(Adapted from an article by the Worldwatch Institute)
Believe it or not, living greener can actually save you and your family so much money in the long run. Here are 10 simple things you can do to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and benefit the environment.
1. Save energy to save money
• Adjusting your thermostat just a couple of degrees lower in the winter and a couple of degrees higher in the summer will not feel too different but can save so much money and energy. Also, it has been proven unhealthy to spend too much time in air-conditioned and heated rooms anyway.
• Using compact fluorescent light bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs
• Always unplug appliances when they are not in use and TURN THE LIGHTS OFF WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN A PARTICULAR ROOM.
• Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Research shows that as much as 85% of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water, and that is hardly necessary.
• Use a drying rack or clotheslines to save energy rather than machine-drying everything. (It doesn’t shrink your clothes like using a drying machine would!)
• Try to shower using more moderate water temperatures. Using water that is too warm is unhealthy for the skin and can causes rashes and dry skin.
2. Save water to save money
• Take shorter showers! We all like to have the luxury of taking a long, hot bath or shower, but reducing water use will lower water and heating bills as well.
• Try installing a low-flow showerhead that will reduce the pressure, speed, and amount of water used while taking a shower.
• Always turn of faucet, sink, and shower knobs tightly. A leaking faucet may not seem like that much water, but the amount of dripped water adds up over time.
3. Less gas to save money
• Walk or bike to work and school! This saves on gas and parking and vehicle maintenance costs while improving cardiovascular and muscular health and fitness.
• Try to carpool as much as possible. Think about it; that’s half of the gas money saved when you carpool with one other person, and even more money will be saved with more people involved.
4. Eat smart to save money
• Try eating less meat, starting with one meatless meal per week. Meat costs more at the store and is more expensive considering the related environmental and health costs.
• Buy locally raised and seasonally fresh poultry and produce.
• Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
• Though fast food and junk foods seems cheaper than fresh and healthy foods, eating too much of the former will have lasting and costly health consequences in the long run.
5. Skip the bottled water
• Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste as well.
• Buying a water filter and pitcher is a small investment that will prove efficient and money-saving in the long run.
• Many studies have shown that bottled water is actually less pure and drinkable than tap water, and may be contaminated by harmful chemicals from the bottle. By getting rid of the bottled water, you can make a positive difference in terms of economizing, protecting your health, and protecting the environment.
6. Think before you buy
• Try to find new or gently used secondhand products. Consider a service like Craigslist or Amazon to get that done.
• Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other items
• Try to find items with less packaging and buy brands of companies who attempt to reduce packaging and create greener products.
• Before making any purchase, always ask yourself, “Is that really necessary?” and “What will I used it for?” If you have any second thoughts, you should probably refrain from purchasing it.
7. Buy smart
• It saves money, time, effort, and packaging to buy things in bulk.
• Buy clothes that do not to be dry-cleaned to save water, time, and energy.
• Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products rather than objects than can only be used once.
• Invest in durable cooking utensils: metal and silver forks, spoons, and knives, and quality pots, dishes, bowls, etc. They can be used so many more times and in so many ways and protect the environment so much more.
8. Borrow instead of buying
• Instead of buying something that will only be used once or twice, why not borrow from parents, friends, or neighbors? These items could include books, tools, expensive appliances, bags, etc.
• In addition, you could split the price on an item and share it between two people or among a group of people, taking turns keeping and using it.
9. Dispose correctly of your waste
• Recycle as much as possible!
• Don’t be a litterbug. Pick up trash and wrappers around the house, at school, on the streets, at a park, etc.
• DO NOT put electronics and batteries in the trash. Take your unwanted electronics to the store to be refurbished or recycled, or take those appliances to a hazardous waste site to dispose of it properly.
• Try starting a compost bin! It saves the amount of trash that needs to be taken out, and it will save you from having to throw out so much food. The soil can be used as fertilizer at it contains many nutrients, and you can plant crops, flowers, or trees to create a more fresh and air and environments.
10. Make your own things
• Put those hands to work and create useful and creative objects from things around the house.
• You can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products from ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap. This saves money, time, and packaging and improves indoor air quality.
• Try making containers from stray objects around the house instead of going out and buying plastic and chemical-heavy containers. You can even personalize and decorate them!
As you can see, living green is definitely the way to go, as it is beneficial for every aspect of life. It saves you money and improves your health. It creates a healthier and more beautiful environment. However, each member of society must contribute toward this goal in order to create this environment, and you can start by taking these simple steps.