Summertime and the living is cheap. For some reason, my WAD really flares up in the summer (that's "Wallet Anxiety Disorder," BTW).
Don't get me wrong: Summertime is fun time, and I like to enjoy my summers just as much as the hairy guy in the Speedo next to me. That disturbing mental image aside, I see folks spending a lot of money in the summertime that's both unnecessary and tough on the environment.
Consider these sizzling summer savers:
1. Support your local farmers and economy by shopping at farmers' markets and picking your own fruits and veggies.
To get started, go to usda.gov and search "farmers markets," or use the handy tool in the Local Info box at the left of The Daily Green. Find a pick-your-own farm near you here.
Local produce is fresh and healthy, and it leaves a smaller carbon footprint since it's transported less. Plus, prices are low (and often negotiable), and it's more family fun than a trip to the money-sucking Cineplex.
2. Put your butt in gear rather than your car.
Forty percent of the driving we do is within two miles of where we live. Make a pact this summer to walk or bicycle whenever the trip is two miles or less. Your bank account and Mother Nature will thank you for it.
3. Rediscover your public library.
Libraries are not only FREE, but they're COOL. Use the library's air conditioning rather than your own; read and attend summer programs at your local branch. And remember, many libraries loan movies too.
5. Set your AC at 75 (or even 78) degrees.
I really start to sweat when I see how fast the wheel is going around on the electric meter when the AC is turned on. You can reduce your summer cooling costs by about 4% for every degree warmer you set the thermostat, according to Lee Schipper of UC Berkeley.
And last butt not least, remember that visual pollution also increases during the summer: Ask yourself if the world would a better place if you left the Speedo at home.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.