One of the unexpected benefits of going green is all of the savings. Saving the environment and saving money in the bank, sounds like a win-win to me!
1. Buy Less:
The number one best thing you can do for the environment is buy less. We over consume almost everything. We buy a lot of stuff we don't need just in case we "need" it.
We buy things because they're on sale or simply because it's cute! We buy things to make ourselves feel good. We get a tiny rush of endorphins, but it quickly fades and we're left with homes, attics, basements, maybe even a self-storage unit full of stuff we don't use.
Before you make any purchase, wait for 30 days.
After waiting, you'll find that you probably don't need it. Maybe those feelings were just created by good marketing.
Take a breath and wait.
Piggybacking off of our post on saving electricity, you can save a lot of money on conserving resources.
There are a few small things you can do to save water and energy that will add up to big savings on your bill.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
- Fill a basin to wash dishes and don't keep the water streaming
- Take shorter showers
- Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water while it's warming up. Use the water for your garden or to flush the toilet
- If it's yellow, let it mellow
- Swap out grass for landscape that doesn't need consistent watering
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room
- Switch to LED light bulbs
- Unplug electronics when they're not in use to save on phantom electricity
- Carpool, Walk, or Bike
3. Shop Second Hand:
When you shop second hand you prevent perfectly good items from entering the waste stream.
With every new product, you're demanding new resources. With every second hand product, you're reusing resources that have already been extracted.
I love popping into my local thrift store to see what treasures I can find. If I'm looking for something specific, I'll search through craigslist to see if anyone is selling one near me or I'll go to eBay. Through eBay and Craigslist I got all of my cast iron and Le Creuset pots and pans for a fraction of the price! Make sure to check the box that says used.
If you're looking for clothing TredUp has an amazing search function helping to pinpoint the exact style you're looking for in your size!
4. Switch to Reusables:
Have you ever thought about how much money you throw away? I mean this quite literally. We throw away a lot of products like napkins, paper towels... I love this article from The Onion.
For every disposable product there is a reusable alternative. Instead of using paper towels, why not start using tea towels? Instead of paper napkins, what about cloth napkins? Instead of paper tissues, why not handkerchiefs?
Instead of tea bags (which have plastic in them! yes, you're steeping your tea with plastic - ick!) switch to loose leaf and a reusable strainer.
All of the switches will save you money, and mama earth will thank you!
5. Go Renewable:
Making some really big changes will save you money in the long run, but these changes aren't going to be accessible to everyone. It's nice to put these on your wish list so you can start saving for these major purchases.
- Go Solar (Also look into solar sharing! You don't have to pay for the panels but can get your electricity through a group solar program.)
- Get a Solar Battery
- Switch to an Electric Car
- Install a Graywater System
- Start a Backyard Garden