Go Green and Save Green

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Save Money with an Environmentally-Friendly Home

Are you a devoted environmentalist who chooses to over-extend your budget rather than increase your carbon footprint? Or are you already committed to living within your means and saving money, but would like to save the planet at the same time? Regardless of where you fall in the spectrum, there are simple, affordable ways for you to go green (protect the environment) and save green (pocket some extra cash):

Turn off the Lights

One of the easiest ways to increase your bank account while decreasing your impact on the environment is to reduce your monthly energy usage. Do a quick assessment of how much you pay each month for gas and electric. You can reduce your monthly bills in several ways:

  • Heating/cooling. In the summer, raise your air conditioning temperature by one degree (e.g. from 73 degrees to 74 degrees) and in the winter, reduce it by one degree. This small change can cause your heating and cooling units to run less often, and reduce your monthly bills by as much as 10 percent.
  • Light bulbs. Are you using standard light bulbs? As they burn out, replace them with energy efficient bulbs. They last longer and use less electricity. Also think of ways to use only as much light as you need. In other words, if you’re sitting in bed reading a book, use a small desk lamp or a clip on book light instead of turning on a floor lamp or ceiling light.
  • Turn off unused electronics. When you’re not using your computer, turn it off instead of letting the screen saver run for hours at a time. Not only will this save electricity and reduce your monthly bill, but it will increase the life of your computer. Similarly, turn off televisions, radios, stereo and video game systems when they’re not in use.
  • Install motion sensors. If you’re like me, you don’t like walking up to a dark doorstep or into a dark house. Instead of leaving lights on in the house all day, install motion sensors in two or three strategic locations. The three-fold benefit includes your light bulbs lasting longer, your electric bill going down, and not having to fumble in the dark for house keys or light switches.

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Utilize Your Local Library

If you’re an avid reader, check the library before you buy the next book on your “must read” list. If you live in a smaller community, see if your local library can share books with larger libraries in bigger cities. You’ll save the purchase price of a book and save some trees at the same time.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

You may have a hard time believing that vinegar, baking soda, soap and lemon can clean your oven or bathroom as effectively as your favorite name-brand product, but in the right combination, they can. This might involve some trial and error, but making your own cleaning products will keep some cash in your pocket and keep some toxins out of the environment.

Drive Less

If you live close to work, consider walking or biking. If work is too far, try carpooling instead. Some cities and counties have Share-A-Ride programs that match people up who live and work in the same areas. Cutting down on the amount of gasoline we use can have several positive impacts – it reduces carbon emissions, reduces our dependency on foreign oil, and of course, saves money.

Freecycle It!

When you need new clothes, furniture, or specialty items, check websites like Freecycle and Craigslist first. Freecycle is a web site filled with things that people are giving away – you guessed it! – for free. And Craigslist, of course, offers a wide variety of common (and not so common) household products. Check garage sales, too.

Ditch the Bottle

Bottled water has become increasingly popular over the last few years. In fact, we throw away an estimated 21 billion plastic bottles every year in the Unitest States. That’s more than 60 million plastic bottles every day! You can keep a lot of plastic out of landfills by switching to a reusable water bottle and installing a filter on your faucet. For someone who drinks a lot of water, this simple change can represent a significant cost savings, too.

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For more ideas on how to improve your financial health, check out Quizzle.com, where you’ll learn how to achieve your credit potential and get home loan recommendations tailored to your unique situation. And check out these other great money-saving articles: