In a previous post, I shared the benefits my solar panels have on both my wallet and the environment. It got me thinking and inspired me to share more ways to save some green by going green. There are lots of easy ways to go green. Most options are at little to no cost, and you’ll start to reap the rewards right away!
Get Social with Coworkers
In today’s world, the concept of socializing is snapping a pic of you “living your best life”, and posting it for the world to see. What it used to mean is (..gulp) actually talking to people. A simple way to be more social, save money and help the environment is to start a carpool with coworkers.
One of the biggest sources of pollution and carbon emissions today are our vehicles, and carpooling helps reduce our carbon footprint by lowering the number of cars on the road. Hey – you might even make some new BFFs in the process. Aim to get three to four people in the pool. No matter how you divvy up the driving assignments, you’ll save money on gasoline, and reduce the wear and tear on your car.
Put Some Pep Back in Your Step
As mentioned above, carpooling can help reduce those harmful emissions. However, an even better way to reduce air pollution is not to drive at all. Okay, this likely won’t work for you if you have a long commute to work, but you can do a lot of things around town by walking or riding a bike.
The benefits here are similar to carpooling, but with an added bonus. Not only will you create less pollution, but you might also get thinner while your wallet gets fatter! Walking and biking are both great forms of exercise. Walking is 100% free, and a used bike can be picked up for cheap. The bike will be a nice return on investment (ROI) too, as you won’t be wasting money on gas (which over time will cost you more than the bike). The more you exercise, the more you save. If that’s not motivation – I don’t know what is!
Go Green at Home
I want you to think about is how much money is wasted on your utilities at home. Water, electricity, heating, and cooling all cost money. Having an energy efficient home is not only environmentally friendly, but it can save you tons of money. There is no shortage of ways to be more energy efficient and go green at home.
First up – saving water. The most obvious way to save water is to not let the faucet run when it’s not being used, but there are so many other options available. For example, you can install a low-flow toilet, or lower the amount of water used during each flush. Take a quicker shower and lower the temp just a bit. This will save on both water consumption and the energy used to heat it.
This one may seem counterintuitive, but running your dishwasher MORE can actually save water. For this to work, you’ll need a newer dishwasher that has a load sensor so it can determine the appropriate amount of water to use. When compared to how much water is used with manually washing dishes, it’s no contest – the dishwasher uses less.
Limiting electric use can save energy and also be a money saver. Again, one of the more obvious habits to adopt is to turn off the lights and simply use natural light! Sounds silly to say out loud, but simply turning off lights in the rooms you aren’t using can save you a lot on your bill. You probably never realized how many times you leave the room and the lights are left burning for hours at a time.
While we’re on the subject of lighting, another item to pay attention to is the types of light bulbs you use. With a small investment up front, you can change to more efficient options like LED. Each bulb might only save you a few bucks a year, but every bit helps.
Two last tidbits on electricity. One, make sure you see that energy star label on any new appliances you buy. Two, Even when appliances are off, they still use small amounts of power. I’m not suggesting to go and unplug your refrigerators and freezers, but small appliances like coffee pots, toasters, air fryers, even lamps if you really want to go all in can all be unplugged when not in use to create lower energy bills. Oh yeah – shut down that laptop too!
Finally, one of the biggest ways to go green at home and save money around the house is to conserve energy with heating and cooling systems. Keep the temp in your home slightly lower in the winter and slightly higher in the summer. Changing your thermostats, even a few degrees (in either direction) can save big bucks on your utility bills, and use up fewer resources. Invest in a programmable thermostat so the temps will automatically adjust for certain times of the day, or when you know you’ll be out of the house.
If you’re not sure where to start at home, have a professional home energy assessment or home energy audit done. You might even have a Department of Energy in your town willing to check your home energy efficiency. You can have a professional come in and assess different aspects of your home. Everything from your furnace to your attic has the potential to reduce energy use and cut energy costs. Small updates like using caulk on a leaky faucet or sealing and\or insulating drafty doors and windows help save energy. As we know, small changes can add up to big savings.
Party time! Ah – not so fast. BYOB here means “bring your own bag”. Many stores now charge a small fee per bag used at checkout. It may not seem like a lot at the time, but those small charges can add up to a big amount faster than you think. The solution here is simple, BYOB! To save a little money, buy a few quality reusable shopping bags to avoid unnecessary charges AND create less waste. A true win-win for you and Mother Nature.
Purchase With Purpose
I really like the concept of reusable items. It saves money over time and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills and oceans. This brings me to bottled water (or any bottled drink really). Plastic bottles account for tons of waste every year, and we need to do what we can to change this.
There are so many inexpensive reusable water bottles (or reusable coffee cup) that you can invest in for under $20 and are beneficial in several ways. For one, they can drastically help reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up harming the environment. And after the initial purchase – there’s no other cost to you!
And size matters folks. With the reusable bottles, you’ll be able to bring more of your favorite beverage with you, considering most are larger than the typical plastic sizes.
Going even just a little greener is great for the environment, and saving some green in the process is an added bonus. There are lots of different ways you can be part of the solution at little to no cost to you. Incorporating even a few of the ideas discussed here into your daily routine can add up to big (and positive) changes to our planet and your wallet!
Have other energy saving green tips I didn’t mention? Leave your best money saving tips by with going green in the comments section!
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Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.