Archive for January 2013

Make Money Going Green

The best things in life are free, and there is nothing better than free money. We are going to spend a lot of time talking about different ways to cut expenses and eliminate or at least reduce bills in upcoming articles. With this particular installment, we aren't going to do any of those things. Instead, I'd like to show a couple of easy methods to actually generate a little extra revenue on your journey to live free.

These methods are simple and straight forward, but best of all they require very little time or effort. If you follow and practice some of my other live free guides, then these methods will stem from things that you are already doing to reduce and eliminate expenses. I would like to note that this post will be greatly expanded on in the future, so keep checking back.

1. Get paid to recycle

Recycling is a nice thing to do for several reasons. First and foremost, it reduces our ecological footprint, meaning, we are putting a lot less stress on our planet earth by reducing the amount of raw materials that we take from it. It also allows us to reduce the amount of trash that we are dispensing into landfills. Reducing our trash output also can save us from weekly trash removal services, which in some areas can be quite pricey. But there is one more thing about recycling that isn't very well known. People will pay you for your recycling.

That's right. Recycling companies will actually pay you for your recycling. They make huge money by collecting it and dispersing it to companies who reclaim it and reuse it. That's why they offer 'free pickup' for recycling. If they can get it for free they make even more money.

Now, the trick with getting paid to recycle is to know the ins and outs of it, which isn't very complex at all. First, hop on your favorite search engine and find a recycling center near you that pays for your recyclables. This shouldn't be hard. I am extremely lucky in that I actually found one less than five minutes from my house.

Next, give them a call and figure out exactly what they will pay for and how much they pay per pound. This will vary by area for each recyclable material. That is why it is important to put that call in and find out exactly how much and of what your drop off center will take and pay for.

Now that you know where to take your recyclables and how much your drop off center of choice is willing to pay for them, it's time to devise a system in which to collect them. I keep a separate 13 gallon can in the back of my kitchen for each material; plastic, glass, cardboard, etc. It never hurts to have a very large storage bin for each as well. A perfect place for these would be in a garage, shed, or pull barn. When your 13 gallon cans get full, empty them into your storage container. When the container gets full, haul them to your recycling center and cash in.

2. Sell your unused energy

If you are running any kind of green energy system, such as solar or wind powered systems, or are considering installing one at some point, this is perfect for you. First we are going to walk you through a quick overview of green energy systems, and then we will show you a method to make your local energy provider pay you for your unused energy.

The basic setup of any green energy system consists of your "generator" so to speak, which would be your solar panels or wind turbines, and your battery bank. Now, obviously, there are a few more things to it than just that, but for the sake of simplicity and a basic overview, we will only focus on these.

With any green energy system the general process will be the same. The "generator" will generate energy, trickle charging the batteries in the battery bank. If you are on an independent system this, in theory, will power your entire house. If you are still on your local providers grid, you will run solely on your green energy, only running on your providers power in the event that you have consumed enough energy that all the batteries in your bank have been fully discharged.

Now, this method is actually quite simple, especially if you already have an existing green energy system and know all the lingo and technicalities. All you need to do is install what's called a "tie in". This does exactly what it sounds like it does. It ties you in. It basically connects your existing green energy system to your local providers grid.

What will happen is, in the event that all of your batteries in your bank are at full charge and there is little no usage, the tie in will start kicking that energy back at your local provider. Your provide will then reimburse you for energy that is sent their way. This won't be a lot of money. You definitely won't get rich doing it, but it's always nice to have a little extra money coming your way. In most cases you can expect to receive less than half of what consumers in your area pay per kilowatt hour.

It never hurts to make a little bit of spare cash on your journey to live free.

Note: I will be posting a whole series very shortly on green energy systems, including both solar and wind powered systems, tie ins, battery banks, and the math used to calculate system needs and everything else involved. Check back regularly.

Make Your Own Household Cleaners

This article series is designed to eliminate/reduce your monthly expenses one at a time, in an attempt to live free. We will start with the smaller things, then move on to the bigger money savers. First up, we will look at making our own household cleaners. These cleaners will be made with items not containing all of the toxic chemicals contained in commercial products. Oh, and did I mention that you will get more, for a fraction of the cost.

These cleaners are eco-friendly, extremely cheap, and in most cases as easy as combining the powdered ingredients and shaking to ensure it's well mixed. Are you ready to begin to live free? Then let's get started.

TIP: All of the things used here are easily found at any grocery store in the same aisle as the commercial cleaners.

Laundry Detergent

1 cup of borax
1 cup of baking soda
1 cup of washing soda
2 cup of castille soap

Simply mix all of these powdered ingredients into a mixing bowl breaking up any clumps. Stir or shake the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well.

This recipe will make enough to do 128 loads of laundry. That's the same amount as the bigger bottles of liquid detergent at most grocery stores. This homemade cleaner costs about $2, compared to the $13+ for the same amount when going with a name brand cleaner.

Use about 1 table spoon per load.

Dish washing detergent

3 cups washing soda
1 cup baking soda
A large storage container to store finished product
1 Tbsp measure to keep in the storage container 

The process for this is the same as the laundry detergent. Simply combine all of the powdered ingredients together and mix well. 

Use about one table spoon per load.

Carpet Cleaner

Liquid castille soap
Hydrogen peroxide
Container to mix ingredients
Spoon to mix ingredients

Mix one part castille soap with two parts peroxide in the mixing container. Either pour it onto the carpet stain or put the mixture into a spray bottle. 

Disinfecting wipes

A container in which to keep wipes. This should be leak proof and it's better if it has a flip top lid.
Rags, old baby washcloths, etc.
1/2 cup liquid castille soap
2-3 cups water
Essential oils for fragrance, if preferred
Tea tree oil for disinfecting properties

Combine all of the liquid ingredients into your container. Shake or stir to make sure ingredients are well mixed. Now add your rags. By the time you have added all of your rags to fill the container, you may need to add a little more water to make sure that the ones on top are wet.

Glass Cleaner

This is the simplest of them all.

1 Part Vinegar
1 Part water

Simply mix a half and half mixture of vinegar and water into a spray bottle. For best results use newspaper to wash glass. 

This mixture is extremely cheap but more effective than traditional cleaners like Windex. The vinegar will thoroughly clean the glass, but will not leave residue or streaks like most commercial cleaners.

Posted by Matthew Brown


Have you ever wished you could live free? Free of rent, utility bills, massive grocery spending, costly prescriptions? Well, with a little know how and motivation you can achieve this. You can kick all the bills and actually afford to live the way you want too, to live free.

In This series of articles you will gather all the information you need to greatly reduce your bills, and reduce your ecological footprint along the way (for those that are interested). We will cover everything from alternative energies, to methods to eliminate cable and home phone bills, to a very cheap method of converting your cars engine to a hybrid system, greatly increasing it's fuel economy without sacrificing horse power.

These methods, all which are relatively cheap and easy, when employed in unison, will truly allow you to live free(ish). All of these live free methods do incur costs, of course, but will pay for themselves over short periods of time. All of the following articles in this live free series will layout very close estimates as to what you will be looking to spend for each project. We will also walk you through doing the math to figure out exactly how long it will take for these live free projects to pay for themselves.

Are you ready to live free?
Posted by Matthew Brown
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