From energy consumption and pollution to rising utility bills and higher costs at the grocery store, today’s consumers feel the financial pinch. Going green is one way consumers are cutting back on their usual expenses. Environmentally friendly choices aren’t just good for the earth, they’re good for the wallet, too. Here are a few ways to save some green by going green.
Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) use less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs. One Energy Star-rated CFL saves about $40 in electricity over the lifetime of the bulb. CFLs cost more upfront than incandescent light bulbs, but Energy Star-rated CFLs last about six times longer.
Grow Your Own Produce
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You can save a lot of money at the grocery store by growing your own produce at home. Whether you have a full-fledged garden or simply grow a few tomatoes and herbs on a window sill, it means less money you’re spending at the checkout line. If you’re not into the idea of growing your own vegetables, buy local produce. You’ll save by not paying the markup and transportation costs that add up throughout the supply chain.
Conserve Electricity with Smart Choices
Energy is one of the biggest expenses and environmental concerns the world faces today. In fact, there are even energy books by Daniel Yergin that address the future of energy and how energy use, availability, and conservation impacts society. There are several ways to cut energy costs in your home, including CFLs, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and choosing Energy Star-rated appliances. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature during the day when you're not home and reduce heating costs and fuel usage.
Use Smart Power Strips to Reduce Energy Use
There are also smart power strips on the market that detect when your electronics aren’t in use. Electronics sap energy if they’re plugged in, even when they’re not powered on. Smart power strips cut the electricity to those electronics when they’re not being used, which reduces your energy consumption.
Shop for Recycled Products
Whether you’re making home improvements or purchasing groceries at a local retailer, choosing sustainable or recycled products helps you save money while saving the environment, too. Manufacturers save money by using recycled materials for creating products, resulting in more affordable products on retail shelves. Anything from recycled carpeting with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to recycled paper products for the home are often less expensive than their new-material counterparts.
Use Low-Flow Appliances to Conserve Water
Image via Flickr by Carnie Lewis
Water conservation is just as important as energy conservation. If you use the public water supply, you’re paying a monthly or quarterly bill based on your usage. Cut down on those costs by collecting rain water and using it for washing cars or watering plants. Low-flow appliances, such as toilets and shower heads, offer significant savings by reducing the amount of water used for regular household needs.
Walk or Bike to Work
If you live close to work, consider walking or biking to the office. If you don’t live close enough, talk to your employer about telecommuting a few days each week or full-time. You’ll save on gas and cut down on carbon emissions, which are harmful to the environment. As an added bonus, your physical health benefits from the added exercise.
These few simple cost-cutting measures won’t just breathe new life into your checking account, you’ll be helping society cut back on energy and natural resource consumption and providing for a more sustainable future for coming generations.
Angela Stringfellow is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing strategist totally obsessed with all things Web 2.0. A motocross and soccer mom, she's usually enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery of Central PA when she's not busy developing engaging marketing strategies and creating compelling copy for clients.