Sometimes you have to go back to the basics, right? Well, as I have mentioned a few times lately, going green doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can actually save a lot of money by greening your life, rather than spending a ton. Marketing tricks and television advertising do their best to convince us that in order to become more eco-friendly we have to buy more stuff (see my post “Shopping just for the sake of buying green” for more on that) – but that’s not true at all. After all, if you were to throw out a perfectly good item just to buy a new eco-friendly one, you would not be doing anything of benefit for the environment, that’s for sure! So with that in mind, take a look at this list of 39 simple ways you can save money by going green. Hope you find a few things you can implement in your home!
Plant A Garden. For the price of a few packets of organic seeds, you can provide plenty of vegetables for your family all spring, summer, and fall for just pennies.
Stop Printing. Could you manage with just saving the information you needed as PDF’s on your computer, rather than on printed paper? That paper you print out will eventually just be tossed anyway.
Organize A Magazine Co-op. Magazines are one of those things that everyone likes to read but normally end up in the recycling bin just a few hours after they are delivered. Set up a magazine share or co-op with friends and family to reduce the amount of purchased magazines and recycled materials!
Take Public Transportation. If at all possible, take public transportation instead of driving yourself to work. It could save you a ton of money while also being much more eco-friendly.
Sign Up For Organic Coupons. You can find coupons for organic food if you go looking for them. They are out there!
Use Washable Coffee Filters. When you buy a reusable coffee filter, you eliminate the need for the paper ones, which add up over the course of the year.
Shop In Bulk. This is a biggie. Not only does it save you money, but it also reduces waste. Bring your own containers to the grocery store and fill them up with granola, nuts, rice, grains, etc. – all without using disposable plastic bags.
Turn Off Your Lights. Your parents taught you to do it, so why aren’t you still doing it? When you leave a room, turn off the lights. It’s a simple way to save money and reduce your energy use.
Carpool To Work. Don’t have public transportation nearby? How about finding a carpool to join? It saves you money, reduces wear and tear on your car, and helps you go green by reducing your carbon emissions.
Give Up Paper Towels For Good. Keep a roll around if you must, but for most things a stack of cotton or microfiber cloths work much better and can be washed and reused for years.
Turn Your Thermostat Down A Few Degrees. Just a few degrees lowers your utility bill and is barely noticeable in your home, while also reducing the amount of fossil fuels you burn.
Clean The Lint Screen In Your Dryer. This makes your dryer more efficient and doesn’t cost a dime. It also can help prevent dryer fires.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products. I have talked about this at length on the site over the years, and it’s a no-brainer at this point. Why pay big bucks for cleaning products when you can make your own at home for just pennies? Check out 23 Ways To Use Vinegar For Nontoxic Cleaning for more.
Keep Your Electronics As Long As Possible. Chances are that you don’t need a new cellphone, iPod, or computer every year – you just want one. By making your electronics last longer, you reduce the amount of e-waste in the world while also saving yourself a bucket of cash.
Purchase Items Used Rather Than New. Clothing and furniture are great items to buy used when possible. Besides, older goods are usually made better than the new stuff, so you save money, reduce waste, and will have them for longer than if you bought new.
Wash All Your Clothes In Cold Water. I have been washing all my clothes in cold water for years with no ill effects. So don’t listen to anyone who tries to make you believe you need to use hot water on your clothes. Washing in cold water saves you money and helps your items last longer, too.
Install Compact Fluorescent Bulbs or LEDs. Saves money and reduces energy use, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Change out those bulbs and see the difference in your electric bill.
Hang A Laundry Line. Remember the dryer I mentioned above? Eliminate it altogether by hanging your laundry outside when you can. Free is always better than a higher utility bill.
Properly Inflate Your Car Tires. Saves gas and wear on your tires, and at most costs you a quarter at the gas station. Check your tires at least once a month for proper inflation.
Skip Bottled Water. Talk about saving money by going green! Bottled water is mostly just filtered tap water, but at their prices our monthly water bills would run $9,000 were we to sell it. Save a ton of money and eliminate plastic bottles from your waste stream all at once.
