10 Ways to Save Money While still living the Green Life
The environment has been in the news lately because of climate change. But how much do we need to worry about global warming? And how can we reduce our impact on the planet while still enjoying all the things that make life worth living? Living the green lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up on having fun like you just stopped eating your favorite meal or canceling vacations. It just means making tiny and smart choices as much as you can that will benefit our environment while also helping you save that precious money.
Here’s how to save money while still being environmentally conscious.
Earth’s natural resources are materials and substances that occur naturally and can be used to support human life and meet our needs. According to NASA “natural resources include land use, wetlands, and floodplains, threatened and endangered species, wildlife, ecosystems, oceans, and coastal zones.” These resources can include things like oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone, sand, air, sunlight, soil, water, animals, birds, fish, and plants. They are used for various purposes such as producing food, fuel, and raw materials to produce goods. Renewable resources, such as trees, water, sun, and wind can be replenished at the same rate they are used but can be depleted if not managed or conserved properly. Nonrenewable resources, like fossil fuels, gold, rare earth metals, etc. are depleted more quickly than they can regenerate and once mined and used, they are gone forever.
There are lots of ways to cut down on your carbon footprint without having to sacrifice too much. You can start by making small changes to your daily routine. For example, you can turn off lights when you leave a room, use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic ones, and buy local produce whenever possible. If you’re looking for bigger changes, consider switching to an energy-efficient light bulb or installing solar panels on your roof.
10 Ways to Save Money While still living the green life:
- Don’t buy it until you need it.
- Use energy-efficient electronic appliances.
- Always go for 3R: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
- Go solar: harness the power of the sun.
- Reuse plastics, for example, water bottles.
- Buy used items.
- Support local products and green energy.
- Plant a garden.
- Buy pre-own fashion or products made from sustainable materials.
- Think twice or maybe more.
Don't buy it until you need it.
This is the basic rule of saving money and the environmentally friendly principle that encourages people to only purchase items that they truly need, rather than buying things on impulse or for the sake of having them. Just think about fashion industries, globally fashion industry is the second most polluting business after energy: oil and gas. Don’t be surprised to know “fashion accounts for more than 10 percent of annual carbon emissions”1. This principle helps to reduce the amount of waste and pollution caused by overconsumption and can save money as well. When it comes to the environment, buying only what you need can help in several ways to lower your carbon footprint. For example, if you want to buy a new smartphone but you already have one which is working properly. When you choose not to buy a new smartphone you reduce transport costs, shipping waste materials, the amount of waste produced when the product is eventually discarded, and GHG emissions. and promotes others to buy used products which also reduces the demand for new products, reducing the pressure on natural resources.
Use energy-efficient electronic appliances.
According to Energy.gov “ENERGY STAR® and Energy Guide labels washing machines use nearly 35% less water and 25% less energy than standard washers.” In 2020, ENERGY STAR-certified products helped consumers save 240 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid $24 billion in energy costs, and achieve 180 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.2 By choosing ENERGY STAR, a typical household can save about $450 on their energy bills and still enjoy the quality and performance they expect.2 Using Energy Star-certified appliances is an effective way to save money and protect the environment.
Here are some reasons behind it:
- Energy efficiency: Energy Star appliances are designed to use less energy than non-certified appliances, which can reduce your energy bills and save you money over time.
- Reduced GHG emissions: By using less energy, Energy Star appliances also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.
- Longer lifespan: Energy Star appliances are often made with higher-quality components, which can make them last longer than non-certified appliances, reducing the need to replace them as often.
- Tax returns: In some cases, you may be eligible for rebates or tax credits when you purchase Energy Star appliances, further reducing the cost of upgrading to more efficient products.
- Increased home value: Upgrading to Energy Star appliances can also increase the value of your home, as more and more homebuyers are looking for homes with energy-efficient features.
- Improved air quality: Energy Star-certified appliances are often designed to be more environmentally friendly, which can also lead to improved indoor air quality by reducing indoor emissions of pollutants.
Overall, using Energy Star appliances is a cost-effective and environmentally responsible choice that can help you save money and reduce your environmental impact.
