready doing it on a daily basis.
    Our cty here wants us to be aware of the enviroment but they do not want to lose any of the money that has been generated from cars, parking, eating out, shopping or anything else, so by all means for aware and think of the enviroment and while you are at it, it will cost you !!!!

  34. Marchauna says

    Thank you!! Not only do you speak with a voice of moderation and calm, but it is always encouraging to be reminded I am not alone!! It seems that our culture is quick to cry out that the sky is falling, or that life is about to end for some reason. Many are running around wringing their hands, but few are stepping up to say, “Hold it! We can rise above this challenge. Let’s work together to fix things up.” Your article does that quite well. Again, THANK YOU!!!!!

  35. Dineen says

    The funny thing is all this marketing craze for “green” is right up against the same companies marketing super clean too. Aren’t some of these companies selling “green” lines also selling anti-bacterial stuff that is anything but “green” and marketing fears of germs our great-grandparents lived with? Soap and water was fine, no need for anti-bacterial this and that.

    Just how “green” is it if you have to market it to us?

    There was a great article in the New York Times recently about the “locavore” craze and “being green” bringing up the craziness of the economic logic people use. You may like it:

    Math Lessons for Locavores

  36. says

    My mother used to laugh when recycling became all the rage! She said where do you think the button box came from. Nothing in our house was ever thrown
    away befor the buttons came off, the zipper was removed etc. Everything was used, when no more use it was given to the rag man! I remember her making pillow cases out of sheets, turning collars on shirts, darning socks and the like. We had six kids and a rooming house to run.Glad to see some of that frugal living come back. I also laughed when I saw that commercial and wondered how many were falling for that! thanks for this forum.

    • Judi says

      My one girlfriend calls me a pack rat, however, I just tell her I’m frugal. I save buttons, zippers and scrap fabric to remake into other items. I recently used two flat king sized sheets to cover my pantry that doesn’t have a door, also made mini curtains for under my sick and counter. Plan to use the leftovers to make matching covers for my appliances. I make lots of items from sheets.

  37. Alicia Webster says

    I agree with you 100% and I am glad that you said it. I am not wasteful by nature (my husband jokes that I must have been raised during the depression even though I am only 41), so I am conscious of what I buy and how I can most effectively wreak every last use out of something. But my job is as a mother and a wife first, and a global consumer second, which means that the needs of my family are my priority, and the needs of my environment are secondary. Having said that though, I actually believe that I am better than average with my personal conservation efforts. And that is because I rarely buy anything, and I use everything else until it is threadbare. I buy economical foods, but I also give my family treats now and then. There is a school in our area that bans parents from bringing in cupcakes or treats for the class on your kid’s b-day.(they are “fighting obesity”) Can someone please answer me this: If you can’t have a treat on your BIRTHDAY, when, exactly, can you have one ???!!! There is a tendency nowadays to force people to deny themselves all forms of pleasure and joy, and frankly, I think that’s nuts. A cookie is just a cookie, folks, it’s not the devil.

  38. Linda White says

    Great article. And I do totally agree withe spirit and intent of why you wrote it. We don’t know where and how everything is grown. We definately do not need to worry about it. We are to “Trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding…” – we can’t/don’t understand it all. However, for a little over a year now I have been feeding my family of four fresh meat (as far as I know!) from the local meat market and mostly organic (as far as I know!) fruits and vegetables. I still pinch my pennies and have a very strict budget. I have made a relationship with the owner of the meat market and he gives me discounts on my monthly meat purchase and I have budgeted tightly with the fruits and vegetables. Food – like anything else – is a profit-making industry. To save money and grow more food, the food industry has genetically altered much of its fruits and vegetables for their skins to produce their own pesticides. So, as your article states, use common sense. I buy conventional bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. because we don’t eat the skins of those where the majority of toxins are. I choose to buy my apples, pears, lettuce, etc. organic. I, like you don’t find the taste difference – except in apples – I do have to say the smell of an organic apple is incredible. In eating like this, without changing the recipes, just the type of food, my husband and I have lost @20 lbs. each and our children are very healthy. Thank you for your newsletters (and website – I will forever be grateful to be shown how to fold a dadburn fitted sheet). From a faithful fan!

    • says

      Linda I loved you comment about the fitted sheet. : ) It sounds like one of those things which drives you crazy for years and then discover a super easy way to do it and it is one of those little things which change your life. I have sewn for years and a couple of years ago I found out that a needle has 2 sides. If the thread doesn’t go in at first turn the needle around to the other side. I tell you it works so good. I use to dread threading needle now I can’t wait to just so I can see whether turning it around will still work. :) As you can tell it doesn’t take much to make my day. :)

  39. Sarah S says

    Ok, I have mixed feelings on this. I DO believe that we should ALL be doing our part to reduce, reuse, and recycle as this costs NOTHING. And we all know that the less packaging the better (both for our pockets and the earth). So I don’t believe we should all turn our backs on Mother Earth and declare the Green craze as just a phase and a marketing hype. The earth needs us. However, what GRINDS MY GEARS and has for years are my friends that only by groceries that say “Organic” on them! Argh! You can eat in a “healthy” way without buying those packages of “organic” food. Besides, didn’t thier mamas ever teach them not to believe everything they read? That word on those packages is just that, a word. There is no guarantee. On top of THAT and this is some serious food for thought coming from this pharmacist/chemist….the word “Organic” is simply defined as a substance that has a Carbon based chemical structure soooooo …even the most “disgusting” chemicals to these 100% Organic Only people are in fact…yep, they too are by definition ‘Organic’ (how’s that for a loop hole?).

  40. Leah says

    Jill I just love you! You are so full of common sense and in this world you well know that common sense is not so common! Keep making my day with your emails and folding sheet secrets!

  41. says

    This was great and I agree very much with a happy medium. I am also completely with you on the Christmas Tree thing. Being a girl who would like to have a tree farm simply because I think they are beautiful and would love looking at them daily. Your logic makes sense to me.

  42. Carole says

    The new bad boy is “high fructose corn syrup”. All the “in” people are avoiding it as it’s supposed to be so much worse than sugar. Either way you need to limit eating it or you’ll get fat.

  43. Jamie says


    I thought that was a wonderful article and it really made me think. I had actually been feeling bad/stressed that I couldn’t afford all the healthier/better for the environment options. I feel much better now & won’t worry about falling for the next fad that comes around. Thanks a bunch!

  44. Kay says

    I love it!! someone finally has the nerve to say what alot of us think! The earth is not MY mother, and I need to focus my resources on my family, and my friends. I can pinch a penny harder than most of the people I know, and reuse was a concept long before the “in” word was ‘green’. But buying bamboo sheets?? or hemp diapers??? forget it. My baby’s bum doesn’t care if its cotton or hemp. Its gonna get wet. :) Thanks for being honest and true to what you beleive. You aren’t alone… (As you can tell, I am not as sensitive as you!)

  45. David says

    YES! FINALLY. Most of the hype is to separate YOU from your MONEY!!! It drives me crazy to see yuppies and DINKS who drink bottled water from those flimsy little plastic bottles driving to yoga class thinking they are saving the Earth. The earth will be here a LONG time after we are gone.

    Thank you for speaking what I’ve been thinking (AND saying) for years. 99% of “Organic gardening” is a racket and a rip off!!!!! We what, 30-40% of our “organic food” from China (the same country that brought lead paint to our children….hmmmmmmmm).

  46. Debbie says

    Clap, clap, clap. Standing ovation. Clap, clap, clap. Well said. Love, love, love it. Keep up cutting the bull in all the poop that is being spread about. Reading this article just about made my day. Thanks.

