Swap and save at Halloween

September 30, 2014

Save by planning a costume swap

If you have young children, you know the excitement Halloween brings. A few years ago, I overheard my sons enthusiastically planning their costumes – in late August!

This year, instead of buying a new costume for your little one(s), why not plan a costume swap with friends or neighbours, or at your school or church? It makes sense for several reasons:

  • It will save you money
  • It reduces the need for manufacturing more ‘stuff’, and all the environmental consequences that come with that
  • It offers the chance to get more use out of something that might otherwise be worn only once
  • It offers an option for affordable costumes to those without the means to buy new ones for their kids each year

Know someone with a child the same age as yours? Involved at your school or church? Why not organize a costume swap, one-for-one or larger? This article about an annual swap held in Toronto can help with the planning and logistics.

(PS Of course, the old fashioned way of dressing up – with makeup and old clothes you already have – is even more cost-effective and eco-friendly.)

Thanks to David Suzuki’s Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter, for sharing this tip.

True story: I was working outside earlier this week when a neighbour stopped by. “Do you have a chain saw?” she asked. “I’ve got a new wood splitter and I’ll lend it to you if you can cut up a few trees for me.” (Like many of us here, she’s still cleaning up from Hurricane Arthur two months ago.)

It was a timely exchange: not only is sharing is nice thing to do, but it’s also a sustainable thing to do. Most of the stuff we own sits idle 95+ percent of the time; in fact, it’s said that the average drill gets used less than 20 minutes over its entire life.

Sharing makes sense for many reasons:

  • Less stuff needs to be manufactured; that equals a reduced carbon footprint
  • Less stuff needs to be purchased; that equals savings
  • Less stuff needs to be stored
  • Less stuff ends up in the trash
  • You get to know your neighbours better

So the next time you need a tool of some sort – whether a wood splitter, chain saw, ladder or just about anything else – why not head for the neighbours instead of the store? Share!

Get a solar charger for your phone!

Most of us rely heavily on our cell phones. But what happens when a ready source of power isn’t available to charge them – IE when you’re out in the wilderness, or when the power goes out (as happened at our home for eight days thanks to Hurricane Arthur)?

Solar power to the rescue! Small, lightweight chargers for phones and similar electronic devices are now widely available. True, cell phones don’t consume a lot of energy – but every little action makes a difference. And who knows when a solar charger may help you out in a fix?

You can buy online or at many electronics shops. But before you do, here’s a quick lesson on what to consider when buying a solar charger, plus reviews of some of the best.