Going green is much more than a trendy thing to do, since it will help save the green in your wallet at the same time it helps keep our planet green, or at least help to slow the progress of air and water pollution and climate change.
Be eco-friendly to Mother Earth and eco-smart to your wallet with these nine easy ways to go green and save money at the same time.
Reduce Energy Use
Stop being a wimp about the weather. In hot weather, use fans and ceiling fans if you can avoid air conditioning. Conversely, throw on a sweater or blanket during the winter months. This conserves energy and will make a huge difference on your electric bill, since each degree below 78 adds 3% to 4% to your electric bill in summer
Also, unplug appliances when they’re not in use, don’t leave chargers plugged in if they’re not charging anything, and put your computer or laptop to sleep rather than just walking away from it. You could save up to 10% of your electricity bill, along with the environmental costs to produce the wasted electricity.
Become a Minimalist
The new Three R’s are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. More of us are tossing the things we don’t need and buying fewer things that aren’t a necessity. Simply, a life without clutter is good for the earth and even leave you with a sense of peace.
I learned about living with less on a visit last year to Namibia, a desert country where water is precious and the ancient tribes have much to share about living with less.
Get Off the Grass
Manicured grass lawns cover some 50 million acres in the US, and according to the NRDC, they consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water, 200 million gallons of gas (for all that mowing), and 70 million pounds of pesticides each year. So it’s no wonder that drought-prone and desert states like California, Arizona and Nevada offer initiatives to get off the grass and switch to rocks and drought-resistant plants like succulents.
Or, join the “no mow” movement by replacing some of that grass with a vegetable garden, or increasing the size of one you have now. You’ll save money at the supermarket while you also help save the environment. Plus the healthy living perks of the exercise of gardening.
Get Help From Uncle Sam
Download Tax Form 5695 and take advantage of non-business energy property credits and residential energy efficiency property credit offered to home-owners.
We often think of the IRS as only interested in taking our money, but if you can prove to them that you’ve installed such energy efficient things in your home as new doors and windows, you can claim a certain amount in tax credits on your tax return.
Switch to Public Transportation
How much time and money are you spending – and wasting – behind the wheel on your daily commute? If you grew up or live in a city, taking public transportation is the standard, with millions of us nationwide taking the subway, the commuter train or commuter busses to and from work. It’s great to read a book or the morning newspaper and avoid the stess of yelling at those driving slow in the fast lane.
Even better, if you’re within walking or biking distance, get some exercise and save Mother Earth to boot.
Get a Rain Barrel
It’s not just for diehard tree huggers and those who want to live off the grid. Buying a rain barrel is simply one of the easiest ways to go green, and save green in the bargain. As this article in US News explains, “simply position your barrel underneath the downspout that routes water from your gutter. Another perk of rain barrels is reducing the amount of storm water runoff, which can add pollutants to streams, rivers and lakes and cause erosion.”
Invest in Clean Energy
Put your money where your green heart is. The app StashInvest lets you put aside a little as $5 a day, week or month. According to ThePennyHoarder.com, “tell Stash what you care about. Whether it’s tech innovation or environmental issues, Stash will put your money into a portfolio that supports your causes.”
If you aren’t an educated investor, or have a financial adviser you know or trust, this is a good way to start.
Ditch the Dryer
We’ve all had the experience of the dryer shrinking or even melting a favorite piece of clothing by overheating. Avoid that by going old school and using a laundry line. Your clothes will smell fresh air fabulous, and you’ll save money and use less energy. If you live in an apartment with no backyard, as I do, a simple drying rack placed near a window or next to a radiator works just as well, as does hanging wet clothes on the shower rod.
Make Your Bills Paperless
Nearly every large company offers a paperless billing option these days to go paperless, including credit card companies like American Express and phone companies like Verizon. Likely you already pay many of your bills online, or via auto-pay, which saves time and the cost of a stamp. A growing number of companies, including banks, now want you to switch also to paperless monthly bills, and get monthly bills online only, not in your mailbox.
The advantage of paperless billing is that fewer trees are cut down, and there’s less environmental impact from paper production. The disadvantage is that it’s easier to miss a bill, especially if it winds up in your spam folder, and late charges and penalty interest fees are far more than the cost of a stamp and an envelope. And if you need a copy of your bill for tax purposes, you have to print it out anyway. So paperless monthly billing statements only saves the bank or department store money, not you.
The ways to go green and save money are virtually endless.
Try these nine ways and, if you’re so inclined, keep track of how much money you’ll save. Your wallet and the world will thank you.