If you’re looking for ways to live a greener life, take some pointers from Fran Martin.

Fran is the newest member of the One in a Million campaign, a feat she achieved by switching more than $1,000 of her household budget to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. The campaign doesn’t ask people to spend MORE money. Instead, it encourages consumers to throw their marketplace clout behind non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives that often end up saving people more money in the long run.

Who is Fran?
Fran, who is married, 67, and the mother of grown children, has lived in Butler, PA for the past 43 years. Her husband trains and breeds Labrador retrievers; “We have two,” she says. Fran is retired, but works part-time conducting food demonstrations where “I really push the organic products whether it is my demo of the day or not.”

“At home I am an avid cook – everything from scratch,” says the One in a Million devotee. “After the Women for a Healthy Environment conference last year, and after reading Omnivore\’s Dilemma, I extended my organic garden and got two hens so I could have organic eggs. I erected a hoop house in October to have a winter garden which proved to be quite successful. The only red meat we eat is venison, and I can and freeze everything possible.”

“I also made homemade mouthwash and fabric softener,” she said.

How did she shift $1,000?
Here are the actual eco budget shifts Fran made between October 2008 and December 2009:

Organic Grains, Beans – $40

Organic Coffee – $208

Organic Dairy – $155

Organic Nuts – $52

Organic Pasta – $21

Household Products (like eco-safe laundry detergent, dish soap, and cleaning soap) – $115

Nontoxic Health/Beauty Products – $66

Organic Chicken Feed – $26

Beverages – $23

Soymilk (2 cases) – $25

Meats/Fish – $123

Snacks – $8

Veg/Fruit – $90

Organic garden fertilizer and soil amendments: $75

Stopped using clothes dryer almost completely: undetermined energy savings

Total: at least $1,025


When I asked Fran why she made the shifts, here\’s what she said: 

* What inspired you to join the One in a Million campaign? I attended the Women’s Health and the Environment Conference in Pittsburgh and heard you describe the difference we can make based on how we spend our money. I thought, “I can do that.”

* What change was unexpectedly easy to make? Keeping track of my purchases!

* What proved to be most challenging? Finding the best prices (ed. Note: This is true for many people, but a little bargain shopping can make organic food and recycled products very affordable)

* What\’s your next step? Continue to purchase present organic products and add new ones as I find them.

Great job, Fran! Thanks for sharing your success with us.

Join Us!

And for all of you who are inspired to make your own spending shifts, get started here.

Diane MacEachern, the author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, is passionate about empowering women to use their marketplace clout to protect the environment.