There’s a common misconception that when you take measures to go green, you’ll have to spend tons of money. But this is not true! Adopting a greener lifestyle will actually save you money. Some of these green ideas may cost more initially, but they will save you money over time.
Depending on which ideas you try, you could save thousands of dollars every year.
Try going green with these money-saving tips:
1. Opt to Eat In
Eating out less often means that you’ll spend less money on fast food and expensive dinners. But making your own meals and eating in also has benefits for the environment. Cooking at home will make you more aware of the ingredients that go into the food and will help you consider how clean eating could help your health, which in turn will also help the environment – less packaging, less waste, and fewer food miles.
Savings: $500 – $5,000
2. Grow Your Own Vegetables
As you begin to make your own meals and become conscious of what you’re eating, consider starting your own garden and growing your own fruit and vegetables. This way, you’ll know exactly where your food is coming from, and you’ll have the satisfaction of eating food you grew yourself.
Even during colder months, you can bring some veggies inside to grow. A garden will release clean oxygen into the air around your home and absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants.
Savings: $50 – $2,000
3. Get a Home Energy Audit
Many companies offer home energy audits. In other words, they come to your house and suggest ways for you to cut down on energy costs. Many companies even offer discounted audits with free add-ons because of how popular home energy audits have become. Making their suggested changes will not only save you money, but help you cut down on your energy use, which in turn helps the environment.
Savings: $100 – $600
4. Turn Down the Hot Water
The average household can spend up to $600 a year on hot water. Turning down your water heater even by a few degrees will reduce that cost significantly. You can also wash your clothes in cold water or switch to a more efficient water heating system, like a tankless or solar heater. And don’t forget to turn off the water while brushing your teeth!
Savings: $50 – $600
5. Watch the Thermostat
Similar to the hot water, turning down your thermostat in the winter and up in the summer can make a huge difference in your energy bill. Setting your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for a portion of the day can help you save 10 percent on your annual heating bill, according to estimates by the Department of Energy. You likely won’t notice a difference each day, but you will when you get your electricity bill.
Lowering the thermostat while your'e away or sleeping is an easy way to stay green while saving green.
Savings: $120 – $160
6. Switch to Propane
Propane is cheaper than electricity because it’s more efficient, so it takes less to heat your home. Not only is it safe, but it's considered a clean energy source. In other words, it won’t emit greenhouse gasses, and it doesn’t create air pollution. Switching to propane heat and appliances is a win-win for both you and the environment.
Savings: $500 – $2,000
7. Try DIY Products
Instead of getting store-bought cleaning supplies and beauty products that can contain toxic materials, you can make your own, greener products. Plus, these DIY projects only require a few simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, so they’ll be easy to make. Not to mention, they're cheaper and healthier than buying products at the store.
Savings: $5 – $300
8. Go Reusable
Instead of using a new paper cup every time you serve yourself coffee or going multiple plastic bottles of water every day, try reusable items.
Get a stainless-steel coffee mug that you'll use day after day. Or invest in a reusable water bottle instead of buying countless plastic ones each week.
This will also create less waste.
Savings: $5 – $1,000
Gas is one of the largest household expenses for many Americans, and the amount of gas we use is also a strain on the environment. Instead of wasting so much gas, start carpooling. Even getting one vehicle off the road by carpooling with a coworker each day will save tons of gas and money – and give off fewer carbon emissions.
And depending on where you live, you may even want to try taking public transit or biking to work.
Savings: $100 – $1,000
10. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
One of the most popular ways to go green is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. You can also try using energy-efficient appliances like washers and refrigerators. Energy Star Appliances are more expensive upfront, but they’re environmentally friendly and will save you money in the long run by using less energy and water.
Savings: $25 – $500
Total Savings: $1,355 – $13,000
It’s hard to believe that you could save up to $13,000 by making all these changes, but it’s possible! These changes will both be beneficial for the environment and help you save money. What could be better?