  47. Pamela says

    Hi, I’m 52 save by not waisting any thing, I dont shop in store unless I really need some thing, have a very large garden and put up 95% of the food our family eats, I raise meat beef and pork I sell to people who buy from us are like its orgainc yes??? sure… there is nothing special about organic! Our eggs from chickens in the field at day pen at night they are called organic by the city folks, true they dont get feed with medications so they think they are better they are fresher and are better but to much talk about what we should eat and what we shouldnt eat I think and my healthy family thinks moderation and good choices.

  48. says

    Thank you! I know you’re hearing this for the hundredth time today but it’s only because you speak the truth! I agree that somewhere along the line we all lost our minds. . .Seriously, I believe that fear (or most emotions in general) should never be a motivating factor in how we choose live our lives and make decisions that will affect us and our families. If we are living below our means and doing things in moderation we don’t have to worry about waste because we won’t, period. I made a choice to be deliberately deliberate about how I live my life. I agree that all things in moderation should be the standard. We allow this country to shove excess down our throats because we buy into the age old lie “you’re missing something if you don’t eat/buy/do this.” I made a pledge for me and my kids that we are turning off the TV this school year and reading or going outside and playing because it already doesn’t do much for my kids’ (or my) concentration to watch more than an hour of t.v. at a time and most of those hours are filled with commercials that want what we have (our money). Sometimes commercials are better than comedy the way they defy logic and common sense all in the name of protecting our “welfare.” Thank you for all you do and keep it up!

  49. Megan says

    I have to agree as well to today’s newsletter. Being 33 years old by definition I am suppose to have the latest technology gadgets but I don’t. I have a pay as you go phone. My TV is 13 years old. I still use a VCR to record. (I will admit a TIVO does seem pretty awesome.) I don’t have cable. I still have a landline. I don’t own a car and take public transportation everywhere. (I live in Chicago. I’m apart of a car sharing service as well.) I will be inheriting my parents digital camera for the rock bottom price of $25. And I’m perfectly content and happy. The only thing that I’m concerned about is food. Do I have to eat whole wheat pasta and brown rice if I’m diabetic? Can’t I just eat regular pasta but portioned out with protein?

  50. Jess says

    I agree with the heart of this article and I think that people need to use far more common sense when looking at the new trends. When the people that make bleach start putting “natural” and “green” on their cleaning products, I just have to laugh. I have nothing against bleach based cleaning products…I just don’t want to pay three times the amount I normally would for the same product.
    However I do have to say that the earth is every persons’ mother, at least metaphorically, because it provides humans with the nutrients they need to survive aka. life. We should respect nature in a pragmatic sense, because we have to rely on it for food and water, but buying bamboo sheets is just silly, like buying your mother a set of ornate silk pajamas when she wanted a simple cotton robe. We should all be doing our small part , whether its recycling (which, if you’re frugal, you do anyway!) or buying locally. And though I completely agree that store bought standard eggs and store bought “organic” eggs don’t taste different and probably aren’t nutritionally, I do contend that fresh farm eggs (from my neighbors) do taste different. Then again I’m a foodie who grew up on a farm drinking unpasteurized(!) milk and the meat from animals I had named.

  51. Autumn says

    Thank you! In our area Amish-baked goods are sold. Tourtists (who visit the lakes in our area) flock to the stand. The stand is in a building in the middle of a barn-yard. The smell of pig manure is all around. The stand has no running water and amish use outhouses. What are people thinking?? Would you stop at a “McDonald’s” that had no running water and no toilets? Even if it was a drive-through-only location? Of course not! Yet these tourists do that every week all year round! Not only that, but what do you think they do when the outhouses are full? Where does that manure go? The smells tell me that twice a year they go out to the fields to fertilize with it. Of course the tourists just love the human-waste-fertilized tomato’s, too! Thankfully, the Gordon’s Food Service truck backs up twice a week and delivers the home-baked goods complete with the cellophane packaging.

    Unfortunately, I too fall pray to that same kind of crazy thinking that makes people buy baked goods by a pig pen! Thank you for reminding me!

  52. Candice says

    I agree with you on many points, but for the first time ever, I think I disagree with some of what you said! :)

    I absolutely agree that the idea of “green” has turned into a sales pitch for many companies, to the point it makes me livid. Like you mentioned, some of the things that are touted as green are nowhere near green – some are even illegal, like I discussed in this blog post: The company that makes me maddest is BabyGanics, which insinuates that the ingredients are organic, yet none of their products (that I’ve seen) are – and many of their products contain chemicals that are known to be problematic to the human body!

    I do agree with you that much of what entails “being green” is similar to being frugal and responsible with our resources – reusing, recycling, not wasting, etc.

    But I felt like you might feel all “green” claims are not valid because the media has taken a valid objection to the way we live in the US and run with it. But it’s a real concern, though perhaps not as critical as the news would like you to believe. Cancer rates are high, and we know for a fact that when our bodies are exposed to toxins, our health decreases (Chernobyl is a great example of that.) So I really can’t subscribe to the “we/our parents survived” theory. Many of us have lost our parents.

    It’s also a social concern. Monsanto has created seeds that do not self-propagate, which means that we will probably always have enough seeds (of genetically mutated foods) but they have also created all sorts of problems for farmers here in the US and in other countries. Rice farmers in India cannot collect seeds for the following year, which means that in a bad year, they either fail or depend on Monsanto to lend them the money to buy more seeds. In the US, seed companies have sued non-participatory farmers and taken their farms because their patented seeds were found in the NP farmer’s fields – blown there by the wind. It’s a big problem!

    So I think that your points were valid – it’s easy to overreact and overthink it. But at the same time, it’s a complicated problem, and it’s easy to just look at it like a fad rather than see the issues for what they really are. Generations before us have been reckless with the world and it’s people for so long in the quest for money and materials, and we’re just now starting to see it, and how it’s affecting the weakest, smallest of our world.

  53. says

    This article is SUPER!!!! I have told lots of people that I don’t really trust those “organic” labels, and as for bamboo sheets, the price tag knocked me over! I am all for raising your own food (which is probably a lot healthier and indisputably cheaper) but paying twice as much for a label that says it’s organic is juat ridiculous. If it doesn’t cost more, I’ll go for it, but otherwise I’m not buying it (in either sense!) I fired off a little rant myself about some “green soap” we found one place we stayed–such foolishness. If you’re interested, you can read it here:

  54. says

    Just a note on what Candice said above–yes, the seed issue is a big problem, but it has nothing to do with the whole organic issue. That is simply a monopoly and a good example of power-mongers.

  55. Pamela Mohn says

    Thank God someone with common sense has spoken. Why does common sense have to be so uncommon anymore? THANK YOU

  56. Maggie says

    Jill, I am so in your corner. Selling things to help me be green is a way for businesses to make more money. I do like using cotton/cloth bags to carry my groceries because it is easier for me to carry and I use less bags. But recycling/being green to me means to use and reuse the things I have and buy less. Those old teeshirts (as you have said) make great dustcloths and I don’t have to buy the “swiffer” ones. I won’t belabor the point but I will say that my cotton sheets have gotten softer with age and we like them that way. Bamboo may be soft but a nice worn sheet works just fine for me. I have sheets that I’ve had for 20 years and they still work fine. So use what you have, wear what you have, and save your money for the important things in life – a good dinner out with your family once in a while instead of buying “green” and making more money for corporate America.

  57. Katy says

    I say Yay and Amen. Life is too short to worry about being ‘green’. God made the earth and He controls it not the enviromentalists. This world will be here until he destroys it by fire. Thanks for a great article!

