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Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life Paperback – October 16, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


Following her eco-friendly debut, Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, self-sufficiency expert Niemann focuses now on practical ways to be green while saving money through informed consumer choices, such as how to avoid buying toxic products or their expensive alternatives (e.g., making laundry detergent with washing soda, borax, and soap) to reducing environmental harm and support personal health. In every chapter, from food to home to transportation, Niemann includes recipes or other straightforward guidance, along with cost comparisons, to make her ideas accessible and seemingly easy to implement. Because she covers so much territory, some ideas are bound to pique readers' interest, whether wine- or soap-making, gardening, bread baking, or clothes swapping parties. A homesteader herself, Niemann does not forgo technology when it provides the cleanest and cheapest option. She acknowledges, for instance, that using a reel mower for lawn care may not be practical for large lawns or busy people, and so she describes the differences between electric- and gas-powered options. Likewise, in her chapter on free stuff, Niemann discusses foraging in parks as well as foraging online. Small testimonials sprinkled throughout the book complement Niemann's encouraging tone, so that her advice does not come across as self-righteous or preachy, but more like insider tips from an experienced do-it-yourselfer. - Publishers Weekly review

I support & endorse this wonderful book, 100%. – Ed Begley, Jr. Actor / Environmentalist

Those of us embarking on the journey of consuming less and enjoying ourselves more desperately need guidebooks, and Deborah Niemann has written one for us. Ecothrifty leads us gently down the path of changing the way we think about what we buy. I hope you will find this book the beginning of your engagement in a global movement to create a family life that is rich and abundant while sitting lighter on the planet that holds us all. – Kathy Harrison, from the Foreword

If you care about the future of the Earth and her ecosystems and want to make a difference, pick up a copy of this book and read it cover to cover. You’re in for a treat! This book is chock-full of valuable information that could change your lifestyle and help create a sustainable world. Ecothrifty should be required reading for every citizen of the world.

Dan Chiras, Director, The Evergreen Institute, and author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, and Power from the Sun evergreeninstitute.org

From the Author

We started making greener, healthier choices in the 1980s, and after a few years I realized that we were actually saving a lot of money! Through the years, many people have said to me that they'd make greener choices, but it costs too much -- and that is where I got the idea to write this book. Although there are lots of companies out there that will be happy to charge you a lot of money for products that are greener, the simple fact is that you don't really need to buy those products to live a greener life.

Of course, at this point, a lot of people will say that making those greener choices is too complicated. Although there are countless recipes out there for making your own soaps, creams, laundry detergents, and cleaners, it doesn't have to be that complicated. Rather than giving you dozens of recipes to comb through, I explain what different ingredients do for you, so that you can more quickly figure out what will work best for you. For example, you can use baking soda as a facial scrub -- no mixing required, nothing artificial, and less than a penny per use. When it comes to moisturizers, I write about what different oils and butters do for your skin, so you can make an educated choice about which ones to try.

The final objection many people have about green living is that the quality of products is not as good as those "less green" commercial products. Of course, this is sometimes true, but it is also true that you can make your own _______ that will also be superior to what is commercially available. Although many people will try one commercial product after another to find one that works for them, I've heard a lot of people say that they tried one type of homemade ______ and didn't like it, so they are not going to try another one. Just as there are hundreds of formulations for commercial products, there are hundreds of possible formulas for homemade. For example, there are actually a multitude of natural products that you can use in place of commercial deodorant, and some work better for one person than another. The good news is that when you try a natural product, and it doesn't work for one thing, you can always use it for something else. If you don't like using coconut oil as a deodorant, it works great for popping popcorn! And you've probably already got a bottle of alcohol sitting in your medicine cabinet, so you have nothing to lose by trying it as a deodorant substitute.