Always go for 3R: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
In 1950 the world produced only 2 million tons of plastics per year. Since then, annual production has increased nearly 230 times, reaching 460 million tons in 2019.3 Before 1980, recycling and incineration of plastic were negligible; therefore, 100 percent of plastics were discarded. Though in the late ’80s, and 90’s idea of recycling and incineration practices increased In 2015, an estimated 55 percent of global plastic waste was discarded, 25 percent was incinerated, and 20 percent was recycled.4 Think about how much single-use plastic ends up in landfills and in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. A study suggests that more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year.
Likewise, UNEP reports that more than 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) are produced annually globally. The value of e-waste is worth over 62.5 billion, more than the GDP of most countries. However, only 20% of that e-waste is formally recycled. The remaining 80% of e-waste ends up in incineration and landfill. Scientists estimate that it may take up to 1000 years to decompose plastic. In landfill and water systems, the decomposed plastic turns into microplastics entering the food chain and affecting ecosystems and the environment. E-waste consists of a variety of metals and chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, etc. which are very harmful to human health and the environment If not managed properly.
Want to learn about how plastics and e-waste can affect human health, the food chain, and the environment? we have detailed post about how soil pollution can disrupt the entire ecosystem here.
By following the “Reduce, Reuse, Re-cycle ” (RRR) approach, you can not only help protect the environment but also save your money in the long run. You can save money on products and resources by reducing your consumption and waste. Buying only what you need and avoiding single-use items can reduce your expenses on consumer goods and help reduce the strain on natural resources. Reusing items, such as bringing a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing disposable plastic ones, also saves money and reduces waste. Recycling not only conserves natural resources, but it can also be a source of income, as some recyclable materials can be sold. Additionally, many cities offer recycling programs that give residents discounts on their waste collection services for participating in recycling. By following the RRR approach, you can make a positive impact on the environment and your wallet. Re-using items such as shopping bags, containers, and clothing can also help save money by reducing the need to purchase new items. Finally, recycling can help conserve resources and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, which can in turn reduce the cost of waste management for both individuals and communities. In short, the RRR approach is a win-win for both your wallet and the environment.
Go solar: harness the power of the sun.
A new study has found we would only need 50% of the world’s rooftops to be covered with solar panels to meet the world’s yearly electricity needs Asia, North America, and Europe is a hotspot for solar panels.5 Switching to solar power can result in several financial benefits. Firstly, it can lead to lower monthly energy bills as solar panels generate electricity from the sun, reducing the need for traditional, fossil fuel-based energy sources. Additionally, having solar panels installed on your home can increase its value, making it a smart investment. There are also various tax incentives available at the federal and state levels that can help to offset the upfront cost of a solar system. Many states have net metering programs that allow homeowners to earn credits on their utility bills for excess energy generated by their solar panels. Furthermore, going solar helps reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources and fosters energy independence, enabling you to save money on energy bills even during power outages. In general, switching to solar power can have a positive impact on your finances, as well as help create a more sustainable future.
Buy used items.
Buying products that have a long life, sustainable materials, or buying used items is an effective way to save money and protect the environment. Here are some reasons why you should buy sustainable products:
- Economic value: Used items are often significantly less expensive than new ones, especially for high-end products like electronics, furniture, and clothing.
- Resource conservation: When you buy used items, you are keeping them out of the waste stream and reducing demand to produce new products and goods, which can conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Support local businesses: Buying from local second-hand shops and thrift stores supports small, local businesses and strengthens the community.
- Reducing waste: By keeping items in use, you are helping to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Overall, buying sustainable products and used items is an excellent way to save money while also doing your part to protect the environment.
The concept of deciding if a purchase is a “need” or a “want” is constantly being evaluated. There are a few things that can truly be classified as a need. Xbox or PlayStation, for example, is often referred to as a need, but this notion devalues the true meaning of the term. Focusing on people and relationships instead of material possessions is another way to live more sustainably and save money. Buying thrift store clothes, indulging in Fair Trade chocolate, supporting local businesses, volunteering time, and contributing to organizations that empower people to help themselves are all examples of this philosophy in action. The idea is to prioritize experiences and relationships over material possessions and to make purchasing decisions that positively impact both people and the planet.
Also, check out our blog post about the polar vortex and how it is considered dominating factor for extreme cold weather in North America.
I hope by sharing these tips with friends and family and posting it on social media or a personal blog, it is possible to encourage others to join the effort to live a green life more sustainable and financially responsible. By working together, it is possible to shift the economy from a focus on greed to one centered on environmental responsibility.