  58. Donna says

    I so know what you mean about this “Green” racket! It is a hoot! People are making a mint selling us “green.” If it makes sense, and it isn’t over priced, AND you need a new one anyway. Well, Okay. But the smartest “green” you can own, is something that you already have.

    I own some bamboo socks, but I needed new socks, and these just happened to be cheap. They don’t smell bad by the way. And I have no problem at all with new and different textiles being used. A history of the bible demonstrates that throughout history, people are constantly finding cheaper and more available materials to make products. Fine!

    But at this particular moment in time, bamboo is not superior to cotton as a textile. And it is not cheaper than cotton, although I can see how in time it could be. When that time comes I will buy bamboo sheets.

    I just want to make sure that government isn’t going to force “green” on us like they have in the past. Remember the auto emissions inspections in the 70’s? Many people lost their shirts back then. A lot of poor people couldn’t drive at all.

    • Joanne Peterson says

      We have emissions issues. At one time we had to pay $250.00 in an attempt to fix an emissions issue at a certified mechanic and then it’s waived. Now the law states we have to spend $807.00 to try to fix the problem before it’s waived. I was shocked. This is very costly. A person also can’t sell their car is they have an emissions issue. It’s a racket.

  59. Rebecca Parker says

    Amen Sister! I live in Brazil. In a world that is going hungry and doesn’t have enough clean water to drink, why are we so concerned about everything being organic and whether or not our water is SUPER clean. Even though I live in a city of 2 million people, we still have to purify our water but we drink it out of glass, not a plastic bottle that would end up in a disposal site because I don’t believe the conventional wisdom that you have to constantly be drinking water. Remember when butter was bad for you and margarine was supposed to be good? Who thinks this stuff up? Organic eggs? Ever seen a chicken pecking in a garbage pile? I did, yesterday. Those were organic too. America is the greatest country in the history of man, but we are becoming foolish.

  60. Benny Souza says

    Dear Tawra & Jill,
    I have been a silent follower of your blog and comments and I always enjoy your advice on personal finances. I am Brazilian but presently live in Beijing, China. This article about “going green” is excellent — so true! The same principle applies to “going to the gym” and other fads created by the “sharks” to help themselves make money. I am 60 now and grew up in Brazil at a time we had our chicken in the yard, together with a couple of dogs and cats. We boiled the water we drank, etc. And here I am, enjoying good health. There were no videogames or mobiles. Actually, I had to walk 500 m to a grocery store to make a phone call… hehe! As a child I played soccer and other children’s games. We were not couch potatoes or addicted to Internet. Thus, congratulations on your article, so full of wisdom! Keep up your good and inspiring work!

  61. says

    Thank you for saying that you can’t taste the difference between store bought and home grown eggs. I thought I was nuts because everyone else said they could taste the difference. As for the canvas bags, I shop at stores that give me five cents back on each bag I bring in so eventually the bags have paid for themselves. You can, however, bring back the store bags and reuse those and get the money back too. Few of them last that long for me. I understand what you are saying about the canvas bags, and I won’t buy ones with the store’s name on it (pay THEM to advertise for them? I think not!) but I’ll buy ones I like and find them easier to carry, they hold more and they keep stuff inside rather than rolling all over the car. But I still get the store bags some of the time, because I use the paper bags for my paper recycling and the plastic bags for my small waste paper baskets or for walks with the dog (if you know what I mean) or for wet swim suits in the summer.

    So, I’m mostly in your camp. I get some stuff organic (when it doesn’t really cost more to do so) and I don’t worry about it otherwise. My husband and I recycle and reuse so many things that other people would have thrown away that I figure we are doing our share to help the world.

  62. Debby McGann says

    Thank you for this refreshing article and reminder to enjoy what we have and to be content. Everything in moderation…

  63. Angela says

    WOW. I am a recent subscriber, but I was inspired to comment on this article. I am 26 years old, and am a single mother of three children who are six and under. When I had my first child, I wanted to do the whole ‘mother’s group’ thing (bear with me, I do have a point, lol)… when I actually found a young mothers group that was highly recommended by the child health nurse – I came out totally guilt-ridden. “Oh, my little Jimmy can already crawl! He’s really advanced for his age, I think the (insert product name) is the best toy. I mean it is really expensive, but is so worth it as its the only one that can (insert alleged effect on child development).”
    “Well my little Sarah can already say “Mama” and she’s only ten months old… I need to buy (insert expensive reading program) so that she’ll reach her full potential.”
    These are just examples of the type of thing that went on at these playgroup meetings. I stopped going, I couldn’t handle the competition to buy the latest and greatest (and expensive) toys or programs etc… You are made to feel guilty by society in general for not buying these special things to ‘enrich your childs learning experiences’, as if you are choosing to stunt your childs growth and development by not selling a kidney to buy them.
    (BTW my son had severe developmental delays, and I worked really hard with physio etc every single day and he is now a normal child – not the disabled child they told me he would be – and I didn’t buy any of those hyped up expensive toys/programs/whatever. Long story…)
    And I believe it is the same thing with all consumables, whether its food, personal care products, baby food, clothing, nappies… we are being guilted into parting with more money than we need to so that we feel like we are doing our best and loving our family and earth by spending more on ‘organic’, ‘green’ products. I also have a personal belief that this is also one of many ways that parents compensate for the time and love that their children miss out on because both parents are working to bring in money to provide enough ‘things’ for all. Yes there are some circumstances that it is truly necessary for both parents to work… but in a alot of cases, if you sat down and did the real world calculations, if you be smart, frugal, wise with what you have – the mother could stay home and care for the children while the father works and you could still get by.
    I hooe this is not too off subject, it is just something close to my heart. Thankyou for this article, you are blessed, and a blessing to others.

  64. Elaine says

    Thank you for saying it so perfectly. That was great.
    It’s not easy NOT being green either…I am careful not to offend others, but I am WITH YOU on this one.
    Thanks, again,

  65. Lisa says

    So incredibly true. I am so tired of hearing my friends talk about the hard economy and how hard it is to manage on one income, but then when I tell them about great deals at the grocery store they say “oh, we only buy organic”. What I would like to say is “then stop complaining about how you never have enough money!!” Like everything else, buying organic/super-healthy/special-expensive food is a choice that means your dollar doesn’t go as far as mine, so you have a decision to make. What is more important to you …buying organic or getting out of debt? … only giving your kids special kinds of food, or saving every penny till you’re on better financial footing? (because it is seriously expensive to eat that way when there are decent, common-standard options all around) Well-said, and amen amen amen from this end!

  66. Sandra says

    Well said Jill!
    As an RN one of my pet peeves is that we have convinced parents that their child should be raised in some kind of sterile bubble in order to be healthy. Parents spend millions/billions of dollars on products to try to make germ free every surface their babies might touch, they are afraid for a family member to kiss their child, or to sit them on a piece of furniture for fear they might be exposed to germs. They can’t have a pet until they are old enough that the dog can’t accidently give them a kiss on the face.
    Now we are finding out that by raising them in this bubble we have deprived them of their bodies natural defense system by not allowing them to be exposed to germs in small doses at a early age and heaven help you when Johnny starts to school! He has no immunity to anything so he is going to spend half of his early school years with one virus or bacterial infection after another because he has no immunity to anything.
    No one is advocating raising your child in an atmosphere of filth, but studies have shown that children raised in homes where there are pets and other children and the normal “household dirt” are healthier, have less asthma and other respiratory ailments, and a much stronger immune system than the one who are protected from every possible exposure.

