From a money-saving and environment-friendly perspective, this may be the most obvious solution to making room in your budget in an eco-conscious manner. Heading into the summer, gas prices will continue to go up, so transportation alternatives can really help. Carpooling, public transportation, and biking are all terrific ways to cut down trips to the gas pump while decreasing your own personal carbon footprint left on the environment. And, when you find yourself in the market for a new (or used) car, don’t worry about spending a little extra for an energy efficient vehicle because it will almost assuredly save money in the long-run by cutting gas consumption.
- Energy efficient tax credits
While there have been some rollbacks on tax credits and deductions for energy efficient investments to your home, many still apply. For instance, there are still credits and deductions for the installation of solar panels, energy efficient water heaters, heat pumps, and windows. Upgrading your home to be energy efficient cuts down on utility bills drastically, if not eliminating those bills entirely, with solar panels.
- Go Digital
Both paper coupons and paper bills are things of the past. Most grocery store chains offer digital coupons through their apps. Digital coupons need no clipping, sorting, organizing, etc. because the app does all of that for you, and it drastically cuts down on paper that will likely end up in the trash. Similarly, a lot of companies, particularly insurance companies, offer discounts on premiums if the insured enrolls in paperless billing. Simply by agreeing to receive the bills digitally, a person can create room in their budget and help save some trees with one click!
- Outdoor Entertainment
From a very broad point-of-view, a person is more likely to appreciate and respect something that they understand and experience firsthand. In this essence, a person who spends large amounts of their free time or entertainment time outdoors is more likely to respect and appreciate nature. Choosing outdoor entertainment, such as hiking or canoeing over indoor entertainment like movie-going or video games is often far cheaper for many families and breeds a respect and appreciation for the natural environment.
- Change your eating habits
There are virtually countless ways that our diets affect the environment, from what we eat to the way we cook. Raising livestock for food takes an enormous toll on the environment, primarily because of the deforestation. Additionally, eating in and cooking your own food is far less expensive than eating out in a restaurant and is better for the environment because preparing your own food requires less preservatives and ingredients. Moreover, restaurants use an exceptional amount of energy and resources in storing and packaging food. Even simple changes in eating habits can be beneficial for the environment and your budget, like buying reusable cloth napkins or using a pressure cooker (cooks faster, with less energy).
- Easy energy-efficient home updates
The biggest energy-efficient update most families make to help their budget is to insulate or re-insulate their home. This one update cuts down on the utility bill and your carbon footprint, plus former President Obama has called insulation “sexy”! Most home appliances like refrigerators, HVACs, washers and dryers all come in energy efficient models now and are terrific ways to keep cutting that utility bill, as well. Finally, simply changing to energy efficient light bulbs, or adjusting your thermostat and water heater a few degrees, or taking shorter showers and baths are easy lifestyle adjustments that can make a short-term budget impact, and a long-term environmental one too.