In terms of sustainability, there is a direct correlation between “going green” and inexpensive living. I’m not telling you to mount a solar panel on your roof or to invest in wind farming, but there are minimal changes that we all can make in our daily lives that not only give our wallets a break, but also help out the environment. Thanks to U.S.News and Entrepreneur, I have found 5 easy ways to save money by going green. Here they are:
Refurbish and reuse the things you own. I feel like we live in a society that harbors the mentality of “if it’s broken, throw it away and buy a new one.” Not only is that the direct opposite of economical living, but it can be harmful to the environment. For example, if you have a pair of cheap gardening gloves that you use for lawn care throughout the year, and you find that you are replacing them each spring with new gloves- stop! Invest in a better (more expensive) pair of gloves that you might not ever have to replace. You’ll find that if you’re willing to chip in the extra few dollars, the quality of the product you’ve purchased is catastrophic compared to the dime store products we seem to like so much.
Flip the switch. If your monthly utility bill has you pulling out your hair, make some minor energy-saving adjustments to your house or apartment. When you’re not going to be home, turn your thermostat down a few degrees in colder months, and keep your AC on energy saver at all times in warmer months.
To this day I fail to understand the select people who leave lights on in their house, when they’re not there! Not only is it energy insufficient, but it’s throwing money away. Always remember to turn lights off when you leave a room, not just your house. Another easy way to save on electricity is to plug appliances into an energy-saving extension cord, or unplug them when they’re not being used.
Going hand in hand with using less electricity, it’s also important to conserve water. Did you know the more hot water you use, the higher your energy bills will be? A good way to save money on your water bill is to wash clothes in cold water. Also, when doing dishes, there’s no need to pre-rinse them. Just scrape excess food in the trash and let your dishwasher do the rest of the work. And contrary to popular belief, it requires more water to hand-wash dishes than it takes to wash them in the dishwasher!
Switch to E-statements. So many people are still receiving bank statements in the mail. Why? I’m not sure. It’s not convenient, it doesn’t save money, it’s less secure, and it certainly doesn’t help the environment. If you’re a member of SeaComm, you have the option to receive e-statements as opposed to mailed statements. E-statements are secure, convenient, free, and fast. If there is a discrepancy with your account that you need fixed, you are likely to catch it quicker with e-statements– saving time, money, and trees!
Make less trash. Eliminate disposable products from your grocery bill- a few common items you should refrain from buying are tissues, plastic sandwich bags, paper towels, and paper plates. Most of these disposable goods have a sufficient alternative- like handkerchiefs or sponges.
Recycle, then replace. This is a great method for not only saving money, but also refraining from impulse purchases. For example, if you’re in the market for a new laptop or iPad, don’t purchase anything until you’ve sold the old one. This method also applies to clothing, phones, sports equipment, books, TV’s, etc. A great way to sell some of your old stuff is to utilize sites like Craigslist and Oodle. You know what they say- “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”