The book does include some simple recipes, such as laundry detergent, body butter, and sugar scrubs. And there is a rather large chapter devoted to food because we all eat three times a day. The majority of the two dozen recipes are for things that can be used in a multitude of ways -- like the three bread recipes that can be used to make a huge variety of yeast bread products, including French bread, sandwich bread, dinner rolls, burger buns, soft pretzels, pizza, crackers, cinnamon rolls, and more! And because I don't have a lot of time, everything is written with busy people in mind, so there are no recipes that take a terribly long time to prepare. My motto is "quick, thrifty, and nutritious."

In addition to making your own personal care products and cooking from scratch, I also write about how you can save money on clothing, health and fitness, raising babies, cleaning your home, gardening, entertainment, and transportation. And the most important thing to remember is that you don't have to do everything at once! Start with something small and doable, and then try something else, and then try another thing, and then another, and so on. As you try one thing after another, you'll see how much money you're saving and that it isn't that complicated, and it will make it easier to try even more money-saving, greener ideas!

If you've read my first book, Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, this book was meant to be a good companion to it, as there is very little duplication between the two. The gardening chapter, which is only ten pages in Ecothrifty, is the only subject that is duplicated between the two books, but even then, the two books contain some different information. Although Homegrown and Handmade has detailed directions and recipes for soapmaking, Ecothrifty has more in-depth information on the various oils that can be used for soap, as well as other body care products.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086571715X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865717152
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As someone with environmental allergies I have found this book extremely helpful. I am getting the materials together to make my own soaps (laundry and dishwasher) as well as making my own lotions which I miss as it’s hard to find them without artificial scents and chemicals added. For the environmentally conscious there additional discussions on topics from these as well as food/recipes, energy efficiency, baby stuff, etc...Its a short and well condensed highly informative book.
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By Lynn Lewis on January 13, 2013
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This book is worth more than the price I paid for it. It is on the top shelf of my bookcase as I refer to it often. Many great ideas to try that I never thought of before. I especially like being able to have an index to get me where I want to be in a hurry. There is so much to learn in this book, it should be required reading for high school students in Home Economics classes. I have given the book as gifts and have loaned it out to many friends. I also own Deborah's, HOMEGROWN & HOMEMADE. This has got to be one very busy lady to be involved in so many areas of owning a homestead.
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Deborah has written a book that shows that greener living is attainable by all of us. I've slowly tried to go greener, and this book will help me carry it a step farther...without my breaking the bank. If you want to save money and be more environmentally responsible, this book will help you do it.
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This is a great book! Super informative, very entertaining to read. If there's a "green" book to get it's this one. I have a copy at home and purchased a copy for my mom too! It really makes to realize how little we need to buy in today's world.
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This book is fantastic! Very insightful and knowledgable for greener living. Deborah is a great writer that makes the reading easy to understand. With all the information in this book, a person could easily use it as a "go to" book.
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I've read many books and blogs on trying to live a greener life. The thing that I really like about this book is that it made me think in ways that I hadn't previously. It had me right from the introduction. Well worth reading, even if your an "old dog" to the lifestyle.
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I love this book. I borrowed it from the library and was 14 days overdue returning it. I really must purchase one for of my own for future reference. I love the advice to make a lot of your own food, especially sweets and breads. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in savings money and helping the environment out at the same time.
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If you have no idea where to begin living on less money while becoming more environmentally friendly-get this book. However, if you have any ideas, the good old internet is a cheaper, more informative option. This book is better for ideas that can be further researched and is not an in-depth how-to guide. I wished I had just used a good old search engine instead of getting this book.

I did learn some very useful things from this book. I learned the specific purpose different oils in bar soap. This information was available on the internet, but I had never thought to look it up.

Do not become discouraged if you cannot tolerate using some of the suggestions listed in the book. It is not necessary to use them all. I have decided some of the suggestions in this book are not for me. Give suggestions several weeks. There are two suggestions I simply cannot follow, one being the books suggestion on hair washing. I tried it several months. The quality of more expensive chemical laden products to clean your hair is much better than that of home made bar soap.

If you have read this review, you are capable of using internet searches. You do not need this book.
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