  67. Sandra says

    A large part of the money we spend on cleaning products, green or otherwise, is not only wasteful but actually harmful. Nothing much is greener than a little bit of plain old soap and water, and a quick wipedown with some vinegar/water will kill as many pathogenic (harmful) bacteria as those fancy, expensive, “green” solutions. Certainly use a little clorox if you have just cut up raw meat on your countertop or cutting board or put a little in your dishwater if everyone is passing around the flu bug like peanuts. But the only thing “green” about a lot of these products you are buying is the money passing from your hand to the manufacturer.

  68. Mary says

    Amen! The commercialism over green has gone crazy! At the same time I do believe we should be careful what we eat because of pesticides and additives. It is better to eat what you grow yourself. If the majority of this country would quit their wasting harming the envirnonment would not be an issue.

  69. says

    I have just found your wonderful site and am truly amazed and glad I did. I live in England and we have been “thrifty living” for some time now – in fact all things “vintage living” is very popular right now. Unfortunately, due to action taken by our bank, our business has gone into Receivership. We are trying to get over the terrible shock. We all worked ferociously hard for the past eight years to keep going – then the Bank suddenly want their money back. I have gone through all the emotions – fear, terror, sadness, paralysing fright but have now come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with this dreadful situation is to take control of our finances and life. When you realise how much money is wasted on thrown away food and unnecessary shopping it really hits home. I am now very careful and thrifty and will go forward with the rest of our lives in a more thoughtful way – we are £85,000 a year down in salaries – now having to rely on our state pensions and occupational pensions only – but we will do it. It is wonderful to read all the comments and to learn about your lifestyle – I’m so glad I found you and I’m a faithful fan so keep up the good work and blessings to you all from England!

    • says

      Jennifer, I liked your statement (and love to hear from our England readers). I know sometimes people think from the things I say that when we get hit over the head with a baseball (cricket???) bat in life we are suppose to just smile and go on which is true to a certain extent but I like what you say how you went through fear, sadness,terror and paralyzing fear not to mention shock.

      Those are all okay emotions when things happen but what the difference is after you went through all of that instead of wallowing you took control of your money and life which is what I call true success.

  70. Sarah says

    Thank you for your common sense approach to life. It is truly refreshing to hear someone state the truth without a spin on it. We all survived childhoods filled with things that now are deemed “bad” for us. Yes, there are more bad things out there in our environments but there are also more blessings. We have dishwashers, better sanitation, and better medicine (to name a few). What is good can also be bad when ABUSED. Everything in moderation and with a dash of COMMON SENSE. Thank you so much for your newsletter. I look forward to reading it every time it comes.

  71. says

    Thanks Jill! It certainly isn’t easy being green. The strange thing is that we have survived all the current trends and will survive this one! A little Common Sense helps us every time! I am thankful for your Blog. Again thanks!!!!!

  72. says

    Thank you for a wonderful common-sense article! I know that it is all about money but I just love how these people are sure that we can make a difference in what the Earth will become yet “they” will also tell us how people can’t help themselves – ie. teenagers are going to have premarital sex, they can’t help themselves, that a killer who goes on a rampage has a reason for doing what he did and he just couldn’t control himself. And I am sure you can think of other excuses that are put out there for us to swallow. Yet, if we all try really, really hard and be “green” we will save the planet! HA!!!!

  73. Teresa says

    Thanks for your insights. You said much of what I have been thinking in the back of my mind, but have not expressed it. FYI: where I grocery shop, they give me a deposit back for every bag I bring. I have given in to fear with some of these scares. But bottom line: I really can’t afford the so called “better and greener option” I just leave it to the Lord to be my protector from this sinful world. He knows what we are faced with. It also makes me look forward to our future heavenly world!

  74. Bea says

    Jill, Thanks for this wonderful article. I tryed eating just organic a few years ago, but after a while I got tired of the expense, and the fact that it’s so impractical. You can eat organic at your own home, but when you visit others, or go to parties, you are afraid of their “regular, unorganic” food. You can’t expect others to eat organic just because you do. It also means you can’t eat in restaurants because I don’t know of any that make meals from organic foods. Maybe in big cities like New York, but not where I live. Also, most grocery stores only sell a small variety of organic food. It’s hard to find. We have one big fancy supermarket aways from where I live, that has a whole organic section, but it’s out of the way to go to. So with all these drawbacks I decided eating only organic food was stupid for me. I agree with all you said and I’m glad you said it. Thanks for being a voice that crys in the wilderness of all the nonsense.

  75. Robin says

    Good Morning! I am totally with you on this. You practically mirrored my thought on this very subject. I do not buy organic and try to grow most of mine at home. I am aware of the things that I use and am a very frugal person in general. I make most food homemade, make alot of my clothes, not all mind you but most, I refuse to make jeans, I tried once and they didn’t turn out well. I cook healthy balanced meals. I am not going to drive myself crazy trying to be GREEN! So forget it. I thinks its silly. Just a quick plug for Not Just Beans, it’s a great cookbook and I use it regularly, Thank you for taking your time and making all of our lives better for it. God bless!

    • says

      Just quick note for those of you new to the site when Robin mentions Not Just Beans that was the original Dining on a Dime. We had to change the name when we got a publisher and also added a couple of extra sections.

  76. Mary says

    So true! My daughter told me about the environmentally “friendly” bags she unpacked at the store where she worked. She had to take so much paper stuffing out of them she was exhausted and quite sure that they were not actually environmentally friendly! 😀

  77. Lisa says

    Thank you for standing up and saying what I have felt for years. I work for a chiropractor who thinks you must eat organic and be “green” – but smokes and drinks alcohol to excess. Just because the media says it’s a good idea doesn’t make it true – in fact it should make us doubt it even more!

    • says

      Lisa this is too funny that you work for a chiropractor. After as you can imagine a very busy day with this article, I quit for the day and was going to veg in front of the TV for a bit and the first thing which came on the screen was a commercial for one of the chiropractors here in town and the thing was saying come to us and we will make you healthy the green way. Even the color of everything was green. I had to laugh after working with my “green” article all day and then to have that show up first thing.

  78. Amanda says

    And this is why I subscribed! I totally agree and (other than bottled water) never give into the green craze. It just doesn’t make any sense. I’m all for being good to the enviroment because it’s where we live but to me people have always been more important because, well, they’re people…Lol. So, I’m glad you were willing to risk being gobbled up. You shared the truth.

  79. Darlene says

    AMEN!!!!! It’s amazing to me how it seems people have lost good common sense – if your scared, grow your own, at least you know what’s there – 2ndly – I deal with the same thing, it drives me crazy when I hear people talk about dr’s and medicine. I think dr’s are great, but they ARE NOT God. Sometimes we need to step back, use some common sense and think what our grandparents would have done when they were ill.

  80. jeannie says

    Best topic of the year! I feel the exact same way and cringe every time I hear the word “green” now. Some people’s ideas of how to ‘go green’ are just crazy. I have a friend that drives 40 miles to buy eggs from a “local” farmer rather than walk a block to her local grocery store to buy them. Another friend melted her bathroom sink by using a homemade, chemical free cleanser (rubbing alcohol and water.) After repeated use, the alcohol actually melted her sink/counter.

    Anyway, just wanted to say Woo-hoo!! on having the guts to speak out about this.

  81. says

    I absolutely LOVED this article! Thank you for being brave enough to post it. I feel exactly the same way – it is a wonder any of us grew up alive! lol! I never bought into the egg thing because I like eggs too much! =) Mainly, we always try to take care of what we have so that we don’t have to throw it away and buy a new one – that is our contribution to “going green”. I actually like the taste of our tap water and none of us has died from it yet, or gotten sick or anything else they tell us will happen. We have family members that lived well into their 80s and they smoked, ate meat and actually very little in the way of veggies. I think we have become a society full of fear and that the media DOES have a great deal of control over society, which is sad. I’m trying to teach my kids to think for themselves and use their common sense when they think. Anyway, great article! thanks for posting it!

