1. Start A Small Garden
A garden is a great way to be green and save money at the same time. You can grow all sorts of things with just a few pots and a little sunlight. You do not even have to have a yard, as many apartment dwellers will attest to. Urban gardening is something that has been around for some time and continues to gain momentum. As we continually encroach on farmland, it will eventually become the norm.
When starting your garden, especially if you do not have a green thumb, start small. A simple herb garden might be just the thing to get you on the road to gardening. Fresh herbs are easy to grow but expensive to buy. If you cook a lot, you could easily save twenty dollars a month or more just from growing your own herbs. And, as a nice little side effect, they will taste better too.
2. Go Meatless Once A Week
I am just as much of a carnivore as the next person but meat can be very bad for the environment. This is especially true of beef. Cow methane emissions (a nice way to say gas) account for 39% of agricultural greenhouse emissions. In short, there are too many cows being raised to satisfy the demand for beef. This is an issue that desperately needs to be handled. Other meat productions are not as sever but can still have many negative effects on the environment as well.
To help, you can make at least one dinner meal a week completely meatless. Hopefully, you will use fresh veggies from your garden, see above, but even if you buy them from the store, you are supporting farmers. Increased demand for vegetables will increase production of vegetables. The more things that are growing, the more carbon dioxide that is being absorbed by plants.
In addition to being green, going meatless more often will be much easier on your wallet. Meat is expensive, especially beef.
3. Use A Refillable Water Bottle
If you are drinking water all day, you are doing a great thing for your body. Too many people indulge in sodas which are loaded with unnecessary calories and chemicals. If you are using bottled water though, you are not helping the environment. Plastic waste is a huge problem for the environment. Plastic, never goes away.
Be greener by switching to a reusable water bottle. If you can not stand the taste of tap, get a bottle with a built in filter or invest in a filter pitcher of faucet mounted filter. With bottled water costing something around $4 for a dozen bottles, it will not take long for you to see some significant savings from making this switch.
4. Buy Used
Putting new life to something that might be otherwise discarded is just about as green as it could be. Instead of buying something new, buy it used. This is extremely easy these days with online classified websites.
Here are a few examples:
- You need a new dishwasher because yours has gone out. You can buy a new one for $600 or you can buy one on craigslist for $100. Savings, an easy 500 dollars and you prevented a lot of metal and plastic from hitting the landfill.
- You want to start a garden like in the garden tip above. You live in an apartment and you will need planters to make it work. Your first choice is to go to the local big box hardware store and buy a ton of planters for around a hundred dollars. A better choice, go check out the free section on Craigslist and find someone giving away plastic 55 gallon drums. You can cut them in half and get two huge planters out of each one. You save a lot of money and keep plastic out of the dump.
- A new baby is on the way and you need a stroller. You can either spend 200 dollars tomorrow at the big baby store or you can buy a used stroller on craigslist for $50. Put something that could have been discarded to good use and save $150 at the same time. Win. Win.
5. Reduce Home Electrical Usage
Your electric bill is no laughing matter, especially in the middle of the summer. That being said, we waste a lot of money in a lot of dumb ways at home. In addition, when we waste power, we waste more than money. We contribute to global warming with the power that we consume. Here are a few ways to reduce home electrical usage that will save you money and help the environment.
- Turn the temperature down on your water heater. Chances are that you have it set too hight. If when you take a shower, you have to turn the heat down, you have the heat too high. Remember, that hot water heater is maintaining that temperature all day. Turn it down to a temperature that you are comfortable showering with when the hot water is set on full blast. It will save you a ton of money and cut down on burn risks.
- Get an adjustable thermostat for your HVAC unit. There is no need to keep your HVAC running full blast when you are not at home but nobody wants to come home to an uncomfortable house. Switch to a programmable thermostat that you can set so that you are only heating or cooling the home the most when you will be there. Keep odd hours, get a thermostat that allows you to control it remotely and turn the unit on when you are on the way home.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. Most electronics these days are always consuming a small amount of power. Unplugging them can save you a healthy amount on your electric bill and help reduce greenhouse gasses. Unfortunately, going around your house and unplugging all of your electronics every time you leave is not practical. Instead, hook up multiple appliances to a single surge strip and just hit a button when you leave.