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Ten Easy Money Saving Steps To Living Green(er)!
Money Saving Steps To Green(er) Living
Going green doesn't have to be a hassle!
There are many things we do in our everyday lives that can be altered just a little bit to be more green, and many of them can even save you money in the long run. Many of us follow our municipal recycling rules, but is that the most we can do? Obviously there's always more to be done, but not everyone wants to become a radical environmentalist! How about some easy changes to everyday living that not only help to live a little greener, but actually save our families money?
Now that's something we can all use!
So here are ten easy, money-saving tips that just happen to be eco-friendly...
Use Reusable Grocery Bags
This one might seem contradictory as far as saving money goes, since you need to buy grocery bags to replace the ones they give you for free at the store! Actually, many of the large grocery retailers in the United States offer a discount for customers who bring their own reusable grocery bags - usually about 5 cents per bag, per shopping trip. So if you buy 4 reusable bags for $1.50 each, you'll save 20 cents on each trip, and after 30 trips the bags have paid for themselves, and now you're saving 20 cents on every trip!
And keep in mind most reusable bags hold a lot more than typical plastic shopping bags or paper shopping bags, so if you buy 12 bags of groceries every week, you won't need 12 reusable bags - 3 or 4 will probably be plenty!
Use Reusable Water Bottles Instead Of Buying Bottled Water
If you drink a lot of bottled water, you may be surprised to learn that it is probably no more "clean" or "pure" than the water that comes from the tap in most parts of the U.S.! Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, and tap water is regulated by the EPA, which generally has stricter rules for filtration and purification.
Plus, there has recently been a
lot of concern about a chemical called BPA that is present in most
bottled water containers. You can find many plastic reusable water bottles that do not
contain this potentially hazardous chemical, or you can go with stainless steel water bottles.
If you drink bottled water simply for convenience, then you could be saving a lot of money by filtering the water from your home tap and storing it in reusable water bottles. Most home water filters, whether they are pitcher-style filters or the ones that attach right to the faucet on your sink, filter a gallon of water for anywhere from 10 to 30 cents!
So even if you buy 20 ounce bottled water in bulk for just 25 cents a bottle, that's still more than $1.20 per gallon...
This power strip has a remote control and 2 always on outlets!
Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use
Did you know that even when you aren't using them, cell phone chargers
still use electricity? The same goes for televisions, computer printers,
stereos, DVD players - almost every modern electronic device that has
any computerized circuitry built into it. If these devices are left
plugged in all the time, you're just throwing money out the window with
every month's electric bill.
Naturally, no one expects you to go
around the house and unplug everything each night before bed! One easier
solution is to plug all of your commonly used chargers - cell phone, iPod,
rechargeable battery charger - into a single power strip. Then, when
they aren't in use, just turn off the power strip!
There's another new product on the market that I haven't tried, but that looks pretty cool. It's a wireless charging pad called Powermat, and I've included an Amazon link to the right of this list so you can check it out for yourself...
Keep your car's tires properly inflated
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over 1 billion gallons of
gasoline are wasted every year, just from under-inflated car tires! If
your tires are not properly inflated, a greater portion of the tires'
surface is in contact with the road, and so the tires need to perform
more rotations to cover a given distance.
Properly inflated tires can increase you car's mileage by more than 3% and that means more money in your pocket and fewer trips to the gas station!
If your car gets 25 mpg and you pay $3 a gallon for gas, under-inflated tires can cost an extra $60 of gasoline per year! If your mileage is lower than that, you're losing even more money each year.
Properly inflated tires also last longer and are much safer than under-inflated tires...
Donate or recycle old or unwanted (even broken!) electronics
The U.S. EPA has a web page that details resources for donating and recycling computers and other unwanted electronics.
Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products?
"Cell Phone For Soldiers" on the CBS Evening News
There's also a charitable organization called Cell Phones For Soldiers that was founded by a teenage sister and her brother in 2004. They collect unwanted and even broken cell phones, sell them to a recycler and then use the proceeds from the sale to buy phone cards, which they then send to American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you want to learn more about how to recycle mobile phone for charity, check out their website at http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/
Since many of these programs are charitable organizations, your donations will be tax deductible, which can save you money come April 15!
Donate or sell unwanted clothes instead of throwing them away
Next time you clean out your closet, don't throw those unwanted clothes away! You can sell them on eBay - even if you only get a few dollars for them, that's more than you would have gotten tossing them into the trash.
If selling your unwanted clothes and shoes on eBay isn't for you, it's easy to donate them to charity. Most towns, large or small, have donation bins, usually located at strip malls and grocery store parking lots, where you can give away all your unwanted clothing. And if there's a thrift store in your area, many will pay you at least a little something for gently used clothing.
And if there's a Salvation Army or other charitable thrift store near you, that's yet another deduction for tax time - just be sure and get a receipt!
Bring your own reusable coffee cup
If you regularly buy coffee at a coffee shop or convenience store, start using your own reusable coffee cup instead of the wasteful paper or foam cups offered at the store. Many coffee sellers offer a discount if you bring your own reusable mug, and they help to keep your coffee hotter longer than the cups used in most shops.
Starbucks will even give you 10 cents off your purchase when you use a reusable cup for your coffee, and that can put money in your pocket while at the same time keeping paper and foam cups out of landfills!
Use online banking to pay your bills
Almost every major bank in the U.S. offers online banking, and many let their customers use it for free. By paying your bills online, you save yourself postage on every bill you pay, and you if you also sign-up for electronic bills and statements from your utility providers (gas, water, electric, and so on) you also reduce the need for all that paper!
Use a wind-up flashlight or radio
Do you ever find yourself going to reach for that flashlight only to find that the batteries are dead, or almost dead? Why not get yourself a wind-up flashlight and get rid of those expensive, clunky D-cell batteries for good! These deceptively simple flashlights are powered by winding a built-in crank for a minute or two. That short amount of winding will power the flashlight, and they use LED bulbs that never burn out.
You can also get a wind-up radio for emergencies - now when the power goes out, you'll have light and be able to get updates on the situation. There's even a wind-up radio with a built-in flashlight!
Get some reusable chopsticks
Do you eat a lot of Chinese take out? If so, why not switch from disposable wooden chopsticks to a nice pair of reusable ones! In China alone, some 25 million trees are chopped down every year just too make chopsticks.
With forests worldwide vanishing at an alarming rate, you can make your own difference by purchasing inexpensive reusable chopsticks. Just remember to remind the person taking your order that you don't need any chopsticks with your delivery!