  82. says

    I agree 100% about eeverything you said in “It’s not easy going green’. Some things I would like to add is sometime around 1980, give or take a little, everything would freeze over as the world was supposed to be getting colder. Now Al Gore has made a fortune on his belief that the world was heating up. We have allways had times when it was hot and when it was cooler. God is the only one who controls that. Thank God that we humans do not control it.

    Another thougt of mine is that if we all ate and used organic food and products, the world would starve as we can’t produce enough food in that manner.

    Another problem the U.S. has is we buy too many foreign made products and do not sell them enough of our own products. This causes us to have people who ar out of work.

    Enjoy your news letter.

    Best of luck to you and yours and God Bless for work you are doing.


    • says

      It’s funny because Mike and I ALWAYS talk about how in school we learned that an Ice Age was coming so we needed to watch out! I guess Al Gore missed that part of school with his kids. LOL. You are very right, without pesticides we would not have as inexpensive food as we do. Even if pesticides do cause cancer (I’m not sure they do) I think the death rate from that would be much lower than from people dying of things like malaria.

  83. Bea says

    Dollar Tree has some bath and beauty products that come from China. I’ve been attracted to them because of the variety of fragrances etc, but never bought them. Do you think they are safe? I get leary when I see “Made In China” but don’t want to live in fear.

    • says

      I’m right there with you. I assume they are safe but I personally have issues with stuff from China. I really have issues with food from there and other places. As mom has said before she lived in Japan and knew how they raised their food. It might not be the same way now but it’s sure hard to erase that from your mind. :-) I do try to stay away from food for sure from those places but body wash is probably fine.

  84. says

    I agree with your news letter about the government trying to scare everybody into buying stuff that they say. I know I am probably approaching the no-no area but I saw the other day “get a flu shot with triple protection, with H1 N1, and H3 N3 and the regular one”. I was shocked H3 N3? never even heard of that one! Have you?

  85. Sandra says

    H3N3 is a type of Avian (bird) flu that has been isolated from pigs. The reason that the “Bird Flu” that we heard so much about a few years ago has not been more of a problem is that the virus does not multiply well in humans, just as human flu virus’ does not spread easily to birds. Now this type of bird flu has been found in pigs, unlike straight bird virus’ the human immune system is enough like a pigs that many diseases found in humans are actually are actually tested with pigs. THe fact that a bird flu virus can grow easily in pigs could mean that it could be spead from bird to pig and then from pig to human. It is a theory that has some merit but I believe that God will be the one that decides that not some scientist.

  86. Bea says

    Thanks Tawra, I am afraid of food from China. I forgot what your mom experienced in Japan. Thanks for reminding me. I think I will just continue to stay away from anything for inside the body, or outside the body made there. Thanks for your answer.

    • says

      When mom was growing up my grandfather was in the military. They lived in Japan at one time and she saw how they fertilized the rice fields with human waste. There was human waste all over too, not just in the fields. :-)

      The bugs were HORRID too! She talks about how they would go outside and try to walk and the roaches (I think that was the bug) were so bad they were just solid and crunching under your feet.

      We go on and on about how bad pesticides are here but the reality of it is we don’t have to live with consequenses (sp) of horrid bug infestations and dying from things like malaria.

      I am not convinced that the use of pesticides is worse than diseases you can get or the crop failures that can happen from not using them.

  87. Jean says

    In the last month I heard a news report that re-usable grocery bags can harbor bacteria that can spread to your next food purchases and make you sick. They recommended washing the bags after every use!!!! YIKES!

  88. Bea says

    That’s eye-opening Tawra. Living in other parts of the world changes your prespective from the propangda the media trys to change our thinking with. They have agendas.

  89. says

    in a large city they banned all pesticides and this year the city is having to try and find ways to get rid of bed bugs and a northern asian plant that can kill or mame some people with its toxins.
    but the people are healthier due to no pesticides.
    everything within moderation is the way the rules should be read.

  90. says

    Jill: Thank you SO much for your truly appreciated comments about my situation here in England. I am thankful indeed that you think my way forward is “success” – your words meant so much to me. Even when the worst of our troubles are not even started – the banks want to re-possess our houses – and my son and his partner are expecting a baby in October and I am worried out of my mind as to what will happen to them. I truly love reading the comments on this wonderful site and have now well and truly adopted a frugal lifestyle – I’m only very sorry I didn’t do it sooner. When you realise (finally) how much business makes out of customers, and just how much you can save – it is awesome. Right now I’m not too bothered about the plant and how that fares – global warming started the first day the first caveman rubbed two sticks together. Instead I am ploughing every ounce of my being into caring for a husbad, three sons, three of their partners and soon to be three grandchildren. As John Lennon said “life is what happens to you while you are making other plans” – how true. Life goes on – and I am determined to make the very best of it. Thanks again for your support – it is really appreciated!

  91. elizabeth says

    Great article. I think the key is to not just jump on the bandwagon. I refuse to buy “green” bags for groceries, BUT I ended up with quite a stash from different free events, kids’ schools, etc. So those I will use. I buy organic if the price is right, especially apples, bc those I CAN taste the difference. I think a frugal lifestyle is naturally green, bc you are doing more from scratch, more in bulk (less packaging) less consumerism, passing down clothes, etc.

    IMO, and I am no scientist, but probably the big damage being done to the planet comes from these huge corporations (poisonous runoffs, etc) rather than you and me. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling.

  92. Cheryl Elkins says

    Amen and pass the collection plate!! I totally agree with you. The Good Lord said that this old world will last as long as He needs it too so I’m not worried.

  93. Doris Foster says

    Wonderful, thoughtful article. My favorite point is using one’s own bags at grocery stores. I have thought myself “Shouldn’t I pay less – I bring my own bags?” To be honest – most times I forget the bags in the car or at home anyway!

  94. Colleen says

    Interesting article, and I agree with many of the points. However, have you watched Food, Inc., the documentary about where our food comes from? Their point is that people did not get sick years ago because food was grown and raised in a more healthy way. There are reasons why there is more e coli and salmonella in our foods. It all boils down to a few huge corporations controlling our food sources.

    • says

      We have had several people mention this show in comments in a not so nice way so they were deleted but we did want to address this.

      We did see part of that show. Mom saw the part on the chickens and cows and we have seen other shows that tell of these things. Yes, these things do happen but you are seeing only the one side. This show was made for PBS which is a left-winged one sided station. I know they say how they show both sides but they don’t. How do I know that? My husband works for them and has for many years. He knows exactly what they produce and the spin they put on it.

      Now as for this show and others like it, I do not believe that this is the only way that all animals are treated. It would be like doing a show on kids who are abused after being adopted. Yes, it happens but there are a lot of kids who are well taken care of and loved. There is more than one side and I know a lot of farmers who do care for their animals and treat them well.

      To say that we have more e-coli and salmonella in our food now is something I’m not inclined to believe either. If it’s true then I haven’t seen any data to show how much was in our food 60 or 70 years ago vs. today. Those are only statements that I’ve seen on shows like the one mentioned and you only hear about it because people have hundreds of ways to get news now and listen to it all the time. If you keep listening to the same thing over and over again you start to believe it.

      As for pesticides, I don’t know if the show addressed it or not but because of pesticides we have the cheapest food source in the world. Most pesticides can be washed off of fruits and veggies and if used correctly aren’t as harmful as you are lead to believe. Again there will be companies and people who abuse these things but as a general rule I think as Americans we need to be thankful that we have generally clean and very inexpensive food sources. If anyone doesn’t believe that then just go to some place like India or Africa and eat there for a week.

