How Going Green can Also Save You MoneyGoing green has become very trendy as more and more celebrities and other public officials have talked about the importance of using environmentally friendly practices and trying to sustain our natural resources. Of course, protecting our environment is important, and adopting green practices is important for that reason alone. However, going green can also help you to sustain a more frugal lifestyle.

Here are just a few of the ways that going green can also save you money:

Reduces Electricity Usage

You can save a lot of money and conserve natural resources by reducing your energy usage. There are many ways that you can do this in your home:

  • Use compact fluorescent lights.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature in your home steady.
  • Lower the temperature in your home in the winter and raise it slightly in the summer.
  • Get an energy audit of your home to determine where you may be leaking energy through drafty windows or doors.
  • Use a clothes line instead of the dryer.
  • Run a fan in the summer instead of the air conditioner.
  • Use a wood fireplace in the winter instead of a gas heater.

There are many other ways that you may be able to save money on electricity in your home. The less electricity you use, the fewer natural resources you use and the more money you save.

Reduces Water Usage

Water is a precious natural resource. There are many ways you can conserve water in your home, including:

  • Turn the shower off while you lather your hair or your body. Only turn it on when it’s time to rinse.
  • Put a bucket at the bottom of your shower to capture water as it warms up. You can use this water for cleaning or for your garden.
  • Install a low-flow toilet that uses less water for every flush.
  • Turn off water while you brush your teeth. Only turn it on for rinsing.
  • Set up a rain barrel or water collection system in your yard. You can use this water for cleaning outside or for watering your yard or garden.

The more you can do to reduce your water usage, the more money you will save every month.

Focuses on Local Foods

You may want to eat asparagus all year round, but in order to do it, that food has to be grown in climates half way around the world and shipped to you, using up a lot of gas, packaging, and natural resources. When you buy foods from local sources, you reduce consumption of these resources, and you cut down on the overhead required to produce this food, helping you to save a lot of money.

Buying foods that are locally grown also helps you to eat a healthier diet since you are eating foods that are in season and don’t require the use of pesticides and other artificial means to grow or preserve them. Eating a healthier diet makes you healthier, which means that you will have fewer illnesses and fewer doctor visits, saving you money.

Reduces Gas Usage

Gas and oil are among the most precious natural resources, and they are also among the most commonly used. By reducing your consumption of gas and oil, you help to protect the environment and to save yourself money — a lot of money. You can reduce your gas and oil usage by:

  • Finding ways to drive less, such as driving a hybrid vehicle or using public transportation.
  • Carpooling.
  • Choosing electric appliances instead of gas-powered. (Editor’s Note: I disagree with this one.  Gas applicances are much cheaper than electric)
  • Taking trips that are closer to home.

Gas and oil are not only expensive, they are in limited supply. Finding ways to reduce your consumption can save you money and save precious resources.

Reduces Waste

There’s no need to spend on new items, requiring the consumption of new materials, oil and gas for shipping, and so on. You can reduce waste and the consumption of new resources by purchasing used items wherever possible, reusing items in your own home, and making sure you get the full use out of items in your home. You’ll spend a lot less money and you’ll help protect the environment by contributing less waste and reducing the demand on natural resources.

Going green isn’t just a way to be trendy. You can actually save yourself a lot of money if you make environmentally friendly choices. Try some of these strategies and brainstorm other ways that you can be more green in your home and office to maximize your savings.

Author Bio: Kelly Opferman is a seasoned writer who at this time focuses on her auto loan calculator site. Her educational background includes finance, teaching, and economics.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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43 Comments

  1. Tim and I have been going green by accident, sort of.

    Back around Christmas, our dryer broke. Since my job was on winter hours and our goal was to pay off debt and we wanted a freezer, we decided to hold off on repairing the dryer (something we can fix ourselves for $100) and hang everything to dry. Our electric bill went down 40 dollars a month. Needless to say, we have been in no hurry to fix the dryer. We did buy a hamper that doubles as a sorter, which makes keeping up with laundry a lot easier.