Use Bar Soap Instead Of Soap In Plastic Bottles. What’s the difference between bar soap and bottled soap? The plastic bottle that needs to be recycled once it’s empty. Save the bottle from even being needed in the first place, never mind the recycling of it, by switching to bar soaps instead of body wash.
Invest In Well-Made Goods. Can’t afford to “buy green”? Well then, how about buying well-made instead? You can save money on green products, but you can save even more by purchasing stuff that lasts a lifetime.
Walk or Bike to Work. Walking and biking are free, provide good exercise, and emit no emissions. What’s not to love about that? Talk about saving money by going green!
Install A Low-Flow Shower Head. Low-flow shower heads are not the same as they were years ago. They provide plenty of water pressure now, and should be on everyone’s to-do list for their home. For just a few bucks you can save a fortune on your water bill.
Take Shorter Showers. Along with a low-flow shower head, take shorter showers. I know, I know – everyone likes a nice hot shower. But it wastes a lot of water and increases your hot water bill!
Shut The Damper On Your Fireplace. If you don’t use your fireplace, make sure the damper is shut, especially in winter. If not, all the heat from your HVAC system goes right up the chimney, costing you a ton more than necessary to keep your house warm.
Unplug Appliances When Not In Use. Even better, put every electronic device in your home on a power strip. That way, you can turn them all off at once and save yourself from paying for “vampire” energy. All those items in your home that have “standby” mode use energy even when they are off; so make sure the power to them is cut entirely to save yourself some money.
Turn Off Your Car When Idling. If you are idling for more than 30 seconds, turn the car off. Modern cars are OK with it, I promise.
Use A Push Lawnmower. While it’s winter here, I do plan on getting another push mower at the house I am renting. While it may not be feasible for a large lawn, if you only have a small plot of grass why pay for a gas mower and emit all those pollutants? A traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles!
Start Using Online Banking. This costs you nothing at most banks, but eliminates the need for stamps, envelopes, and mail coming to your house. Plus, it makes life easier having everything on auto-pilot. It’s going green without spending a dime!
Turn Your Water Heater Down To 120 Degrees. There is no need to keep your water heater temperature above 120 degrees, so keeping it at this level saves you money on your bill. Don’t turn it lower than that, though, as it needs to be 120 to keep bacteria from growing in your tank.
Use Washable Food Containers Instead Of Plastic Bags. Reusable glass or stainless steel containers can be used forever – plastic bags cannot. So invest in a few of these and stop using disposable plastic to store your leftovers in.
Insulate The Water Heater. Your water heater stores hot water. When it’s not being used, it works hard to keep that water hot. What makes more sense than insulating it so it doesn’t have to work as hard?
Insulate Doors & Windows. With weatherstripping or plastic sheeting, you can insulate your doors and windows so that heat you are paying for inside your home doesn’t escape and heat the outdoors. This can drastically reduce those expensive heating bills and is easy to do in just a weekend.
Run Your Clothes Washer & Dishwasher Only When Full. Why use all that energy and water to wash 1/2 a load of clothes or dishes? Wait until it’s full to reduce the amount of washes you do over the course of the year.
Invest In Rechargeable Batteries. I have the same set of rechargeable batteries that I bought nearly 5 years ago and they are still going strong. I haven’t had to buy new batteries (or dispose of any) in that long for just a small investment in batteries and a charger. Everything uses batteries these days, so stop having to buy and throw away disposables and pick up some rechargeable batteries.
Turn Off The Dry Cycle On The Dishwasher. Let your dishes air dry in the dishwasher. They don’t need a blow-dry!
Take One Less Flight This Year Than Normal. Airline flights emit tons of CO2 pollution, so if possible take less flights this year. If you still need to travel, consider traveling by train!
Fix Any Water Leaks, Even Small Ones. Small water leaks not only cost you on your water bill but can also lead to bigger problems in your home down the line. Fix any water leak to save our most precious resource from being wasted.
There you have it, 39 ways to go green and save money at the same time. There is no need to spend a fortune on “green” products when there are so many simple things you can do today to make your life more eco-friendly!
Please share this list with your friends, family, and co-workers if you can. Everyone should be doing their part, and this list is a good way to get started.
Photo from BigStockPhoto
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