      • says

        I saw the show that was mentioned. One thing interesting in all the comments we received was everyone over looked the fact that at the beginning of the show they said all of this type of thing started when people started wanting fast foods (like McDonald) and it is done this way also because people want inexpensive food.

        So even though people were horrified with it and were hollering about how they treated the animals and what they were fed we over look the why of it. Have the same people who are upset with it all stopped going to fast food places or places like Sam’s club, Cosco and other places where they can get their meat for so much cheaper.

        Now I’m sure some have but since no one mentioned that fact in their comments I wonder if they really even remember the why of it. Be careful too like Tawra said. My son in law has filmed and edits things which would blow people’s minds away. That is why we know more then the average person what the media really is doing behind the scenes.

  95. says

    Doris I was at a grocery store the other day and said I didn’t need bags. She asked me how many I had and I said about 10. She took 50 cents off my bill since they charge 5 cents a bag.
    Nice to be rewarded for something like that.
    Most farmers or ranchers take very good care of their animals.
    It makes money sense to do so. If they get sick he has to pay extra in vet bills so keeping them healthy is a business for them.
    The shippers of the live animals also do their best to keep them safe on the trips or they would lose business from the ranchers.
    One year the power went out all across Ontario so trucks were stopped at the restaurants and the animals were in the trucks. Not comfortable and extremely hot for them.
    Most truckers took hoses and cleaned out the trucks so the animals were kept clean and a bit cooler. The truckers did the extra work because they are caring people as a rule and it made good business sense.
    People think just because it is big business it is uncaring. But even if it just means the bottom line the care is still there.
    With more food and people traveling there is more bacteria being spread further so the small outbreaks are being reported more and more. But I think the alternative would be pretty boring and hard to go back to. We all enjoy the fresh produce and fish from other parts of the world.
    just my thoughts on it.

  96. Patricia Barrett says

    Oh how I loved this article. You put into words what I have been preaching for years now! Love it!
    Thanks so much for your time and energy each week to bring us the living on a dime newsletter. I enjoy it so much.

  97. Bea says

    When you realize just how much the media spins things, and outright lies about things, you realise how much mind control and brain washing is happening, and that’s frightening. You have to do your own research a lot of times to get at the truth.

  98. Colleen says

    I want to thank you, Tawra and Jill, for taking the time to respond to my earlier statement, and more importantly, for reassuring me. Since I have never seen an opposing documentary, I believed what Food Inc. told me. My immediate reaction was one of disgust, but it still didn’t change my eating habits.

    I believe that preparing foods at home, with proper hygiene and cleanliness, is the “safest” way to eat. For example, cook your meat and eggs thoroughly. As far as pesticides go, I clean my veggies and fruits with vinegar and water. I rub them dry when possible.

    I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t buy organic for my family, but I just can’t justify the higher prices.

    P.S. I love your cookbook and your newsletters – keep up the good work!

  99. Lucia says

    I think being green is extremely important and I think our health and safety are threatened by the pollutants and garbage they put on our food and in our water and soil. With that said what you advocate on this site is in it’s essence the greenest possible lifestyle, and it’s the frugal one. When you make your detergent out of fels naptha and borax you’re washing your clothes with a non polluting cleaner. Using vinegar and rags and buying used clothes and walking and drinking out of the tap, these are all green. Buying commercial reusable bags and expensive green cleaners are a good way to blow alot of money. I try to be very green but I have very little money to work with. I buy used I make my own cleaning supplies I do buy filtered water but I filter it myself for $.25 a gallon and reuse the bottles over and over, I buy the “dirty dozen” organic (and frankly my local organic co-op is just as cheap as the grocery store) and I shop the farmers markets which are generally far cheaper then the grocery store. I breastfeed, I recycle, I reuse bags (the store gives me $.05 per bag I bring in), I walk where I can (when I can I also have fibromyalgia) and I just try to live clean. It’s not only possible to live green but it’s not all that expensive if you just avoid the nonsense commercial “greenwashed” products.

  100. says

    Thank you for a wonderful article about going “green”. I could not agree more and I thank you for sharing again, your wisdom, insight and humor, too!

  101. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I believe that the stewardship God gave us over the earth includes minimzing our use of its resources, and our impact on it. So I buy for life, am extremly tight with resources including recyling dish and dehumidifier water for flushing (but am the one Mom calls when she needs a furnace). Some things like using fuel to transport (tap) water never made sense, others such as e-coli or salmonella scares require more thought. Its amazing how simple life is when we don’t cram it with stuff like more clothes than our closets hold, more food than we can eat before it expires, etc. I believe we need to be thoughtful about all our actions. I just came back from Peru, which is a third world country where the average income is $10,000, which would make food a very large percentage of one’s budget. We ocassionally didn’t clean our plates. I can only wonder what the Peruvian dining steward thought of our waste and our excess… On the other hand they have a slower pace of life and no tvs so they actually relate to their families and each other… Looks like no body gets all the blessings…

  102. Terrie says

    love this article! Went shopping with a friend the other day. She is so careful to buy organic and all the “healthy” foods. I told her I like my bugs dead :). Yes, pesticides can be dangerous, but so much of the organic craze is all about money and I refuse to be scared into spending extra money that needs to go elsewhere. Other than an occasional item, I don’t buy groceries at Wal-mart, partly because it’s more expensive. I buy many store brand items. I have learned to check prices carefully–don’t assume buy one get one free sales are a good deal. I buy meat that’s on sale and stock our freezer. (We don’t have a separate freezer, just the one attached to our smaller than average fridge.) If I need something and the price is higher than usual that week, I buy as little as possible. It will be on sale again later.

  103. ReadMoreMom says

    Great article. I agree especially with your points about the role of guilt and manipulation in the green movement. However, I am concerned about eating hormones and antibiotics in meat, eggs, and milk. I think antibiotics fed to the animals may play a role in the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains, and the hormones may be contributing to the early puberty we see in our kids.
    Wendell Berry, author and farmer from Kentucky, points out that there is likely a ratio between the size of a farm and the number of farmers to farm it that is “best.” If a farm gets huge (the farms with the recent outbreak of salmonella in eggs, case in point), they are harder to maintain with utmost care and cleanliness and attention. Small farms are in a life and death struggle for economic viability, and I want to support them where possible, whether organic or not.

  104. Janet says

    Loved your article. We are truly a nation of “sheep”. If enough people say something we’ll go along with just about everything–whether it is true or not. Glad to see there are still a few people out there with common sense!

  105. Kath says

    Just a clarification on your question about cotton sheets, “Wouldn’t it be better to buy something grown in our own country rather than something that is imported?” The leading producers of cotton are India and China. The U.S. is the leading EXPORTER of cotton, so it’s unlikely that any cotton sheets we would buy were produced using U.S. cotton.

  106. gertrud says

    love this article. Grew up in post-war Europe, recycling and re-use was an everyday occurrence. I am still appaulled by the waste in this country, although I have been here 1/2 of my life.
    Grocery shopping with my own bags, made out of cotton material, about 1 hr time, and when dirty they get thrown in with the wash.
    Keep up the good work, I try to spread the word about this website. Gertrud

  107. Nicki says

    I don’t know if any of you have noticed an increase in door to door salespeople in the last few years, but I have. A lot of them are peddling a product that is supposed to do away with all of your cleaning supplies with this one, very concentrated product that you are supposed to mix with water to adequately use.
    Yesterday, I had the third visit of these peddlers (all different products, but yet all cleaners to be diluted) within the last year. This one is supposed to be green. After showing me all that it can clean (wow- sarcasm) I am supposed to be impressed with the ability to wipe out all (insert your multitude of branded items). Well, from reading this forum for a few years now… I have learned a few things and from my frugal minded ways (and the fact that I have kids) I have been using “green” items to clean with anyway, but for my kids and not because “they” tell me to.
    When the woman demonstrating her “green” cleaner literally licked the cleaner…(yuck!) then told me how safe it was for kids, I could, honestly, say that I use baking soda, vinegar, and peroxide as my main cleaners and that I wasn’t going to shell out $158 for the “green” cleaner when I can get my cleaners (which I would buy anyway) for less than a dollar each.
    It amazes me how people have jumped on this “green” bandwagon in order to save the environment, and will pay more money for the same products that are around the house. Citrus cleaner? add a little lemon juice….
    BTW… she left me alone after hearing about vinegar for the windows, peroxide for disinfecting, and baking soda for stains, etc. LOL! Beat them at their own game, but do it for the right reasons.