    We gave up paper towels and got dish towels. Amazingly, those paper towels filled up the trash amazingly fast. Using a cloth napkin wraps around my sandwich just as nice as a peper towel.

    No more Kleenex either. Years ago, when my grandma passed away, I found her hankies and I’ve been using those and they are soooooo pretty. And since we’re hanging our laundry to dry, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t create that much extra laundry. And living in a condo means we have to be creative.

    We use a reusable coffee filter because I make weak coffee and I used to hate throwing away those huge coffee filters (I’m the type a keurig would be great for by I’m cheap) and use reusable coffee cups. And do you know, I recently started taking my reusable coffee cup to a little pop shop I go to at work and I sometimes get my iced tea for free. Talk about a savings, since a 20 oz throw away cup is $1.50 and again, one less thing to throw in the trash.

    Those are some of the things we do Green by accident that save money.

    1. Sounds like you guys are doing some good stuff over there, whether on accident or on purpose. Keep it up.

  2. Gas appliances are MUCH cheaper to operate than electric–and natural gas isn’t gasoline. A modern woodSTOVE will save money over oil, propane, or electricity–but it costs the same as gas unless you get the wood for free. A fireplace does NOT save.

    Interestingly, local foods often do not save a bit of energy. Why? Economies of scale. It takes less energy to bring a tomato from South America on a container ship than it does to drive one in a truck from a fat 10 miles away.

    A low-flow toilet will only ever pay you back if you live in an area with very high water and sewer costs.

    1. I agree with you on the gas appliances and I just added an editor’s note. I disagree with you on local foods. There have been numerous studies that show foods travel an average of 1,500 miles. How is that more efficient than driving 10 miles? While I know the amount of food is more, one of the biggest polluters around are container ships. There was just an NPR special about it yesterday I believe. You can get fresher produce at a lower cost by going local. I get tons of produce from our farmer’s market here at about half the cost of the produce in the store. That saves me money. Low flow toilets are slowly becoming the norm these days, so unless you have an old one that drops about 3 gallons a flush, then you should be good to go.

  3. Great post, Kelly! We have gone more and more green since we moved to a hobby farm last year and committed to one-year of Depression-style living. We hang our clothes on the line, only use lights when absolutely necessary, etc. It’s wonderful, and yes, we’re saving tons of money!

    1. That is pretty awesome that you are doing a Depression style living binge. I know you are working on saving money, but doing it has more perks than some would realize.

  4. These are all great tips and some that we have implemented over the years. We installed a low flow toilet with our bathroom remodel a few weeks ago and will be interested to see what, if any, impact it has. It’s also part of the reason why we garden so much so we can make things ourselves and compost a lot as well.

  5. I am all about going green if the cost is right. Unfortunately, the cost of many green alternatives are still very high. Green will really take off when the costs come down.

    1. There is a catch-22 with that. Green won’t catch on until the price comes down, but the price won’t come down until more demand is built.

  6. We are all about going green, especially when it saves us money. I have been meaning to set up a rain barrel in my yard, but I think that I will probably wait to do that until we move into our next house. We don’t plan on being here for too much longer, so I’m not sure I want to put the effort into that quite yet.

      1. Our neighbor has one, but they never realized much return from it. I am sure you can use them a lot in Seattle.

    1. I am with you on that Greg. I don’t want to invest any more into this house when we plan on selling soon.

  7. We definitely want to go more green. We have been replacing things that have been breaking with more energy efficient replacements (such as our dryer).

    1. I think that is a good way to do it. There is no need to go out and purchase it if you already have a working unit.

  8. These are all really good tips, and our house has a LONG way to go before we even cover the basics. Whether it’s new windows (ours are original), covering up areas that are not sealed, or making sure insulation was done properly in the attic, we have some work to do.

    1. Our house is a very long way away from being anywhere remotely green. We are planning on doing it at the next house.

  9. A lot of people are hesitant in switching because they don’t want to spend money. What they do not know is they can save even more in the long run by going green.

