Suzanne Carter-Jackson/istockphoto


The economy is rough right now. Everyone is scrambling to save money and going green is a good way to do that, but a lot of us can't scrape the capital together to install triple pane windows, a complex rainwater storage system or radiant floor heating. Those folks who renovate their houses on the various Planet Green television shows have a lot of going-green dough. Many of us are just happy to get the bills paid on time. How can people living in these hard economic times go green without going broke?

Those lucky so-and-sos on the TV often aim to purchase the state-of-the-art and the extravagant. That's why they are on the TV show. It's bad TV to feature Jim the college student and his well-inflated car tires. No one would watch that.

Although reality-based television often falls far from actual reality, there is plenty that we can do as we live paycheck to paycheck.

Here are five green renovation tips that cost under one hundred dollars:

1. Buy blackout curtains. Instead of installing windows with multiple panes, blackout curtains can be purchases for under fifty dollars and will reduce heat loss by a quarter.

2. You can find rain barrels for under a Benjamin, but you have to shop around a bit. For the savvy bargain hunter, a regular barrel, assuming it didn't store chemicals at one point, can easily be converted into a rain barrel for even less.

3. Putting a garden on your roof is a lot of work, but it's labor that you can do yourself. Dirt is still free, I hear. It just needs to be on the roof. The only thing that will cost you money is seed and tarp.

4. Removing your carpet can increase your in-home air quality. It will cut down on your allergies. Make sure you have hardwood underneath and get your landlord's permission where applicable. Recycle that carpet after you rip it up.

5. Put caulk around your outlets, switches and windows. Make sure that it's all sealed up good and tight. Put an insulating foam gasket behind your outlets and switches. These gaskets costs less than a dollar.