  108. Colleen G. says

    Love It!!! Thank you for the freedom you write. I came to the same conclusion about food this past year.
    God doesn’t always provide organic, whole grain, locally grown food when your cupboards are almost bare. If God gave it to me, then it is not poison, toxic or bad for me. Yes, even the white flour, white sugar stuff. I trust God a lot more than some person I’ve never met.
    Contentment means less stress and better health.

  109. judi says

    I wholeheartedly agree with the over all sentiment of this article. I did want to make one minor correction regarding bamboo vs. cotton. We do grow a lot of cotton here but we also import quite a bit. Cotton growing requires a lot of nasty chemicals to be successful. We used to live in cotton growing country and had a farming family in our church. They rotated their crops and the wife dreaded cotton year because her hubbie was always so sick from the pesticides. They grew it anyhow because it had such a high profit margin compared to corn and sorghum (their other two crops) and it was the only way to keep their farm afloat. The other information you may not have known is that there is bamboo being grown in the U.S. and there is a lot of potential for more U.S. grown bamboo. Btw, bamboo fabric is wonderful! I haven’t bought any since it is so expensive but I love it. I wish we grew more bamboo so that it would be cheaper, lol! Btw, bamboo grown in China is probably just as bad for the environment as non-organic cotton. The Chinese have clear cut large swathes of forest to grow bamboo for American builders (flooring, etc.). Obviously, with that information, the over all point of your article stands. 😉

  110. Sandi P says

    The only useful and practical aspects of the green movement come down to three words: reduce, re-use, recycle. What could be more frugal?

  111. phelan says

    Thank you so much for this post! As a mom of a 3 year old, I am constantly stressing and worrying about what I am feeding my son and whether or not it’s organic and I find myself overwhelmed. You have really put things into perspective for me!! :)

  112. Juliann Johnson says

    Thanks for the great article. Actually, I’ve always considered Living On a Dime about as green as it gets. Reuse, recycle, share, get things from garage sales and use things other folks are throwing out. Find ways to make do. Don’t run out and buy the latest whatever. I remember Tawra getting some sod from somewhere and practically doing her new yard? You women are amazing, helpful, and
    so practical. And, BTW, green in the process.


    • says

      Thanks Juliann for those for that sweet compliment. I have said it before and I will say it again, the best part of this job is getting such nice comments from our readers. Even better yet is when we get one like yours which wraps up all we try to teach in a nutshell. Thanks again.

  113. Sheri says

    Last week, I was shopping with a friend. We want to grow organic gardens. We were trying to figure out if it was worth it to buy the organic potting soil over the less expensive one. We are doing container gardens to keep gophers out. So, we need potting soil. We were reading the ingredients list on the potting soil mix. It uses trees products from conifers. Hmm… If it comes from a forest, can it be certified organic? And peat, where does it come from? Can it be certified? Do humans have any control over how it is grown! Both are harvested. There are other ingredients with similar sources.

    After some discussion, we concluded there really couldn’t be any difference in this case.

    About tap water in out area… It’s mostly well water. It’s very hard water. We never know what color it might be. It ranges from red, orange, brown, clear or blue. Really! It tastes okay, but the mouth feel is a bit rough when mixing juice or making tea or coffee. I want to get a reverse osmosis system with no waste. Or plumb the system to use the waste to water my plants. Because I buy my water, this could pay for itself pretty quickly. Oh, our water also has some chemical in it that can affect thyroid. Four of us take thyroid medicine. Coincidence? Maybe…

    I do buy organic when it makes sense, but I trust God to cover what I can’t afford to do. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to grow more of my own food, starting with the most expensive items, like kale, chard and such.

    I’m all for reuse, repurpose and recycle, in that order. Like you all have said, it really isn’t green, unless it really makes sense.

  114. Karen says

    I think it is out duty to live as green as possible. I recycle, reuse, cook from scratch ,use green cleaners and etc. I feel an obligation to take care of planet earth as best I can. I also do not buy into companies using the green movement for profit and that is what so much of this is. We are all smart enough to decide for ourselves what we can and cannot do for the environment. I think the best solution is we each do the best we can, if you cannot or do not choose to live green that is your choice and I have no right to judge anyone.

  115. Dawne says

    I am one of those who can be easily swayed if presented as better for my and my families health. The guilt others can make you feel that you aren’t doing everything correctly, especially when it comes to our kids, is getting out of hand. I have been trying to stay in the real and remember that my grandparents lived to be in their 90’s and didn’t have all of these “new studies show”. Great article!

  116. Mary Jane says

    A few years ago, we were told that the local grocery stores would no longer be supplying plastic grocery bags for free, for environmentally responsible reasons. We would be supplied with such bags at a cost of 2-5 cents apiece. For these past several years, I have been lugging around cloth and ‘other’ kinds of bags to try and save a few cents. I always recycled my plastic bags, mostly as waste paper basket and kitchen garbage bags. Recently, I just realized that it was still much cheaper to be charged the fee for plastic grocery bags, and reuse them, than it was for me to buy garbage bags separately. Twenty reusable plastic grocery bags will cost me at most 1 dollar. Twenty bags bought new, cost a minimum of 1.29 plus tax, on sale. By the way, we always reused paper sacks when they were the standard at the grocery store, but were told we all had to change to plastic in an effort to save a tree. Trees are renewable, but we were treated like some kind of enviro-terrorist for pointing this out. My husband has worked in the logging industry for nearly 40 years.

    • says

      Couldn’t agree with you more Mary Jane. Crazy isn’t it. One thing too is I always assumed that people realized that for decades the stores have charged for grocery sacks they just never said anything about. It was absorbed in with the price they charged for groceries. So we have always paid for them. It just sounds scarier to tell people that now so they can get people to bring their own. They always have a scare tactic of some sort it seems like.

  117. Lesha says

    I have always grown up with green mentality….except when I was little it meant you were poor and were looked down upon…now you are looked down upon if you dint go green/organic. I do have to say that I can taste/see the difference between homegrown foods. For the most part there is a Fuller favor and a Richey color…not always. So for me, I prefer to can, freeze & produce what I can, but as a farm girl turn city girl I l don’t want to do all the hard work it takes to produce it. If I was married and could afford not to work then I wouldn’t mind, but at this stage in life I dint have time to do both.

