An electric meter recording energy usage.
Personal Finance

Go Green & Save

Going green and cutting your impact on the planet is a wonderful thing. Surprisingly, it can also have a profound impact on your wallet. Let’s take a look at how going green can actually put more green back in your pocket.

Give Up On Bottled Water

It is great that you are drinking water, but disposable water bottles produce a lot of waste. Waste that will never go away because it can not decompose. It will be in a landfill, or worse yet, the ocean forever.

Make the switch to reusable water bottles and do good for the environment and your wallet.

A reusable water bottle is a purchase that you make once and then can use for years. Just think about how many cases of bottled water you and your family go through and you will see the potential to save.

At just one case a week, that is 260 dollars a year saved. If you have a large family and use two cases a week, that is over 500 dollars.

Make A Plan & Cut Food Waste

Americans waste a staggering amount of food. One of the reasons for this is a failure to plan out our meals.

The typical grocery shopper shops without a list. They go aisle by aisle picking up what they think they need. Then, they take it home and let the food spoil. This is both an environmental waste as well as a financial one Thankfully, it can easily be solved with meal planning.

With meal planning you plan out every meal for the week. Once you have those planned, you can write out a grocery shopping list which will have only the items that you will actually use. Next, you simply cross off items already in your kitchen cupboard and go shopping.

With meal planning, you can easily cut your food costs by 10 to 20 percent. For the average family of four, that could very easily mean 1000 dollars in savings every year.

Meal planning is great because, not only does it drastically cut down on food waste, it also eliminates those costly last minute trips to the store.

Eat Less Meat

The meat industry, especially the cattle industry, can be very environmentally destructive. Methane from cattle alone are estimated to represent nearly 15 percent of green house gas emissions.

If you are a meat eater, you do not need to just give up meat entirely. Eating a few meat free dinners each week can do a lot of good for the environment though. It can also positively impact both your health and your wallet.

Use the internet to look for tasty and healthy meat free recipes. There is no shortage of ideas online including things like healthy salads, meat free pasta dishes and black bean tacos.

Drive A Fuel Efficient Car

Obviously, the less gas you use the better. A smaller and more fuel efficient vehicle will produce about a third of the emissions of the big trucks and SUV’s that dominate the market currently. They also save you money in three ways,

First, you have the obvious fuel savings. If you drive 10,000 miles a year, you could easily realize savings of up to 100 dollars a month because of lower fuel consumption.

Next, you have the cost of the vehicle itself. Smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles tend to cost much less than larger vehicles with big engines.

Finally, you have the cost of insurance. The less your car costs, the less it would cost to replace in the event of an accident. Smaller vehicles also do less damage in an accident, making them less of a liability for insurance companies.

Reduce Your Home Utility Usage

Last, but certainly not least, let’s take a look at those home utilities.

Using less resources will help the environment and greatly impact your wallet. This is particularly true of electricity and gas usage and there is a lot that you can do to cut back.

One step that you can take is to contact your energy provider to see if they offer free home energy audits. To lower usage, many electric providers offer this service and these audits can be very informative. Here are some of the mot common energy saving suggestions.

  • Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
    Most water heaters are set too high. 130 degrees is sufficient for most families.
  • Cut Drafts
    Check weatherstripping on doors and windows and replace if damaged.
  • Use Your HVAC Responsibly
    A programmable thermostat can help you save money when you are away. In addition, setting your air conditioning 2 degrees higher in the Summer and your heat 2 degrees lower in the Winter can cut utility usage dramatically.
  • Add Attic Insulation
    Additional insulation in your home’s attic will help your home hold on to heat in the Winter and keep heat out on the Summer months.
  • Use Cold Cycles
    When washing dishes and laundry, use the cold cycle. It will save you energy and in the case of your laundry, it will make your clothes last much longer.

These tips will work great at reducing your electric and gas usage, but let’s not forget about your water usage. Here are some ideas to cut down on your water use to further reduce your impact on the planet and save even more money.

  • Water Your Lawn Once A Week
    Water your lawn just once a week, but water it deep. This will save water and encourage your lawn to develop deep roots.
  • Upgrade To Energy Wise Appliances
    Modern dishwashers and washing machines use a fraction of the water that old appliances do.
  • Fix Drips & Leaks
    All of those little drips and water leaks really add up, especially leaky toilet valves.
  • Do The Little Things
    All of the little things can make a big difference when you add them up. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, wash full loads of laundry, etc, etc.