Minimize Your Impact on the Environment with Your Finances

Although my primary concern these days to get out of debt, I have been thinking a lot about what “GREEN” really means and how that impacts my everyday lifestyle. It seems that the best way to help do our part for the environment is to try to transition to a much greener lifestyle. We all know that there are many different ways to reduce ways to reduce our carbon footprints on society. But have you ever considered how you can go green with your finances? There are many different ways our finances can help in the green initiative. It is not necessarily a huge lifestyle shift, but it does take a conscious effort. Below are the many different ways we can move towards a greener lifestyle with our finances.

Saving Money

Have you ever considered saving money to be more “Green”? Well actually it is. The simplest way to save money, and to help the environment is not purchase items that you don’t need. Many people, including myself forget that part. By avoiding to pay for even little things like plastic bags at the grocery store or recycling and returning your empty glasses, not only do you save money, but you help the planet as well.

I became a vegetarian 3 years ago, and noticed my grocery bills reduced immensely. I would never recommend becoming a vegetarian just to save, but besides the obvious savings, and health benefits, the environment effects are too obvious to overlook. I find that running outside instead of the gym or on my treadmill not only helps the environment, but also helps my pocket book, I save on my gym membership, electricity and get fresh air.

Going Green at Home

You can start to go green with your finances at home. One of the best ways we can learn to go green is by making small changes around our house that will help not only to save tons of money, but also energy. One of the easiest ways is as simple as switching to more energy efficient light bulbs. Another way we can go green at home is by using programmable thermostats, or applying sealant to all the windows and doors to make sure that they are not leaking. These help to save money and energy especially in cold weather seasons.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the cold as almost as much as spending extra money. We recently re-did our ground floor and installed bamboo flooring and got rid of all the carpet. The carpets are added insulation that costs more to heat, besides, the bamboo floors looks amazing.

We have an issue with long showers in my home, mostly because there are 3 soccer players, but we have noticed that shortening our shower times, and turning the water off when it is not necessarily needed, like when you are brushing your teeth, helps lower the utility costs as drastically as well. If you shower instead of taking a bath it also helps by saving gallons of water. I love my baths so this is a bit harder to give up, but I have cut them drastically. The average toilet is also an energy hog, and water waster. If you don’t want to replace the toilets in your home you can always place a brick and one-gallon jug in each toilet tank. This helps with the flushing, as well as preventing you from wasting money with each flush.

Transportation

I have expressed my concerns about commuting and the costs involved with. The challenge that I, along with most people, face is the amount of effort involved in car-pooling and the challenges that come with that. Buying an electric car, carpooling or even taking public transit all reduce your overall transportation costs 1/2 to 2/3. One of the best ways that I have seen someone justify taking public transportation is that it reduces their carbon footprint, and makes them a lot less likely to take random trips to shop. If that isn’t a win-win situation, then I don’t know what is.

There are many ways to go green at home that go hand in hand with our finances. Small changes will be the most beneficial over time, but beneficial nontheless. It will not only be healthier for you and your wallet, but much healthier for the environment.

So, how have you found ways to go green with your finances?

Guest Post Author Bio: The following post is written by Marissa over at Thirty Six Months. She writes about learning to invest, saving money and paying off her student loans.


Comments

Minimize Your Impact on the Environment with Your Finances — 13 Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting bamboo floors in our living room, still need to convince him, but hopefully soon. Didn’t even think that would help with being green, good to know!

  2. I am always surprised at the heavy crossover between being green and frugal. There are so many things that I do that are green but I do them for the purpose of being frugal. I didn’t realize it until some of our good friends began a journey into healthier/ greener living and we got more frugal around the same time. Our journeys were so similar yet we had entirely different motivations!

  3. We try to be green and save money all the time. We recently replaced all of our toilets with the dual flush low volume ones – and the difference in water consumption is incredible!

  4. I don’t consider myself an environmentalist per se, but I do many small things to save because I don’t like to be wasteful. Big thing is to move near a train so I can commute without a car. Another thing is to carry items I buy without using a plastic bag or using the tote bags.

    One idea that is outside of the box is concerning clothes washing. I used to wash my clothes every time I wore them. After reading a thought provoking article on the NY times about people who don’t bathe or wash clothes frequently, I decide to test it out. Surprisingly, you can get a lot of wear out of clothes (particularly work clothes) by not washing them as much. Save on energy, detergent, and the clothes also last longer.

  5. We’ve been trying to buy green cleaning products. Though I guess we could go even greener and just make them ourselves. I’ve heard a lot of good things about grocery bills from friends who have gone vegetarian, so in our house we try to do it once a week (meatless monday…except it doesn’t always happen on Monday.) My biggest green thing right now is signing every petition I can to get them to stop this stupid Marcellus Shale Drilling in Pennsylvania. They just passed new laws, taking away rights from individual municipalities to say no. This will cost PA $ and jobs in the short term, but I really don’t care. I want to be able to drink my tap water without worrying about if I’m going to die and not live in an “earthquake” zone.

  6. Showers don’t always save water compared to a bath. It depends on your shower heads gpm rate and how long they stay in the shower. If you’re not using a low-flow shower head and taking 15 minute showers then you’re probably wasting more in a shower.

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