10 Ways to Save Money While Saving the Environment
We all want to do our part to protect the planet, but when finances get tight it can be tricky to justify the costs. However, the truth is that you can become more resource efficient while keeping cash in your wallet. Check out these ways to save money while saving the environment:
- Take Intentional Showers
Heating water is a huge home expense, and few of us truly enjoy all the energy anyways. The average shower uses between two and five gallons per minute, and you’re paying to heat it all. Lower the water temperature, shorten your showers by several minutes, and even install a low-flow showerhead, and you can easily save the expense of heating and using more than ten gallons of water per shower.
Note: Expand the benefits to your faucets with sink water aerators. They reduce the flow of water out of your skink, which saves you money over the long run.
- Buy Your Clothes Secondhand
It’s not just your imagination; fashion trends are changing faster than ever and it’s taking more work to keep up. The World Resources Institute reports that consumers are purchasing close to two thirds more clothing today than two decades ago, and most of us keep each piece half as long.
You can fight the trend of fast fashion and keep more money in your wallet by buying your clothing used and investing in quality pieces that will last a lifetime. Check out ThredUP and Poshmark for online consignment shopping, and consider local options like garage sales and Facebook marketplace to score some finds that keep you from overcontributing to the textile pollution problem.
- Consider Carpooling
Car emissions are far and away one of the worst global pollutants, and you can make a significant dent by finding ways to share rides. If you live near your coworkers, consider setting up a carpooling service so not everyone needs to drive each day. Not only will you save money on gas and wear on your car, but you’ll also lower your personal greenhouse gas contribution. Another tip? Stop idling your car. It uses more gas to idle your car for thirty seconds than it does to turn it off and restart it, so turn that key when you’ve stopped moving.
- Replace Your Lightbulbs
It’s a simple swap, but replacing your incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs or LEDs will save you money and energy. The EPA estimates that you can save close to $200 when you replace five lightbulbs over their lifespan, so those savings really add up fast.
- Stick to Full Loads of Laundry
You might think that you’re getting ahead by running your washer as frequently as possible, but the truth is that anything less than half a load can be a major waste of energy. Keep things green and cost effective by only washing full loads, and you can save even energy by line drying your clothes as well. After all, Project Laundry List estimates that dryers use close to 20% of domestic energy use in the United States.
- Put on a Sweater (Don’t Turn Up the Heat)
If you live in a colder climate, the cost of heating your home is a major expense, and it’s not good for the environment. Pack on the layers and turn down the thermostat, and you’ll see more money in your bank account. By some estimates, even a one-degree difference can save more than three percent on your electric bill.
- Turn Off Your Electronics
It’s not so common knowledge that many of today’s electronics suck energy even when you aren’t using them. Even when off, devices like TV’s, WiFi routers, and computers draw phantom electricity all day. You can cut down the cost and the waste by plugging everything into a power strip and shut them totally off at night or when you leave the house to reduce energy use and save money. According to the United States Department of Energy, a year of nightly computer sleep will save you $90!
- Use online banking.
Online banking saves you time, stamps, gas, and reduces the amount of mail coming to your house. A lot of banks are offering incentives to go online, too. Don’t be afraid: it’s much easier for a thief to grab your bank statements out of your mailbox than it is for them to access your accounts online.
- Get Reusable Water Bottle
Bottled water is awful for the environment and it is a waste of money. People spend hundreds of dollars on bottled water every year. Instead, get a reusable water bottle and fill your bottle whenever you need to at a water fountain or a refrigerator with a water dispenser. Don’t like the taste of your city’s water?
Get a water bottle with a built-in filter. Within a month the bottle will have paid for itself. Bottled water costs between $1 and $3. You can also try a filter for your water faucet and a reusable water bottle. There are also water purifier pitchers to keep in your refrigerator like the Brita water pitcher.
- Bring Reusable Shopping Bags to the Store
Plastic bags do irreparable harm to marine animals that confuse them for the plankton and jellyfish in their diet. If the joy of saving wildlife doesn’t inspire you, investing in a reusable grocery bag can also save you money. While plastic bags wreak staggering environmental havoc, their economic impact is also substantial: The city of San Francisco, for instance, estimates that it costs taxpayers about $8.5 million a year to clean up, recycle and landfill plastic bags, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Saving the environment sounds like a tall order. But with these everyday tips, you can make a positive impact on the planet with ease.