  10. I hang my clothes to dry year round on racks in my basement. My dryer is about 5 years but it is almost brand new. I am trying to get up enough courage to sell it. I always think I may have some sort of laundry emergency that I may need it for.

    1. I am glad that works out for you. My good friend’s mother did that all year long when we were kids. She had a dryer on days that it rained.

  11. I prefer LED bulbs to CFL ones, but they are quite a bit more expensive. And if you like to garden, start a compost pile. Not only does it reduce the amount of trash you send to the land fill, it’s free plant food for your garden!

    1. I also prefer LED, but they are too expensive now to justify the cost savings. When they come down, then I will switch over. We have a compost pile and it is good. You do have to get into a habit of putting your scraps in it and keeping up with it.

      1. I stopped by Home Depot the other day, and they pointed me to a 800 lumens LED bulb for $10, with a 10 year life span. While not great, the prices are starting to come down. 🙂

        1. Good to hear. That is always refreshing news. I know Cree just came out with a new one that looks promising.

  12. I am always looking for ways to save money! I replaced my light bulbs with CFLs years ago. I save on utilities by having a programmable thermostat, cold water wash and lower temperature for hot water.

  13. These are great “side effects” of going green. We tried to go a bit more green with our house about a year ago by becoming energy efficient and it saves us an average of $5 a month. It’s not a ton of savings, but it’ll add up. Plus we’re helping the environment as well.

    1. It’s all about the little things Jake. We are planning on doing some things to our next house when we move in. We are debating if solar panels would be a good investment.

  14. In public restrooms, nothing irks me more than when the sink water is running. I think people have become so used to having things automatically turn on, and if you couple that with doing mindless things we do automatically (like washing hands), sometimes people forget to turn off the faucet sink they had to manually turn on.

  15. We try to limit waste as much as possible. That is already a big saving. No need for heating, and we use AC as little as possibly, only when it is too hot to sleep well, making everyone cranky. A lost day due to bad sleep is not worth the money saved on AC.

    1. We are working on limiting the waste from the products we buy. American’s get a lot of products that have so much packaging. I try to find things that don’t have a lot of packaging.

      I agree with you on the AC. We use ours because we both can’t sleep without being cool.

  16. I think this was one of the first posts I ever wrote about. We try very hard to be as green as we can be in our home. We like to keep our bills down but we also don’t like to use up energy we don’t need to. We have a rain barrel, all our light’s are changed, we hang our clothes outside, follow the time of use schedule, use a fan to draw in cool air, recycle, use a composter, on and on… it’s all been to our benefit the little effort and time we’ve put into it.

    1. It looks like you are rocking it over there Mr. CBB! Keep up the work and it looks like it has definitely paid off.

  17. We’ve gone with CFL’s for most lights, eat local, are starting a garden, and try to conserve on utilities whenever possible. We compost and recycle almost EVERYTHING, and seriously HATE WASTE! It has saved us cash, and given us peace of mind about how we treat our gift of a planet! 🙂

    1. We have CFL’s in our house, we had a garden, but our dogs kept destroying it, and we work hard on our utility conservation. It all plays a role.

  18. The other side of this coin is that some efforts we make to save money make us greener (whether we intend to or not). My prius is a classic example. I bought the “commute box” to save money on my commute, being greener as a result was mot incidental (in my case) than intentional. My point is that economics can be a great driver for influencing peoples behavior so that they are “greener”.

  19. I think it’s important to try to minimize the personal impact on the environment. It’s a huge bonus that you get to save money, too! I live in what is essentially a rain forest, so we don’t have an issue with water or having to water gardens!

  20. I lowered the temperature in my house majorly over the winter and used sweatpants and hoodies to keep warm. Huge difference in electricity usage for the cold months. I’m now seeing how long I can go without using A/C. Hoping it doesn’t get back up to 90 anytime soon.