  118. Debbie says

    This is a timely post – although I think I have read it before. You are right God does not give us a spirit of fear. Sometimes “googling” on the internet can drive a person crazy. Everyone thinks they are an expert and there is usually contradictory messages – about everything. This year I had more time and I was going to do some canning like I used to do in the past without any fear. Because of fear and the thought of killing everyone I gave up and just did freezing and put relish in the fridge to keep. I used to can like my Mother did – which I can understand prob. wasn’t the best way – pickles, relish chili sauce etc. – simply sterlize jars and seal (no water-bathing). There was fear about using any recipe before 1990, fear about the jars I used, and even fear that if I did water bath jars that a ceramic cooktop would not heat to correct temp. and kill the bacteria or else I would break the stove top. Some sights even said – and Don’t say -no one ever died from eating home canned foods. I bought a couple of books on canning and took them back to the store because I was so afraid and upset. I am not down-playing sickness, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. I just went through more fear today because my 9 month old grandson ate a bite of homemade wholewheat honey bread – I think we need to stop the insanity – at least I do

  119. LBV says

    I agree with many of the things you have said. I think that the Green label is a way for people to pretend they are making a stand for the environment while carrying on life as normal without making real change.
    However, real change can make a small difference – especially as the options can be economic as well. Often the frugal options, homemade cleaners, growing and preserving food, reusing rather than buying, buying quality rather than cheap, mending rather than throwing away, are in fact the true green options.
    For example, I do not buy bottled water. My water does taste terrible, but I splurged on a gravity based ceramic water filter system. It sits on my benchtop and the change was remarkable. It cost me more than I would have spent if I have made one myself, but it looks much nicer and has paid itself off very easily. The ceramic filter is also reusable (it can be scrubbed clean) and is cheaper to buy than all of the other filters – a double win.
    Cleaning using baking soda and vinegar is also a better option for the environment and costs vastly less. Composting food scraps gives me a usable product and saves me the extra cost in rubbish fees.
    I have my own chickens, so my eggs I believe are ethical. I do not like the ethics of battery hens. The bonus is that now I have lots of eggs. It gives me the opportunity to be generous to friends.
    The savings I get from many areas by doing what my ancestors did by being frugal, is that it gives me the option of being ethical in other areas – like coffee. For only $2 more I can buy fairtrade coffee instead of conventional. It is not as frugal as many of the choices I make, but the knowledge that the people who worked to provide my little luxury at least get a decent wage and working conditions – something that I appreciate living in a first world country.

  120. l bryant says

    I have enjoyed your site for years. However, I must disagree with you on this point. When you talk about the good old days you are not including the real food sold at that time. Today we have so many diseases in our food supply that were not there 40 years ago. Beef, pork, chicken , egg, lamb, rabbit and turkey producers were sold the idea to increase production they should increase the protein in their farm animals diet. If they did this they could decrease living size per animal and their natural grazing habits. In order to “INCREASE” egg and meat production the high protein feed was the byproduct ruminant (intestines from slaughtered livestock) food. However, these animals are herbivores and they did not normally consume animal products as their primary feed. The illnesses that we see and hear so often in the news is often related to animals feed this diet and with these constricted living environments. Factory animals are not treated well. The American Humane Association has shown studies of stressed, injured, and sick animals regularly sent from the same large farms entering the food chain. Today we eat any of these foods with a risk.

    40 years ago things were more “organic than today.” Milk and dairy was local. Vegetables were in season and of higher quality than those delivered from thousands of miles away. Meat was handled by a butcher and not huge processors who when contamination occurs, the fix is to destroy hundreds of thousands of pounds of tainted meat and eggs.

    The additives, chemicals, preservatives, food colors, trans fats and huge quantities of processed foods that line the grocery shelves were not being used or sold.

    The introduction of many of the pesticides that came about after WWII have been banned. (Rachael Carson the author of Silent Spring told us this in the 1940’s). Todays use of GMO’s is now one of the causes for the huge decline in our pollinator populations.

    Can I afford to make solely green purchases, no. What I can do is start with a list of the changes I can make. I prioritize them with what I know is most important and finish these one at a time. As a family of seven we have been making tremendous strides. We have less trash and more recycling than anyone in our neighborhood, We have no need for poisons inside or outside our house since using organic products and preventative measures. Grocery shopping has included looking for more organic sources. We joined a CSA and have been thrilled with our vegetables. We located a farm that raises beef, pork and chicken. To offset the difference in cost we use a bit less for our meals. We have changed our personal products to ones with few if any unknown ingredients. Our costs today are almost equal to what they were years ago. We have adjusted for the age/size of our children and their eating needs.

    Our oldest had cancer as a small child. She is now a long term survivor. Her treatment took 7 years and a relapse. Knowing that some cancers can be prevented and that a healthy diet and living conditions can make a major contribution to that I choose to pursue this. Our family is of normal weight and our kids have had no troubles with asthma and allergies like so many friends have had.
    Am I selfish in my thinking. I should hope not. Going green is not a burden but a commitment to try to make the world our children live in a bit better now and with the future in mind with every purchase that we make.

    gle generation cannot redo or undo what mother nature has spent millions of years perfecting.

    Most farmers and producers lived and worked on their farms. Today more than 70% of all farms are corporate owned.

    • says

      I guess we will have to agree to disagree. We look at the past through rose colored glasses so many times and don’t know really what it was like back then. Those same wonderful butchers that we think so fondly of would go use the bathroom without washing their hands or would cut up a chunk of beef for someone, let the blood dry on their hands for hours then cut up a chicken for you never washing their hands the whole time. They would cough or sneeze all over you chicken or wipe their nose and then hand it to you.

      As far as what the animals were feed, you would die if you knew some of the things that farm animals were feed back then – intestines and so much more.
      I have actually known of more people who have gotten sick and/or died from eating organic things then I have people eating processed foods. Here in Wichita recently 3 people died because they were feed “healthy, organic, good” for you stuff in a hospital. My best friend nearly died because she decided to drink milk from cows that were feed all the “proper” things like you describe. She spent months raving to everyone how much healthier she was and then she almost died.
      I got some organic celery the other day because it was cheaper than regular. When I got it home and started to use it I remembered why I hated eating organic home grown things in the past.The celery was full of bugs and brown trails the bugs had made. So much of the stuff years ago had those ugly bugs and things in them. I don’t know how many things I would cut or even worse bite into and there would be a worm or two.I would dread eating veggies sometimes because I was so afraid of what “protein” I would find.

      As far as people being healthier. If you really look at the studies they always say “could, may, might or is thought to” on them. They have to put that because there is no real proof or very limited proof. We have to stop taking things like this for fact just because “they” say it. I was talking to some ladies last week and one of them said “Using your dishwasher will keep your family healthier because my family is never sick.” The thing is she really doesn’t have any real proof of that it is the dishwasher that is keeping her family healthy. It could be that her family’s genes are such that they have a better immune system or something because I have known many families who use a dishwasher and who are sick all the time. There are other families who have one or two in the family sick all the time and the others aren’t or there are many families who hand wash their dishes and are healthy all the time.
      We need to be very careful what we state for fact because much of what we read or see on the internet, on tv and other places are not true.
      One last thing too. I have noticed a huge run on people lately having to add mega amounts of Vitamin D, Bs, not getting enough iron, having thyroid problems etc. Many of these same people are ones who are eating healthy and no longer eating process foods. There is a reason they started adding stuff to foods and that is because eating home grown fresh foods didn’t always give people enough of these types of vitamins. I find it interesting the more organic and healthy we are eating the more vitamins and supplements, special teas etc. we are having to take.

  121. Jodi says

    Great article.

    As far as the bag issue. I make my own bags from old t-shirts. They hold a bunch of things, durable and machine washable. If you don’t know how to sew, you don’t have to sew them either.

  122. Katja says

    Well said, Jill!
    I often get “green” comments from people living in the city: good intentions, but not realistic.


  1. […] We protest and carry on about how we are destroying the environment that we will be passing on to our children and grandchildren, but what about our children’s present environment? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think about their future but, like so many things, we get lopsided and unbalanced in our thinking. It is so much easier to think about the future than to deal with the reality of the present. […]

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